Off On His Own

By Jeremy G. Schneider, MFT

I mentioned that Dorit has been sick, so sick that we didn’t want her to go to school yesterday. This was something we didn’t really have to deal with over the summer when they were at camp. I don’t think they got sick over the summer so they didn’t really miss camp unless they were doing something else. But if Dorit couldn’t go to school and Lucas was healthy enough to go, what should we do?

When it comes to separation issues, Lucas has got it much worse. Whether he is having trouble going to sleep at night or me leaving in the morning when he was younger or when we would go out and leave the Okapis with their grandparents or going to camp for the first time, he would often end up in hysterical tears. We’ve worked very hard with him on this and since camp we’ve really begun to see some wonderful progress.

Even though there was a few week break after camp, Lucas (and Dorit) handled going to school for the first time extraordinarily well. We were both so proud of him and how well he was adjusting to this new life of spending more time away from both of his parents – especially his mother.

Recently, we have enrolled the Okapis in new classes. They are taking the next level Spanish class, which they take together, but without Gem, for an hour. Even more incredible, Dorit is taking ballet classes (she LOVES ballet and it is incredibly adorable) all by herself. We had trouble finding a class Lucas wanted (he wanted soccer, but the timing was really bad. He also wants a music class but we’re afraid he is too young and don’t want him to get too frustrated too early) so we enrolled him in a “For Boys Only” class that focuses on athletics and gymnastics, on building coordination and connection with his body – but only boys are in the class (of course, the class is taught by a woman which made me so angry, but I digress as usual). He was really nervous and anxious, but went into the class and did so well – without mommy or Dorit. As (another) aside, the nice part of these classes is that not only does it help our Okapis develop some activities and relationships separate from each other, but it also allows Gem individual time with each of them while the other is in class, which is even more special now that they see her less because of school.

But taking a class by himself, while a big step, is very different than going to school by himself for four hours while mommy and Dorit are not around. Monday morning, however, that is exactly what he did. Lucas went to school and stayed there without Dorit for the entire time! Gem said he was nervous and at one point didn’t want to go, but he did it and I could not be prouder of him. THAT is a huge step and I am so happy for him.

When Gem went to pick him up from school, the teachers told her he was incredibly good (the entire class – about 12 kids in total – made Dorit a big get well card that they all “signed” – how adorable is that???) and he didn’t get upset at all.

She also told Gem that towards the end of the school day he said, “I miss Dorit.”

Of course he did. I’m sure she missed him, too. But he made it through the day on his own, by himself. Awesome.

Man, that boy tugs at my heart strings so.

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