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Small Things 10-1-13

1.  And then, he had a great day at school.

(Massively deep exhalation of relief on my part.)

Part of it was being allowed to bring Bunny in.  His teacher sees how instantly Real Bunny soothes him when he’s getting anxious, and has said he can bring Bun as long as he needs to.  Part of it is that we’ve been deliberately singing songs from school, saying The Pledge of Allegiance for fun (?), and talking through different scenarios that have, apparently been worrying him.  Part of it is the teacher understanding that some of his refusals haven’t been contrariness but his deep-seated dislike of being messy.  The fact that he says, “No, thank you.” when something is offered that he would like to refuse isn’t hurting.  Yay for teachers who appreciate well-mannered kids!  Or maybe it’s because he had a bit of a breakthrough with his thumb yesterday (more on that to come) and was still feeling the joy of realizing he could do more than he could yesterday.  Or maybe it was simply the bribe of getting to go to the indoor playground tomorrow if he was a brave boy and didn’t cry today.

Whatever.  All of the above, I suspect.  But he had a big smile on his face when I picked him up this morning, and I’ve never been happier to see my boy looking so happy.

He talked about school all the way home with very little prompting.  He mentioned a few things that Real Bunny was concerned about at his bunny school.  Things like the words to songs, not knowing anyone’s name, etc.  But he had many more good things to say about playing, and conflict resolution, and being the one who got to turn out the lights at recess.  Thank heavens for loveys.  Thank heavens for teachers willing to bend the rules when it’s obvious a kid needs a bit of help.  And thank heavens that he’s possibly through the worst of it.

I was really worried we were going to have to pull him from school, mostly because I know how much he’s actually going to like it.  He’s desperate to be around other kids, and he is a little sponge these days–he needs a bit more stimulation than I am giving him, I think.  In the last couple of months, he’s learned the names of the states from his puzzle map.  I think I was in college before I was entirely sure which was Arkansas and which was Alabama.  Also, he’s SO verbal and so very tall that he’s already being assumed to be older (much) than he is.  I suspect this is just going to get more pronounced.  I don’t think red-shirting this kid will be a good option, just for that reason–he’ll be the hulking kid in the back row even if he’s the youngest in the class.  If he were the oldest as well?  Yikes.  And at this point in his life, I really think he needs to be around more people his age, and so the idea that he was disliking school was hard.  Made me feel all failure-y.  Like I’d seriously erred by giving him such a good life at home that leaving it even for a few hours was traumatic.

But it’s (I do fervently hope) sorting itself out.  He likes his teacher, he loved being able to show mommy & daddy around his classroom and tell us all the things he knows (damn, this boy likes knowing that he knows).  I think he’ll be ok.  I think he’ll have fun and get what we wanted him to get out of this year of preschool–namely, a love of school as ‘a good place where you get to go and learn new things’.  He’s started inserting bits of dialogue and such into our interactions that he must be getting at school “I’m stretching high as a giraffe!”  This is what school is, and it’s what I hoped for, but it’s still a bit bittersweet trying to bow out gracefully as the complete arbiter of his world.

At his open house this afternoon, when it was time to leave, all he wanted to know was when he’d be allowed to come back and play.  His teacher overheard, and grinned.  Yeah.  Me too.  OMG, the relief.  And yeah, I’m sure we’re not completely through it yet, but since I was seriously wondering if we’d have to pull him from school last week, having him react much more like a normal kid with normal levels of separation anxiety–ie: not thrilled with walking away from mommy, but willing to be distracted once he’s there–is such an amazing relief I can barely describe it.  It was a rough weekend since last Thursday!

2.  A follow-up appointment with his surgeon yesterday went well.  Elbow is completely healed, and while she’d prefer the nerve damage to never have occurred, she reiterated that it does seem to be progressing, which I absolutely agree with.  She was trying to get him to move his thumb & he said he couldn’t, even though we were watching him twitch it against her hand.  Then that night, after dinner, he got a huge smile on his face and held his hand out to me, “Look, Mommy!”

Kid curled his thumb all the way in to his palm.  “Cymbals!” he cried as he gave himself a weak round of applause, inviting us to join in.  Boy, did I ever join in.  Henry’s left thumb has come back into the world!  It’s still weak, it’s way unreliable, but he’s been using it like crazy today–occasionally so well that I wasn’t even conscious of the fact that he was using his not-so-good hand to do something.

Again–the relief…

3.  Went out to dinner in Portsmouth & remembered why I liked that town so much.  It’s only half an hour away–I really need to spend some time getting to know that city.  Delicious seafood, eaten right on the river where we saw a seal, lots of seabirds, some junkyard cranes, and a whole fleet of tugs.  Best place to take a little boy to dinner ever.

4.  Finished the quilting part of Hen’s new quilt–need to slap a binding on that sucker and it’s done.  Not that he’ll ever need it–temps are supposed to creep back up into the 80s this week.  Crazy.

5.  Going to go try to get some sleep.  No.  Scratch that.  Going to go upstairs, sleep like the dead until my son creeps in and whispers, “Mommy, my clock is yellow.  It’s time to get up.  Here, take my hand and I’ll lead you to where I live.  You can play with me if you like.”

And then we will start our day of playing with trucks and trains, talking about construction vehicles and ‘grabber claws’.  Trying to answer the age-old questions of whether sharks are actually mean or just very very cranky (cranky), and if fish like to be eaten (who can say?)  Do shrimps have eyes? (yes.)  Am I still 3? (for a long time, you’ll be 3, little one.)  Did you see what I just did, Mommy? (I did.)  Did you see? (Yes, I really did.)  Which is your favorite truck, Mommy? (Probably the street sweeper.)  If you like the street sweeper, I will like the stump grinder.  Would you like to play a game with me?  (Always.)  Do you love me more than airplane contrails?  (Oh yes.)  What about more than pink contrails.  (Even more than the pink ones.) I love you too, Mommy.  More than sharks love taking baths. (That’s a lot of love, Hen.  Thank you.)  You are welcome, Mama-kitten.

Am I the luckiest woman in the world? (Oh yes.  Yes indeed.)

6 comments to Small Things 10-1-13

  • Yay for a good day and school going smoothly! Hope no offense taken at the idea of pulling him out, so glad it’s all improving, nothing hurts more than seeing your child feeling down and unsure.

    Susan Reply:

    Oh, believe me, Aisha, I was thinking the exact same thing! I actually love getting advice–I know it’s (almost) always motivated by people wanting to help, so how can I object to that if I put all my troubles out here!

    But yes, SUCH a relief. I’ve never before felt like I must be doing everything wrong with this boy. I know the anxiety isn’t over–in fact it might be something he’ll have issues with his whole life. But if he can get past it to enjoy something he wants desperately to be able to do, then that will help the NEXT time he feels like that. Or so I hope!

  • So lovely to hear about him enjoying school. And his progress with the thumb. Well done, Hen!

  • Susan

    He woke me up this morning by whispering, “I’m going to do something to make you happy, Mommy.” Then he made a fist about an inch and a half away from my blinking-away-sleep eyes.

    He was right, though it was an odd way to wake up. Made me very very happy.

  • Mo

    So SO glad that Hen is adjusting better. And I love the dialogue snippets you include. He is such a lovely, perspicacious little boy.

  • I am so glad and relieved to read this update! Yay for school, yay for using his hand more. I hope this trend continues and his confidence and strength only improve.