Saturday, September 17, 2011

Swag: Or the Genius in Things

"Stressed? It's going to take more than
a squishy ball. Right?" from
Two weeks back I was finally getting around to storing the things from the BlogHer swag bags I'd hauled home from San Diego. The electric orange stress balls from Support for Special Needs were on top of the swag bags just as our girl was getting her backpack ready for school. Without much thought, I tossed one to her and asked if she'd like to take one to school to make the first day easier. Sure, she'd said, and tucked it into her backpack.

When I'd picked up the three stress balls after the special needs mini-conference at BlogHer 2011, I hadn't been thinking of anything in particular. To tell you the truth, I don't really understand stress balls, probably because my anxiety doesn't come out in fidgeting. But I so loved the humor that Support for Special Needs had squeezed onto them ("Stressed? It's going to take more than a squishy ball. Right?") that I'd taken enough for juggling.

Not surprisingly, our girl's first day back to school was stressful for her and for us. Nothing new in that. It's pretty much the same every year: even though her school is lovely, even though she knows all the kids, even though she has just a short bus ride to get there, and even though her teachers are loving and kind, she still cried, in her words, "all day." She cried the second day and third day and much of the first two weeks. She tells us that she cried because everyone talks too much and there is too much noise. But this year she commented that she squished the squishy ball and that helped, too.

Her principal and teachers reported that she'd cried just a little, not all day and much less than last year, but that she'd kept the stress ball with her everywhere and it seemed to work so well for her.  They were obviously pleased. Squishing a stress ball is okay. Crumbling up paper and grinding pencils into desk tops is not preferred. Something in the tone of their reports seemed to be congratulating us on thinking of sending it in, but actually it was a happy accident: the coincidence of unpacking a swag bag that contained a little bit of the genuis of and packing up a backpack for the first day of school.  We had our "no ideas but in things" start to the school year, thanks to Support for Special Needs. Now we only have to find more things that work for our girl so that she's not in tears every September.

I think we're going to need an awfully big educational reform swag bag to hold everything we need.


Julia Roberts said...

This of course, makes me happy for a lot of reasons. 1) That she found something that helped and it was that orange ball. 2) That you found the humor in what I put on that ball! Because really, sometimes funny is all we've got!

I'll think of something clever for next September!

Kristin said...

So very cool that it helped her out.

audball said...

I'm so glad your girl is adjusting better to her first days of school - and that the stress ball helped! Love the catchy phrase on it; you gotta laugh, right?

We had an uneventful first day back this year (whew!) - we decided to homeschool using the VA program and really like it. What I would give for a school that could accommodate our El better! I feel like the story of The Three Bears: this school is too easy with not enough work, this school is too hard with too much noise and too many transitions....We had to think of something because I was afraid she was going to learn nothing! We have had so many bad funding issues for our public schools; many of the SPED programs were drastically cut or gone altogether.

You all are so fortunate - tell your Sweet M we wish her the best of luck! :)