One-of-a-Kind

Here it is May and kindergarten is almost over. I’ve spent the morning in Sam’s classroom helping them get ready for the rising kindergarteners coming tomorrow for orientation. It doesn’t feel so long ago that I was bringing Sam last year, the memories are still that sharp.

But what happens when you don’t blog as often as you should is that you forget what your reader knows and doesn’t know. You forget if you shared all your fears for this year and how some of them came true and how some didn’t. You forget if your reader understands, really understands, how grown up he is now — even though he is still my baby.

You forget so much, I forget so much. My life sometimes feels like a series of faded snapshots.

The best thing I did this year was volunteer in his classroom. There’s nothing like knowing all of his classmates by name and seeing that quirkiness is a trait that all children possess to a certain degree, not just the spectrum ones. You could say that “neurotypical” is also a spectrum, a discovery both eye-opening and comforting.

I knew that academically Sam would be fine. His areas of interest continue to evolve but he is primarily fascinated with:

  1. Weather
  2. Seasons
  3. Outer space  
  4. Earthquakes and other “violent weather”
  5. Transportation

He declares, “I don’t like fiction, Mom. Is that a fiction book? I only like non-fiction.” The other day he told me that two glasses were “congruent.” He knows more than his father and me combined.

So no, I knew he’d love school for the learning. My fears were of the quirky and social kind, especially since he is so motivated to be social — would he have friends, would he be happy?

Well, yes and yes I suppose. He moves about the class and seems to be liked by all. He plays with the same couple of kids every day at recess. I’ve noticed that over time the group changes and I don’t know if he’s being left out or not — my own, hard memories making me anxious on his behalf. Even though they are 5 and 6, some boys seem more socially astute. I’ve caught a few rolling their eyes at other kids and sometimes at Sam. It’s a slippery slope to teasing and worse.

One day a few weeks ago I picked him up and he had scraped his nose. I asked him what happened and he said, “I was out of control, Mom!” When I asked why, he explained that so-and-so were playing a game at recess and he wanted to play too but he couldn’t figure out how to join in and they weren’t helping him. Frustrated, he took off running and collided with the playground equipment.

“Mom?” he said, “Sometimes I don’t know how to play.” I guess he’s astute in his own way too.

He is earnest and enthusiastic, loving and sweet, quirky and one-of-a-kind. He’s finding his way this year and I’m finding mine too. When I watch him at school, I find sometimes that I’m holding my breath. Guess I should work on letting it out.

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  • It sounds like a really good start to school for him! I’m glad you were able to volunteer in the classroom. I did that in kindergarten this year, too, and it was good in so many ways.

    It helps to recognize that all kids are quirky in their own ways and have things to work on. I remember when my older son was 7 and I was watching him in soccer. All I could see was that he wasn’t really paying attention and was fooling around during the practices and then didn’t seem to “get” the game on the weekends. Then one day I stood next to another mom on the sidelines who was going nuts with frustration watching her own son. I saw none of what she saw and it was an epiphany – we are pretty much all watching our own kids nervously, focused on what they’re struggling with. That’s not necessarily what anyone else sees, at least not most of the time. I find this to be true with kids with special needs as well as neurotypical kids. It’s not easy, but I try to remember it.

  • Sounds like a pretty successful school year for both of you. I’m glad to find you writing again, and I know exactly what you mean about the life of faded photographs. It does feel that way sometimes.

  • This really warms my heart. It sounds like you’ve both done a lot of growing this year. 😉

    And those faded snapshots? Boy, do I relate to that.

    Looking forward to reading more. (You are going to write this summer, I hope? Please…even if just a smidge?)

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