"This shouldn't hurt but you might feel a slight discomfort"
-The Hold Steady
Ten days ago, Little Bird graduated from preschool. Today is the first day of camp. Aside from the very few times I've traveled without her, today marks the first day that she and I will be apart for six hours. She really has no clue. All she knows (and all she needs to know) is that mommy always comes back to pick her up. Preschool hours were 9-12 (she always had half days because we filled her afternoons with therapies). Camp hours are 930-330. Twice the amount of time!!
This is no ordinary camp. Well, actually it is. That's what's so remarkable about it. She is attending a full inclusion camp where she will be fully included with typical kids and she'll have a shadow. Actually, she'll have Lena (we are so lucky!!). Still, I expect to worry all day about: what she ate or didn't eat/drink; did she have accidents?; did she behave (she's going through a rough behavioral patch)?; is her sensory system regulated? Wow, I'm already freaking out. But, it's time for her to learn a little bit of independence, to break the enmeshment, to navigate some of the world without my hand to hold. Because I can't be there all time. At least not from 930-330.
Yesterday was the parent orientation. Greg and I got to get a tour of the campgrounds and see all the awesome activities the kids will participate in. I brought my camera, snapped pics of the area and her counselors. Then I showed Little Bird all the pictures and told her who everyone was and what she'd be doing in each space: "here's where you'll eat lunch, and here's the swimming pool, and here's the dance room!" I think I gave her a better idea of what to expect. She now knows her camp counselors names and faces. I hope this makes her feel a little more prepared and a little less anxious.
Ready to go with her backpack that's bigger than she is!
Stay tuned for the first day of camp wrap-up.
I had to stand in a line to sign her out. I saw the assistant director of the program she's in (the kindergarten camp) and I awaited the moment she'd see me and then I'd take that split second to read her face and thus set the tone for the rest of my afternoon. She smiled. All she said was "amazing!!" I asked "really?" and she started saying that it was such a great day and that she can't wait for LB to come back on Wednesday (Little Bird is going to camp MWF so that TTH will be filled with therapies). I told her she had to stop talking or I'd start crying in front of all these other moms. I found the bird on the playground with Lena and got the low down. She participated, had fun, ate her lunch and snacks, told Lena when she had to pee, and came home exhausted. I'm proud. I'm giving her a few minutes to regulate after a long day. Then it's off to a nice relaxing Epsom salt bath. I think it might be an early-to-bed kind of night!!
Oh, and me?? Well, I was ridiculously busy today and I think that helped keep my mind off of what she was or wasn't doing. It was weird eating my lunch alone. I definitely missed her today. But you know that by tomorrow morning I'll be ready for her to go back again :)