Yesterday was my birthday (I'm now just past the 4-0 mark). After he and Jim went on (yes, quite cold) bike ride, we thought we'd go to what has been Charlie's favorite diner. He sat up attentive as we drove there and said "no school tomorrow." I wondered, was he confused to be going to the diner on a Thursday instead of a Friday night?
Once there, Charlie ran to the diner and sat in his preferred booth. The busboy brought glasses of water and, within in a minute, things were getting knocked over. Charlie was crying and twisting as he got him out of the booth. He really started crying as he ran to the car. Jim sat with him and I hurried back to the diner and thanked them and said how much we had enjoyed eating there.
I don't think we'll be going back for awhile but, as Jim and I noted to each other later, Charlie had been giving us signs that, while he has been asking for the diner, he has not really wanted to go there. Often he has only picked and nibbled at the burger and fries that he used to devour before they could cool off. There's a definite lag between what he can say and what his thinking, and I remember how, when I reached a certain age, I used to wonder why playing with my "favorite" toys no longer seemed fun. I'd grown out of them, but, especially as I got older, I felt myself grasping around for something I liked as much.
We can all live without the diner. Earlier in the day I had gotten a not-anticipated present in the form of Charlie's teachers, aides, speech therapist, and behaviorist telling me:
- how much they like him
- how many skills he has
- what a great smile he has
- how glad they are to have him
[pause to savor all of this]
I was at our first parent/teacher conference. They've still be probing skills and figuring out what they'd like to follow from the programs Charlie did at his old school. They showed me the daily schedule posted on the wall and the activity schedules that Charlie does "really well" (they also noted, when there's been a change in the daily schedule, Charlie has been fine with that). As the aides were there along with the teacher, behaviorist, and speech therapist, there was a nice chance for getting a sense of how everyone who works with Charlie perceives him.
Thursday ended with him getting upset when another child did and cried. Incident Reports are written up about these sorts of things as they were at Charlie's old school. But whereas we had to wait two or so weeks to get the report and to know what had happened from the old school, we get the form on the same or next day (if Charlie gets upset right at the end of the day). Charlie recovers within a few minutes—there's not yet been one of the 30-45 minutes "incidents" he had. Both his teacher and the speech therapist have taken Jim's and my observations about Charlie's "no/yes confusion" into consideration and have found that he indeed really does want something that he just said "no" too; the speech therapist is working on ways to help Charlie with this.
Charlie having a great day at his new school means that he might still have a "moment." For the past week, he's been fine on the ride there, walking quietly in, and then, once inside the entranceway, taking off shoes, socks, and jacket and dumping them over the railing. Yesterday morning I caught all but a shoe and a sock. While Charlie had been crying and barely containing himself Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, on Thursday he stood silently, though he was clearly distressed. The behaviorist and two other staff members appeared and Charlie ran a little and then walked with them. And, once in his classroom, was ok until the very end of the day, when another child started crying.
The shorter day (for the conferences) and the presence of many more people in the building might also have set Charlie (and the other child?) off in the afternoon. When I went to pick him up at quarter to one, it took awhile to find a parking space (usually I park right up front) and the front office was busy. The whole building felt different, with more of a hubbub and buzz, whereas it's usually very quiet and still. It was a change, not of the schedule but of a sensory sort. It's a change on top of the huge change, the new school, which Charlie's not yet been at for a month, and that he's still growing into, and all while being not quite able to explain what he's feeling.