And I usually like to send you off with something happy and fun for the weekend ahead.
But I'm feeling a little bit sorry for myself and I'm wondering if you'll just indulge me; allow me to ramble on for this post and get some things off my chest.
I think all of you know that Lily started kindergarten this week. The teachers are great. The principal is wonderful. There's just a sweet atmosphere surrounding the elementary school and I'm really happy that we chose this option for Lily.
I'm expecting some great big things this year.
And really, Lily's already had some quite amazing moments, even in this first week. For example, my partially potty trained child stayed dry for two days, using the potty like a champ. In about 20 minutes, she mastered using her PECS "yes" and "no" cards to answer questions. She helped her Life Skills teacher do calendar time with the class and loved every minute of it. She went on the playground and had some awesome social interaction with some typical kindergarten girls who were all too happy to learn how to use the PECS cards to encourage Lily to "talk" to them.
But here's where the pity party starts....
Up until this point in Lily's life, she hasn't really been so engulfed with typical peers. Except for Sunday morning church, Lily has been very sheltered, attending private therapies and a private ABA clinic. She spends most of her time with other special needs kiddos and adult friends. As a result, most young children I see have special needs of some kind.
Never has the difference between Lily and her peers been so glaringly obvious as it has been to me this week.
I see children excitedly telling their parents about their school day.
I see children hugging their friends with delight, so glad to see them after the summer break.
I see children riding their bikes or walking home from school, loving that first little taste of independence.
I see children running excitedly onto the playground after school while the parents casually loiter and visit with one another.
I see parents that know nothing about 504, LREs, ARDs, IEPs, FBAs, BIPs....
And I'm jealous.
I said it.
Because while Lily has had some stellar moments this week, she's also had some not so stellar ones. Like when she bit her Life Skills teacher, not once, but twice. Like when she turned chairs over. Like when she actually lifted the lid on the potty and climbed in. Like when she swallowed a small plastic reward token. (and yes, the teacher was sitting right there with her eyes on Lily when it happened so it wasn't a matter of neglect.)
Honestly. How many of you got phone calls from both the school nurse and the principal this week?
Of course, everyone is deeply apologetic about the token swallowing but it's hard to not be able to say, "Rest assured. We will take care of these behavior issues at home."
I mean, we completely agree that the behavior is unacceptable. And we want it to change as much as, if not more than, the school staff.
But everything is just triple challenging when you have a special needs child. A quick swat on the behind solves nothing. An If/Then behavioral chart is a laugh.
I've raised two other girls. I know how to discipline children.
But honestly, I don't always know how to discipline this little Bird.
And for that reason, right now, I am feeling sorry for myself.
I feel like I should know these things. Like I should be able to tell the teachers some tried and true methods for taking care of behavioral issues.
But I just don't.
About the time I come up with something that does work, Lily changes and it doesn't work anymore. And some things work for some people and don't work for others.
Plus, I'm feeling sorry for myself because my kid doesn't come skipping out of class, showing me artwork and asking if she can do the slide before we go home.
I'm feeling sorry for myself because I have a knot in my stomach when I pick Lily up, wondering what shenanigans she has pulled today.
I'm feeling sorry for myself because Lily is on a special diet and can't eat birthday treats - and she really doesn't even care.
I'm feeling sorry for myself because short of wearing chain mail, I can't promise the teacher she won't get bitten again.
I'm at a loss.
And I don't like feeling this way.
OK - enough sore feet.
Time for the music.