Since working at T4’s preschool, I have been blessed in many ways. (Not the least of which is with my 3rd case of strep… but alas, I guess I just need to toughen up.) Anyway, one boy in particular has been a true delight. He is a vivacious, gregarious, chatty, funny, Thomas the Tank lovin’, bundle of joy. We know that now – but when he first started school, he tucked up into some sort of shell and wouldn’t come out – or speak.
I arrived on the scene at the end of October and the teacher I work with hadn’t heard him say anything. His parents were very concerned and had already been to the pediatrician and psychologist wondering why he had closed up so much. His mother was obviously terrified something was very wrong. At home he was a crazy bundle of stories about school and his friends there, but none of that showed up with him and his backpack at school. His teacher had been patient and loving, but without a teacher’s aid, there was little time for one on one interaction.
The first few days I was there we played cars together on the carpet. I would occasionally hear him making car sound effects and so I joined in. But, when I would ask him a question like, “Do you like cars?” I would get a blank look. A few days later, I invited him to come to my “Gas Station” for a fill up. He nodded.
A few days later as we were zooming around the carpet together, I asked him again if he would like to come over to my “Gas Station” for another fill up. And then… he said,
“Hee Hee… My mommy has a white car and my sister sits next to me and we laugh together when mommy fills the car up with gas. I like Thomas the Train, and Percy, and I have lots of trains at home and movies about trains and pictures of trains and sweaters with trains. I saw a movie where Thomas was ghost and it was scary and my mommy said it was just pretend and I knew that already….” and on and on and on and on and on and on.
It was as if he had been saving it all up! And out it all came and it’s been coming ever since. He is the chattiest little one we have in the entire class. His mom wrote me a precious Christmas card thanking me for working with him. She expressed in just a few lines how afraid she had been and how relieved she was now. She was grateful for the little time and attention I gave him over cars and trucks.
I haven’t opened any of my Christmas presents yet, but I’m pretty sure her card will be my favorite gift – along with her son’s chatty “Merry Christmas Mrs. Dager!” today as we sent him on his way.