10/12/11 – our first full day together as a family. We got up and had breakfast in preparation for our mini day at school for Mickey. On this day Minnie would also go down and meet Nikki, who would provide her daycare and eventually after school care for Mickey. Nikki was a neighbor who ran a licensed daycare from her home and she was also a dear friend. I was very excited to get Minnie in, as she had a decent waitlist, but all the stars aligned.
The two hour mini day at the new school would take place in the kindergarten classroom with Mrs. B, Mrs. L., the other students, Mickey and Minnie and myself. We did stations, circle time, played and generally did Kindergarten for that two hours. I was interested to see at just 2 weeks after her 4th birthday, Minnie was totally comfortable in the class. She joined another group and left me and Mickey. Mickey was clingy and scared. He loved Mrs. B and Mrs L though. They would play a huge role in our next couple of years, so I was comforted by the fact that he adored them instantly. I didn’t yet know that this would be true for Mickey with 95% of the adults he meets and this would ultimately become a red flag for attachment concerns. Along with the two teachers, we also visited Mrs. Z, where he would spend a portion of his day working on reading, writing and math – all areas of struggle. She would also add him to her daily social skills training class, as it became apparent that he needed it.
By the end of our mini day, Mickey was very excited about starting school the next day. We also had the first of our 6 monthly case worker visits from Elise. This is a requirement within 24 hours of placement. To describe that visit as chaotic would be an understatement.
10/13/2011 – Mickey’s first day of school
Reports from the school were good. They were pleased with how he did. They noted some anxiety, but overall we were all relieved. The first of many text messages was received from Mrs. B. This is also the day that I had intended to meet Jesse to pick up the Medicaid cards and prescriptions that she had forgotten on “gotcha day” . She had an emergency placement coming and had to cancel, so she mailed them.
The rest of the week at school was fairly uneventful. His excitement and medication gave us a brief honeymoon period. Even uneventful Mickey days were tougher than with your typical child. Mickey had no boundaries at all and complete separation anxiety. He had attached himself to the parapro, Mrs. L, like a new appendage. But, there were no significant meltdowns or incidents of hurting people. We called that a success back then (and on a bad day – we still do). He did get for WOW cards for behavior that week and he wasn’t sent home once, so there were some great moments. Those would come with much less frequency in the months to come.