Lessons Of The Heart!PARENTING | Nirasha Jaganath | August 29, 2012 at 11:09 am
Ever get that weird sense of pride and fear all wrapped in one? Ever feel there must be some mistake as you type in “Kiddo starts 2nd grade” (or whatever grade) in your Facebook status? Ever be so consumed at how crazy they drove you all summer and then instead of relief have a “I’m not ready” thoughts replace that? Ever feel guilty that you should have played more with them in summer? Or worked more with them? Or taken them out more? Or do any of the million things you pinned on Pinterest? Or is all of this just me?
Last summer we did 8 weeks of special needs camp which, while it prepared her for 1st Grade, consumed all of her vacation. Doing the right thing sometime comes with a free order of guilt. Everything from “she could have played more.” to “am I pushing her too hard” played in my head, ignoring how much that camp drained from our invisible savings. This year I compromised on a 2 week camp and left the rest up to local camps and some free time. Sadly (for them) I traveled a lot this summer without them. It was clear that the 2 weeks of special needs camp was not as intensive but I think it balanced out with the fact that she got to meet a few kids that would be in her class. Did she make any friends? No! That still makes my heart sink.
The saddest thing about saying goodbye to 1st Grade was saying goodbye to her teacher. To say we LOVE that teacher is an understatement, that teacher provided so much support and love in an emotional year for us that I actually felt reassured with my child with someone else. In all of the 6 years before that I had never ever felt that way.
Ever! Yeah, I kinda have a teacher crush on her and can see why my daughter idolizes her. Last year was a mix of bullying on the bus and a little girl who was trying to pay my daughter to NOT play with them. Seriously! Mean girls suck! Period! Teaching a child with Autism social skills is a challenge on its own, but adding mean kids (and parents) to the mix is a recipe not for the faint-hearted.
The beauty of explaining all of this though is that it brings clarity. Clarity to how and why we react a certain way. Clarity about how we can understand how someone acts a certain way but not necessarily forgiving it. I school myself in the adage that circumstances may explain some things but does not excuse it. We all are responsible for how we react. Truthfully I am probably harder on my girl, knowing that the world does not make allowances for a socially lagging person or that I may not live forever, though the girls have asked me to live until they turn 21. Apparently they will miss me driving them around the most. Kids, you can count on them to focus on priorities, right?
While we still swim our way around the social skills pool, we have also been exploring the confidence to be alone. Sitting on the bus alone is way better than sitting next to someone being mean to you. Should be simple enough, right? Apparently not so! As I break down actions and reactions of kids I start to notice several adults around mimic those of the kids we discuss, and honestly wish they could sift through emotions as well. Those of us who know of some adults who cling to people that speak to them rudely, raise your hand. Exactly! Special needs or not I want my daughter to walk the fine line between being a good person but being able to stand up for herself as well. The best part of teaching my girls that? I have started questioning the way I tolerate how other people treat me. In fact my hubby took it to heart in one of his business decisions. His theory?
“I can’t teach my kid to stand up for herself if I don’t. I am her role model and I need to practice what I teach.”
So yesterday was her 1st day of school and I have yet to meet her teacher so I am pretty anxious. To add to the anxiety my 5 year old starts school (Kindergarten) next week and was pretty upset at the whole attention on her sister starting this week. Me? I was relieved to be focusing on one at a time but I also know the sister to a special needs kid gets kind of a raw deal so I am going to do her 1st day with much pomp and splendor. Ok, ok, in reality a toy, some cards and a new outfit (well scratch new outfit since she INSISTED to wear her new one on the day her sister started school).
When Hallmark sent me a little puppy Nugget, I knew it was it was the perfect present. The wild thing about this puppy is that it reacts when you read key words from the book, and the book I got along with it? Nugget’s First Day of School ! Perfection right there (oh, ok, call it payment for being guilty for everything that comes from being the 2nd kid (and then some). We don’t have a dog, and with our lifestyle felt we could not meet the demands of a pet but my 5 year old girl had a stuffed puppy she called Lippy (go figure) and while in the waiting room where her sister gets therapy (where we spend a lot of our life) another kid broke the puppy’s tail. So come next Tuesday and we will welcome Lippy aka Nugget to the family.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, and part of me being a “Hallmark, Life is a special occasion ambassador”. Personally loving the opportunity to share a window to my life.