Today was a big new "first" for all of us - but most especially for Adam. The new term started for The Bridge (his special needs nursery) and this year, for the first time, we're trying to see if he can cope with travelling on the school bus. Our local council provide an entire fleet of special transport buses that work with The Bridge but up until now, I've been able to take Adam into nursery myself. This year, as he is in a new class, school doesn't start until 9am while I start work at 8:30am so I had very little choice other than to try.
It seems such a huge step though to bundle my little boy onto a bus, ask him to go with two strangers he's never met before, and trust that he will arrive safely at school - and hopefully without having a massive meltdown in the process. Needless to say, I was pretty tearful when I woke up this morning...
We normally leave the house at 7:30 (when Adam is going to his mainstream nursery) but his school bus was coming for him at 7:55. Even though Adam cannot communicate particularly well, he is very attuned to the timings of his routine and if anything is out of place or out of order, he starts to become agitated. At 7:30 came and went, Adam started to pace, to throw his toys around, to scream. It was clear that he knew something was different and he didn't like it. By 7:45, his Dad attempted to cheer him up and distract him by playing a chasing game around the main floor of the house. This prompted huge giggles until precisely 30 seconds before the bus pulled up outside of the front door when Adam tripped and fell, smacking his face directly into his little toy keyboard. His glasses went one way, his hearing aids the other and he ::screamed:: - quite understandably!
This was not quite the start to a new experience I was hoping for!
However, with the bus outside the door, we had very little option so while doing our best to cuddle and comfort him, Adam had to be put onto the bus - albeit with attempts to encourage excitement by pointing out the bus and telling him he was allowed to have a very special ride. However, being buckled into a strange car seat (forward facing for the first time - gulp!) and being buckled in by a woman he didn't know, did not go down well. Adam was clearly both confused, upset and still hurting. Having Dumbles to suck on and Ninky Nonk in his lap did help, but he was still sobbing as I had to walk off the bus and leave them to drive off
...at which point I burst into tears...
Of course I rang school at precisely 9:01am and was cheerfully informed that Adam was absolutely fine and happily playing outside so I can only trust that he did calm down at some point on the trip, but it won't be until tomorrow morning (when we get to do it all again!) that I can ask the driver and passenger handler how it went.