This week, Nate started attending a new (to him) daycare. We decided to switch daycares for a myriad of reasons but mainly because we wanted a stronger curriculum and a better physical environment for Nate’s occupational therapy. Over the past two weeks, Nate’s had transition visits to his new school. The first one was a 45-minute play date during which I stayed the entire time. The second visit was a 20-minute mommy-and-me moment followed by Nate staying at school with his friends for two hours. Then I returned to sit with Nate as he ate his lunch. The third visit was scheduled for this past Monday and would have consisted of a drop-off time later than normal (he would have gone after therapy with Miss Alison), lunch, and a nap, followed by a pick-up. Then Nate would have started attending his new school on Tuesday.

Well, our poor peanut contracted an ear infection. Seeing as he’s nonverbal, he couldn’t tell us that there was pain in his right ear so headbanging returned. Nate’s sporting a lovely bruise in the middle of his forehead because he kept cracking his head on the floor at every opportunity. Chad and I were so fearful that the self-injurious behavior was back but, on Sunday, a 102 degree fever sprouted up and we knew Nate was sick rather than reverting to old ways.

Because of his fever and other, shall we say, digestion issues, Nate wasn’t able to start going to his new school until Wednesday, a day when his therapist doesn’t visit until 10AM. I dropped Nate off with Miss Shell, his new teacher (who also happens to know sign language!!!), and, after a few fake tears, Nate toddled off to play in the indoor (!!!) gross motor skills room. I called in the middle of the day to check in on him; Miss Shell reported that Nate was having an awesome day. And his daily report card and the joyous phone call from his therapist proved it: Nate sat for circle time (the whole time!), he participated in the math activity (the kids were measured with apples – Nate’s 11 apples long!), he ate his lunch, and he put himself to sleep for nap.  (By the time they got all the kids in their cots, Miss Shell and Miss Christie turned around and Tate was sound asleep!!!) But when Nate woke up, his tummy was bothering him (so much so that he kept pulling his therapists’ hand to his belly) so afternoon school and home therapy was nixed.  Except for the belly issues, it was an awesome start to a new school. How could it get any better?

Here’s how:

Nate’s in the blue jacket and Eddie’s in the red jacket.  I blurred out Eddie’s sweet face because I don’t know if his parents want him featured on Nate’s great blog!

What’s so special about this photo?  Well, let me tell you!  Keep in mind that this is Nate’s second day in a brand new environment: new teachers, new friends, new furniture, new smells, new routine — new everything.  And Nate’s not too keen on “new.”   Also, when it comes to interacting with people–peers or adults, Nate would (literally) rather play with sticks.   So here’s Nate, day 2 at a new school, with a new friend, Eddie.  More importantly, he’s holding Eddie’s and Miss Shell’s hands.  And, of most importance, Nate’s leading the pack.  He’s not being unwillingly forced to hold hands — he made the choice and Nate’s telling them to come with him to play on the playground!   Nate’s therapist, Miss Lisa, almost cried when she saw this photo.  It’s beyond words awesome.

Nate’s time at school has been increased to three days a week to accommodate the additional work that I’ve picked up for my consulting business.  Nate still has therapy at home every day except Thursday and has therapy during every school day, too.  It’s a great transition as we look forward to Nate starting public school in May.  The additional exposure to new friends and routines (with the therapists’ assistance!) will only help Nate become better prepared for the great, awesome world!