Friday, August 20, 2010

School Bus Blues

David started Kindergarten this week. It was the topic of conversation as I sat recently with some friends over a glass of wine—starting Kindergarten. Several of the Moms at the table had children starting Kindergarten and they were discussing what an emotional time it was. Now, I am a very emotional person as evidenced by the fact that my niece always includes in her movie descriptions to me, whether or not this particular movie will make me cry. Most do, even some of the animated variety. So, it came as a great surprise to me that I really was not sad to have David starting Kindergarten—not even the slightest bit. In fact, I could hardly contain myself and found it difficult not to do a little happy dance in the parking lot after I dropped him off on the first day. I just kept thinking about having some time to myself on days that I do not work.

David has been in school already for two and a half years and in therapy even longer so I guess David and I are somewhat immune to the first day jitters. I say "somewhat" immune because we still have to work pretty hard to prepare David for new situations, but he handled his new classroom and teacher very well and apparently, according to his teacher, sang his way through his first day.

 Tuesday was more worrisome for me, however, because we had decided to have David ride the bus to school starting on the second day. I had not really prepared David for riding the bus primarily because it took me so long to decide that he could handle it--or if we are being honest, that I could handle it.

 We started talking about the bus when he came home from school the first day and I could tell he was not happy. David did not come up to me and tell me that he was sad or that he was worried about the bus. He chose instead to start listening to music. He picked a piece of music on a CD that he had not heard for more than two years. It was a CD we used to play for him when he moved from his crib to his bed and was in the drawer of his nightstand long after we took the CD player out of his room because he kept throwing it and finally broke it. He held up three fingers, remembering that the third track was his favorite, Brahms Sonata No 1 for Cello and Piano in E Minor performed by Emanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma. It is a good thing that he has good taste because he has been listening to it almost non-stop since.

 The next morning, my sister came over to help get him on the bus. Ann-the-Enforcer had to carry him, but he did not cry or really make a scene, he just kept saying "Mom Mom car." The past two days, he has walked to the bus by himself, but has insisted on walking down the driveway backwards. It is as if he just needed to reiterate that he still was not happy—a sort of silent protest.

For a long time, we did not know what David was feeling because he could not express himself and really did not care to. When his little circle started to expand enough to include us, he would tell us that he was mad or upset usually by throwing something or hitting one of us. This time, however, he chose to listen to melancholy music and walk backwards—much more appropriate ways to express himself. I always have to remind myself that David is making progress--even if we are sometimes backing our way toward it.


  1. It would be nice if I could deal with my stress with some wonderful music and a little walking backwards, but instead I have decided that crying works for me. Who has the more appropriate behavior? I don't think it is me!

  2. That is definitely progress! I'll take walking backwards over the alternative any day.