The two older kids started morning day care about a week and a half ago. Since I'm supposed to be staying off of my feet it was getting harder to entertain them in the mornings before school. Those few hours have been a lifesaver. It's a great place. There are lots of kids to play with and the teachers are wonderful. It's very structured which is very important for spectrum kids. My kids need to be given a task and a time to stop. They need those boundaries. "Free play" is too abstract a concept for them.
Each day I look online at the webcams that are set up in their classrooms. Sophie runs around with the little girls. They giggle and wiggle as they go to the bathroom in groups. (Already?!?) She chases after boys on the playground. (ALREADY?!?) She sits quietly when they do table work or go to Circle Time. She's doing beautifully.
Then I pull up Gideon's classroom. The first few days, he cried when Ben dropped him off. I would see him holding the hand of his teacher and following her everywhere. He would sit in another teacher's lap or right beside her during Circle Time. After a few days, the tears stopped but he would still attach himself to a teacher for a while. Slowly he's been inching away. However, the inching away has been to just go play by himself with no interest in what the others are doing. Today I watched as 29 kids sat in a circle and a teacher handed out some paper. They all waited as patiently as 3-year old kids could but all stayed seated. Then I saw my little boy over by a bookshelf with a ball. He was turned completely around from the kids and teachers. He was fully absorbed with this bouncy ball. One teacher passed out papers and the other was laying out plates for lunch time.
I don't begrudge the teachers working like this. This is not a PPCD class. There are two teachers and 30 kids. I'm not expecting a personal aide for my child. It just stung to see my little boy so isolated. He seems to walk alone in his own little world.
I get glimpses of my boy. Sometimes we can reach him. He looks Ben in the eye every morning to say "Hi!" and kiss him. He tickles me the same way I tickle him and giggles while fully engaging me. When he is tired or hurt, he comes looking for me and snuggles against my shoulder.
But they are short little looks. A few minutes later, he is intensely focused on something else. (iPad, toys, reciting a script from a show.) I feel like the door is closed again and I begin waiting for it to open again. We'll just keep working on it.