Sunday, August 30, 2015

First week of First Grade is in the books!

  Nixon's first day of school was Monday. Last Monday, August 24th. I had done the shopping for supplies, gotten his new backpack, packed his lunch and we'd even had an open house at his new school. He was excited. I was unbelievably anxious. Nixon was also riding a bus this year, something he was super excited about.

   Monday morning came, far too early in my opinion but my coffee maker was preset and brewed when I got up, Nixon was dressed and waiting for breakfast when I opened my eyes. I got up 2 hours before his bus was coming to give us plenty of time to get ready, without feeling rushed. When his bus came, Mac and I walked him to it and said our goodbyes. I did not cry.
   No really, I did not cry! We were all ready to put last year and his former school behind us.

    Nixon's attending another public school but in a special classroom, specifically for children with special needs.

    The first day, after school, the classroom social worker called to say Nixon had a good day. He tried to escape the class to avoid the work, at first, but by the afternoon he was responding to the token reward system the classroom uses. He needed a few reminders to use his indoor voice but otherwise he did very well.

    The rest of the week went much the same. A couple more phone calls, one was regarding an incident with Nixon and another student in the cafeteria Nixon told me about and I wanted to double check if the classroom staff were aware of it, and the second was about Nixon's first trip to the nurse resulting in an ice pack and a quarter-sized bruise on his arm after a bit of roughhousing with a classmate. Both phone calls the social worker informed me Nixon is making wonderful progress, quickly adapting to the routine of the classroom and no longer attempting to avoid his work like he had the first day. He's quickly earning his reward tokens.

   I couldn't have been more relieved! Given the gut-dropping experiences from last year's school phone calls, being called and hearing his doing great is taking some adjusting.

    I'm also navigating another new territory as a parent: bullying and name calling, from the outside in.
    Nixon came home one day and said "there's a bad boy in my class" and proceeded to tell me, the boy was having what sounded like a meltdown after lunch time. Nixon had plenty of these last year, lunch was a constant sensory overload for him. Nixon told me "the mean boy stepped on me and then started to cry and yell".
    As calmly as I could, I reminded Nixon of his actions last year, from being in the cafeteria. I reminded Nixon of the times I had to go to school and help him calm himself because his teachers couldn't. I told him, "Nixon, you weren't being bad last year and your classmate wasn't bad or mean today. His brain just couldn't take anymore but he, maybe, didn't know how to ask for a break. He's not trying to hurt you on purpose, you were just kind of around when he hit his max limit. But he's not any more a bad or mean kid than you are or were last year. He, and you, just kind of sometimes need breaks but don't always get the warnings from your body before your brain needs a break. Just like at home, Dad and I give you space to recover when you've had enough, make sure you respect your classmates space and let them recover, okay?"
     Friday, Nixon says the same boy from earlier in the week, was called a "crybaby" in class by another student. I asked Nixon if he called him that. Nixon said "No, but I did laugh because it's a funny word, he was crying but he's too big to be a baby" (he's such a literal thinker!). We had another talk and I asked him to be kind to all his classmates and to stand up for the ones who need a voice, like the one being called names, because everyone needs a friend.

    Overall, his first week of school was pretty darned great! No referrals, no letters home, no trips to the principals office. I call it a success!  

My baby waiting for his bus on the first day of school!

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