The new preschool year is upon us for Bubbly and GigantoBaby (the Diva won’t start until next year, thank God. I’m not ready, and she isn’t either). GigantoBaby went to school for quite a bit of the summer, now he’ll begin his 4-K year. Bubbly will enter the 3-year-old program. Bubbly didn’t get to go to school for part of the summer, because she decided to go all vampire and start biting the other children. I know vampires are trendy right now, but they’re frowned upon in preschool settings. We pulled her out of school and started more therapy again to figure out why the heck this behavior would manifest itself again now when she hasn’t been doing this since shortly after she came home.
We have decided that it might have been a transition thing for her. The Duo have been home for almost six months now. This is always when things start to go whacky again. ResponsiBoy, like clockwork, always becomes more emotional at this mile marker, as if he realizes that he needs more because these other people aren’t leaving. Maybe Bubbly feels that way too? Who knows. So, we discussed it with her therapist, with OT and with her. We talked and talked and talked about feelings, about why she might feel sad or frustrated. It got to the point that she (and I) are sick of talking about our feelings.
Next week she’ll go back to preschool. But, she’ll go on opposite days from GigantoBaby. They need a break from each other. She will only go for three hours per day, two days per week and we had a face to face conference yesterday to discuss a “plan” for her. The conference was rather telling. This is my first time having any sort of preschool conference that wasn’t filled with glowing reports of my child, their manners, their intelligence and our parenting. I’m not trying to toot my own horn, I just got lucky in the past. My kids are great. It has little to do with me and a lot to do with them. Not that the Preschool Director and Teacher don’t love Bubbly. They do. They think she is funny, cute and very smart. She has deficits though too. She is rough, her body movements are exaggerated and she has trouble regulating her emotions. It was hard to hear that. It’s hard to see it written out in black and white. It’s hard to hear “IEP and special education” in the same sentence with your child’s name.
When I get the most frustrated with Bubbly (and I’m not perfect, I do get frustrated), I’ll ask her why she did what she just did. Our preschool Director summed it up perfectly when she told me that it is obvious that Bubbly has no clue why Bubbly does these things. She doesn’t know why she bites people, she has no idea why she sweats and shrieks when the lights are too dim, she doesn’t know why she panics when snack doesn’t come precisely at 10am. I know why, and now they know why too. It’s sad that even though Bubbly can’t put into words what happened to her, she doesn’t even remember it, the feelings are still there. The feeling of having to fight like an animal for a “toy” (and I use that term loosely in regards to what she played with at the orphanage) or food, the feeling of being alone and scared in the dark, and the feeling of hunger are all daily reminders for Bubbly. Daily reminders of what she lived through between the age of 2 and 3 years old. She might never remember why these things make her sweat and panic, but according to research, she will always have some sort of reaction to these triggers. It won’t be a reaction like I might have in the same situation. This is her reality now.
The Preschool staff and I have all discussed Bubbly’s beginnings and the abuse. When we first discussed it, they were dumbfounded. Yet it explained SO much of what Bubbly does that it was like a light bulb had been flicked on. But, hearing it, well, it made the teacher cry. She sat in the conference, the one we had in April when the abuse was first “discovered”, and wept. By then, I was numb. She was not. She cried, and then apologized for being unprofessional, but she felt like she needed to hug Bubbly. We all feel like that.