Wednesday, September 15, 2010

School Morning Adventures

Melanie and I have fallen into a pretty good rhythm in the mornings to help each other get Whitney off to school. Getting a special needs child ready for school has a few interesting twists compared to the way a typical child gets up and gets going. Because of that, it takes two of us, Melanie and I, to make it happen smoothly.

On a school morning, Melanie is the one who actually works on getting Whit up and out of bed. Most days this isn't too hard. Whitney has always been a morning person. But by the end of the week, Whit begins pushing Melanie gently away when she comes in. That's the only way she's got of saying, "Five more minutes, Mom!" School is still pretty tiring for her.

Then it's time to get dressed. Whit is learning to put on clothes by herself, but she's got a long way to go. Especially, when there's a time limit involved. So Melanie helps Whit pick her clothes and get them on.

Meanwhile, my job begins in the kitchen. My mother was amazingly dedicated to getting me off to school with a hot meal every day. I feel like it made a big difference to me all those years. So I'm trying to do the same thing for Whit. I rotate between all the typical breakfast foods that I know Whitney will eat reasonably well. I make pancakes, waffles, French toast or eggs and bacon. And I'm getting so I can time the meal to Whitney's being dressed and ready to eat. The best thing about all this is that Melanie, Whitney and I all get to enjoy a nice cooked breakfast together most school days.

Whit still takes a bit of time to eat, so Melanie is able to finish packing up a lunch for Whit while she polishes off her eggs. Whitney's not a great lunch eater and we haven't felt like pressing our luck with unfamiliar school cafeteria foods. Instead Whitney gets her usual assortment of lunch meat, cheese, carrots, chips, crackers, fruit snack packs and so on.

At this point, I head off to the office while Whitney blows me kisses from the table. After breakfast, Melanie works on Whitney's hair and then it's off to the bus. Whit can climb the steps of the bus with just a little help. She gets buckled into her usual seat. The latch now has a child proof cover on it so Whit doesn't get up and wander on the way to school. Melanie gives her the usual lecture about her hearing aids. "Don't touch." Whitney mimics in her usual way.

Then it's off to school for the day. I'm grateful for teamwork as we get things ready each morning, since there are some things Whit just can't do for herself yet. I'm also really grateful that Whit likes to go to school so much because she cooperates as much as she can. She knows she gets to go someplace fun where she can be with her friends.

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