You learn something every day if you pay attention.
~ Ray LeBlond
It’s back to school time here for us. Doesn’t seem quite right, going back to the classroom in the hotter-than-hell-dog-days of August, but that’s what the local school board mandates, so off we go. Always running a bit late, but that’s just what we do.
Will was spit-shined and polished for his very first day of the new school year. Standing tall (holding onto my hand) in his little uniform of light blue polo shirt and navy blue shorts. Wearing his new glasses -- wire rims -- that make him look so handsome and grown up. his Wiggles backpack hanging askew from his proud little shoulders. Nose running a mile a minute, a residual side effect from his surgery. Pulling me through the freshly-mowed grass, taking a short cut to the door of his classroom. He was ready to get about the business of going to school.
He -- and I -- were greeted with hugs and kissed by teachers, classroom assistants and therapists. It was old home week for us, as we both settled back into our familiar school routine. Will didn’t miss a beat as he sought out his favorite toys in the classroom the minute he could break away.
It’s always enlightening to see your child through someone else’s eyes -- try as I might, I have a scant amount of objectivity when it comes to him. But his “entourage,” as I lovingly refer to them, always give me good feedback as to where he is and how he’s doing. He’s been with them all for two years now -- and they love him and know him really well. And they were all amazed and thrilled at how much he’d changed in the ten weeks they’d been apart for the summer break.
He’s got (save for an occasionally dropped L-M-N) the alphabet mastered. Hey! Won’t you come and sing with him?
He can count to 40. (Although did you know that sometimes 30 can also be 20-10? Betcha that’s new to you, isn’t it?)
He’s talking constantly, actually engaging people in a bit of conversation and making appropriate comments at appropriate times. “I would like some juice,” he politely announced the other day. He then proceeded to pour his juice out of the sippy cup onto the table, but at least he asked for it before he used his powers for mischief instead of good.
He’s coloring on his own, feeding himself on his own, drinking on his own. (Now if he would just let go of my finger and his fear and walk on his own... we won’t even dare to dream yet about being potty trained, but that’s my own personal goal for him this year.)
He’s trying so hard to master the little exercise routines in PE, working to make his little CP-plagued limbs and muscles twist and lift as his wonderful PE teacher asks him to.
He’s an active participant in circle time, singing the songs and answering questions. They’re not always the questions his teacher is asking, but by golly, he’s going to chime in with his opinion anyway.
He’s learning the names of his new classmates. Allison. Dale. Vladimir.
He’s making an effort to do just about everything he encounters.
And I’m so proud. I almost can’t stand it.
He and his little buddy B. are the elder statesmen of the classroom, this being their third and final year in pre-school. And they are doing their part to be the class leaders -- as much as four-year-olds with limited attention spans can do, anyway.
They look so serious, sitting at the table together, working on a puzzle.
It makes me happy that Will’s got a little buddy -- they were in the NICU together and share the same therapists at the hospital. B.’s mom and I are also good friends and have become great support systems for each other.
We were hanging out one evening last week, watching Lingo as we always do after dinner.
Chillin' out. Relaxing after a hard day at school.
All at once I hear this little voice pipe up after Chuck Woolery announced a new puzzle.
Man. Oh man. How cool is that.
And yeah. The tears welled up with that one when I realized what I was hearing.
This after only one week back.
It’s going to be a great school year for us.
I can just tell.
Mary had a little lamb
Its fleece was white as snow, yeah
Everywhere the child went
The little lamb was sure to go, yeah
He followed her to school one day
And broke the teacher's rule
What a time did they have
That day at school
~ Stevie Ray Vaughn