Preschool–the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I’ll start with the bad and the ugly so we can end on a good note–I’m that kind of gal.

The Bad:

Charlie has decided to let his worst side show at Preschool. There’s biting (of himself), whining, and trying to sleep through every activity. He also screamed when the speech therapist tried to touch him, which isn’t really what we’re looking for. I’ve seen this thing before, but was hoping that he would fall in line because of peer pressure. Not so much.

The Ugly:

His behavior is SO bad that the school nurse came and I had to have a consult. Specifically discussed: seizures, is he seizing at school?, at night? his eyes, his pupils, and his shunt. Let me tell you, THAT was a fun conversation. The worst part is that the nurse was extremely serious and I kept giggling. I have a bit of a problem with the inappropriate giggle and frankly, I couldn’t help but laugh. They were really concerned about the nystagmus in his eyes (eye shaking) and all I could think was how much things had improved. Really. If they’d seen him a year ago, they would have assumed he was significantly impaired. And besides, we’ve dealt with SO MUCH WORSE. It’s actually hard to work myself up over bad behavior. I’m hoping it will get better. If not, we’ll see if a schedule change helps.

I also want to say (cue cheesy music) that when I got home I was really feeling the full force of the special needs sisterhood. Made me feel so much better to know that I’m not the only person who has to sit through these talks.

The Good!

Charlie is eating up a storm and they’ve all commented on it. I’m so glad. This really helps me out because I was so worried they were going to refuse to feed him in school. Not the case.

Charlie is already vocalizing more and crawling around more after just a week of school. I think he’s seeing all these kids doing things and getting ideas. He’s also a lot more involved and interested in the walking practice we do every evening. Can’t help but think that it’s because he wants to be more like the other children in his class. I’m really pleased and hope this trend continues.

Charlie has a friend. I don’t think I realized how emotional this would make me, but Charlie has a little boy in his class who really likes him and that just makes my heart burst. In the back of my head I didn’t know if Charlie had ever have a friend–he is so different, I just wasn’t sure. This little boy is in a wheelchair too, so they’ve got something in common! The other day when I dropped Charlie off I saw him put his hand on Charlie’s wheelchair as if to say, “don’t worry, I’ve got him.” SWOON!

We’ll get there–I just have to be strong. child in rifton chair

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  1. Oh, girl, I’m so sorry about the Bad and the Ugly! The good is SOO good, though!! I still remember when Stephen made his first little friend – it was a few weeks after starting Mother’s Day Out, going only one day a week. The teachers told me that he and this little boy played together all day, and laughed and laughed together! That child changed his schedule in the spring semester, so they didn’t go on the same day anymore, and Stephen made a new friend. And when the old friend was going daily during summer session, Stephen was just THRILLED to see his old friend! They hugged like long-lost brothers. I cried that day the teacher first told me about their friendship, because like you, I was afraid that his non-verbalness would impare his ability to make friends, especially amongst his typically developing peers. I’m proud to say that this is not the case, and Stephen is very popular at MDO!

    Charlie will get the hang of it soon, I’m sure. This was a HUGE change for him. The peer pressure will kick in, but it will definitely take a while. (((HUGS))) to you and your little man!

  2. Oh my goodness, every time I read about you guys you remind me more and more of our family! I know exactly what you mean about the giggling, Nathan gets quite embarrassed at times.

    I am not really looking forward to school starting next week for Zach for some of the same reasons. He too tends to scream at people when he doesn’t want to be touched. I am also a little worried about Zach’s vomiting on command when the bus comes, just don’t want to deal with that again.

    Guess all kids have something.

    I am SO happy to hear about Charlie’s new friend, I can’t wait for that to happen with Zach.

    Sounds like he is actually doing GREAT!!!

  3. It’s a good start if he’s got a friend already. Hang in there, hon. 😉

  4. OK, first off, this is just his first week—he’s going to adjust, I promise. Max literally cried his ENTIRE first week at preschool, I still remember. I think at first the teachers thought he had schizophrenia or something, because by the second week he was his usual beyond-sunny self.

    Second: I know just how you felt about Charlie having a friend. Max has a boy crush on this kid at school. We went to an event earlier this year and the two of them chased each other around and then they kept on hugging. I melted.

    Third: WHAT is with school nurses? The one at Max’s school was so convinced he was having seizures (he’d stare, he was tired) that we got an ambulatory EEG because of her. Negative. There is a fine line between being aware and making parents panicky.

  5. If those people only knew what you’ve done!

    Don’t sweat it.

    Go Charlie Go!!

  6. Your post really touched me. I have a 2 1/2 year old son with cerebral palsy (hemiplegia). I am very nervous about his starting preschool later this fall, and am concerned about how he can integrate, respond to teachers, and present himself in the classroom. But more than anything in your post, the part about your son making friends rang true. Of everything I pray for my son, that is the number one wish I have for school. Hearing that your son has so quickly made a friend gives me hope for my son, and for that I thank you. Good luck with everything and stay strong.

