on fake preschool and speech delays

Each Thursday, I take Monkey and Moose to “fake” preschool at the Chicago Park District.  And I hate it.  I’m dreading Thursdays like a root canal.  A pap smear.  Like a kid faking sick to get out of a test the next day at school.

Well Monkey’s class is not the problem.

Monkey’s class is 18-36 months, and parents stay in the room.   The kids basically trash the place, and we clean it up.

Then we read a story from the horribly dated book collection. Once I start my book spring cleaning, that poor park is going to get a nice donation from the library de momnivore.  And I have a GOOD children’s library.

I digress.  The kids eat a gluten-filled snack {not Monkey, he eats a larabar or a piece of fruit}.  Then off to the large motor room where Monkey usually kisses his reflection in the mirror for ten straight minutes.

Just like his father.

The anxiety lies in Moose’s class, which is an hour drop-off right after Monkey’s class {that Moose attends with us}.

Moose’s class is kids’ only.  This is hard on him.  And me.  In the last session, he could give a what if I left.   He’d just sit in the chair and wait for snack.  According to his teacher, he cried the. entire. hour. straight.

It kills me because he can’t communicate his needs.  He doesn’t interact with the kids.  He is no where near potty-trained.  What could my kid possibly get from this hour?

As a teacher, I hope that he’ll see the other kids interact and “get it”.  Autism doesn’t work like that…kids don’t just “get it”.   But Moose is the kid in left-field chasing the butterflies most of the time.  If it doesn’t involve food, he’s not interested.

Just like his father.

The teacher in me says be consistent! Be consistent! Let him cry.  He’s 3.5.  He’ll manage. He needs time.

The mom in me says screw it. Homeschool. He’s not ready. Wait til he talks.  Wait til he can tell you what he needs. He’ll be ready for preschool by fall.

At this point, the day Moosey really talks about things other than cookies and cake feels like it never is going to come.

The day he really communicates. And asks questions.  And answers questions.

We have a new doctor’s appointment next week.  Sometimes, I feel like I am in left field with him chasing the butterflies.  One doctor to the next. Fighting insurance about therapies.  Trying desparetly to get him to color and play games.

It feels like Waiting for Godot.

But it’s my kid.

My baby.

Who will cry for the hour.

Because he can’t find the words.

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  1. Wow! I can’t imagine how hard it is to watch him struggle. Though maybe chasing butterflies is a good thing…at least for now.
    I’m sure you already know about this, but have you read or watched “the horse boy”? The father of an autistic boy wrote it about his journey to reach his son through horses. It was wonderful as an audiobook, read by the author.
    Sounds like you are doing a great job momma!

  2. I had a very similar experience with my oldest in preschool. He has Autism and it was heartwrenching to leave him screaming and crying. It does get better. The more experiences they have, the more skills they learn, the better they adapt…it just take a little longer. You are doing a wonderful job. From ages 2-4 are a struggle, but you can do it!!!

  3. I feel for you mama. It has to be an ultimate test for both of you.
    My monkey is 4 and has never set foot in a preschool. Little monkey (my 18 month old) won’t either.

  4. I understand the struggle you’ve been feeling. My oldest didn’t have any words until 3.5 & he was speech delayed for several years. And he was definitely different from the “norm” in his behavior. It was constantly being pointed out to me. It made preschool a nightmare for both of us and I felt the exact same way you do. When he was 5 we started homeschooling on the days he didn’t go to preschool. HUGE difference, less struggle, no one giving me grief because he wouldn’t draw in his journal or because he always wanted to be the last to wash his hands before snack. We went the homeschool route full time after that & did private speech therapy until he was 6. He’s now 8, you’d never know he’d had any speech issues, he’s happy, friendly and the behavior that was such a big deal is pretty much gone. And he has no problem washing his hands in any place if there’s a line.

    The book “Late Talking Children” by Thomas Sewell really made a difference for us and in figuring what what our kid really needed. Hoping that will come to you soon too – hang in there – it will get better.

  5. I hate the slap in the face I get when I pick up Spidey from school too. It’s the worst. Moosey will recover with a momma like you that is healing him from the inside out! He will recover!!!!

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