School Daze

I wanted to post an update on the school saga, because many of you have been following our arduous pre-school journey and I don’t want to deprive you of the big payoff…

Two years, three schools and many tears later, Tariku is ROCKING pre-school, at long last. I’m speculating that a couple of factors are coming into play to make this attempt successful when the others have been disastrous. First, I think he wasn’t ready to be separated from us quite as early as most of his friends. He’s been a bit late developmentally with a lot of things and in spite of all the parenting methodologies we try, he’s just ready when he’s ready. For example, we stood on our heads with the potty training until I was convinced he was going to wind up wearing Depends, until one day he decided he was going in the potty because his friend Dashiell did. That was it. We’ve had maybe three accidents since.

Tariku is enormously social and is now able to understand that certain behaviors of his were making it hard for him to be around other kids for very long. His desire to have friends has been the best motivation for him to work on the hard stuff- impulse control and emotional regulation.

The other big factor is that we found the right school. In our case, finding the best fit for him meant me being willing to be wrong about my initial instincts. I generally gravitate toward the most unorthodox and progressive institutions, but it turns out that in T’s case, he functions much better in a more structured and traditional environment. He feels safer when he knows who is in charge and exactly what is going to happen. Too much self-direction makes him spin out. We found a structured school that is aware of his issues and is committed to working with him rather than jumping to kick him out for the slightest transgression.

It’s not like we’ve seen miracles, but we’ve seen great progress and healing. The smile on his face when we’re climbing the stairs to his classroom makes my whole day. I could cry when we walk in the door and the other kids shout his name and run up to him. My kid had friends! Friends he doesn’t bite! Lots of them!

Best of all, I’m no longer spending my whole morning sure that I’m about to receive a call to come pick him up. He’s settling in to this school thing and so am I. I’m not sure who’s more thrilled about it.

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7 thoughts on “School Daze

  1. Jill, this is such awesome news. I’m so happy you all are making such great progress. What a delightful thing to read that he’s smiling on his way into school and then he’s swarmed by happy, shouting friends. Thanks for that bright, happy, lovely thought to start the day with. Now, I must go in search of some self-directed structure—it is such and extremely difficult thing for me to find and hang out with. 😉

  2. Gilly, what a beautiful story,i agree with you wholeheartedly so happy for you all, i think that every kid will tell you when hes ready for stuff, at his /or her pace is the best thing a parent could ask for! you guys rock! love you all.. aunty

  3. This is so awesome to read about! I have followed your journey with schools and I know the “holding of your breath feeling” when your child is dropped off at school. Our son has the hardest time adjusting to the drop off day after day and I see so many issues there that we have to work through. I’m so glad you have found this school and he is doing so well there!

  4. Just found your blog thanks to a friend linking it on Facebook. Awesome. Your problems with your son and school could have been written by me…dreading the daily phone call from school. We also found just the right school and teacher this year. So much nicer. And it’s a public school! Years wasted on private school thinking they’d handle him better. I’m going to follow your blog!

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