With “back-to-school” looming just around the corner we are trying very hard to get everyone back into the school routine. Bedtimes are slowly being moved up – which isn’t all that difficult now that it’s getting darker a littler earlier each night. I am waking the boys (ok, maybe just Keegan) as the sun begins to peek through the haphazard openings in the curtains. We are eating breakfast shortly after waking instead of lounging lazily in front of “Tom & Jerry”. We are getting dressed before coming downstairs to eat breakfast.
As slowly as this has all been happening, my little Eli, with his ever-so-sharp senses, noticed the goings on. And though he has yet to voice his anxieties about the prospects of the upcoming weeks, it is quite obvious through his behaviors what he is feeling. He has started waking again before 6am (even I don’t get up that early!) and having difficulty falling back to sleep. He has started back to rhyming and humming. The volume of his voice is at an all time high. He is swinging his arms again and chewing on anything he can get his hands on.
Fortunately for all of us we have experience on our side this time around. After only 1 day we were able to look in his beautiful hazel eyes and realize the back to school anxieties that he is suffering from. We pulled out the book we made for him in the spring after he was able to visit his new school and take a personal tour with the principal. And I contacted his therapist to make sure we got back on our weekly OT schedule for him.
He started back to therapy today. His therapist is fabulous and is always looking for more ways to challenge him and meet his needs. She does a 45 minute one-on-one session with him and then an hour long group session back to back. It allows for him to get some of his personal needs met before working on the social anxieties and difficulties that he has. My honey called me on the way to drop him off to tell me that he wanted to tell his therapist that he would stay for therapy but NOT for group! I smiled knowing that he’s starting to understand the position he’s being placed in and recognizes the challenges. And I smiled knowing that he understands his demands will not be met but that he will continue to make them anyway – hoping that just once I’ll give in!
But I didn’t, and he survived! Keegan returned to getting his one-on-one with mommy time while Eli is in therapy. We saw an exhausted little boy at the dinner table because therapy, once again, wore him out. And we gained a weighted blanket to help with the sleeping. And I smiled one more time in response to the smile on his face when I placed the blanket on his lap on the ride home from therapy. It was exactly what he needed to help ground himself.
I ask other parents all the time and I hear other parents shout the question as well “Will It EVER Get Better?!?!”. I don’t know that it ever really does. My belief is that our perception of difficulty changes because our experience and the way we cope changes. We all learn the reasons behind the meltdowns and the ways in which to deal with them. And eventually we figure out how to try to avoid them all together.
So we go back to the routine. We go back to what we know works and we adjust it as needed to meet the changes in our little boy based on maturity and his increasing ability to attempt to conquer the world.