For many moms, the First Day of School is a welcome relief. For moms of special needs kids (adopted or not), the First Day provides relief, but is also a little scary..and is a lot more cause for nail-biting.
I was truly happy to spend time with my kiddos for the last three months, swimming, playing and summer-home-schooling (we focused on math and language arts and they read more than 40 books). I will be just as elated to send them on their way to our really excellent public elementary school on Tuesday.
I’ll also be a nervous wreck. Here’s why:
Three years ago:
The girl frequently Duck-and-Covered under her desk like a child of the 1950s nuclear scare, cried in a corner of the playground and intentionally created a rats-nest-of-insanity on her head by scrubbing her hands through her hair until she looked like Johnny Depp’s Edward Scissorhands. The school counselor was very concerned.
The boy escaped school three times, had no fear of his teacher or the in-school behavioral aide sent by social services, and decked another child twice his size–he punched her right in the face. (The teacher, behavioral aide AND her father later told me she was the class bully and deserved it, but still…) The school counselor wasn’t the only one who was very concerned.
Two years ago:
The girl gave up the possibility of nuclear attack and sported a cute new boy-short haircut that was insanely difficult to muss. She did much better behaviorally, but I re-taught her everything in the evenings, as she didn’t absorb information well at school. If not for the social concerns, we probably would have considered homeschooling.
The boy screamed at his teacher, poured glue on his desk, rolled around in the floor and generally disrupted the class. Again, he escaped the school several times. He scared away three behavioral aides who were (apparently) trained professionals. If not for a very understanding principal, we probably would have considered military school.
We held the girl back, and it was just what she needed; she did great in school. Oh, and she fabricated a story (looking for attention from her teacher) that resulted in a Social Services surprise visit to our home…but that’s a story for another post. Thankfully, one of the social workers was very familiar with our situation and our girl’s attachment issues.
The boy made what he calls “A-One-Hundred” when he was focused, and failing grades when he wasn’t. Behaviorally, he had mostly minor problems and slight altercations with other kids, but we were still in the principal’s office a couple times a month and had several notes home per week. Thankfully, we had teachers who cared very much about his success. While they didn’t overlook his behavioral issues, they worked with us to help him grow socially and academically.
We met both their teachers today. I sent them back into the boy’s classroom for a few minutes while I spoke with the girl’s teacher. He popped back into the doorway to ask, “May I please ask Mrs. L if I can read some of her books?” The other teacher was impressed. So was I. Impressed and hopeful. Cautiously optimistic.
Oh please oh please oh please oh please… Please let this year be better. Please, please, please let it be the year they find that they love school–or at least that they love learning.
The year they make friends, real friends. The year they find peace. The year they gain confidence. The year they are happy.
And maybe, just maybe, the year I can grow out my nails.