First Day of School

It’s done. The kids are BOTH in some other school than our own Bullfrogs and Butterflies Learning Center. I have to say I hate that. I know, I know. I should be happy for them, blahblah. And ok, I am… a little… or at least I’m TRYING to be. Truth is…

I want to homeschool! I love teaching them and am going to miss it something fierce. I already missed teaching my girl. Meagan didn’t and doesn’t miss it, of course, but I did. She doesn’t care a fig newton who teaches her or what her curriculum is like or what she learns or anything along those lines. All she cares about is whether or not she is surrounded by PEOPLE! She absolutely thrives on being surrounded by people. She has been (naturally) just beyond ecstatic for the new year to start. No more stuck with only one or two playmates!! WOOHOO! She made cupcakes for the whole school for lunch today. She “can’t wait!” to meet the new kids and to spend all day with her friends.

Matthew and I? Not so much. We pretty much shut down around people. Stammer, stutter, tense up horribly, and anxiety levels blast through the roof. The anxiety truly is just unbelievable. It’s worse than awful.

I hated that I’d passed on the “super shyness gene” to either of my kids, but I had expected it. It always flabbergasted me that Meagan was SO outgoing, SO fearless, SO comfortable around other people. It’s always been this way, this extreme social anxiety for Matthew and me and extreme social butterfly for Meagan…it’s just weird. It has gotten a teensy bit better for me now that I’m an adult, but not a whole lot, and there are still times when it is more than intense. For Matthew, though, it *seems* to be letting up some… with the outlook of STAYING that way.

I can not believe I just wrote that! I never thought I’d see the day. Honestly. His anxiety has always been much worse than mine, and that’s saying something, so I am truly shocked that I can write that. It’s true though.

The anxiety (we know now) stems from the borrelia, bartonella, and other bacterial infections. Matthew started antibiotic treatment right at one month ago. Two weeks ago he went to a 3hr/day daycamp at the library and loved it. He was fairly nervous and scared about it before going, but he went without hanging on to me (or Dad since he took him) and he ended up loving it. I suspected the antibiotics helped some, but it seemed so ‘out there’ and so I wasn’t really sure.

This, which was so much bigger since he knew that not only was it ALL DAY as opposed to 3hr, but was ALL YEAR as opposed to one week, and also full of tons of rules and lots of big kids and so forth and so on… well, he was a “little bit nervous” last night, but also “excited”. His words.

He walked in, deposited his bags and cowboy hat (he has to stay out of the sun because of the antibiotics he’s on), then went to his desk. I saw him standing there and he looked ok, and so I started to just walk out and go on home, but he hadn’t said anything to me yet. Something niggled not quite right, so I didn’t dare just leave him without checking on him, so I signaled him out of the classroom real quick and asked if he wanted a hug. Sure enough, he hid behind me and almost broke down.

But only almost! Not DID! “I’m scared” he said. I told him he’d be fine, reminded him of his bible verse about being courageous, and walked him back to his seat. The problem all of a sudden turned out to be simple seating arrangements. He apparently thought his sister would be sitting beside him and instead she is on the opposite side of the room.

Once I got him back to his spot, I turned around and walked out.

I expected he would hang on to me and cause a scene. I expected I’d have to pry him off me, crying. I expected to have to fight him to even get into the car so we could leave the house this morning, to tell the truth. There wasn’t ANY of that, though.

Two months ago there would have been.

Two months ago it would have been a HUGE ordeal. Fighting, kicking, screaming getting him to the car. He would’ve been hurling “I hate you”s, “I won’t go”s, and “I’ll just run off”s the whole way. At the school he would have sat in the van and refused to get out of the seat. I would’ve had to haul his stuff in, then come back out and physically pry him out of the seat and half drag/half carry him inside. I would’ve had to take him off to a corner or a side room or something to try and threaten him with spanking, as under-my-breath as I could, to get him to walk in there and sit down and then realize (very late to class by this point) that that is just NOT going to ever happen, and so half drag/half carry him in to his seat myself. He would’ve been clinging to me. Holding so tight and fast that depositing him on the chair was impossible. I’d would’ve discovered that quick enough when I pried his fingers off one at a time and tried to get them to STAY off.

Then I’d finally catch a break in the arm-clinging and manage to slip free of his grasp and start for the door. I might even have made it all the way to the door, but then he would’ve all of a sudden been in front of me, arms tucked in, hands clinging to me in front of him, trying to burrow his head into my stomach, and press his body into mine in an effort to hide from the dozen or more pair of eyes watching us.

And then the process would start all over again.

Probably I would’ve ended up sitting with him, alternately threatening (and then the actual spanking, of course), lecturing, consoling, encouraging (yes, I’ve tried each of these in massive amounts!) in the bathroom or the lunchroom or somewhere else hopefully out-of-earshot of the rest of the class who were TRYING to have school.

That is EXACTLY the way it would’ve happened two months ago. How can I be so sure of exactly? Easy… the scenario played itself out time and time again over the years. Sunday school class, vacation bible school (incl. this summer… only I was too sick to mess with trying to fight him so I just didn’t even bother trying this year, his anxiety was high enough just in anticipation that I was going to make him go, it was evident that actually trying it would be disastrous), various extracurricular daycamps and/or sports, various ‘playdates’ and family get-togethers, sometimes even with well-known situations like going on an outing with his dad.

It’s never been the ‘being away from mom’ that bothers him so much as it’s been the ‘being around large groups of people, especially if they’re unknown’. He’s never had a problem spending the whole day off playing in the neighborhood. Most days he wasn’t supposed to be doing his schoolwork, he was off playing. Not home. Away from me. NO problem.

The problems have always come in when there are groups of others involved. A small handful of well-known friends (three or four…maybe five at most) and he’s ok. More than that, or strangers, or WORSE… BOTH… and the crippling anxiety attacked.

You can imagine why I was more than a little concerned about the possibility of putting him in public school. *shudder*

Starting school, even in a private school with only about a dozen students, is was a situation perfectly engineered to set the anxiety monster loose.

There is NO doubt in my mind that without the antibiotics this would have been the case. It’s ALWAYS been the case. And now it looks like it’s not. =)

I’m not going to say he is ALL better, completely cured, though, cause that’s not true, either. It will take a long time for that, but absolutely the antibiotics are responsible for getting him to the point that he COULD go off to school today.

Antibiotics.

Just wanted that to sink in. NOT anti-anxiety meds (though those are not completely ruled out as an option… we’ll be discussing those and other meds at a consult with the doc the 8th). The kid needed simple antibiotics. All these years of literally disabling anxiety and all he needed was antibiotics. It blows the mind!

Excuse me while I go back to my no-more-homeschool-pity-party now. =(

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