When Big Man was starting kindergarten, one of my heart’s biggest fears was whether his teacher would see beyond his quirks, would know his little heart and soul, and all the things we love about him. I wanted him to be more than just a body sitting at a desk. I wanted him to be a person to his teacher – someone she knew. I needn’t have worried. That happened, and has happened every year. Same with the Princess. Were we just lucky and hit the teacher lottery with both kids each school year? These two make it pretty easy to love them. But I do still worry at the beginning of each year, for all three of my babies. Of course I love them and want them to at least be liked and respected. I want their academic strengths and weaknesses to be recognized and managed, but I want them be each be a person in the teacher’s eyes.
With Little Man, magnify those worries by about a million. I found myself in near tears Friday night, so anxious as another conversation began about his crying, his reluctance to participate in certain parts of the school day, his pushing back when asked to do certain things in class. We are working on scheduling breaks in his day, because he hasn’t been taking them on his own, despite obviously needing them. A new plan needs to be developed for managing his participation in fifth grade PE. There is just SO much involved in a teacher having Little Man in his class. He is so much work, nearly every single day. He goes to speech once a week. He sees the social worker once a week. There are some activities he will just not get involved with. He has a comfort box at a desk in the corner. He goes to the resource room as needed. He carries a stuffed animal around with him, and has to have his headphones with him at all times. He needs routine and a solid, visual schedule. He does better with advance notice of substitute teachers, schedule changes, and fire drills. He flat-out refuses to participate in recess, lunch, or PE. And, as it is the beginning of the year, he’s testing out his new teacher, seeing where the boundaries are, determining if he will be able to manipulate or intimidate him with his meltdowns, tantrums, crying, moaning, groaning, or generally falling apart. Oh, that fabulous oppositional/defiant disorder when combined with an uber-smart kiddo.
He’s just hard work. I know what it takes to get him through the day. Some days, I have a hard time remembering the awesome things I love about him because everything else has been just such a challenge and I am overwhelmed. Teachers have 25+ other kids to manage, much less my little guy. A couple years ago, I called him my porcupine child. Maybe he’s more like a hedge hog? Anyways…he’s prickly on the outside. The inside is so beautiful, witty, smart, funny, creative, gentle, caring, and loving. It takes so much work to get past the prickliness to that amazing inside. It can be so difficult dealing with his issues that it’s near impossible to see what makes him amazing.
My heart cried out Friday night….just see him; please, just look inside and SEE my baby. Please love him. Please encourage him, take care of him. Please see all the gifts he has, and what he can give to this world. I know he’s work. I know it. But I promise, once you see those really cool things about him, it will make dealing with the work so much easier.