“Okay,” I said as I secured the final strap to Declan’s bus safety harness.
I moved my gaze up to Declan’s face to try to locate his eyes through his Spiderman mask.
“Have a good day at school,” I added and kissed the top of his mask before I stood up.
I said goodbye to the other children on the bus and turned to see Declan one last time.
“What a treat!” I thought “All the other parents that put their children on the bus after Declan get to see Spiderman sitting there, in full costume. I know it makes me smile!”
I waved to Declan one last time and got off the bus.
As the bus drove away I began to think about next year. Going to Kindergarten, Declan will not be allowed to wear his costume to school every day, right?
What else was going to be different?
Last night was Kindergarten orientation. A chance for Declan to go see his NEW SCHOOL – and some of the things that will be different.
I brought him into the orientation meeting early. I wanted to be sure I got seats where Declan could move around.
“Do you have your super-duper listening ears on, Declan?”
I looked at him, thankful for his honesty, but uh-oh.
“Can you put your super-duper listening ears on?”
“Okay.” Declan then lifted his head to the right, held it for a second and then shook his head wildly back and forth for 10 seconds.
“Now my ears are OPEN.”
I looked at Declan, and nodded my head, “Okay. Good.”
Declan stood, Declan shook, Declan sat, Declan became a blanket, draping himself across my lap, Declan stood, Declan faced the back of the room, Declan sat.
“Is this Kindergarten, Mom?”
“No, this a meeting about Kindergarten. You are going to go see a classroom soon.”
“I better put my listening ears on again then,” he replied and another head shaking session ensued.
The principal entered the room and introduced the teachers. The children were then gathered, randomly assigned different teachers for a tour and led to different classrooms.
Briefly aware of Declan and his needs, our randomly assigned teacher for the evening introduced herself to Declan and asked if she could hold his hand while they went to tour a classroom.
Declan agreed and off the children went.
I returned to my seat and listened to the same orientation speech I had listened to for two other children.
Thirty minutes later, the children were ushered back into the meeting room and the teacher handed Declan’s hand back into mine with a smile.
“She’s smiling,” I thought, “that must be a good sign!”
Excitedly I asked Declan if he had a good time.
“What did you do?”
“We drew pictures of ourselves.”
“Did you sit at a desk?”
“No, I sat on a chair.”
“At a desk?”
“No, on a chair.”
“Did you do anything else?”
“We listened to a story.”
“What was the story about?”
Okay, try a new one.
“Did you ask any questions?”
“Did you talk at all?”
Silence. “Well, I liked a boys Spiderman shirt.”
“Oh good! Did you tell him?”
“Did you laugh at all?”
“No. Mommy, is Kindergarten over?”
“The meeting about Kindergarten and seeing a classroom is over. But you will come back again and go to school here every day. Do you want to do that?”
Ready for “Different”
I don’t know what services Declan will have in school yet. Declan is not concerned about his services. What he is concerned about? The fun of going to a new school!
Last night he got to go see a Kindergarten classroom for the first time, he got to meet a teacher and see new friends. He liked it, and wants to go back.
We started to bridge the “different.” And so far, things are good! Win!
Maybe he won’t be able to wear his costume every day – but he could wear his Spiderman shirt and be best friends with the boy who wore his Spiderman shirt.
That is what I am going with for now!