Thursday, September 8, 2011

In her own way

Oh, that. 

Kindergarten.

I thought maybe if I didn't talk about it for a while, you wouldn't notice.

Hmm. Anyway.

There are two ways of looking at this, I thought.

Way #1
There have been some promising stories coming home in sneaky little trickles. I have carefully not once asked, "how was your day today?" because that's entirely too fraught. However, with careful prodding, the delicately worded "what was the best part of today?" might gift us with the story of playing being outer spacers with M____ or building the tallest ever sandcastle with R____ or coloring pictures with A_____. So...that's promising right?

But there's also:

Way#2
She screams every morning, a fearful, primal, tearful shriek of panic and anxiety. We haven't yet had a morning where she voluntarily went inside. On the first few days, when we walked her to her class, one of her teachers had to pry her from my leg or the lovely husband's, finger by individual finger. We've been complimented on her physical strength.

So the plan was not to walk her to class anymore, because her teachers believe that it creates too much build-up tension. Just drop her off in the carpool line; it'll be fine, they said. It will minimize the length of the goodbye. It will be easier for her.

It has not been easier on her guidance counselor, who has now climbed into our car the past two days to pry my scared girl from her car seat straps, finger by individual finger.

She will tell us very little except to say that everything is scary, so it's hard to interpret between the two visions. But her teachers tell me she's an excellent student and a great little girl. They tell me that after she screams and cries, she participates and engages and says 'please' and 'thank you' and raises her hand and helps others and remembers the rules and all the things we want to hear.  But nobody - not us, not her teachers, not her guidance counselor - none of us can figure out how to help her into the building without a panic attack.

Tonight, my lovely husband provided a third perspective. Remember her ear tubes? he asked. Remember how she wouldn't get undressed and then she wouldn't wear the gown and then she wouldn't lie on the gurney and finally, tear-stained and angry, she walked in her purple underpants and climbed up on the surgery table herself?

How could I forget, I answered. Watching her little round tush in the purple houndstooth-pattern unders walk directly away from me, knowing she was angry and terrified, that was one of the loneliest and worst moments of my life.

But she walked on her own, he said. She did it on her terms. This is just like that.



I'm not exactly sure what that means about her, or about how we improve her sense of security, or how we help her skip past the daily anxiety panic attacks and screaming. But this is sort of just exactly like that. He may be right.

Maybe all this is, in its own funny way, empowering her? She's certainly meeting kindergarten on her own terms, and hers alone. Pin It