This post is not political. It's just a recap of our day yesterday. I wanted to tell you how Grace made out at her Welcome to Kindergarten meeting yesterday. This is the meeting where all of the four year olds in the neighbourhood spend some time at their future school to get to know the teachers and visit their future classrooms. Grace loves all things school related; pencils, books, paper, scissors, you name it. She prides herself on being a good listener. She loves to please the teacher. We had some concerns about her anxiety level as she tends to be shy. (some of you will know that is an understatement) All signs were pointing towards this being a good day as long as I could stay close to Grace as she traveled from station to station to show off her Kindergarten ready skills. Cut to three o'clock when I head to the daycare to pick up Grace. The idea was to sneak in without Kate noticing I was there. I would whisk Grace up the street to her meeting and be back to get Kate before she knew it. If that plan had been successful I guess I wouldn't be writing this post. Kate spotted me through the upstairs window and I could hear her excitement as I walked in the door. That excitement turned quickly into tears when she realized I was not coming to get her. As her daycare worker tried to settle her down and distract her the tears got worse and I could hear the panic in her voice. I could not leave without her at that point. I knew she would not understand their reassurances that I would be back to get her. Kate is very literal (another understatement). So, I decided I would take her with me. I knew I was trading one problem for another, but at least I would be in control right? Once we arrived at the school, and made our way to the library where the meeting was to begin,Grace decided she was going to be painfully shy and hugged my leg. Kate was raring to go and began chasing the scared little Pre-K's around the room. I chased Kate around the school library for awhile. This, I didn't mind because she was happy. What happened next is the kind of thing that is only funny after the fact. It was then that Kate crawled onto a woman's lap, grabbed her by the cheeks and turned her head to face her while yelling, "what doin' now?" Kate perseverates , like many children with autism do. So, she would not stop repeating her question. She was waiting for an answer and the poor woman was, understandably, not sure what Kate was asking, or what to do. I tried to reach Kate quickly to pull her off the woman, but Grace was latched on firmly to my leg and panicked as I moved away from her. So, as I was dragging/reassuring Grace I made my way over to Kate and removed her from the poor woman's lap. Did I mention that the Principal was delivering her speech to the otherwise silent crowd in the library at this point? As I pulled Kate off the woman's lap she let out a cry/scream/roar that drew all eyes towards us, which, as you can image, was devastating for Grace. We quickly left the library, with Kate fighting to get out of my arms, fistfuls of hair in her hands, and Grace wishing she could be swallowed up by the floor. I am not sure what important information the Principal was trying to convey but, needless to say, we missed it. Next, we were supposed to travel between classrooms so that the children could practice a number of different Kindergarten skills, such as number and letter recognition and cutting. We reached the first classroom and as Kate hightailed it for the teacher's scissors, (she likes scissors too much. It could keep you up at night ;), Grace refused to participate in the session. My stress level was peaking and I sent Alex a 911 text asking him to please help. He quickly responsed with my three favorite words: "On my way." Kate emptied the contents of a basket onto the floor and armed herself with a pencil in each hand ready to take on anyone that got in her way. The room was getting hot and I wasn't sure how to handle the situation. Then the nicest thing happened. A teacher at the school stepped in. She noticed that I was struggling to handle Kate and that I could not get Grace to participate. She distracted Kate with some toys and kept and eye on her while I helped Grace work on her first activity. I was so relieved I could have cried. She was so gentle and good with Kate that I had the time to encourage Grace to join the group (even if I did hold her hand the whole time). Soon, Alex showed up, and Kate ran happily into his arms. Crisis over. Grace was more and more comfortable at each station and by the last station was able to sit alone (I stood behind her) and colour and cut out the cutest alligator you ever did see. So, the moral? It is ok to step in and help the mom or dad that is in over their head for whatever reason. I am confident that if that teacher did not step up and help us yesterday some of those Pre-K kids would have received new haircuts courtesy of our girl Kate. So, in the end I'm going to take the W for the day.
Happy Mail to:
27 Wellington Row
Saint John, NB
Grace and Kate's mom. (Shanell)