I don’t know which of us is more nervous.
OK, that’s crap. Yes I do. My baby girl. By far.
The fire drill is this morning.
We’ve done it all right this time.
We waited until the day before – just enough time, not too much time – the constant balancing and gauging and then rebalancing – and well, I hope it’s just enough time and not too much time. And isn’t this the game we play?
We have the Social Story from last year. From the time that we didn’t have any warning and my girl nearly crawled out of her skin.
We have the story about the nice firefighters and how they aren’t usually at school, but once they were because they were testing the fire alarm. About how they keep us safe. How the fire alarm tells us that we need to leave the building so that the firefighters can turn it off. How when the fire alarm is too loud, I can cover my ears and stay with my teacher. How we’ll walk together and wait for the fire alarm to stop and the firefighters to tell us it’s OK to go back in the building. How if I hear the fire alarm, I can pretend it’s saying, “Get out of the building!” in a funny voice.
The story that we had to write with the BCBA after my girl nearly crawled out of her skin.
The story that didn’t stop her from saying EVERY SINGLE DAY since that fire drill- EVERY SINGLE DAY without fail – “No noises at school today. There will NOT be firefighters at school today.” Every single God damned day.
We have the checklist. She knows what to do. Together we read through the procedure. We practiced how her aide will help her check each item off the list.
When I hear the fire alarm I will cover my hands with my ears.
“What will you cover?”
I will have a quiet, calm voice and body.
“Will we scream and run?”
“No, we will stay calm.”
Then I will line up with my class and my teachers with my ears covered.
“What will you do next?
“Stay with Miss K.”
My teacher will lead me out of the building and away from the alarm.
“Where will you go?”
I will wait outside with my teacher until the nice firemen turn off the alarm.
“Who will turn off the alarm?”
“The nice firemen.”
When the nice firemen turn off the alarm, the fire drill is done and I will walk back to my classroom with my class and my teacher.
I’ve told her that she’s different this year. She’s more grown-up. She can handle this. It won’t be the same.
As I walked out of her room last night, my girl’s last words for the day were, “Tomorrow is my fire day.”
I left her at school this morning covering her ears. She didn’t believe me when I told her not to worry, that it wouldn’t happen without her knowing.
She was shaking as I kissed her goodbye. I made the funny voice. “What does the alarm REALLY say?” She laughed as we said, “Get out of the building, get out of the building!”
We’re as ready as we can be. All hands are on deck. She’s going to be OK.
She’s going to be OK.
Tell me she’s going to be OK.