Case in point:
1.) Although a typical drop-off at B’s school is “usually” (Because there is no absolute with a 4-year old. NONE.) seamless, he struggles when his routine is altered, even the slightest. For example, instead of coming at the regular time on Wednesday mornings, he is dropped off a few hours later following his OT appointment. This means instead of getting dropped off in the big room with his sister (where all early arrivers start their day), he immediately goes to his pre-K classroom, where his friends are having group time and all eyes go to him as he walks in the room. For the last 4 weeks, Wednesday post-OT drop-offs have included (but are not limited to) clinging, crying, refusal to remove coat, yucky attitude if a teacher tries to help, mean faces to friends as they try to greet him, and finding the nearest wall to put his nose in it. If that isn’t the universal sign for “F off. I am NOT going to group time right now,” I certainly don’t know what is.
2.) We have been attending a new church for the last several months – A wonderful church that I feel connected to at least 90% of the time (trust me, this is HUGE for me in my still-grieving-my-mom-something-awful-trying-to-make-sense-of-the-world-WHY-ME self). They also have a phenomenal children’s ministry. Every last detail has been thought of and worked out to accommodate parents’ drop-offs and support those parents who struggle with seeing their children sob uncontrollably and put their nose in a wall EVERY drop off. Though, let’s be honest, I swear we are the ONLY parents with hard-to-transition-and-leave-Mommy-and-Daddy children in existence some days! I know better than that accuracy of course, but just sayin’….. I look around and everyone else seems JUST fine. Hmmmmmmmm…. Now that I think about it again, I’m going to start checking cheeks for the circular evidence of a mint in their mouths!!
It was actually my husband who happened upon this little “mint” miracle. Ya know, NOT the one with three degrees in education. Other than excessive student loans, I sometimes have NO idea what my field experiences and hours reading text books about little people has given me. Certainly no help in the field of parenting! So my husband, the one who used to follow my lead on what to do with our children, has taken the reigns and ridden off into the sunset with his gigantic green bag of Costco mints. Last Wednesday, during post-OT pre-K drop off…… Seamless transition with the mint. This morning, Sunday school drop-off…. Seamless transition with the mint. I’m still contemplating whether I’m totally annoyed that I didn’t think of it first, gleefully excited that we finally found something that works, or the slightest bit nervous that the sugar bugs are creeping all the way down to his gums as I type this and I need to phone the dentist in the morning.
In full disclosure we also need to thank Ms. Sue, B’s OT therapist for the mint idea. Ms. Sue gave us a short list of approved and acceptable things that B could put in his mouth when he is nervous in new environments…. Right after we explained to her that his shirts and his parents’ pants were NOT on the approved and acceptable list. Every day is a work in progress.
In summation, please go to your nearest Costco or Sams Club and purchase the largest bag of mints known to mankind. Copyright pending on this amazing realization!
P.S. Do we think a kid should be able to walk into a room without a bribe or treat? ABSOLUTELY! That said, unless you have a strong-willed child who has also been diagnosed with a Sensory Processing Disorder, I would appreciate it if you would withhold judgement. Thank you.