  7. Thanks for posting this!! Great timing.. We are waiting to hear back about the 2 year old EI center based classroom, 2 1/2 hours 3 or 5x/wk. And I was just thinking again if this is a good idea or not.. and from everything I hear about preschool it’s going to be great for my little guy. so Thanks. and thank Charlie for me too.

  8. I think that he still needs time to adjust and that all things will work out. I also think that they good news of Charlie making a friend and wanting to do more as he watches his peers far out weighs the bad!!

  9. I LOVE that he has a friend! That’s fantastic!!!

  10. DITTO to what everyone else has said!!

    You have SO much to celebrate, Katy!! Charlie has come such a long way…those people have NO idea! The fact that he has made a connection with one of his peers is no inchstone, girl!! That is a milestone and an amazing one! I’m swoonin’ with ya!

  11. Hugs to you Katy! It sounds like all of the good things you mentioned are worth the bad/ugly things. The story about the Charlies new friend is just precious! My son has an NG tube (switching to G tube soon), we’re switching to a new school this fall. I had a long chat with his new teacher about my son’s needs. She seems a little freaked out and unsure about the tube, and asked me to write a letter to the other parents so they know what to say when their kids ask about my son’s tube on his face…not sure how I feel about that.

    Sounds like Charlie is making some great progress in his class, and I hope it continues!

  12. That good list is AWESOME! My son is autistic (PDD-NOS) and I swear everyone at his school knows him because of his habit of greeting everyone he sees. He also has a friend in his class that plays with him as much as he can. They’ve been in the same SpEd class since kindergarten and love to tease each other and giggle. *sigh* It’s the small stuff that makes my day.

    Way to go big preschooler! You rock.

  13. That is the best. good.list. ever. I love that Charlie has a friend! The bad and the ugly will sort itself out. It’s only been a week at school, right? This is still the getting-to-know-you period. And maybe you’ll get the chance to tell them how far Charlie has actually come.

  14. He has a friend? OMG, that made me cry. Biting, schmiting -these things will pass. He will be inspired by the others, I know it, and it is one of the things that helps me balance my working/day care/guilt issues, but a friend! A friend! You don’t get one of those just for showing up.

  15. I know what you mean about others not having the same perspective because they haven’t seen the progress we have. Now when a teacher reports LeBella had a rough day, I think back to past teachers pushing her towards me with shaky hands and teary eyes and I have to bite my lip! Rough day in deed! And he made a friend! That’s fabulous!

  16. I’m sorry about the bad and the ugly, but the good is great!! That was one of the things I was most looking forward to with when Avery started preschool – the social interaction and the motivation of seeing other kids her age moving around! But I still find that sometimes I’ll take her to a playgroup or something, and after a while I’ll walk into a room to find a bunch of 4 year olds crawling around with her on the floor!! It’s hilariously cute – my little trend-setter :)
    Avery had a little friend her first year of school too, he just melted my heart!!! I LOVED to hear the stories about how he liked to help her!
    I’m sure that things will get easier as everybody gets used to the new routine, and Charlie’s school teachers/aides/nurses get to know him as an individual person. He’ll probably settle right in and be very happy :)

  17. Oh, and I have a terrible habit of smiling when I’m angry or upset….makes it very difficult to be taken seriously when I’m in an argument or something!! The more I try NOT to smile, the more I smile – I must look like an idiot!

  18. Jailen's Mom :) says:

    I just cried my eyes out reading about Charlie’s friend because I know who you’re talking about! I’m so excited that Charlie is showing improvement at home. Jailen has improved so much since he started school, it’s almost unbelievable. I think it is wanting to be like the other kids. Charlie’s going to eventually have a blast, I promise. Jailen didn’t like it much when he first started either. Of course leaving Mommy’s side after 3 years is a good bit for them to accustom to. Oh, & don’t worry about the friend part..they’ll be girlfriends too, believe it or not! Jailen had 5 last year in PreK. This year so far, there’s only 3. I guess he got bored with the other 2! lol :) PS: My mom’s the bus driver too.

  19. OK I am a total sap! This post made me cry. I am so happy that Charlie has a friend. There was a little girl in our church nursery that used to look out for Emily and I cannot tell you how happy that made me. She would scream Emmy every time we showed up. When Emily got upset, she would get Emily’s Gloworm (the Godsend toy that I don’t EVER want to lose). We have moved away now, but I keep hoping that she will have a friend like that when she gets to school.

    As for the bad and the ugly – I think that contributed to my crying. I am starting to panic just a little bit about school. That is what I do – I run around like the sky is falling and then eventually come to my senses and handle things. Hope Charlie adjusts as time goes on. And I hope the nurse backs off! Love that picture – that kid is so darn cute!