* Looking ahead

Today I met with the folks at Rio's new school: his new teacher, the principal and the school counselor. They were all fantastic! Prior to today I had been speaking with the counselor to make all the preparations for his transition, and she is wonderful. She is eager to address my concerns, to listen to suggestions, and to make this whole process as painless for Rio as possible. But she won some BIG points with me today when she confided to me that she shares my doubts about the relevance of a psychiatric diagnosis that is based on a very limited interaction with the child, nor does she advocate medicating children as a first solution. I nearly kissed her.

Rio's new teacher also scored lots of points with me, too. For one thing, she doesn't like negative reinforcements, so there are only smileys on her behavior charts, and if the child doesn't earn a smiley face during a certain activity, that space is simply left blank. Brilliant! Beautiful! I love her already. Also, she has a pair of full-time helpers in her class who can provide individual attention as needed. Personally, I think all teachers (and students, no less) could benefit from having that sort of help in the classroom, but obviously there's never going to be enough funding for that in public education.

So I'm feeling better than ever about this whole situation, even if I am just a little apprehensive about how Rio himself feels about it, and how he will respond to this big transition. Yesterday the school counselor (at his current school) gave him the news, and then called to tell me that it went really well and he responded very positively. But when I picked him up, I told him we were going to find his teacher and talk to her about planning a going away party for him. He wanted to know why he was getting a going away party. When I explained it to him he said, "You mean I can't come back to [this] school?!?"

He apparently was under the impression that this whole "new school" adventure was just some sort of temporary arrangement, like a visit, a field trip, an adventure! Weeeee! Not a permanent change in his daily school routine. He cried and cried and wanted to know why he wouldn't be allowed to come back. I felt like hunting down the principal and demanding that she give him some answers. I resent being the one in that position, dammit. But I did my best, and then, thankfully, we found his teacher, who was very helpful. She told him that he could write letters to the whole class and she would share them with everyone, and then we planned his going away party. For the time being he was pacified; tragedy narrowly averted.

Tonight he shed some more tears as I tried to sell him on this whole idea. I told him how impressed I was with his new teacher, and how she doesn't believe in sad faces, and how she wore an Eeyore suit to school today, and won't it just be great? But no, his school is perfect and no other school will do. I decided to leave it alone for now. We'll visit on Friday together and he can see for himself first-hand. I think once he gets there, he'll be just fine.

I hope. There's just no telling with Hercules.

Even though the first couple of weeks may be a little rocky, he'll prevail in the end. I have to keep reminding myself that, because it's true, and I tend to worry too much. But that Hercules, he's something special, and I'm not the only one who thinks so. Great things are in store for him, I just know it. All this Kindergarten melodrama will be something we'll laugh about when he's all grown up, a famous actor/rock star/pirate king, remembering the good ol' days when he used to terrorize his teachers.

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