The past three days have been a whirlwind. Yes he’s gone at school most of the day and supposedly that’s some sort of ‘free time’ people imagine I have now, but we’ve used that time to try to dig out of the bottomless pit of chaos that our lives had become through neglect while we attended to J-Man’s IEP process and all the life-craziness of the past month. Plus I’m trying to build up my freelance career again. Ack!
As we’ve said before, J-Man does not nap. If he naps once a month, it’s a miracle. Mary and I love sleep more than just about anything, even coffee and chocolate. This made us question J-Man’s genetics at one point, but we resolved that question by looking at other attributes he shares with one (my big ears) or both (the tendency to snort when laughing too hard) of us.
So his first week of school is done – in his case, a three-day starter week – and it has completely wiped him out. It’s an Everest-like leap to go from two, three-hour preschool days with the under-threes at his former school – even as fun and energetic as they are – to five, 6 1/2-hour days at his new Pre-K autism classroom at the elementary school. He gets out at 3:30, and we get home about 3:40. He’s out like a light before 4:00. Today in the car, his eyes were open but he didn’t look at all awake to me.
Three days, three long death naps. That should tell you something about the challenge this is for him. But he’s handled it bravely and well. I can’t really even imagine what it’s like to be him and dumped into this incredibly structured classroom with a bunch of people he had seen once and go 6 1/2 hours in a brand new environment day after day with an all-new schedule and a lot more expectations of him. This must be what boot camp feels like, minus all the yelling, bald heads, and armaments.
As we know, autism is a journey of a million miles for our kids and for us, but you take it like you take any other journey – one step at a time, even if some of us who shall remain nameless and are three years old go rigid or noodly-legged sometimes when some teacher you just met tries to make you walk over to do something that you probably would enjoy doing anyway, just because you can or something.
In other news, I do have this enormous post I’ve been working on for a while. Hopefully I’ll finish it and post that over the weekend – tropical storm permitting – and get us into something other than preschool and IEPs for a while. If you live along the East Coast, stay safe!