Wednesday, November 6, 2013
YH is attending a new preschool this year. This new school is right across the street from his big brother's school, where YH attended PPCD last year (before the school district did us wrong and discontinued the program, grumble curse grumble).
And so, each morning I gather up my two littlest ducklings and we happily march the mile or so to school together. It is lovely. YH feels so proud each morning when puts on his backpack, and eagerly asks if today we will go to his new school. Will we, mama? Will I see my *new* friends? Hooray!
(His enthusiasm for new people, new situations, and new experiences is astounding--this child knows how to greet the day and set out to conquer the world)
We start by walking Sweet Bubs to his school, even though we reach YH's school first. I do this in part because the act of walking with a full backpack strapped to his core counts as "heavy work", a therapeutic type of activity meant to give YH the added sensory input that his little body needs to feel regulated. For YH, more sensory input results in a longer attention span and better awareness of his body in space--we try to front-load his days with as much "heavy work" as we can.
We also take this route in part because YH is so well-loved by the staff and students at Sweet Bub's school. We greet the safety patrol officers (5th and 6th grade students who wear yellow vests of honor as they hold the doors open and raise the flag) and then amble down the hallway to morning assembly. At the door to the gym, where assembly is held, YH sees some of his teacher friends from the previous year. They love on him and ask questions about his day. They let him pick out a book to read from the lending library shelf outside the gym door and ask what color toy car is in his backpack (never is he without a toy car).
We hug Sweet Bubs goodbye and stroll hand-in-hand across the road to YH's school.
At the entrance YH eagerly shouts "Mom! See the babies?"
To the left of the main door is a set of french doors that lead to the baby room.
The baby room is YH's new favorite place in the world. He eagerly presses his face against the glass and peers inside, trying to see how many babies are there. The babies crawl over to the door and he crouches low to wiggle his fingers at them and coo "Hi baby! Hi!"
Sometimes the baby room caregiver will open the doors and bring one of her little charges over to us. YH gently tickles the baby's toes when this happens, and says "Ok baby. Have a good day baby!"
I've mentioned before that one of the greatest gifts YH's foster family gave us/him was a tiny jump drive with thousands of pictures and videos from his first two years of life on it. The on-going importance of this gift astounds me.
He loves to watch the videos and look at the pictures. We do this together--sometimes just me and him, sometimes with me and the big kids. We laugh together, we talk about what is happening in each video, we identify the other people in the video.
And always we end with: "Wow! Baby YH is loved by so many people!"
And upon hearing those words YH shouts out "YEAH! SO LOVED!"
Kids with YH's background of exposure to alcohol are often described as lacking empathy. They can grow into cruel children, who torture animals and other kids with no remorse. In preparing to parent YH this particular expression of his congenital brain trauma scared me the most.
What would we do if he was affect-less?
How would we handle it if he hurt the least among us?
I am thankful that *so far* we do not need to put these scenarios into practice.
I watch him gently pet one of the kittens we are looking after short-term (don't ask!), or lay his head against one of our dogs, or hand a dropped sock to an infant in a stroller--and I am aghast at his capacity to nurture others. To reach out in love to the world around him.
YH, you're pretty amazing.