Since last week’s post, I’ve gotten texts, calls, and questions about how Joey’s first day of school went. Far more than anyone asking about my own daughters’ first day of school. But I get it. Joey is Joey, and we all spent all summer waiting for this day.
I felt very lucky that my session with Joey was scheduled for a few hours after his first day of kindergarten. I couldn’t wait to hear what he had to say about his day, and how he felt about it all. In my mind, I would sit down and he would immediately start talking non-stop.
Of course, what really happened is exactly what I had already experienced when I tried to talk to my own daughter about her first day of school. My questions were met with a big grin, and then the subject was changed a few times. These five year olds had already lived their first day – who wants to talk about it again? They five year olds don’t have time to slow down and chat – they have things to do!
Slowly, I remembered that the only way to get information out of my own daughter was to ask distinct, direct questions – so I changed my questions and my expectations, and gained a little more insight.
So how was it?
When I asked what he saw in school, he said “Teacher”. Then he said, “please could train bike helicopter?” which either means he wanted to change the subject, or he was asking if he could please take a better mode of transportation to school… Let’s be honest – who wouldn’t want to take a helicopter to school?
I asked how he felt about kindergarten, and I was surprised when he said “sad.” Then he said it again, and finally selected the word happy. After he found happy, he turned and grinned at me, so I knew that was the word he intended to say. He hadn’t been sad about kindergarten at all – he was happy. To the question, “Is the school big or small?” he replied, “Huge.” He spontaneously shared that school was nice, and then looked at the books behind me, clearly ready to move on to get into our normal activities.
Regardless of anything he shared, he was grinning the entire time we talked about his hour in kindergarten. Joey has a gradual start so that he can adjust to the rhythms of school. My own daughter was exhausted after a full day of kindergarten, and I wasn’t sure what Joey would feel after his hour in school. During our session, he was more talkative and on-topic than he had been in awhile. It was great to see his energy from the exciting day come through during our work.
My own daughter has a boy in her classroom who uses an AAC device like Joey’s. I got all excited when I heard this, and she just gave me a look. “That’s just how he talks, Mommy.” No big thing.