Today went so well that I had to write a post. For myself, I also needed to process this new social situation. Today was the first day for Ariel to start her fine arts classes through a home school co-op. I will be frank, I have been hesitant to partake in local co-op’s due to past experiences, but this town has given me a different feel and the people have restored some of my faith in humanity. I am always willing to give things another chance. Sometimes that is good – other times, not so much.
My experience with this co-op has been extremely positive.
Today was no different. I was nervous, anxious, and excited just as much as Ariel. She shares many of my traits, especially socially. She is rather reserved at first, but when she feels comfortable forget about it – she will talk away and has no problems being herself. However, after every social encounter she retreats to her room for hours usually to read in quiet solace with her sole company being our cat Nathaniel. Sometimes I escape to her room too and we just sit there in peace.
I tried to hide my anxiety as much as possible from her.
I did share that I was a little anxious and excited and she said, “Yeah, me too.” (with a smile and little giggle) I could not take the boys with me today because there was just too much unpredictability, but I knew that I had to find some sort of solution because David cannot watch them every Friday. Part of my concern was that I am a teacher’s assistant in one of the classes and there is no way I can leave Daniel in the “social” room where the other kids hang out. There is only one parent in there and I do not think many of the people are familiar with how to take care of an Autistic child. Since I was not sure how things worked, I did not know exactly what to ask about my circumstance.
Something that I LOVE about this group is that they give details instructions for everything.
They had maps of the rooms and each room was labeled with classes and times. They are incredibly organized and this eases many of my anxious thoughts. It also, helps Ariel because she too loves order and likes to know things ahead of time to be prepared. When we got there, we were greeted with smiles and hellos. They knew my name and Ariel’s name, but they had never met us officially. Immediately, I shared about Daniel and asked if he could go with me into the class. I feel Joshua will be fine in the social room and he may really like to have that time alone to meet other kids. We’ll see, he is really into his appearance right now. He is fixing is hair to look “cool” and wanting stylish clothes. I am going with it.
The woman I spoke with was very sympathetic and said that she did not see it as a problem, but that it needed to ok’s by the teacher.
I dropped Ariel off at her art class, I could see her anxiety, but she smiled, went to grab a seat, and looked back at me with a look of, “OK, mom I can do this.” I nodded without saying a word and we both knew everything would be just fine. I went to my class and nearly clapped for joy. I was assigned to rhythm and moment intro to music ages 5-8. Perfect! Not only will I do great in this class, but it is much like Daniel’s music therapy class so I think he will like it too. I went in and spoke to the teacher about Daniel – she had no problems and we decided to try it next week. If it does not work out, they will find somewhere else for me to help. I think it will work out well though.
I thought the teacher seemed a little off, but she seemed great and was doing so well.
Except, she kept messing up some poor little girls name. I am highly sensitive to that because teachers always got my name wrong – one reason as to why I go by Angel instead of Angelique. For some reason people have a hard time pronouncing it, but it got embarrassing and even humiliating when my teachers would get it wrong in front of the whole class every year. I watched the poor girl look at the teacher with these eyes that seemed to say, “Will you please just stop.” I could understand a couple of times, but literally, the teacher kept doing it – it was about five or six times in a row.
After the last one, the teacher went into how she was going to work hard at getting her name.
It was one of those painful moments that you just want to make stop. I could not understand why she kept talking about it. She got out her guitar and started to play, but it was off key and she seemed flustered this is when she said, “Guess who is nervous today?” It had not occurred to me that she would be nervous. She seemed to be cool and calm. She was great with the kids I had no idea that she would feel that way. Everything made more sense to me after she said that – I still felt badly for the little girl though. :-/
I had a blast!
Since she did not have anything for me to do, I sat, and stayed observant of things such as making sure the kids were not too wild or that the kids kept their focus. I clapped to the beats with them and felt like one of them. I was not aware HOW much I was like them until the teacher started reading a story I had never heard that had animals and the kids were supposed to make the animal sounds. I was sitting on my knees with excitement by the time we got to the fourth page I realized that I had a huge smile on my face, I had been clapping, making the sounds with the kids, and my eyes were wide open with anticipation for the turn of the page.
What made me come to this realization was when one of the little girls looked at me and giggled.
I am not sure why that made me aware, but it did. I decided I was having too much fun to care so I kept my jolly on. I enjoyed myself and felt rejuvenated. It has been a long time since I have been able to be in a class with kids. I do not want to teach again, (I have to keep my focus on my own kids for the time being.) but I do enjoy being an assistant and helping. When this class was over I quickly went to get Ariel to take her to her violin class. (Beginning strings) I looked in and she was on the floor making her color wheel with several other girls.
Her smile filled my heart and I was so happy for her to be able to do this.
She be-bopped out ready to go to her next class. The nerves were filling her and I helped ease her a bit when she got to her class. I helped gather the things that she needed and settled her in a seat then, said my good-byes. I always know when Ariel is nervous or anxious because she gives a certain look that feels like she is pulling me into her, she is a finger picker she will start to pick at her fingers and her nails frantically, and she says things like, “Bye mom, I love you” or when I am leaving she will run up to me and hug me. (Long sentence, I know.)
Ariel does not usually initiate affection – that is a telltale sign she is anxious.
I had no desire to get to know people. I really do not have it in me right now. Church environments make me guarded. I have had too many bad experiences and I have much better radar now of what people to steer clear from. There is just too much that can can confuse and traumatize me. I am still recovering from some of my church trauma. I am very pleased that the co-op does not push agenda. We are a mixture of beliefs and I think there are some people who may not be of any faith. The classes that are offered are fine arts not laced with religious views. The people teaching have degrees in the subjects that they are teaching – I like that.
I know I am babbling on and on.
These types of things I have to process through. There is a lot to take in and so many after thoughts that run through my head. Next week will be a little different since I will be bringing the boys. However, I think that it will be a good thing. I hope that it will be a positive thing for Daniel and Joshua to meet some more kids their age. OK, I am refocusing! Today went great; Ariel is overjoyed and cannot wait for next week. This afternoon she asked me to teach her how to read music so she could be prepared. Sigh … I just get so giddy when my kids are happy. I will blame my giddiness for the reason that I am so babbly tonight. Sounds good.
Giddy is a fun word.