People with WAGR Syndrome tend to have anxiety issues, along with some nuances of OCD. Evie has such issues, and it was quite evident these past two days.
Since summers are usually rough for Evie due to the lack of structure, and very little mental stimulation; I have found that "playing school" is a GREAT way to help her stay happy throughout the day as well as a way alleviate the culture shock of returning to school.
I have to say, we have a pretty sweet "pretend school." We have laminated schedule/subjects, the days of the week, the weather for the day, and our own set of students. Our cat, Jinxy, even gets into it. When he hears us start school, he comes running into the room and has to get right up by the schedule. We affectionately refer to him as Principal Jinx.
Yesterday, in the morning when we were starting school, I had this BRILLIANT idea to "simulate" the start of a new school year for Evie in our pretend play. I said, "Evie...what if we had all new students tomorrow? As if it's a new school year? You don't have the same students in your class every year, so we should get new students in our pretend classroom."
She thought it was a GREAT idea.
I was not prepared.
So, here is what Evie's anxiety looks like:
"Yes, let's do that! When can we do that?"
"Well, honey, let's play regular school today and then we can make new name pockets tonight and have tomorrow be the first day of school."
"Yes. Let's write the new names now."
"Um...can we just keep going with school and then we can write them later today?"
"Oh, but I want to write the new names now."
So, I gave her a notebook and she started writing out the new names of the classmates. She proceeded to write them over and over again on separate pieces of paper throughout the day (20 names on four pieces of paper). She wanted to skip going to the pool so we could make the new name pockets. She had her dress for the first day laid out before bedtime. She set her alarm so she could get up early today. She was nervous about going to bed because I hadn't completed all the new name pockets for the students. She was ready for pretend school earlier than she has EVER been ready for real school. This meant that I was in the shower getting ready for my day before Jeff was, and I don't have a JOB!
Yes, it's adorable. Yes, it's exciting to know that my kid loves me and loves my silly ideas. Yes, it's a wonderful feeling to know that playing school is one of her favorite things to do. But, oh my goodness...there are times that I'm afraid to say ANYTHING because I don't know the chain of events that a may result from something that I utter.
Do I have any solutions? Not really. By four o'clock yesterday afternoon, after hours of talking about "the first day of pretend school" I finally had to say, "Honey...I can't talk about school anymore, I'm all talked out." She handled it pretty well...but I felt guilty having to do it.
Many of our kids (and adults) with WAGR have amazing imaginations, fantastically generous and creative ideas...and a lot of anxiety to go along with it.
I can't help but wonder what Evie and I will be playing five years from now...