Monday was kindergarten round-up for us. We would start the day at the preschool (where he is currently attending) and end with a visit to the classroom he will be in next year, along with the rest of his new classmates.
To be blunt – the day was a total disaster. Even in his usual classroom, he was totally overwhelmed. There were tons of new kids not usually in his class, the routine was changed, and I was there to be walked all over.
Daniel is a very, very clever boy and knows what exactly he can get away with and with whom. And, as my husband likes to say, “You are the carrot, I am the stick.”
Me, being the carrot in this situation, pleaded with Daniel to follow instructions: sit at carpet time, color the picture, eat your snack, and – if we survive – we can go outside and play later. He was just not having any of it. I tried to physically help him navigate each activity and he just let his body go impossibly limp as he whined loudly with each new task.
Of course, all of the children and other moms helping that day were witnessing this and it was beyond embarrassing.
At one point during a carpet time I was able to back away from my son and watch him and the rest of his class enjoy a short video on bike safety. Finally, I smiled.
As the children watched, Daniel laughed when the narrator urged kids to watch where you ride and the cartoons in the film collided with one another. Dan has a strange slap-stick sense of humor and finds these sort of things amusing. As he giggled, the boy next to him leered at him skeptically and scooted away.
My heart broke.
Both Daniel and I left that day exhausted and defeated.
The truth is I am scared, no I’m terrified. Will the teachers next year have enough patience to handle him on his bad days? Will he have any friends?
In reality, I know Daniel will probably never understand Physics or Organic Chemistry. School for him will be more of the basics. And one thing I never thought I would have to worry about when it came to school is just actually making it through the day.
I worry a call from the school to come and pick an unmanageable Daniel up will be the norm. I worry the kids will look at him annoyed during story time and scoot away. And I worry that something as simple as kindergarten will actually break me.
*Dan's first day of preschool this last fall.
Photo credit: Thinkstock, iStock, Whitney Barthel
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