First Day of School
Today was Colin's first day of being away from me, at least in his memory.
I worked when he was very small. But he doesn't remember that now.
Colin ran right up to the teacher's aide as soon as we introduced him to her, and patted her on the head and gave her a hug. When he met the teacher, Miss Lisa, he ran up to her, too, and held her hand.
Then he saw other little boys--boys just like him, rambunctious little guys, and ironically, all blonde too--on the playground equipment and he followed without a moment's hesitation.
That's because he didn't know Dave and I were going to leave him there.
Last night, through hysterical tears, I tore apart the garage, pawing through boxes in search of one precious item. After forty-five minutes, I found it: Colin's baby calendar. The one with the Winnie the Pooh design. I had made little entries on different dates: "Colin cooed today." "Today we had visitors: Aunt Ronni and Kate." "I hate my bath!"
And there were other things. Things I had forgotten. "I sit outside the bathroom door and say da-da-da when Daddy is in there." "Today I said 'mama' for the first time!" "We went to the doctor's. She put me on Zantac for my stomach. Mommy switched me to a hypoallergenic formula. I'm doing much better now."
The entries stopped abruptly at 11 months. And I sat down and thought about it. And thought and thought and thought. Why 11 months?
And then it hit me. Yes, that was when he started daycare. But it was also when he started cow's milk.
Could it be? There is that link between milk and autism--that's why the GFCF diet I wrote about some time ago. Was it the milk? In fact, was it milk in general? Because one thing's for certain. Colin got a horrible start on formula, suddenly made forward bounds intellectually when he went hypoallergenic, and then regressed on a downward spiral as soon as we took him off the formula and put him on cow's milk.
If it's something that simple, I'll cry. With relief. And anger.
Last night, I looked at Colin and screamed inside of my head, You have to leave me for a new school tomorrow--because you won't be normal. If only you'd be normal, I wouldn't have to send you someplace else. We could be together forever. Damn it, damn it. I don't want to do this, I DON'T WANT TO DO THIS.
But it wasn't true.
All kids leave their parents at some point.
This morning Dave and I left, quietly, almost afraid to see what Colin would do; afraid that he'd miss us, and afraid that he wouldn't. We drove slowly past the school, our eyes peeled for our son.
He was there on the playground, holding his teacher's hand. He saw the van. He had that look on his face--the I'm-not-sure-yet-if-I-should-be-crying look.
August 29, 2006; Colin's first day of school; Colin, at age three.