Little Man’s main comfort item is Jaws – a large, fluorescent orange, stuffed shark. I believe I may have mentioned Jaws before. He started taking it to school with him last year on his bad days. He uses Jaws at home when he needs to chill out. He sleeps with Jaws. He takes Jaws with us when we travel. He’s been known to haul Jaws into restaurants, movie theaters, and baseball games. Jaws has just become part of life.
Enter fifth grade, our last year of elementary school. There is no way in heck Jaws is going off to middle school with Little Man next year. It just won’t fly, especially in a school twice the size, with fewer watchful eyes to make sure he isn’t harassed. I know in my momma’s heart he’s going to be subject to bullying. He cries so easily, is scared so easily. The headphones alone draw enough attention. Not that I want him to hide his awesome light in any way, but you know how pre-teen and early teenagers can be. I’m thinking he pretty much has a rather large bulls-eye on his back to be pestered by other kids. Jaws simply cannot be part of his middle school day. In preparation, we have decided to wean him off taking Jaws to school this year. Is that mean? I don’t know. Are we asking too much? Again, I have no clue. I guess time will tell. He does have his whole comfort box at a desk in a corner of the classroom, which he is able to go to whenever he needs. And he has all kinds of comforting, soothing, calming tools in the resource classroom. It’s not like we’re throwing him out there with no lifeline.
We had a battle this morning. Little Man has gone all week taking just his small Evee (Pokemon character) plush to school with him. Today, he wanted to take Jaws. I told him no. Cue oppositional/defiant battle. We both dug in. The momma won, but he was seriously unhappy. He pouted the entire way to school. I was sure I was going to get a call or text from school. We made it through the day without any calls, however, and when he walked in the door this afternoon, it was with a smile on his face. He didn’t cry all day. He didn’t feel the loss of Jaws at all.
I have a love/hate relationship with this large plushie. It’s like having a 2-year-old who won’t sleep without one particular blanket. Heaven help us if the dog gets hold of Jaws, or if Jaws needs a bath. Little Man will anxiously stand outside the laundry room door, watching Jaws spin away, first in the washer, then in the dryer. We won’t even talk about what would happen if Jaws were lost. And you should have seen his face when Jaws had to go through the scanner at the TSA check in the airport. I thought he was going to crawl in there with the darn thing. Jaws has already had two surgical repairs to his tail. Jaws is a pain in my tush.
I love Jaws though. He makes my boy smile. He calms him down when he goes sideways. He is a huge comfort to my boy. And I can’t help but smile when I see Little Man sleeping with his arms fully wrapped around that shark. Whatever it takes, right? Just not at school.