His hand squeezed my left index finger with all its might as we approached the building. After the past week of, “I don’t want to go!” over and over, and knowing how nervous he gets when more than a couple other kids are around, I was fully prepared to stay in the classroom during this first day of church preschool.
His face looked so serious, like he was going to an execution instead of an hour-long period of stories and crafts. I had promised him that if he tried it 2-3 times and still didn’t like it he wouldn’t have to go anymore. And then we were there, in the doorway. The teacher introduced herself, and one of her many teenage helpers. And the next thing I knew, my preschooler was letting go of my finger, taking the hand of a tall boy named Will, and heading to the colorful rug to read a few books.
He didn’t even look back.
That was two weeks ago.
This week, when he came running out, he was smiling. And then, so quietly, “I think I like it.”
I can’t begin to explain how much those 5 words mean to me, and to my husband. We have watched him run, crying like he was injured, from the table when a group of 3 kids came to sit with him at a birthday party. He has clung to my fingers, pinching them in his anxiety, while we watched his big sister play in those indoor play areas. Just last week when it looked like there would be more than 2 kids at library story time, he looked terrified and begged me to leave.
I know that a big part of his success at church preschool stems from the fact that there are so many teens who have volunteered to help. With just 12 students and 6 teen helpers plus the teacher, he is getting that needed individualized attention from a “big person,” which makes him feel more confident.
There is no doubt about it, church preschool and those who volunteer there are at the top of things I am thankful for this week.
Rabia @TheLiebers says
My littlest has been hesitant about the Children’s Church program. It turns out he was worried he wouldn’t get to see his regular pre-school teachers anymore during the week! I’m so glad you little one is having a good time!!
Oh! Isn’t it funny what goes on in their little minds?
Before school started my kindergartner asked if you would miss Christmas. Somehow she had figured once she started school she wouldn’t be there to open gifts and she just wouldn’t get to open anything.
That s great. I’m sure it s a great feeling and relief as a parent.
Angela @ Time with A & N
Chris Carter says
Oh how WONDERFUL!!!! I remember that angst leaving my kids in a new place and letting go of their hands and praying they can find a comfort zone, while lurking in the hallway (cause I’m a total wimp mom) all nervous for them to be on their own!
I am SO glad it all went so well and he likes it mommy!!! 🙂
Oh, I still linger in the doorway at library story time…. He isn’t quite as comfortable there since there is just one adult with the group of kids. No whimp om about it — we all want to be there for our kids if they need us! 🙂
Donna DM Yates says
My son has suffered from the condition, Severe Social Anxiety his entire life. It wasn’t until he was an adult that he was diagnosed. I remember so many times like this, or he’d sit there silently suffering because we put him in an activity, and he didn’t want to tell us he didn’t want to do it, that he couldn’t handle the people, the other children.
My heart goes out to you and your husband and your sweet little guy as he deals with this, but this school seems like a major step for him.
Every time I mention it to our doctor he brushes it off — but as we get closer to school age, I find myself wondering how that first year will go.
Donna DM Yates says
My son went through his entire childhood not being diagnosed of this. He had a very tough time throughout elementary school. He did make a couple of close friends as the years passed. Doctors need to look closer at these things. Now that he’s an adult, tests are showing he may have Asperger Syndrome, although he’ll need more tests to verify, but at least it gives him a reason why.
I have had concerns in the area of Asperger’s for my son, but everyone seems to find a reason to dismiss my worries. As he nears school age I’m looking in to what options we have available to us.
Donna DM Yates says
You are doing exactly like you should. I get frustrated when ‘experts’ just think I’m wrong and don’t look into it. If he does have it and you can get help this early, what a wonderful thing.
What a beautiful story! I’m so glad he’s finding his place and comfort zone there. How blessed you are to have wonderful people to help. Thanks for sharing. I hope it continues to an awesome experience that helps him grow.