This little boy has been playing pretend lately. All.by.himself. A miracle. He thrives around playmates. Always asking for someone to play with. But pull out the pretend food and he is happy. Yesterday we found him climbing in his closet to get this basket from the top shelf. Which reminds me, I need to go put his clothes bar back up. Somehow he managed to pulled it down while 'reaching' for the basket.
Blake has been a brave little boy lately. A girl in his class suspected that Blake wore diapers a few weeks ago and mentioned it to him. Kids were also starting to question why Blake often goes to the special day classroom throughout the day. Blake thought he might just tell the kids that his mom was in that classroom and he just wanted to see me, but then decided that it didn't feel right to lie. So, instead, Blake asked to me to go in to talk to his class about his special needs. (Blake was born with Spina Bifida. He has no bladder or bowel control, upper leg and lower torso weakness, but runs, walks, jump and acts like nothing is wrong! He does require catheterization every 3-4 hours and constantly drips urine throughout the day.)
That took bravery from both of us. It is always so scary for me to know that Blake is so trusting of his classmates that they will accept him and his 'secrets'. And, you know what? He is always right!
I had the opportunity at 'Back to School Night' to share with the other parents there, while standing in front of the classroom sniffling because I always have a hard time not crying when talking about my 8 year old son still in diapers, about Blake's special needs. That he was born with Spina Bifida. And, I shared with them that I was trusting them that they would share and teach their children about not teasing another child because they are different. Because Blake was counting on that support from his classmates. I was touched by their caring faces. Their heads' nodding in agreement and the support that came with other mothers' tears shedding on my behalf. A few dads were blinking really fast too. That gave me comfort. We were truly surrounded by a caring classroom family and I knew then that Blake would be OK sharing his secret.
I went into the classroom a few days later and talked with the children about how people are made different. We talked about curly hair vs. straight hair. Red hair vs. blond hair. Glasses vs. no glasses. Wheelchair vs. no wheelchair. We talked about how it felt to be teased and how it felt to be treated nicely. All the children unanimously decided that being treated nicely felt the best. Then I shared some of Blake's special things about him. When I mentioned that he does wear 'special underwear' a few kids giggled, my heart broke instantly, but then remembered that this was a teaching moment and gently reminded them that giggling about something so special like that felt like teasing and they quickly stopped. They really did care. And not one student has even made mention about it to Blake since then. They have just kept being his friends.
At the end of our little discussion I thanked the kids for letting me come in and share something so special with them. One kid quickly said, "ya....sure, come back anytime!" I smiled as I glanced at the teacher and thought....yup these are special kids in this classroom. Once again Heavenly Father is watching over us, protecting our fragile hearts and helping us to be brave.
Up next on the school agenda....resource, intervention and testing for Blake. I'm afraid the non-verbal learning disabilities that I have heard so much about, but thought 'hopefully not my little boy', are beginning to manifest themselves. Blake can make up and tell a mean story, but has much difficultly putting it onto paper. He can sound out and read pretty much any 3-4 letter word, but anything longer than that is so difficult to sound out because he forgets what the first part sounded like by the time he gets to the end. This is going to take much bravery from his daddy and me. Much bravery.
For the record, Blake has only had two bad days at school so far. Most mornings he jumps out of my car as I pull up in front of the school. In fact, today, he jumped out, ran and gave his sweet friend Mrs. S (last year's muscle) a big hug and then ran to get in line. We both exchanged a smile that said....'he has come a long way!'
And, more for the record, Blake is excellent in math!