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Rarely have I been so happy to wake up to a Friday. And I’m not alone. The entire Whitworth-Goldstein household is ready for the long exhale that is a weekend, having come through a pretty challenging week. The one who most needs it the most is Simon, but Matt and I are trailing close behind.

It was a week of highs and lows. I know the balance will tip the other way shortly, but this week at least the scale tipped to the low side.

It’s not just that Simon cried every day when we dropped him off and had to be taken out of the room to be comforted. It’s that he’s taken his stress home with him, too. It’s been over a week since Simon has slept as well and readily as he used to. He’s cried when we put him down at night, he’s awakened frequently at either midnight or 4:00 a.m. and needed to be comforted, and he’s barely napped at all. Coming from a child who previously all but begged to go to bed and regularly logged 11 hours at night and 2-3 during the day, this represents a huge shift. I can only hope it will also be a temporary shift, as currently our entire household is tired and cranky.

Then there are the stress-related behaviors. Simon hasn’t let go of dirty dog for a week. It practically takes pliers to separate himself from his pacifier. I’m sure if he were older, he’d either be binge eating or smoking, so clear is it that stress is manifesting itself in an oral fixation. I suppose it could be worse: at least he’s not twisting his hair out of his head or biting his cuticles, two hideous obsessive-compulsive habits found in my immediate family. And I’m happy that he’s eating. I’ve been cruising on erratic junk food binges myself, having not much appetite for actual food.

For the icing on the cake, Simon currently has a runny nose and eyes. Now, it could well be that he’s spent a fair bit of time outside, the allergen count is high, and he’s stuffed up accordingly. Or, it could be that he has his first case of what a dear friend calls “kennel cough.” Notably, the runny nose began his first full week in school, and the child has had only been sick once (a mild stomach bug) in his previous 22 months.

The upside stuff takes up less space. Wednesday afternoon I took him to visit his friend Christopher after his barely-there nap. When we got there, Simon charged in to greet Christopher immediately, initiated play in a way I haven’t seen before, and followed a few two or three step commands I gave him without hesitation. He also saw Christopher’s late lunch set out on a toddler table (fish sticks and ketchup), sat himself down in a chair at the table, and helped himself to a taste of something he’d never had before. That was new as well. These differences are subtle but noticeable, and I think are attributable to time spent at KIP. He’s already learning.

He’s also picked up a few new words that are hilarious in their randomness. From a new toy he’s picked up “yak”, after months of reading about the festival of lights he said “Chanukah” last night, he’s told us that the animal on his backpack is a “shark” and yesterday he made his first ever attempt at “Grandma”, as in “Yay! Grandma!”

I’m hoping that next week will be a bit easier on all of us. If only I could gaze into a crystal ball and see Simon at school in a month or so, I know the next few weeks would pass faster. In the absence of such magic, I’m relying on the everyday magic of the weekend. TGIF.

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