The Backpack

This morning, I dropped Josh off for his first day of Middle School.  The last couple of months as I mentioned, have been pretty difficult - Josh's behavior has essentially reverted about 9 years and we're back to not being able to go anywhere, do anything, wait more than a second before a complete meltdown happens if he's wanting something... it's drained the life out of me.  I haven't felt like this since he was 3, and haven't even had the energy or motivation to write for the blog.  I'm not sure what's going on.  Talked to his doctor about it last month and we did start him on a new medication to see if it would help - so far, it hasn't. 

Summers are normally tough with him.  He's off his "regular" routine, even his extended school year program is only half days, 4 days a week, for 4 weeks.  Augusts are the worst - no school at all, Josh gets bored.  He won't allow me to "work" with him at home, but he does get bored, and when he gets bored, his behavior deteriorates and he gets very destructive.  September is always a welcome month.  Busier, but welcome.  Josh usually settles down after about a week or so in. 

This year though, his behavior slide seemed to start even before school ended in June, you might remember the posts about his suddenly napping a lot in the mornings - something he's never done before.  This happened around the same time.  Is it hormones?  Still close to the top of my list of triggers for sure.  He's certainly the right age, though, it would be a bit surprising given how delayed he's been with absolutely everything else.  But I don't have any idea what is going on if it's not that.

So I have been looking forward to getting him back in school.  Yes, I need some time, I know I'm better with him when I have a break and can re-group some during the day.  But also for him, so that hopefully he can get settled and maybe feel better, it so hard to see him so distressed on a daily basis.  Today was the day. 

He's in the 6th grade now, so we're in middle school.  The school is new to him, the schedule is different, but his aide and teacher have worked with him before in his summer program so at least there will be some familiar faces.  Also, some of the kids in his class (still self-contained) went to elementary school with him.  So a few things to help with the transition.  I've been very anxious though, not just because of the changes but also because it's MIDDLE SCHOOL.  Josh is about the size of a 6 - 7 yr old.  When I was buying his birthday cake at the grocery store last month, he was with me and the check-out lady asked me who the cake was for.  I told her it was his and she asked how old he was turning then proceeded to guess - she started with 5, then said 6, could he be 7 ???  You get the idea.  And developmentally, well, as you know if you've been with me for a while, he's more like a 3 year old.  So the thought of him at school with a bunch of 12 - 14 yr old kids makes me anxious.  

When I took him this morning he was already anxious.  I chose not to tell him yesterday that he'd be going to school today - I used to give him that prep time but lately it just seems to make him nervous and then he doesn't sleep.  So I didn't tell him and he slept well last night.  But I did tell him when he woke up which started him in to his on-the-edge humming, a new behavior that came up this summer with all the other difficulties.  We get to school and I walked him to where his aide was waiting outside for him.  This also happened to be where the buses were stopping to drop kids off.  As I was talking to his aide, kids were piling of the bus, big kids, loud kids, kids who actually shoved me as they went by... kids who are lucky I didn't turn around and clock them pretty hard.... I really hate rudeness, and being shoved is right up there at the top of the rude behavior list.  I blame their parents.  I DIGRESS.  Ok, so now this is happening.  Then Josh's aide asks him if he's ready to go in to school.  Josh says, "no", and squeezed my hand tight... then he asked to go to the car.  He was anxious, I could see it in his face.  I think my heart about shattered right there.  I had to tell him that he could go in the car when he was all done with school.  I took his hand out of mine and gave it to his aide, and barely held back the tears as she walked away with him.  

It was touch and go as far as the crying went on the way home.  I'd get it under control for a bit, then tear up again.  Seriously, what the hell?  The last month particularly has been brutal with him, and here I am in tears because I left him at school... GET IT TOGETHER WOMAN!  So I calmed down as I got to the house, Zach is home sick (oh, yes, did I forget to mention that I'm not allowed to have any kid-free days yet, apparently???)  and I didn't want him upset too. 

I walk in and see this :This is Toadie's backpack - well, his old backpack now.  He used it for many years.  I had to get it off of e-Bay because even several years ago, there were no new Blue's Clues things being made any more.  The zipper is broken, the front mesh pocket has some tears in it, but this is what he carried to school every day for years.  For reasons I can't really explain, probably because I don't really understand myself, I decided he needed a new one for this year.  Big kid backpack for a big kid school ?  Maybe. So that is what he took this morning.  But here is Blue, hanging alone on the back of the chair, and Josh is gone.  I burst in to tears, this time not the half-assed tearing up business but real puffy-eyes, runny nose, dehydrate the hell out of your contacts crying.  I hate that.

Maybe I should send Blue with him tomorrow.  Maybe I should stop being such a wuss.  Maybe motherhood SUCKS.  Sometimes.