So, we are in our last week of summer break. All of the school supplies are purchased and awaiting labels. A few new clothing items have been purchased. We started our evening school routine last night. Haircuts and sneaker shopping are on my “to-do” list. Tomorrow we visit the school and view class lists, see the principal, and chat with friends. (Cue the sound of a record player being stopped mid-song.)
Chat with friends. There’s something, now, isn’t there? I will chat with my mom friends. Hubz will be chatting with parents of current scouts and hopefully a few future scouts. Cole will chat with just about anyone, as he seems to think (and often is right) that everyone is his friend. But then there’s Jake and Tate. Tomorrow will be so difficult for them. Chatting and small talk do not come easy to my older two children. At all.
Tate still refers to everyone who he goes to school with as a “friend”. He has a couple real friends, but talking to them in the chaotic situation that is “Meet the Principal Day” is not going to happen. He doesn’t cry or try to climb up my back like he did when he was 3 or 4, but he does all he can to make it through the school “stations” without a meltdown. Talking to peers, which is difficult enough, is near impossible for him in this setting. I don’t expect him to be able to converse with friends tomorrow…that may be too much. While we are at the school, his teacher and I want to attempt to have him tour his classroom, if he can tolerate it. Otherwise, I’ll take him back on Wednesday morning to scope out his rearranged classroom.
Jake has a few friends. However, in the busy-ness that is “Meet the Principal Day”, the chaos will consume him. He will struggle to focus and have a conversation. His back-to-school anxiety will cause him to perseverate on topics that many of his friends won’t care much about. He’ll shut down if he gets too dysregulated. It will be a challenge to keep him focused and get through the stops we need to do.
Also, as we do our final countdown to the school year, the anxiety beast here is ferocious. It is gnawing at all of us. It is wreaking havoc with sleep and routine. My children are not themselves. I am not myself. We are trying to do whatever works to get through the days. And the nights. Patience is thin. We have a lot of bickering. A lot of short tempers. A lot of frustration.
In all of the frustration, however, I am grateful for one improvement. This year, Jake has been able to advocate and verbalize the fact that he is nervous about school. Because he’s anxious about school and a new teacher and new demands (he has heard that 4th grade is harder), he has very little tolerance for anything that goes against his desired plans. He is quick to shout at his brothers. He screamed at his friend the other day. He yelled at me to stop talking about our back-to-school schedule. However, in so doing that, we opened a conversation about what is going on in his brain, and he was able to put it into words. Knowing how he’s feeling, instead of guessing, has really helped me try to work through this rough patch. It isn’t easy, and I am tired and losing patience, but I respect his need for trying to figure it out on his own and needing some space to do so.
School is near, and we will make it. It’s just these few days prior to the actual event and the thinking about it that are worse than the actual act of going back. Maybe tomorrow we need to do some yoga before and after the “Meet the Principal Day” in order to get in a good place. *Cue deep breaths.*