The boys have been back to school for exactly a week and I have to say it has been going surprisingly well.
Finn’s first day went off without a hitch (which I posted about incessantly on Facebook. What can I say? I was proud!) He even went to the cafeteria with all the other kids! He has been riding the bus with Charlie (with the help of an aide). He is encouraging other students in his self-contained room to cooperate with the teacher. He is asking to spend more time in his inclusion class. It is all really amazing stuff.
And then, last night, he joined the Boy Scouts!
Last year, when Charlie started Boy Scouts at a new troop, Finn said he wanted to join. So, I took him to the first meeting and he ran out of their like I was trying to get him to walk across hot coals. I didn’t force him. I just let it go. Then this year, he said he wanted to join again. I was pretty sure it was going to go the same as last year, but I thought I’d give it a try.
We walked into a large Church hall filled with 70 rambunctious boys and their parents and Finn said, “Is this where Boy Scouts is always going to be?” I said, “Yes, buddy, is this ok?” He said, “Yea, I like it here.” When the meeting started, he sat with what would be his “den” and listened and laughed along with the other kids. He even did the little Boy Scout peace sign thingie that they do when the leaders want the Scouts to be quiet! It was utterly adorable. I sat there in amazement and watched my boy shine.
He told our behavior aide (who I brought with me for backup) that he knew the boy sitting in front of us. She whispered it to me, so I said to Finn, “Is that John from your school?” He said, “I think so. Ask him to take his uniform off and I’ll let you know for sure.” He couldn’t recognize the boy out of context! It was so sweet in its earnestness.
They had a presentation from a local sea life observatory and they let the kids touch the animals afterwards. Finn, apparently knowing his limits, said, “Let’s get out of here. This is a disaster waiting to happen!” I stalled a while because Charlie wanted to kiss the horseshoe crab.
Afterwards, Finn asked when his next meeting was. I told him it was in a few weeks and he asked if he could just stay there until the next meeting.
I am so proud of that boy. I could could cry right now just thinking about it. But Finn’s success has been a long time coming. It was this time last year that Finn was still overturning desks in school. Finn’s desire to join Boy Scouts and spend more time in his inclusion classroom is really a testament to Finn feeling safe and supported to try new things. When he feels safe and supported, he is happy and calm. And a happy and calm Finny makes everybody (at least our whole family) happy and calm, too.
Whenever Finn comes home with a good report, I always worry in the back of my head that the school will start trying to take things away from him. Instead of seeing that the supports are working, I fear that the school will see them as superfluous. I’m not sure if that makes me a pessimist, a realist or just a special needs mom. But it will have to be a worry for another day. Because my boy is growing and succeeding and I have to keep that in focus. No matter what.
In one, short week, Finn can add Boy Scout and cafeteria eater to his list of accomplishments! I think that’s pretty amazing!