Everyone dreams of the day their kids go to kindergarten. It’s such an important day. Backpacks packed, smiles and tears.
EVERYONE has that kindergarten photo… I know because my facebook looks like elementary school threw up 5 year olds, backpacks and school buses.
Today was Aiden’s first day of kindergarten. I was so excited for him because I know he will do well. I was actually not nervous at all. He’s been begging to start so he can find a “boy” to play with (Moms are fun and stuff but boys need little boys to do boy things with).
The morning went okay for the most part. Aiden ate half a bagel for breakfast. The other half he insisted on me taking a photo of so that he can “remember” and specifically asked that we NEVER delete it…
Here is what kindergarten morning looked like for Aiden:
He begged for us to take this photo. In fact, at one point he was crying for us to take it. He could not function until we took it, showed it to him and swore to never delete it from it’s existence.
I know you all want to see HIS photo, yea?!
Well, I had a bright idea to write “KINDERGARTEN” and “2015” on 2 sheets of paper. He picked out his cape and I picked out mine and we were to take a photo together out front holding our papers and taking THE photo. The one I’ll cry over in 10 years. Thanks Pinterest!
Aiden put the cape on and it was immediately “too tight” for him to handle. The ripped it off and refused. Okay, I begged him PUH-leasseeeeeeeee… I need this photo. He tried again with me kind of assisting because I insisted.
He ripped if off again that’s when I realized for the first time today that Aiden is different.
I forget overnight.
Each day is a new day and I slowly get glimpses and hints that he is different. Eventually, by bedtime, I know he is different and I am exhausted yet grateful to have made it through my day.
I finally just ripped off my cape, through the papers down, stomped off to the car and said forget it. I yelled, I’ll admit. I was so frustrated and angry at Aiden for not letting me do something so simple. Take ONE photo. He immediately started crying and I felt bad so I told him we had one more chance.
At this point his eyes were a tad swollen and watery and he had tear marks down his face. I could see he wanted to but couldn’t go through with it. It was like he kept hitting this wall of wanting to because I was asking him but not being able to collect himself to do it.
He agreed to do it alone, without me in the photo and then changed his mind… This continued for a solid 7 minutes.
He would stand there and disconnect. That’s what I call it. He stares down to the right, squints and checks out. He doesn’t listen, his face is blank. He goes deep into his mind to a place I imagine is as beautiful and safe as a magical world with butterflies and sweet music.
At last, he put his paper up (in front of his face) for a moment. Literally a moment.
Here is his kindergarten photo:
The more I look at it the more I am okay with it. I’ll admit that it brings sadness to my heart.
Not because I can’t compare his K to 1st grade photo this time next year.
Not because I don’t have that photo of his last moment of innocence before he joins the world and learns things I’ve kept a secret.
But because in this moment… This photo… My child is different.
There were lots of inbetweens and tantrums that led to this point this morning and my overview was brief but this photo sums it up.
This describes Aiden so beautiful and completely and I am falling in love over the sadness by the minute.
There was this shot Josh snapped as he pulled the paper down which I must share:
Asperger’s has become such a major player in our lives.
We are constantly walking on eggshells trying to prevent the next outburst.
Our drive to school was interesting and full of Peace and Calming essential oils rubbed from head to toe. Aiden knows how to put his own oils on and asks when he knows he needs them.
Here are some things that Aiden said to me on the way to school:
“Mom, that alarm is the worst and it is too loud for my ears. *eyes filling up with tears* Please don’t put that alarm with the bells on. It is too loud for me. I don’t like it, Mama”
“I really don’t want to take these school things to my class (box of classroom supplies). They belong to us and I don’t want the other kids to mess with them. Can I please bring them home in this box after school today. *eyes filling up with tears* Please, Mom. No, Mom. Pleaseeeeee”
“I already know everything I need to know. The other kids won’t like me, Mom. They don’t like my fire uniform. See, Mom. They can’t touch my fire boots. I am wearing my station shirt and I don’t want anyone else to see it” ***He is wearing regular clothes***
“I just really want to be by myself. *punching himself in the forehead and stomach over and over* These other kids don’t like me. I just want to go back home where Josh is. Please, Mom. I want to work at my fire station today not go to school.”
“I love you, Mom.”
We’ve learned a lot about Asperger’s in the last few weeks. One thing MAJOR we have learned is this about “Theory of Mind” and how it pertains to children on the spectrum and EMPATHY.
“The problem starts with the complexity of empathy itself. One aspect is simply the ability to see the world from the perspective of another. Another is more emotional – the ability to imagine what the other is feeling and care about their pain as a result.
Autistic children tend to develop the first part of empathy – which is called “theory of mind” – later than other kids. This was established in a classic experiment. Children are asked to watch two puppets, Sally and Anne. Sally takes a marble and places it in a basket, then leaves the stage. While she’s gone, Anne takes the marble out and puts it in a box. The children are then asked: Where will Sally look first for her marble when she returns?
Most 4-year-olds know Sally didn’t see Anne move the marble, so they get it right. By 10 or 11, children with developmental disabilities who have verbal IQs equivalent to 3-year-olds also get it right. But 80 percent of autistic children age 10 to 11 guess that Sally will look in the box, because they know that’s where the marble is and they don’t realize other people don’t share all of their knowledge.”