Wednesday, May 12, 2010

One Small Step

Let me take a few steps back to set up this story.

Since we been back from the April Break things have been pretty hairy. Actually, it started while we were on vacation. Despite making good time traveling, beautiful weather, wonderful time spent with family and friends, we seemed to taint our time with negativity. There was fighting and short tempers. Since we have been back it has been more of the same.

Mornings have been rough. When we got back I asked her what time she wanted to leave for school. School starts at 8 am. It takes about 5 minutes to get there. She said she wanted to leave at 7:55 am. No big deal...except she wasn't even starting to get ready to leave until that time. After one of her meltdowns last week she brought up the fact that her teacher has been "yelling" at her for being late. It was the first I had heard about it. Seems it has been going on for awhile.

I asked her what she wanted to do differently. She said something about making her lunch the night before, to which I pointed out that she had been eating hot lunch since we've been back. She thought about it a second and said she wanted to leave at 7:45 am. So we've been doing that for a few days and she has been getting to school early!

Yesterday we left on time. A block away from the house she realized she left her sneakers at home and it was PE day. I asked her what she wanted to do. She said she wanted to go back and get them. she did so and still arrived to school on time. I said, " Doesn't it feel great that because we left earlier enough you were able to go back for what you forgot and still got to school on time?!" She agreed.

This morning, and this is the real story I want to tell, it was time to leave. I've taken to sitting on the porch with Squeak when it's time to go. Kind of like sitting in the car and waiting. Her sister came out, followed by herself. She went back in. Sweet Girl went back in. She came back out. Sweet Girl came back out. I reminded them that the last one out needs to shut the door. Sweet Girl went back to shut the door and Sweetie Heart started walking. She was several yards ahead of me. So I asked her if she wanted to walk by herself today. She looked back at me and said, "I can't cross the big street by myself." I told her I could help her cross the street and she could go on from there or she could go the other way where her PE teacher is a crossing guard. She thought a minute and said, "If Ms. N is there, I'll walk by myself." Then she noted to herself that we left at 7:47 so she should still be there and she was. She gave me a hug and kiss, hugged her sister and kissed her brother and walked to school all by herself! I watched her until she crossed, she looked back and waved.

This may seem like such a small thing, but it is huge! I have been encouraging her to walk on her own, even part way, for most of the school year. I think she's only done it twice and it was at the edge of school property, like 1/2 a block. I have told her that whenever she is ready to let me know and have asked her a few times each month. Each time it has been no. She has even told me she always wants me to walk her to school. I told her I walk her to school as long as she wanted me to, and that I thought she was old enough and capable enough to do it when she was ready. She begs me to come in the school foyer nearly every morning to drop her off.

This is huge for her! Today she had courage to do this on her own! I'll be going to pick her up in a few minutes. We'll see how she feels about it. Maybe she'll do it again tomorrow maybe she won't. But even if tomorrow she asks me to walk her to school again, she know she can do it because she already has!

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