It’s the first day of summer and I’m full of high hopes on how we will fill our days now that we don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn and rush off to school. No more lunch-packing, no more searching for closed-toe shoes that match, no more morning sessions at the vanity wailing on about tangles and hair brushing. I’m so excited to let Bug sleep in and stay up as late as she wants (which is not late, she’s such a morning person). I’m also a little daunted by the prospect of entertaining her all summer. I still have to work and I can’t really let her roam the neighborhood freely. It’s going to be a challenge.
So I’m sitting in the cool morning air, reflecting on how much I love school. I love the idea of home-schooling and I will totally homeschool if I ever have any problems with the public school or if Bug is not thriving. But right now she loves school. She loves her teachers. I love her teachers. They have been amazing influences in our lives. Her teachers have handled her anxiety so much better than I have. They are patient. They don’t yell. They’ve taught her deep breathing exercises and listened to her when she needs to go on and on about a phobia.
I don’t know if I told this story here on this blog (need to read up myself) but Bug has a huge phobia about puke. I think I’ve mentioned before that in her kindergarten class four kids threw up in the same day. What are the odds?! Ever since, she’s been hyper-ensitive about the issue. At one point she was as bad as Rainman, worrying about Monday on Friday and not enjoying one minute of her weekend. Tears constantly… It was terrible. I hated to see her trapped in her own world of obsessive fear. I was worried I needed to have her seen by a professional and medicated, which is something I really really really hope to never have to turn to.
Then summer came and she got over it. She turned back into her normal happy self and I pushed thoughts of seeing a specialist out of my brain.
We moved in June and then started a new school in September. The school sent home a form asking us to tell a little bit about our child. I went back and forth in my brain over whether I should share about Bug’s quirkiness. Was it really a problem? Would she get labeled as a problem child and that might follow her around for the rest of her school life? I want her to be treated normally. I don’t want to make a problem where there might not be one but yet I know if I was her teacher I’d want every heads up possible since breakdowns and tears are a normal daily thing.
I went ahead and shared but I tried to keep it really simple and vague. I didn’t want to be that parent who expected teachers to do my job.
But an amazing thing happened. Bug’s teacher sat her down and they had a little talk. Bug’s teacher told her that she had a phobia about puke too. It’s common I’m finding out. Her teacher let her wear her cat ears to school every day for months because she thought it would make her feel more secure. She started going to a special class called Toolbox where she and a couple other kids talked about their worries and learned tricks to deal with them. Some people in my life thought it was silly but I saw her learning. She liked Toolbox. When things would make her cry she would talk about them with the teacher and they came up with creative solutions.
I saw her doing her breathing exercises and talking out her fears in a rational way. She still cried at school but it happened less and less over the course of the year. Other parents who volunteered in the class came up to tell me how she was getting better and better. They’d really seen a difference in her. Of course acknowledging that there was a problem in the first place was hard but it warmed my heart to see how many people cared about her. She really loved school and school really loved her.
Here we are in summer now and I’m sad that school is over. Her teacher sent home all their journals and I’ve been flipping through them. They make me smile. They break my heart. I’m so thankful to her teacher for capturing these moments and for having the forethought to save them in journals. I’ve kept journals since I was 13. Maybe Bug will be a journaler too. I’m certainly thankful for this head start.
Some of these entries tug at my heart. I know what she’s talking about in the one above. I remember the day we lost her purple sweatshirt on the beach. It was ages ago. I think she was three. The sweatshirt was an old hand-me-down with holes in it and faded. In my mind it was disposable. I thought it was no big deal but I do remember how distraught Bug was when we didn’t go back down to the beach to find it. If I had known she would remember it and still feel bad about it to this day I would have gone back down to the beach and searched for it. Maybe that old faded thing was worth looking in the surf in the dark. It’s funny how things seem like no big deal at the time and you don’t want to cater to your kid’s every whim but then when it haunts you for years then you think maybe you should have…
This entry makes me smile. It’s been such an adjustment for us moving here. We have people living all around us from other countries. Many of them are refuges and don’t speak English. We’ve learned so much from them in a good way. Sometimes it feels like we are living in a big city. We are seeing the melting pot in action. They learn from us, we learn from them. We’ve come to be very close to our neighbors. They’ve enriched our lives in ways I didn’t even know I needed. And yes, sometimes the little boy next door can be “enoying.” That seems to be a universal four-year-old trait. Good thing he’s adorable.
