I Don't Know How, Mama

Posted by on Sep 18, 2010 | 0 comments

We are finally at the end of our long summer’s journey, which means Jack has started school.  And not just any school, kindergarten.  Full day kindergarten.  Big Boy School.

In case that wasn’t enough change and excitement, we have also decided that Jack (and all of our children) will be attending a French immersion school.  Canada, a bilingual country, offers children the option of attending school in French, starting either in kindergarten (early immersion) or grade 6 (late immersion).   Just as the name suggests, the children are immersed in French.  No English until at least grade 3.  Deep end all the way.

Why pile on the added stress of a foreign environment to an already new situation?  Why not?  Jack is a smart kid who needs to be stimulated constantly.  He’s certainly getting that at his school.  And while he frequently tells us, “I dont know how to learn how to speak French,” he’s learning.  He greets his teacher with a hearty “bonjour!” in the morning.  Of course his accent needs some polish, so it sounds more like “bojur.”  We love it.  We make him say it all the time.  Someday he’ll get his pronounciation down, but until then hearing him speak French is as sweet as hearing my almost 2-year-old try to say, well, pretty much anything.

Jack loves school, and it shows.  The special education program here is a breeze compared to the United States, and while he’s still going through the referral process, he has full support to help him be as mainstream as possible.  He is settling in, and is excited each morning to get back to school.

I’m guessing the school day is taxing for Jack.  It’s a much longer day than he’s used to, in a completely different language.  How do I know it’s taxing?  When Jack is done focusing on something, he lets loose.  Like crazy, unbridled, nonstop motion loose.  This is the cyclone I have dealt with each day upon his return from the halls of education.  While I celebrate the fact that he’s loving school and it’s clearly exhausting his mind, his body is exhausting me. 

As I’ve pointed out before, autism is contagious, and every afternoon now I have three small stimulation-seekers wreaking havok on my home and my mental stability.  The other day, a rainy afternoon when I couldn’t send them outside and they were quite literally bouncing off the walls, I broke.

“Jack, you have to relax!”

“I don’t know how, mama.”

Truer words were never spoken.  In a few weeks, life will even out again as it always does.  In the meantime, if you need me in the afternoons, I’ll be the one hiding under the stairs.

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