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Here’s the Thing–I’m Terrified August 4, 2011

Filed under: Matthew,special needs,the adjustment — Elizabeth @ 3:31 PM

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.


15 Responses to “Here’s the Thing–I’m Terrified”

  1. Kristen Says:

    I can completely understand your fears – I have similar ones every time we transition to new schedules and activities. There probably will be some backsliding and difficult days as Matthew adjusts, but the new changes (Isaac being at the same school, only going 3 mornings/wk) will hopefully make it easier for him and he will be able to return the happy, relaxed boy he has been this summer.

    Andy’s school was 25 mins away last year, so we had to leave our house at 7:45 am & the boys definitely did not like being so rushed. This probably isn’t the best parenting, but I started letting them eat breakfast in the car and also let them pick a special “school morning only” DVD to watch in the ar on the way to school. This helped make the mornings slightly less dreadful.

  2. I am praying for this transition, for you, and for Matthew! BUT…you are good to keep your family’s “emotional health” at the top of the list! And if, just saying IF, you decide that homeschooling is something to find out more about for Matthew’s sake, please let me know. I can put you in touch with SO many people who can answer questions about schedules and curriculum and any special needs (like Matthew’s therapies and such) that you can still take part in. Or who knows…maybe you should just bring him over here three days a week to join in our homeschool time. 🙂

  3. Jaime scott Says:

    Thats so tough and I dont know the answer. My advice (and I’m sure you are doing this already) is to pray and believe the lord is leading you and your family. Honestly, I didn’t want to homeschool at all (not at all!) until the lord changed my heart, so He can do that for you too if thats what He calls you to do. Or maybe mathew will settle in this year as school becomes his routine. But I do know God will lead you and give you the strength to do whatever you have to do for your boys. Youre a great mommy!

  4. Jenny Says:

    Hey there, I want you to know I’m praying for you and God will lead you through this.

    I love your heart, how you WILL be an advocate for your son, no matter what, and that’s how I know everything is going to be okay.

    love you!

  5. Aunt JoAnn Says:

    two steps forward one step back time.
    we used to get our kids up earlier so they did not have to rush.
    it was the rushing we all hated.
    let’s hope he surprises you. maybe he is over that phase…

  6. Becky Says:

    I don’t have any advice or words of wisdom of offer, all I can offer are my prayers. Know that I am and will be praying for Matthew, and for you.

  7. Lori Says:

    Me too. We have had such a fantastic summer and Jack is loving it and he’s so happy. He will not even TALK about school. We start a week from Monday and I am absolutely terrified. All my friends are crying and upset b/c their kids are starting school and they are SO sad even though the kids are excited and can’t wait. I become very irrationally angry and just want to scream “GET OVER IT! THE KID IS HAPPY SO STOP CRYING!!!” I get that it’s unfair but it’s how I feel. I hope we are both overreacting! I really, really do.

  8. Christy Says:

    I’ll be praying for a great year. Praying that the slipping you’re seeing now is that he is nervous about the transition and that after it becomes routine you’ll see the happy summer time behavior you’ve enjoyed. Hugs and prayers.

  9. claudia Says:

    Oh no, that sounds really tough! I’ve gotta say I love the breakfast in the car and DVDs option (not that our 12-year-old car has a DVD player, but still…)

    I do NOT understand why schools have to start so early. This must cause so much stress for millions of families. I am absolutely dreading that bit of my kids starting school – often they are still puddling through their breakfasts at 9.30am and THAT ain’t gonna wash.

    I really, really hope it’s not as bad as it seems.

  10. I am feeling your pain, although I know it’s not exactly the same thing. My little guy has been acting strange and having trouble with transitions since we started talk of a “new school,” not to mention the fact that this may as well be a quantum shift in the time-space continuum as far as his ideal schedule goes. It is so hard to to knowingly usher in change when you know you have a child who has been overloaded with it and is just starting to stabilize (that, I do know a little something about). Living life one day at a time is the only remedy I know of. If you get a few weeks in and it’s not working, you’re the boss and you can change things around. Keep in mind that our kids are like little stress sponges, and if you’re stressed about it, they will pick up on that for sure and follow suit. Will be praying for you!

  11. Melissa Says:

    Oh, this is so hard. I do not have any advice, but I can certainly see why you’re concerned! Praying that things will settle down and that he will adjust to school.

  12. I tell my boys they need to “Slay that Monster Fear” (and you need to say it with much drama and really draw out the FEEEAAAARRRRR. I used to live with fear and worry – well, cause that’s what good people do. If you worry a lot, well, you must love A LOT.

    Then I got this awesome book after a very heart-breaking thing happened. We lost a little girl half-way through a pregnancy that we supposedly weren’t even supposed to be able to have. It was the “Faith Study” book by Kenneth Hagan – it was about speaking your FAITH, not your Fear. Read Psalms, where prayers ask God to fight those challenges, to turn those lionish challenges into lambs. And, then, every time you have a fearful or worrying thought, pray, “Thank you, God that you have taken care of this”

    Remember that “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Walk in FAITH that God has already taken on the challenge and that it WILL be smoother. Talking Faith, not fear changed my life.

    Be blessed.

  13. Elizabeth Says:

    Why do I feel like I’ll be in the same exact position the year after Ingrid goes to school? 😦

  14. This whole situation sounds very challenging. How do you really know what is the right thing to do?! The preschool is offering a special program that will hopefully help Matthew, so you’d probably feel remiss if you didn’t give him that opportunity. I hope that this year will be easier than last year and certainly believe that God will let you know what to do if it isn’t any easier.

  15. Tracy S Says:

    I am feeling you girl… It is going to be tough. Dealing with the emotional issues that our kids often bring can be difficult. I know that you will love him through it all. Be there for me I will be there for you… Asher is not looking very forward to school. He is overly sensitive and emotional. I worry about our afternoons when he get home….MELT DOWN TIME. Emi… who knows how it will affect her at this point. I am sorta looking forward to it and sorta dreading it at the same time.

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