Yesterday morning was awful. I took Beckham to his first day of "school". He is just going one morning a week to Skills for Living and Learning. The lady in charge is a client of mine and we've been discussing this school and their different approach for months now. I have talked to her about Beckham and this seemed like a great option for him. His physical therapist also thought it would be greatly beneficial to him. The coordinator, Susan, specializes in working with kids with Sensory Integration Disorder. I hate labels, and try really hard not to put my kids into a box. It has become fairly clear though, over the last few years, that Beckham shows signs of having a bit of a sensory issue. He is getting better in a lot of ways, but things like hating sand, being afraid of his potty, insisting on his jacket being on/off, hating crowds, and having to predict and control his environment are all common traits of a sensory processing issue. I think for him this will be something that he can outgrow. Some poor kids have it so intensely that they can hardly function and it's so sad. I am grateful that for Beckham, it is mostly just frustrating for both of us trying to figure out what he wants and what works best for him. I am learning though, and am usually able to predict what he will want and how he will react to any given situation. I have not learned, however, how to help him control his out-of-control emotions and screaming when things are going wrong for him. One step at a time, right?
Yesterday we walked into the school and he seemed so excited. He ran around to check things out. We got into his classroom and there was only one other child in there. A cute rolly-polly little boy. We built a tower and played while I caught his new teacher up to speed on his little personality. Music was playing and we sang songs. He seemed so happy. Then a bus came in bringing four other little boys and a girl. All of the boys had been in this program before and seemed well-adapted. When the structure of the day began, Beckham started to have a hard time. He didn't understand why the teacher wouldn't let him play with the blocks. Finally, he sat with the other kids and listened to the activities for the day. He was involved, so I went with Susan to get a copy of my insurance card. I was gone all of about 20 seconds when I heard my little boy running through the halls screaming, "Mama! Where are you? Where is my mommy?!?!" I ran out to get him. I told him where I had been, and felt so bad that he had gotten so scared. We went back into the classroom where the kids were starting their little yoga routine.
He felt uncomfortable and beelined it to the door. The teacher ran over to get him and he screamed at her and started hitting her. I felt so bad for them both. I took Becks over to a little couch where I snuggled him and we watched the kids do their yoga. It takes Beckham a long time to feel comfortable with a new situation, a new place, and new people. I had thrown him into all of the above. I could feel my eyes burning and willed myself not to cry. I kissed his head as he cuddled with me and couldn't help the tears from falling. What am I doing to this poor child? Is he ready for this? Will this even help him? Are things always going to be hard for him? Will he make friends? I just want to take him home and protect him forever.... I tried to hide my tears from the teacher, but she totally saw.
After yoga the kids got to go to the "Gorilla Room". It's an indoor jungle gym with all kinds of things to help stimulate the kid's senses. There are noise makers, slides, swings, a ball pit, ladders, tunnels, tents, etc. It's so much fun. Beckham was really excited to be in there. I got a moment to chat with his teacher again. I got all teary telling her about how I felt embarrassed about how he acted, but I also felt so sad for him feeling scared and uncomfortable. She was very sweet and reassuring. While we were talking he thought I had left and again ran out the door screaming. She went to get him this time. I talked to him about how I had to go for an hour to work but that I would be right back to get him. I told him his teachers were his friends, and that they would take good care of him. I waited until he was busy and left. I cried the whole way to work and questioned what the heck I was doing. I am such a baby.
After my appointment I went back to get Beckham. I walked in half expecting to hear screaming. There was my little boy, talking to his teachers and seeming like he wasn't any worse for the wear. He saw me and ran to me throwing his arms up. He had a smile on his face. My heart felt more at ease. I picked him up and he became goo like he always does when I hold him--I've started calling him my 30lb newborn. I hugged him and kissed him. His teachers said that he did great. When he noticed I was gone they reminded him I told him I was leaving and would be back soon. He just said, "Okay, Mama be right back, in one hour." We walked hand in hand to the car. As we were driving home he said, "Hey Mama, I had fun at stoool. They toot dood tare of Bettham." I smiled at him and felt better.
I just need to remind myself that things with him take time. I have to remember that these hard and uncomfortable experiences are helping us both to grow. He is smart and understands things that I explain to him. When I talk to him and let him know what is going on, he can figure it out and become more comfortable. It will take time, for both of us, but I think in the end we will get tougher and a little more brave.