It was very hard sending Eli off to school. He had been in daycare once before when my husband and I were both working; but that was only for a few months. Now that he will be in school vs daycare there are going to be more demands, which worried me. Nonetheless Eli loves going to school and does great! I had the pleasure of volunteering for his class the other day and to watch him independently following directions and participating in group and solo activities was amazing. He has come so far! But just because I gave him an inch doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to give him a mile.
Aside from the fact that he is so young, I have a very hard time giving him more independence. When we are at the playground I am always two steps behind him; I can’t be one of those moms who sits at a picnic table reading and not paying attention. I am always worried about him getting hurt, being bullied, or him being a bully. Because he is (for the most part) nonverbal he wouldn’t be able to tell me how he got hurt, or if someone was mean, or if he threw something at someone else. He can tell me generally what happened (that he’s upset and at what or who), but cannot tell me details. So I want to be there so I can see everything that happens; if I’m not I may never know what is going on with him.
Eli really wants to ride the bus to school. He see’s other kids getting on and off the busses before and after school and has asked me multiple times to go on them. When I say no, we have to go to the car, he gets very upset and cries the whole way to our car. I never rode the bus as a kid, I always walked to school, but who doesn’t like riding a bus with all your friends? I would love for Eli to experience that and feel more grown up doing this on his own, but I’m not ready and neither is my husband. I just can’t stop thinking about “what ifs”. What if a kid is mean to him and the bus driver doesn’t see? What if he is physically hurt? Who will tell me? Because Eli can’t speak for himself, I will never know if something like this happens. I saw a story on facebook the other day. A five-year-old girl was riding the bus from school to an afterschool program; the bus was mixed with young and old students. The girl was having a tiff with another young girl when a grown boy in high school said “if you don’t hit her then I will” and slapped this five-year-old girl in the face so hard it left a red mark. Thank God the bus had security cameras that caught the whole thing. If that were Eli in the situation I would never known anything like that had happened because he wouldn’t be able to tell me what happened and who did it. He also wouldn’t be able to stand up or defend himself. I never want him to be in a position that leaves him so vulnerable to attacks. Children these days are horrible and cruel, the thought of someone being able to be hateful to Eli and him not being able to defend himself makes me sick.
The same could be said for Eli’s classroom; things like that can happen anywhere. Although I will say, after volunteering in his class, 4 adults to 7 kids leaves a lot less room for things like that to happen vs a lot of kids to one bus driver. As Eli grows he needs to receive more independence, but because of his delays he’s going to have to get them a little slower than some of the other kids. For the time being, I will continue to be a hovering mother and I have no shame in my hover game!