Today was not the first day of school for my son.
I will not allow today to be classified as his first day of preschool in the 4’s Classroom at his wonderful children’s center near our home in Denver. Because I believe my son and I deserve a First Day of School Do-Over.
A Do-Over where:
-he is physically able to stay in the classroom without suffering from major anxiety due to sensory overload.
-he doesn’t have to sit on the floor out in the hallway on his mom’s lap because it’s less chaotic, when all the other parents have left the building for a few hours so the kids could get used to their new classroom, teachers and classmates.
-he won’t have to go all the way outside and sit on a bench with his mom while the other kids get to eat snack together for the first time in their new classroom.
-friendly and helpful teachers and parents don’t bombard him from all angles with loving pats on the head, back or shoulders because they don’t realize that to my son, a soft touch on the arm can feel like a punch, scratch or scrape. (Yes, a well-meant, gentle and innocent sign of affection for neurotypical people can feel like physical assault for him.)
-there are no tears. From his own mom. In public when she’s supposed to be strong and hold it together for him.
Today was not the first day for many reasons...
Technically you could call today the first day of school for the 4’s Class, because the kids had an abbreviated “meet the class and teacher” type of morning – just kiddos. No parents (well, I ended up being there the whole time). The first full day of school is next Wednesday. Wednesday will be our First Day of School Do-Over Day.
It was not the first day for him at a new preschool – he attended the same school last year in the 3’s Classroom. It was not his first day entering a new school building with a new preschool director, new teachers, new classmates, and new parents– the building is the same, same lovely and accommodating director, we know three out of four of his teachers, and seven out of the 11 kids in his class.
Next Wednesday is when:
-we will take the obligatory first day of school photo with my son holding up some type of chalkboard or sign inscribed with school and developmental milestone information that nobody will read. Perhaps I’ll even do a side-by-side collage of last year and this year’s pics or some crap.
-we will take him out for ice cream to celebrate a new school year.
-he will have his brand new John Deere backpack, John Deere snack bag, John Deere lunch bag, and green and yellow first day of school Saucony sneakers. (That I ordered on Amazon. That arrived on our doorstep exactly two hours after today’s morning at school.)
-I will have all of his required paperwork turned in so there is no concern or worry about if he is legally allowed to stay. (The paperwork I planned on finishing and turning into the school office when I picked him up today. I didn’t have the chance to leave school – hence, no paperwork.)
-I will create, laminate and distribute a sensory profile for my son’s teachers, including information on his sensory triggers, signs of dysregulation, and specific ways to accommodate for his needs. (Lots of extra behind-the-scenes work on my end, but needs to be done.)
-I will hopefully be able to drop my son off at his classroom, leave the building, and run errands or clean the house. Just like the other parents. Parents of kids who do not have Sensory Processing Disorder.
Stay tuned for a First Day of School Do-Over Day picture of my amazing son. Because cliché will tell you that there is a first time for everything. And I will tell you that if that first time happens and it’s heartbreakingly tough, I will dig my heels in and orchestrate a joyful First Day Do-Over for him.