An accurate account of Tuesday, April 16th 2019
Hein-Chris has journeyed a world away from his infant self. He has worked very hard, every day, every week to be able to engage with a world that is filled with sight, sound, smell, touch, taste and movement. He is a warrior against Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), and my role is to provide him with whatsoever reinforcement he needs.
While writing the intro was temporary tonic to my soul, it is not quite accurate - unfortunately.
Drop-off at school this morning was unequivocally disastrous. I came home, crawled into bed, and bawled my eyes out. Why does everything, literally everything, have to be a major issue with Hein-Chris? Can’t he relent for one single day? Just one day where I might be spared the emotional torment of dealing with SPD. Just one.
After six gruelling years, is that too much to ask?
Grade R pupils at Hein-Chris’ school are expected to walk to class unaccompanied. Every day, twenty confident little people bounce through the school’s front door, greet the principal, bound down the stairs, rush down the passage, and fly through their classroom door. The twenty-first child does none of this. His name is Hein-Chris. Hein-Chris enters the school clinging to Mommy, doesn’t greet the principal, fights his way down the stairs and through the passage, and silently enters his classroom, Mommy in tow. The only Mommy. It’s lonely to say the very least.
I tolerated this for the first term, but during school holidays I discussed with Hein-Chris that I would still accompany him all the way to his class, but that he would need to take the last three steps, from the outside corner of the classroom to its door, on his own. It is not fair to his friends that his Mommy gets to enter the classroom door.
This was discussed and re-discussed all holiday long. Our plan was solid. There would be no glitches. I had it covered.
How was this possible?
Three steps. Really?
I do realize I should have compiled a social story. Taken a photo of the car park, the entrance to the school, the principal, the stairs, the passage, the corner of the building, the classroom door, and one of me with a big thumbs-up. I should have pasted all these to A4 pages, and written sentences below like “This is where Mommy parks every morning”, “This is our lovely principal, remember to say hello”. “These are the save stairs and passage we walk down every morning”, “These are the three steps you have to take on your own to your classroom door while Mommy watches”, “Mommy will be so proud of Hein-Chris when he can walk three steps to his classroom alone”. I should have had each page laminated and bound into a little book. I should have read it to him twice daily for the past month. That is what I should have done.
As it turns out, that is what I didn’t do.
I never imagined it would be necessary. I cannot fathom that all this is needed to convince a six-year-old to take three steps. Three steps without Mommy, with Mommy watching. Am I asking too much? Is this supposed to be such an incredibly draining ordeal?
But it is. It is SPD in full swing, making life a living hell. Hein-Chris is clinging to me for dear life, tears streaming down his face, screaming for me not to leave, begging me to walk him to the door. Three steps.
I wait for Hein-Chris after school. He comes skipping out, huge smile on his face. He had a lovely day.
I listen to all his stories as we head home. He jumps out and races through the front door, screaming excitedly.
I follow. One, two, three steps and I’m home.