Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Our Horrible, Rotten, No-Good Morning

LMNOB had a rough morning transition this morning – as I have been expecting this week. On Monday, the first day of school, I stayed with her in the classroom at her signs of an impending meltdown, so as to avoid her peers pegging her as a big baby/ freakshow on the first day...Some already probably leaned that way, per her anxiety at the ice cream social. She did great the rest of that day though, and then again yesterday morning, she kissed me and ran to the playground without a moment's hesitation.

With the new school transition, we’ve had some rough moments at home in the evenings, but they have been workable. Last night she tried to run over me with her bicycle when I informed her she actually had chores to do first. I've been living with "divert and de-escalate" as my mantra lately, and frankly, it's exhausting.

This morning was different, though, a fair amount worse than "rough." She was “off” at home, and while not tantruming, it was difficult to keep her motivated to get ready to go. As dressing was such a struggle, time for a sensory exercise was short. I ended up having her carry her weighted rice bag as we walked to drop her brother off at daycare, and also instructed her to sit with it in her lap in the car as we drove to school. I managed to sneak in some deep pressure for her, lasting about 10-15 minutes in this way.

When we got to the school she was fine, until we rounded the corner to her classroom where the kids were either playing on the playground or lining up.

Enter extreme clinginess and anxiety. This is her pattern. She then melted down further as I explained to her that the bell would be ringing and I needed to get to work – screaming, crying, etc. To make matters worse, the teacher was in the classroom, and all that was out in front of the class were kids and playground aides - neither of which know us enough to be supportive. I tried deep pressure on her shoulders, to no avail. When class began, Ms. M had to pry her off of me.

This happened frequently last year prior to her diagnosis of sensory processing disorder. With the addition of a “sensory diet” LMNOB’s difficult morning transitions all but disappeared. We are still doing the sensory diet activities, but easing into a new school is a large transition for her and will take time, thus some of the behavior we’re seeing is hopefully temporary.

However, in the meantime I do not wish to continue as-is in the mornings, hoping we’ll luck out with a good one – it is hardest on LMNOB, but also difficult for me, her peers, and then Ms. M who gets to try and calm her down.

Ms. M called me this morning with the suggestion that we do a morning check-in in the class-room at the time I drop her off (that is, bring her to the classroom before the kids get in) and see how that goes for a smoother transition. I think that of all the ideas floating in my head, this might be the one with the most success. Particularly since one of the escalating factors was that I could not go in the classroom and look at her paper person she'd made yesterday.

We’ll try that, and see how it goes.

Other ideas that I had were:

Having Mr. Principle take her from me on the sidewalk and bring her to the building (provided she is ok with this – I’m not proposing that he deal with a screaming child each morning)

Having her ride the bus in the morning (and thus make that transition of “together with mom – independent” prior to arriving at school) – however, again, LMNOB has to buy in to this, lest the bus driver be burdened with an inconsolable child. She is riding in the afternoons, and doing fine, but for some reason is resistant to the morning bus.

In the meantime, I feel like I could sleep for a month, uninterrupted. I'm THAT tired.

1 comment:

  1. I vote for the mom's month off also - and sleeping sounds like a good activity for that month :) But I guess the world would fall apart of we all decided to do that...PS/love the reference to Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (a favorite book of ours...