Myron has been in preschool for over a week. Sending him has worried/excited me for months. He is doing wonderful overall. Myron’s first day of school was memorable to say the least.
The day before school started the preschool threw a Popsicles with the Principals get together. This get together was so helpful for Myron. I was able to bring Myron and show him his classroom and see his teacher and aids. It was a wonderful experience. Myron's class is very small so there was only one other kid there. He was able to explore freely without feeling overwhelmed. Of course, Myron didn’t want a popsicle or to acknowledge any principals, but he found the play kitchen and was happy as can be with the blender.
By the time we left, Myron was so comfortable, I thought, “he might not even cry tomorrow.” He was having that much fun in there. I couldn’t believe it.
Myron's preschool evaluation back in May was a disaster. During his evaluation he laid face down in my lap and would scream if anyone talked. We whispered our way through the evaluation and cautiously took breaks to help him calm down if his agitation increased. So, seeing his comfort level in the classroom gave me so much hope.
When the time came for us to go to school the next morning, he jumped out of the car so excited. I could see he remembered being there the day before. I walked him up to the gate where his teacher comes and gets him. They paid attention to Myron the day before and thought it would be a good idea to bring the blender out to him so he could carry it back into the classroom. He saw the blender and reached excitedly for it. They coaxed him very sneakily with it, and before I knew it, he was walking down the hallway. The aid was leading him with one hand as he clenched the toy blender with the other.
I left feeling so excited he didn’t cry. I could not believe it. This guy has always had extreme separation anxiety. But, there he was, not even noticing I was leaving.
I left hopeful for his day and eager for my time alone with Adaline. When it was time for Ada’s nap I put her down and got on a call for a work meeting.
While I was in my meeting around 10:45am, I heard the beep beep of the other line. I looked down and it was Myron’s school. My heart stopped. I answered frantically.
Me: (a very concerned) Hello?
Elementary School: Hi, this is the health clerk, We wanted to call you and ask you about Myron’s tremors.
Me: Oh okay. He has tremors where he shakes during action movements.
Health clerk: Okay, we are asking because Myron is asleep and jerking in his sleep.
Me: Whaaaaat?!!! He is asleep?!!! That is very abnormal. Is he okay? What preceded his sleep? Was he crying for a long time? Did he have any of the seizure activity I wrote down?
Health Clerk: The aid said he was a little upset and agitated since he arrived and then fell asleep on her. Now his leg is jerking forcefully and his face is twitching.
Me: Are you sure he was a little upset because the only time Myron falls asleep is when he has been melting down for a least an hour or has had a seizure. It is only ten am so that is very weird he is asleep.
Health Clerk: That is what they said. We wanted to call you and ask if it is normal for him to move in his sleep like that.
Me: It is to an extent, but it is weird he is asleep.
Health Clerk: Would you like to pick him up?
Me: I don't want to pick him up if he is okay. It would ruin the routine we are trying to set up. I have an idea. Can you ask the aid to video these movements and send it to me?
Health Clerk: Yes, let me call you back.
Cue, me freaking out. Myron falls asleep abruptly after seizures or prolonged seizure activity or after being upset for a long time. She told me he wasn’t upset that long so I was very worried about the seizure activity. Also, Myron’s sleep jerking increases when his seizures increase.
My phone beeped. It was the video of Myron asleep on a strangers lap. His legs were forcefully swinging. They said it had been doing that nonstop for ten minutes.
It didn't look like a seizure but I was still concerned. I asked them to try to rouse him. I grabbed Adaline from her crib and started driving to the school. When your toddler with very limited communication and difficult to recognize seizures is at his first day of school and you get a call like that, you have to jump in your car to his rescue.
Halfway there my panic subsided and I called the office again and asked to talk to his teacher. She had just arrived in the office with him awake and alert. She told me he seemed okay and wasn’t wobbly. For Myron weakness is a sign of fatigue after a seizure. I felt immediate relief.
My logical side kicked in and I told her I thought it would be better for him to stay the rest of the day so he would not be confused the next day about the routine.
So I sat in my car outside the preschool gates and tried to sneak a few peeks at Myron on his first day. I saw him walking the perimeter of the building with his aid. He enjoys walking and wandering. He didn’t look happy, but he didn’t look upset.
His day ended an hour later and he ran into my arms, half crying, half happy to see me. The teacher told me that despite the crying here and there, a few screaming bursts and the confusing sleeping incident he did great and tolerated the environment very well for his first day. I was so proud of him.
My conclusion on the sleeping incident is that he was so overwhelmed by the classroom and the separation that he just kind of shut down. I have talked more extensively with the teachers since that day and they had not seen any typical seizure signs for Myron. His behavior upon waking, also leads me to believe, there was no seizure involvement. This is one of the areas where having a kid with epilepsy that cannot communicate his experiences or feelings really is difficult. We are always playing guessing games and analyzing his behavior for clues.
Despite everything, I am so relieved about how his first day went. I was expecting for weeks that he would be screaming for hours, and he didn't. His first day was a success.
The next day he did better, and the next even better. A week and a half in and he is doing great. We are so excited for Myron to learn with his awesome teacher at his first year of preschool!