I think I know where my funny went. Well, I don’t really know WHERE it went, but I think I know why it left.
I’m freaking out.
We’ve had a good summer. A really good, laid back summer. A happy, stress-free summer.
Emotionally and cognitively, Matthew has made extraordinary progress. He is talking and expressing himself wonderfully. The meltdowns that we were used to seeing multiple times per day last year are all but gone.
Our family is in a good place. A place where, if you had asked me last May, I would have told you we were YEARS from reaching.
Saying it has been great seems like an understatement.
And I am a nervous wreck.
School starts in less than two weeks, and this last school year was less than stellar. Matthew actually really enjoyed school, and certainly benefited from it. But he hated the act of going. He hated getting up and being rushed out the door. And frankly, he took it out on us in a huge way.
Last year was bad. I will leave it at that. And I can’t do it again. I cannot.
There will be some differences this year. Matthew will only have school 3 mornings per week. And Isaac will be going to the same school with him, which was not the case last year.
But they have to be out the door by 7:20 AM. I know, craziness right? But that’s the deal. This is the developmental preschool, where he will be getting much needed therapies, and it is at a public school and the public school is not very close to our home. So mornings are not really relaxed. There isn’t a lot of time to play before school (like there was over the summer when preschool was only 2 mornings/week and didn’t start until 9). Last year, on all of Matthew’s early school mornings, I would estimate that he spent 75% of every morning screaming and crying at us. And the afternoons weren’t much better.
I can’t do that again.
I started telling the boys this past weekend that school was starting soon, and there has been a change in Matthew. He is crying more, protesting more about things like getting dressed or leaving the house, and I am seeing tantrums that I haven’t seen in a while. And I know this sounds crazy, but he had been waking by 6:30 every morning and suddenly he is sleeping later and having to be woken up.
I think he felt had established some control over his life and his schedule this summer, and maybe he feels like it’s slipping away.
We’ve started laying out clothes every night and they are earning responsibility magnets in the morning for getting dressed and brushing their teeth (with no whining) before they come downstairs. And it’s going okay. Just okay. We are going to transition to getting up earlier (and going to bed earlier) this next week in preparation and so that it will give them at least 10-15 minutes of play time in the morning before they have to go to school.
But the fact is, I am freaking out. I don’t know what I’m going to do if his emotions begin to spiral out of control because of this. It was one thing when I felt like we weren’t making a lot of progress, but to watch things go backwards once I know how good they can be?? I can’t do it.
I do not want to homeschool my kids. I really don’t want to and I don’t feel led to do that. BUT, I also refuse to let the entire emotional health of my family suffer because of their school schedule. We were a mess last year. A collective mess. And it was not worth it.
I hope I am overreacting. I hope I am wrong. I yearn to be a wrong overreactor. I want him to be happy and I want him to thrive and I want everybody to tell me I was wrong and that they told me so.
But for now, I am simply terrified.