Monday, 24 November 2014

His ordinary days

I really like Deaglan’s teacher this year.  I like her quite a bit. I wasn’t sure at first but after a few encounters I realized she was the perfect teacher for  him to have this first year at a new school.

A few weeks ago, on a Sunday evening, Deaglan lay between Shaune and me on our bed and cried. He was dreading school the next morning and didn’t understand why he couldn’t just go back to his old school. We explained again about zoning and reminded him that three of his best friends had also moved schools this year and were feeling the exact same way – something I was sure of because I’d texted back and forth with all of their moms.

He was dreading Monday morning because sometimes at recess he found he had no one to play with. Closer to the beginning of the year, when he was in a similar predicament, he’d make his way to the Kindergarten playground, and while away the time, chatting with his brother, separated only by a fence. They’d even invented their own sport where they threw a hat or sweatshirt back and forth over the fence, a makeshift game of catch. But lately, he explained, Naveen is always busy playing with his own friends.  

We told him that this was all a part of the experience of being a new kid – he was having a harder time establishing a set group of friends because most of his classmates had been friends since Junior Kindergarten but because  everybody in Naveen’s class was in the same boat - they were all new, it hadn’t taken as long.  We tried to assure him that by the end of the year, he’d feel like he belonged and always have a gang of guys to hang out with. In the meantime we promised to continue to have friends over as often as possible to help him develop these relationships.

He cried for a long time.

Our hearts ached. 

Up until now his life had been one fluid ride surrounded by friends, family and familiar places. He loved the old house and was blissfully unaware of its shortcomings. To him, it was the perfect size, filled with the perfect people situated on the perfect street. He didn’t notice the graffiti piling up on the neighbor’s fence or worry about the endless sea of unsavory characters coming in and out of the house across the street.  He didn’t care that we were tripping over each other all winter long, stuck together in one small living space.

Several days ago, I had to pick him up in the middle of the day – he had a temperature and upset stomach. I had a few minutes alone with his teacher in the office before collecting him so I told her about the Sunday night. Tears sprang to her eyes and she vowed to help out. I told her that although we tried to teach our kids the importance of all experiences, that each feeling played an important part in who they were,  we felt completely helpless watching our guy go through this transition.

The next night when we were doing homework, Deaglan told me that he’d felt really special at school that day. Not only had his teacher moved him beside one of his friends (a kid we’d had over to our house twice already) but she'd also told him that everybody missed him when he went home sick the day before. 

At parent-teacher interviews this past Thursday, I had a chance to connect with her again about it. After we discussed his academic progress, we chatted about other potential friendships she saw developing. We talked about our childhoods a bit, how sweet six and seven year olds are in general , and how important their friendships are at this age.  

I left feeling overwhelming gratitude that my son was spending his days being guided by this special person. 

We built gingerbread houses to welcome the Christmas season. Deaglan was meticulous with his, taking the time to carefully place jube-jube shutters and M&M doorknobs. 

Naveen looked like this the entire time. 

He cared very little about shingles and doorknobs. He wanted us to cut to the chase. "When can I eat my house????"

Which is all to say (as you can see from this picture - thanks Honey!) that I could have used a good stiff Christmas toddy to relax my jaw muscles after insisting over and over the Christmas house was supposed to be a decoration. Oh what fun!

When we looked at Naveen's gingerbread house this morning, it was no longer on the tray. The candy and icing were cleaned (read licked) off and there were several bites out of the roof.