Today I am grateful for how my first time volunteering in Baylor's classroom went. I first brought the idea up to him about a week ago, and at that point he was pretty excited to have me come and work for a little while in his classroom. Fast forward to last night at dinner time and he was totally against it; the thought of me being in his classroom made him cry and he told me he didn't want me there. I had a feeling this would happen - he's not a fan of seeing people or things out of context and can get pretty upset by it - so we talked about it some and then shelved it for the night. Sadly this morning he was still unhappy that I would be visiting his class today. I told him, in all honesty, that I was a little nervous to come to his class and meet all those new kids, and while that seemed to soften his stance a bit he still didn't want me there.
I warned his teacher of his feelings on the topic and ended up going to volunteer during reading workshop anyway. When I first walked in he didn't see me, but as I became engrossed in listening to what his teacher was saying and how she was teaching them about learning to read I heard the beginnings of a familiar sob; poor Baylor had noticed me and was starting to cry in the middle of his classmates. After she got the kids going a bit, she went over and talked to Baylor who emphasized that he didn't want to see me or talk to me, even shoving his thumbs in his ears and putting his hands up as blinders next to his eyes to make sure I was completely ignored.
Doing my best to let my little guy have his space, I went from classmate to classmate and listened to them "read" to me as best they could; some were better than others to be sure, and it was fascinating to see the wide range of abilities at this age. Toward the end of their "read to self" time, I was listening to one of Baylor's classmates when I heard a weird slapping noise not far from me. I looked up and over my shoulder to see Baylor smiling at me through a bookcase! I motioned to him that I was going to keep listening to his little friend, and when he slapped his book again to get my attention he smiled at me and gave me a warm wave.
The rest of the time there was much more relaxed for me; I didn't have to worry about Baylor's reaction to seeing me because he had already become okay with me being there and meeting his classmates. I think, by the end, he was even happy I was there.
And beyond Baylor being happy to have me there, which was awesome enough as it was, I got to meet the kids in his class (including his little "best buddy"), see how the class works, and get a glimpse at what he does during his days when he's away from me.
For all that and more, I am incredibly grateful. And hey, I get to do it again next week!
Have a wonderful night!