Rocky Beginnings

Max Explores the Stairs of our Extreme Home Makeover
  When Max turned 3, he started preschool.
  We didn't have the words to explain to him what was happening.  The best i could do
was drive him to class, sit with him for twenty minutes or so. then make myself walk away down the hall while he screamed.
  In a couple of hours, he screamed while the bus took him ten minutes home.
  And he learned the bus took him home.
  The next day, i forced myself to put him on that same bus for a longer ride to school.
  He screamed the entire way.
  And he learned that the bus took him home and to school.
  If that's the way it works, he was ready to like it.

A Career on the School Bus

  It would be simplistic to say there were never any further problem on the bus, but that's pretty much so.  He rode a special bus, where drivers and monitors had training to deal with kids with special needs.  i don't think there were ever more than a dozen kids on that bus.
  When problems came up, we talked.  By the time he graduated, i even had the driver's cell number.

Starting Day Services

  Max had been excited about starting day services, He was part of most of the conversations, all that he did not specifically opt out of, and seemed especially excited about the facility we ended up choosing.  For two days a week.
  On Monday, June 1st, Max was supposed to start day services.
  The PLAN was that Boom or i would join him for lunch there on  the Monday, then Tuesday stay the daywith him.  Unless Max indicated he was fine with us leaving.
  But there was a paperwork snafu, and not enough staff.  We were welcome to bring him, for lunch only, as long as one of us stayed.
  Ok, fine.
  Boom was with him both days.
  This Monday, i took Max.
  Apparently they had several new clients that day.
a later stage of stairs

The First Monday

  As we entered, one of these apparently new clients did not want his mom to leave.
  i understood it as no reflection on the place, but worried how Max would see it. 
  The staff member who had just told us to wait in that room quickly escorted us to another room where she had expected someone else to take us.
 The facility serves many clients.  They are divided into several rooms/groups, and staff tries hard to make the best fit.  Obviously there must be a getting acquainted period before the best fit can be found.
  We didn't hit it Monday.
  Most of the clients seemed to enjoy the place and the routine.  Some wanted to go home - new ones? - and Max was bored by activities he'd done in school when he was ten.
  After lunch, we moved to a different group.  Their morning activities sounded promising, but afternoons are spent with lots of free time.
  i thought it would be a great fit.

Returning Tuesday Morning

  Tuesday made me nervous.  Planning that Max would be comfortable on his own, and that Boom, as usual, would not go in to work until afternoon or evening, i had not moved a doctor checkup that was set up six months ago.
  Boom's shift was 8:30-5.
  Max did not want to come in.  When he did, he quickly figured out the button to buzz people in and out.
  When i left, he appeared to follow the staff member to put his lunch in the fridge, then bolted to the car.
  Fortunately, i had not yet left the parking lot.  i parked again.  Staff and i tried to wait him out, since usually he'll give up and do as we wish.
  Not budging.
  It came time for me to leave.
  We decided i should probably take him along to my appointment, then try again in the afternooo.

Tuesday Afternoon

  The appointment lasted longer than i expected, there was bloodwork, i picked up a quickie boring lunch to eat in the car while Max ate his prepared one.
  We drove back to the facility.
  And spent the afternoon waiting, Max in the car, me in view,  outside.
  Occasionally i would invite him to come in.
  He said no.
  We stayed until almost the time  i would have taken him if he'd stayed, then returned home.
  Max did indicate he was willing to try again next Monday.
  i don't want to force him into a situation that won't work, but i really believe this will be a good place for him, away for the TV, with more structure than at home.
  But Max is an adult.  Adults need to participate in their own life, not spend it all on Mom & Dad's couch.  And i can't walk away and expect him to stay this time.
All photos from the year Max started preschool.

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