It’s been awhile since I’ve last updated you on what is going on in my life. It has been very busy and stressful. We enrolled E in a new school this fall. It’s an academy for 2E students. Two E stands for twice exceptional. Twice exceptional refers to kids who are gifted and have a special need. For a more detailed description please check out Wikipedia. They have a good exception and description of that term.
In the beginning of the school year E was very nervous. He’s been all over the map this semester. Some days he really happy to be there, other days terrified. Is it better than last year? Yes, his attendance in most classes has greatly improved. He seems to have the most trouble being physically in science class. Sometimes the topics upset him or gross him out. There is no rhyme or reason to it. He spends a good amount of time in the directors office when he is having trouble. He’s not in trouble, but is having trouble. Luckily, they have had experience dealing with children who have anxiety. That’s a rarity in education.
We are still worried about affording it. We were able to scrape this years tuition together. Now we have another four years to come up with money for. Not looking forward to that. So much has been put on hold the last four years. I feel like I am circling the drain physically, mentally, and emotionally.
E has started to make friends at the new school. They divide their kids by pods, instead of grades. In my son’s pod, there are boys and girls who are in the grades 6,7,8. Each pod has around roughly 6-7 kids. He gets along with several of the kids in his pod. He is still having some social difficulty. He always needs to have his ipad with him. He plays it to cope. We have been able to get him to reduce the time he spends on it. Hopefully it can keep being reduced. I wish the public school had never let him use that in school. It’s addictive. But here we are.
E has been to one classmate’s house two times. He has also been invited to another one’s birthday party. We were told that he has also played chess with several kids. That was news to us. He never tells us anything. Never has, no matter what we ask or how we ask it. At least he is starting to interact with others a bit more. He has been retreating by himself sometimes, but is still better than last year.
His favorite class is Tech. He loves working on the computers and programming. He also helps the other kids in class if they need it. I’m glad he is adapting a bit.
He calls home sometimes during school. We had a few talks where he was anxious and wanted to run away. I told his school that he can call me anytime he needs to. I am hoping I won’t have to go too often to school. I’m still exhausted by the last two, almost three years. When ever the phone rings I cringe. More than half the time it’s him, but I’d prefer that to driving up there.
Once I got a call from E that the class hamster had died. He was really upset by it. I had never heard about this hamster before. So I asked him why he was so upset. Did he like the hamster? No. Did he take care of the hamster? No. Did he care for or sit near the hamster? No. Then it dawned on me. Did the hamster dying remind you of your kittens and you’re afraid they will die too? Yes! Ok, got it. Hamsters, I told E, are fragile creatures that don’t live very long. I have no idea how long hamsters live. I told him cats live longer, that’s why they say they have nine lives. He seemed satisfied by this and went back to class.
The teachers have also mentioned that E is fearful of everything. He has has incredibly negative self-talk. He says he’s stupid, worthless etc. We are working on it.
One thing I will say is this school communicates a lot via email. I’m thankful for that. Sometimes I can’t even keep up.
Therapy is hot and cold for him. Sometimes he does really well in therapy, other times its a disaster. His main therapist has switched gears from just talk therapy to exposure therapy. He was really resistant at first so we started out small. Getting him to ask people what time it was in the therapists office building. Now we are meeting his therapist at McDonald’s and practicing there. These poor people at McDonald’s.
We will eat McDonald’s next time and then will find a new place to meet. It’s hard as his therapy is at 8am in the morning. Not much open at that time but McDonald’s. Some days he is resistant to anything and very clingy. Then other days he did fine. The first time we went to McDonald’s he had a rough time. So rough that he didn’t go to school afterwards. He was having too much of a meltdown. The rest of the days he did better at therapy, but struggled at school after. When I picked him up he was always upset after school for various reasons.
His second therapist which is the family therapist is not going well. We decided to go to this family therapist as the therapy office offers social groups and diyads for kids with extreme social anxiety. So far we have not been matched with anyone for anything. E had trouble connecting with this therapist too. It seemed to take a long time for us to find something for us to be counseled on. Finally after about the sixth session we sort of agreed on a topic.
Then the next time we met, the counselor told us that she was getting promoted. So she could no longer be my son’s counselor. This happens a lot in mental health and has happened a lot to us. We finally met his new counselor and thankfully he seems to like her more. We decided to work on his negative self talk and low self esteem. We still have not been set up in a group or pair yet.
I did hear from E’s school that they are trying to put together a social group with some students. We said we would like to have E in them. If E can get the social groups at school than we don’t have to go to this new therapist. Now I know how a juggler feels.
I had at this point also wanted to have E start feeding therapy again. I think I’ve already said that he doesn’t eat any fruit or veggies. I have deep concerns about his nutrition. I had to put that on hold as my son asked me for a different type of therapy. He has been asking for several months. So now, I have found him a third therapist to see. He will be going for gender identity. When he started to talk about this it was unexpected. I’m not sure what he is in terms of labels. I don’t think he even knows. This is why were are going to therapy. I told the therapist that I am not sure he understands what is entailed with gender and sexuality issues. So I think that is number one on the agenda.
I honestly and worried about him. So many people have violent and hostile reactions to people in the LGBTQ community. This week I’ve read five articles from around the US that talked about people being beaten to death because of being LGBTQ. My son is such a great kid. Kind, shy and caring. To think that someone would do that to another human being is like a little death inside me each time. I already worry constantly about him, now just add this to the mix.
Thankfully, his therapist for LGBTQ issues is very understanding and I am hopeful that he will find his way.
I will end part I here. Part II will be out after the holidays.