I enrolled Sophia in a week-long, day camp especially for kids with developmental delays and their siblings. Last week was her week to go. The night before her first day, I tucked her into bed and told her about the camp she was going to go to, and all the things they might do at camp. I left out the part about her doing all these things with someone other than mom or dad. The day of, I spent the morning telling her about camp. That day was probably not a good day to start something new for Sophia. She was having one of those days, which I call a “mellow” day. It’s the sort of day where she spends most of her time curled up with “friend”. One of those days in which, if we’re out in public, I receive many comments like, “Oh she looks tired.” or, “Oh she must have just woken up.” Nope, that’s just the way my kid is sometimes. I know most people think, “You’re so lucky to have days like that.” What they don’t realize is that on those days I get more tantrums because those are the same days in which she refuses to talk or even sign. So those people can take their “calm kid” envy and shove it up their collective asses, and I mean that in the nicest way possible. Really.
Sophia and I went grocery shopping at our usual chain but a different location than normal, and she calmly sat in the cart with “friend” sucking her thumb. This is not the norm for her. Sitting in a regular cart calmly is not her bag these days and hasn’t been for quite some time now. With groceries in the trunk of the car, I took her to her first day of camp.
When Sophia saw her usual park, she was happy and wanted to go play. I told her I had to use the bathroom first so we went and I made sure she went too because I knew that she was not going to talk or sign the entire day at camp and would probably wind up having an accident. By the time we were done it was time to line up to sign her in so I got her bag and she grabbed “friend”. She hung onto us both for dear life realizing that we were lining up with the crowd. Sophia was swept away by her designated camp buddy. I finished the required paperwork and looked over to where her group was trying to cheer her up. This day was not going to go well at all.
I went home and put the groceries away then spent the next couple of hours looking at the clock every five minutes. Three hours after the toddler drop off; I arrived about fifteen minutes prior to pick up time. I watched from the car as the kids were marched into the building and spotted Sophia. If one only focused on the face of my child, the whole thing would look like a Bataan toddler death march. At precisely four in the afternoon, the parents were allowed to go in and pick up their kids. Sophia spotted me from across the room but aside from wanting to get to me her demeanor didn’t change. Once I reached her, she literally climbed up me. Her buddy said, “It was rough at first, but she had fun after a while.” Sure she did. I knew it going in that the first day would be bad. It always is with Sophia. It’s tough to watch her go through this, but she needs it…badly.
Every parent gets a note for each child about what he or she did and how the day went. It’s rather form like so that nothing is forgotten.
I made a…Pin wheel
I ate a…(this was left blank and Sophia hadn’t eaten since breakfast)
I liked…playing in the preschool room
My day was… (in this part of the form the buddy circles one of three choices: fabulous, good, ok) Sophia’s buddy circled fabulous. Really?
Under comments she wrote, “She had a great 1st day at camp! Monday’s always the toughest! We had a lot of fun in the pool watching others jump off diving board.”
I snapped a picture of Sophia immediately after getting her into the car. I think her look speaks volumes as to how she really felt about her day. Sophia didn’t say a word on the way home, neither a sound nor even a peep. When Kurt saw the picture he said, “She cried the whole time, didn’t she?” I’m guessing at least two hours of it, yes.