So many memories captured in her little girl writing. I love it. Maybe Bug will be a blogger someday.
Math is fun? Really? See, this is why I love school. I don’t think I could ever teach her that math is fun. BECAUSE IT’S NOT!!!
I doubt Bug’s teachers read this blog but if they do, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for all these words that have been kept. Thank you for teaching her to write. Thank you for helping her find ways to work things out. Thank you for loving my child.
Those journals make me so happy!! I love seeing teachers that make a difference… now to work on our own teachers here who sadly have not been such a great influence. You know it’s bad when after having a minimum of 10 teachers in 5 years, J only talks of one fondly and how awesome she was :(
So wonderful! I smiled as I read this entry. So happy for Bug and all she’s accomplished with the help of her teachers this year. I hope my daughters do journals just as wonderful.
What a wonderful entry, your great thoughts interspersed with your daughter’s journal–could there be any thing more lovely than the alternating words between mama and child. So sweet, and I got a little teary myself, in gratitude for teachers. My son was in first grade this year and I worried a lot about his transition from his previous Montessori school to public school. His teacher could not have been more wonderful. We are so lucky to have teachers who truly love and understand our children. Even if your daughter’s teacher doesn’t read the blog, I am tempted to tell you to print it out and give it to her! Seems like we can never thank teachers enough!!
I love this, B. I have so many of the same feelings that you do about my kids’ teachers. I love reading Audrey’s journals. I learn things through them that I never knew (much like Bug’s sweater story). I’m so happy that Bug had such a great year. I’m really impressed with her journal writing and how much she reflects on things that she experiences. Love that kiddo!
Aw, I love Bug’s journal! I just love kid spelling! And it’s great that she had such an understanding teacher who could help her this year. My five year old niece starts kindergarten this fall, I hope she has a great teacher too!
I think a lot of parents don’t realize sometimes how much kids get attached to stuff. I remember my mom gave away a toy of mine when I was about four. She thought it was no big deal and was surprised that I was still upset about it several years later! My three year old niece gets attached to things too. Even when something breaks and we replace it, she will still go on about how much she misses the old broken thing!
I think Bug’s teacher sounds marvelous. All of us should have access to a tool box to help us with our fears xx
That was very touching. I think a lot of us adults could use Toolbox. It sounds like they are a great bunch of teachers.
What amazing teachers, I am so glad they have helped her so much. I had a fear of puke when I was Bug’s age, I deal with it better now though but I used to get myself in such a state. I think it is more common than we think.
I do hope Bug becomes a blogger. How thrilling will it be to see what comes out of her creative mind! I always think that Emelie’s kid(s) will be more like Bug b/c she loves delving into creative projects like you.
Beautiful entry, thank you for starting my day with such preciousness. :)
Bug’s school sounds great! I’m so glad she got such awesome help for her worries. (I wish I had the same right now for me) :)
She has the makings of a writer and even blogger , these entries are lovely. Bug’s teacher sounds awesome. My kid has a fear of wind. She has gotten better because she too had a awesome teacher. Horray for great teachers!
1. I agree that you should put this blog in the path of Bug’s teacher. As a teacher, so much more often we hear from parents who have negative things to say about us. It’s actually really rare, at least it has been in my experience, to have a parent go out of their way to praise a teacher who has done something markedly important for their student/kiddo. And the fact that you’ve done it publicly? Even better.
2. Dude I am totally phobic of puke, too! Just the thought of having a student puke in my classroom makes me want to cry and run away and crawl in a hole. I can’t even explain why I am so afraid of it but I totally am.