So far September has been pretty good. We waved goodbye to a rather chilly August and welcomed in September and some warmth. This I like. A lot.
September means many things. The end of Summer but the beginning of the beautiful Autumn season (well beautiful to the eyes, but messy on wheelchair and buggy wheels when the leaves start to drop). Lots of birthdays (September is super popular amongst my friends and family). The start of Christmas ideas seeking (it's difficult finding things suitable for J1 and takes some careful planning). But most predominantly it means the start of the new school year (cue scary music).
I find it hard to believe that J1 has been attending his school for 4 years already. It is a fantastic school and I am so glad that we chose to send J1 to it, because the leaps and bounds that he has made, particularly in the last 2 years I attribute entirely to his teacher and the support network of assistants in the classroom. The people that work with J1 are all truly amazing, kind hearted, generous, and special people. Because the class has been together for 3 years a real unity of purpose had developed between the staff, children and parents over that time and all the children were doing marvelously well.
Alas, too well, it got spotted and now the school feel all the children are ready to move 'up' a class. Thus, at the end of July at a tearful farewell tea party the end of an era occurred. No one can really argue with the decision as it is probably very true, the children are ready to move on, so this September instead of having the comfortable knowledge that J1 is going back to his class that I know he is happy and familiar with, I have the fear that all parents have at this time of year - a new September, a new School class, a new Scary time.
I have been spoilt in the past with not having to deal with this (apart from when he went from baby class to 'proper' class but he was so small I knew it wouldn't worry him too much) and decided that instead of fretting about it all summer holidays, I would not allow myself to think about it until September. So today being September 1st, it's time to face up to it.
All the fears are there, how will he get on in a new class and will he like the teacher? Will he take to the new children in the class? In a way it's nice to know that these questions would be the same ones I would have even if J1 didn't have disabilities and special needs. But he does so my fears also include, will he receive physiotherapy everyday? Will he get standing frame time? Will they remember that he has had surgery on both hips and suffers pain from that when he is hoisted or changed? Will they be patient and kind to him when they have had to answer the same question for the hundredth time that day? Are they fully aware that he gets very scared if other children are moving around him too quickly? This is probably my biggest fear, the class he is moving into are more 'able bodied' students and with J1's sensitivities I worry to my very core that all the progress he has made in gaining confidence could be shattered.
But on the other hand I know that the school do know what they are doing and I have been assured by the fantastic teachers he had, that the teacher he is going to is just as fantastic and that in depth handover packages have been completed. I haven't mentioned to J1 that he is moving class, firstly I am not to sure that he would actually understand and I also don't want to set in motion a week of him waking up and fretting in the night if he does. It's so difficult to know what to do for the best. I think perhaps the idea of going back to school should be introduced over the next few days, and perhaps start showing him his uniform and lunch box, things he can associate with school, then break in the idea that he is going to be attending a new classroom and see how we fare with that information first. I think that he will be excited to go back to school, but once he realises that it isn't quite the same as last year I might have a few days of a grumpy little man. Just a guess...
Along with it all being quite scary however, it is also very exciting, probably more for me than him! I can see the prospects of moving up to a 'bigger' class and how it could potentially benefit him (as long as the actual change isn't just too much for him to cope with) in ways that a few years ago I didn't think would ever happen. The most exciting thing on the table? LEARNING TO READ. They believe that they will be able to get my little man LEARNING TO READ. This is amazing and wonderful. I think if it happens (got to think positive as he has managed to achieve so much already that not so long ago I didn't know would be possible) I will cry. If I hear his little voice reading words on a page it will be a real life miracle for me.
I think because I hold reading and writing so dear, and place it so high on my list of priorities (of enjoyment) to be able to share that with my little boy will just be immense. We of course already sit together and I read to him and he adds words from memory, but for him to see the word, understand the word, enjoy it and feel proud. Wow, I can't describe how that would feel.
But overall, I just want my little boy to still get up in the morning and say 'School today, have I got packed lunch? What's in it, there better be some crisps!' and be happy. Just like any parent of any child.
So for all the Scary feelings that September and School evoke, the bigger picture I think it'll be worth it.
Dedicated to my little boy J1 and going back to school in 2011. Enjoy my sweet boy.