And just like that, all the Halloween festivities are over. Not a minute too soon if you ask me. Ireland seems to be in this limbo between the old days of black sacks and monkey nuts and the current full-blown American Halloween – a time of ridiculously overpriced kids costumes and giant boxes of mini Haribo bags. It lost the creativity it once had… but that’s a whole other type of discussion!
Today is the first of November. Nothing special or memorable really. Except today was one of the best days I have had this year. As some of you may know from my Instagram or snapchat posts Aidan really isn’t settling well at school. Honestly, I don’t know what it is like when he is in there because they work on a ‘power through’ approach meaning they have never rung me to pick him up because he was upset. I do however know that he has fallen asleep in there twice from exhaustion at being upset. Aidan can’t sleep with people around him and he doesn’t sleep anywhere other than his room (or the couch but that is very new too). So I know that the times he slept it was from exhaustion.
Now I know there are parents reading this and their hearts are broken thinking of him, and me – because it is not easy for a parent to leave their child somewhere knowing they are upset. However, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is in the best place for him. He is in an environment where he has 1 to 1 care, where all his needs are met and with professionals who know exactly how to handle these situations. So to an extent, it kills me to leave him there but I also know that there are some things in life that I can’t do for him so at least I know he is getting the best possible care while learning how to cope as an individual.
Aidan is in his playgroup for 2 full months now. For those full 2 months, he was crying when we dropped him off and crying when we collected him. His daily journal would be empty. No words. No interaction. No interest. I asked his teacher was there anything we could do. She reassured me it would just take time. We met last week for a separate thing and she asked me to tell her about Aidan because honestly, they knew nothing only a little boy, his tears and his chewy tube. I told her all about his words, how he could read and that he loved anything to do with letters or numbers. ‘That is a completely different child to who we see.’ He was in complete shut down in there. They had no idea of the hyper, loving child who was desperate to talk.
That day they started a new approach with Aidan. They decided to get him used to the setting on a one to one with the teachers and then slowly integrate him into the group activities when he felt ready. They started that last Wednesday. Last Friday was the first day we collected him and there were no tears. His journal had a list of all the words he had said that day and a note to say he loved the Gymboree. Today, the third day since starting his new settling in plan, we collected him – no tears, no chewy tube and a big smile. His teacher came and high fived me when she told me about his day. On the way out I said to him ‘say bye’ like I always do and he turned up to his teacher and said ‘kiss’. Big change from a few weeks ago when he was dragging me out the door.
Tonight I am going to bed the happiest Mom on the planet. I will be forever grateful to the special needs educators that spend their days helping kids like mine learn how to navigate the world – a world that throws them obstacles most of us don’t even notice.