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7 down, 173 to go

We are seven days into the 2013-14 school year. We’ve almost settled in to the routine, including dance and soccer for the older two. We do have a new twist in that E-man is now on a very low-dose anti-anxiety medication. Poor kid. He hasn’t been sleeping well (nothing new), and his fingernails are chewed down to nothing. He “has worries”. So in our normal follow-up with his psychiatrist last week, we decided to give this a try and see if we can’t settle things down for him a bit.

Another crack in my heart. I desperately want to fix it for him. He and I have been walking to and from school nearly every day, just the two of us. The older kids are all off at middle school and have been picked up each day by the neighbor. We’ve had quite a bit of time to talk. But it seems no matter how much we talk, his worries persist. Although it pains me,  I know we are at a point he needs help I can’t give him. We continue with bi-weekly therapy appointments too. He needs that as well. As much as I talk with him, he needs the safety net of his therapist. She is an awesome, kind-hearted soul. He lets very few people in, and he has welcomed her completely, although it took awhile for him to be comfortable.

He’s done pretty well adjusting to a new grade, a new classroom, new classmates, and being the only one of his siblings still in elementary school. He has mentioned a few times he’s alone, but then I just remind him of the friends and kids he’s known since kindergarten who are in his class this year. He’s been behaving himself, interacting with kids, not complaining about homework.

Then yesterday happened. He has sensitive hearing. He detests loud noises, especially if they are unexpected. It seems the screen rolled up and slammed into the metal casing, making a loud crashing noise in class yesterday afternoon. It scared the bejeezus out of him, and hurt his ears. He started to cry. Now he hasn’t cried at school since first grade. It apparently took him awhile to recover. As soon as he walked up to me at pick-up time, his face crumpled and he cried most of the way home. There was no comforting him. I can’t tell him it won’t ever happen again. I can’t keep accidents with accompanying loud noises from happening.

He cried most of yesterday afternoon. I wanted to lay down on the couch with him and bawl my eyes out too. Some days, the enormity of what we’re dealing with just slaps me in the face. He was upset because of the noise. He was upset because he started crying in front of all his classmates. He was upset that he couldn’t recover quickly. He did not want to go back to school today.

I have a dilemma. I can’t give him noise-blocking headphones. He wouldn’t be able to hear the teacher. He does have noise-reducing headphones. He hasn’t wanted to use them much at school, afraid someone would make fun of him. I think we talked him through it. I  hope we did. I can’t be with him every second of every day. But I feel like the worst mother ever each day he walks into those gates alone…..like I’m throwing him to the wolves, and praying he comes out of it unscathed. Logically, I realize that isn’t the case. We go to an awesome school with incredible teachers and staff. He is well taken care of. And yet it hurts me. I hate to see his precious face become stoic, knowing he is mentally putting on his armor to get through the day.

I’m headed out to school now to pick him up. I’m worried about how his day may have gone. I’ll hold my breath somewhat until I see him and hear what he has to say. Would that it wasn’t this hard. Some days, it just breaks me.

As for the other two, middle school is just fine. They’re flying like I knew they would. The discrepancy between their experience and E’s experience just makes it more evident to me what a different path he’s on. I know in the end, when he’s older, grown up, he will be okay. We will get him there. It’s the now that is freaking me out.

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