The last week of summer vacation felt particularly endless, but all in all I really can’t complain about the time off from school. I’m glad she is back to school today, and I know she is likely even happier about it. But I can’t help but feel a bit of anxiety thinking that this is her last year of preschool. The first day of school puts me that much closer to confronting the subject of kindergarten.
This summer it felt like it was so much easier to enjoy time with R. She actually seeks out my attention, and not just when she wants something. If she is watching television upstairs and I go downstairs to deal with laundry, it used to be that I could fold the entire load and she would not really notice I was gone unless she wanted something. Now after a couple of minutes she comes to look for me, and she will stay with me until I am finished.
It also seems like she is easier to entertain. I don’t have to plan out what felt like elaborate song and dance routines like last year. She has her own ideas about what we should do. I think we played the good night and wake up game several thousand times.
She also seems to be completely offended by the sight of my bare arms. I suspect it is because she rarely sees them, in San Francisco we don’t get warm weather in the summer. If I pull up my sleeves to do something, she will pull them down. Yesterday I actually put on a short sleeve shirt and she got a jacket from my closet and insisted I wear it.
Not only have we been regularly using a babysitter, but R. has been going to the playground with the sitter. (One of our regular therapists). One of my autism Mom friends has been offering to watch R. at her home. So we took advantage of that – dropping R. off and going to Costco all by ourselves. What a wonderful and strange feeling it was to drop my child off at a friend’s house. (Thanks C, you are the best!)
R. started summer school yesterday. She is going to a different school, and she has to leave 40 minutes earlier. The school is not that far, I could drive there in less than fifteen minutes. So I called the bus company to ask why the trip was so long. They said that 100 students were going to the school, so there were more kids to pick up in the morning. I told them that I wanted to know where the bus was driving from the time my daughter gets picked up until she arrives at school. They transferred me to the manager. I’ve learned that when dealing with the bus company it is better to tell them
you are driving my non-verbal baby to school and I’m nervous rather than treating them like they are incompetent or screaming at them. The manager told me that he could not tell me the route for security reasons. So I told him that her afternoon trip home during the regular school year takes 40 minutes, and she has to go to a neighborhood on the other side of the city. I did not want her taking that route in the morning, during commute hours. He finally told me that the bus only had pick-ups and drop-offs in our neighborhood.
Usually there are only kids from R.’s pre-school class on the bus. I was worried that the elementary school kids might be rowdy or loud, but so far they all look too sleepy to get into any trouble. It is a little premature, but I think I have met the best school bus driver on the planet. He actually gave me a business card with his cell phone and the main bus number, and told me to call him if R. is going to be out. He asked for my cell phone number and told me he would call me if he is running late. I fought the urge to hug him. Generally the bus is on time, but every few weeks we go through a patch of lateness.
I’m going to wait until next week to go to see the class. I’d love to see it right away, but I know I would be a distraction while she is getting acclimated. That’s one thing I hate about the start of a new semester. She was in a really good mood when she came home yesterday, and that is a good sign.
We were funded for some respite hours and used a babysitter for the first time last weekend. She works as an aid in a kindergarten SDC class. It is kind of pathetic, R is four years old and this is the first time we ever left her with someone not related to us. It went really well. R. was in a great mood when we came home, she was hugging on the babysitter and I could see evidence of lots of playing. I’m sure we will use her again, but one of our ABA therapists said she is available for babysitting, so I’m going to use her next.
The bus came five minutes early this morning. That was right on time as far as I was concerned. R. seemed just as happy to go as I was. I think she had a good vacation. We had some minor meltdowns, and she’s been a little stimmy, but generally in a good mood.
We had a chance to go to a tot gym that we used to go to regularly. She remembered as soon as we got into the parking lot and held my hand and ran into the place. I think we probably hovered a little too closely, she did not get into much trouble at all. She used to just run around all excited and crash into kids. She did not crash into one person, and I even saw her stop herself so she wouldn’t knock into another child. She spent some time following these two little girls, I’m guessing were close to her age. They were playing with those sticks with horse heads on them, I can’t think of what they are called. She finally worked up the courage to grab one, and as I was about to intercept one of the girls handed her one. They had an extra. Of course she did not know what to do with it. But that scene could have ended with a meltdown and two girls getting bopped on the head.
She also spent quite a while in the bouncy house. A few small boys were in there. One of them kept knocking all the other kids over, R. included. She thought this was hilarious, and let him knock her over many times. She also let a small boy, probably under two crawl all over her. Part of me kind of hates those bouncy houses. I never know what is going to happen, and it’s not easy to go in there after her. She really likes them, and she’s starting to learn to get out of the way so it is easier.
I got my fill of bouncy houses, we also went to a party playhouse which is basically a giant bouncy house with several levels, slides and ball pits. She played for a while, but then wanted a drink and had a meltdown when she could not bring her cup into the play area. She let me put her shoes on and was fine once we got to the car. It was getting really crowded, so I’m sure she was overstimulated.