Today was Monkey’s first day of preschool and also the first day with his new speech therapist, so naturally, he is now jumping up and down and playing and I am utterly exhausted. I explained the Monkey what we would be doing today, each step of getting ready, where we were going, etc. Everything went smoothly this morning as I prepared my son and myself for the first day of preschool and my husband prepared himself to head off to his new job for some last minute preparations before he starts teaching again tomorrow. Then it was off to the school. I had no idea where the school was, so I’d printed off directions and it’s a good thing I did because even though I could presumably walk to the school, it’s off the main roads and there are no signs to tell you that you are even close to a school until you are right next to it (where there is a school speed zone).
Monkey and I walked into the school fifteen minutes before his class started, which proved to be far too early. There were other parents waiting outside of the classroom, but Monkey didn’t want to wait in the hallway. To him, the hallway was too small and there were far too many people in it for his liking. If I had been the only person who brought their child that early for the class, my son would have been fine because no one else would have been in the hallway. However, that was not the case. He screamed several times and told me, “no” a lot. I tried to comfort him using everything I could think of from OT. I used the brushing protocol, tried deep pressure, held him until my arms felt like they would fall off, and turned him upside down several times. I tried to explain to him that the other kids were scared, too, but that it would be okay, but nothing seemed to help until it was time for class and the hallway began to clear. There were just too many people for him. Monkey and I finally walked into the classroom last. His teachers were really nice and they could tell how stressed I was as I hopelessly watched my son have one of his worst meltdowns. He laid in the floor on the group rug, sucking his thump, pulling his ear until it was red, crying and screaming, “no” at anyone who touched or talked to him. This lasted for a while, but the teacher continued with the days activities, holding Monkey as she taught and doing anything she could to help keep him clam.
Then it was time for the kids to go to lunch. Monkey is in the afternoon preschool class, which is 3 hours a day, 5 days a week. I didn’t know that lunch was the second thing on the agenda, so I’d given Monkey some food before he went to school. As I followed the class to the cafeteria, I talked to the schools speech pathologist while Monkey’s teacher carried him up the stairs (he’s afraid of stairs, which I told the speech pathologist and was later told by his teacher that he was shaking as she carried him). His teacher took him through the line, shouting out the question, “Does he want yogurt or pizza?” as she went through the door. “Yogurt, I yelled back.” I knew if he was hungry at all, he’d eat yogurt, but probably wouldn’t touch pizza today. I continued to talk to the speech pathologist through most of lunch, explaining all the progress that Monkey has made over the summer and what he still needs to work on, how to calm him and the different approaches to language that we are using, including PECS and ASL. By this time, Monkey had calmed down sufficiently.
After lunch, which Monkey’s teacher had to feed to him because he has trouble using a spoon, but not a fork (which I will mention to her tomorrow), we went back to the classroom for what the teachers call “centers” which means the entire class gets to choose which activity they would like to do. Monkey was fascinated by the fish and continually pushed other children who attempted to get near the aquarium. He even pinched a girl at one point and the girl was pretty big. She looked like she was going to punch him for pinching her. It wasn’t long, though before he found the sensory table, which was basically a plastic box that was filled with sand and had paddles for the kids to shovel the sand with. At that table, he even shared space with another kid as well as shared the paddles and before I knew it, it was time to take Monkey to speech therapy. (I’m currently working with his school to get therapy at the school, but in the meantime, have to take him out of school early two days a week. The great thing, though is that at the beginning of the day, I thought I might have to be with Monkey in the classroom well into next week, but by the end of the day, I felt like being out of the classroom by Thursday would be good.
I was glad that Monkey and left early because the parking lot wasn’t yet very busy with parents lining up to pick up their kids and teachers and administrators coming and going. Monkey and I go to therapy right on time and were not waiting long before his new speech therapist came into the room to take my son. I decided to be in the room with him for the first couple of sessions, since this was a new person, but he did so well that I decided that it would be safe to be outside of the room at his next appointment. We are almost to the point where I stay in the waiting room while he goes off with his ST and OT without crying or having a meltdown. And then, I did something that I shouldn’t have. I forgot to get Monkey’s excuse for missing school along with filling out the medical release form for the school. My husband called me before I was too far away, which reminded me, so I went back, even though I knew that Monkey would not be happy about walking back into the building and doing something different than normal. Normally, I sign him in and then lead him to the kid’s waiting room, which is enclosed and I am thankful for that. He was very patient while I filled out the papers and made my requests for an extended excuse from school on his therapy days, but then when I told him to follow me to the restroom, he refused to come. I had to pick him up and carry him. I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it home without using their facilities. Then, while trying to get him to leave the restroom, he refused again, which always means a screaming fit and occasionally a meltdown. To avoid the worst, I picked up Monkey and put him on my shoulders and he was fine again once we were in the car and he knew that we were now really going home. Now that we’ve been home for several hours, Monkey has been extremely calm, almost as if the beginning of the day didn’t happen at all. It makes me wonder if he wonders if it was all just a dream.
And what a way to end the day: As I was writing this entry I was informed by some of my online classmates that my homework that I posted yesterday was gone. And I didn’t save it anywhere. So, I freaked out a little, especially since for some reason I couldn’t open the syllabus to access the professors contact information and had to restart the computer. Luckily, someone is looking out for me though, because after my brief meltdown, I was able to find the professor’s number and explain the situation that had just occurred, which was fixed with in a few minutes of my call. Apparently, the thread was down. I’m not sure how only a thread goes down, but that’s what happened according to my university’s IT department. Needless to say, I copied and pasted my work into a word document and saved it this time and I won’t be making the mistake of not saving major posts again. So, now it’s 9:00 p.m. here and only an hour before bedtime and then tomorrow, I’ll do it all again, but hopefully with a little more sleep (I only got 5 hours last night because I was worrying about Monkey going to school most of the night and morning).