"It's okay honey Daddy and Papa will be back," I tried to comfort her as she sobbed. "I wanna go home!" She continued to sob. She was a pretty sad sight to see with tears running down her puffy eyes. "Sweetheart, everything will be okay. Daddy and Papa will be back later but in the meantime we're going to have so much fun here." Nothing I said seemed to be making a difference. I knew she just needed sometime to adjust. The first day of school could be very scary but even more so for someone with a past like Hannah's. I was heartbroken when I was informed of all of the abuse she endured in her past. I can certainly understand how she would be terrified being without her parents.
As I tried my best to comfort Hannah my aid, Ryan, walked up to me, "What can I do to help you?" "Why don't you get class started today and I'll stay with her," I told him. "Honey class is about to start. Why we join everyone else on the mat? You can sit with me." I tried encouraging her. As I tried to get her to the mat she opted for finding the nearest corner to hide in. She sat there cowering and clutching to her elephant. I was honestly surprised she didn't bolt for the door given how upset she was about her fathers leaving. "Oh Hannah, you won't be able to hear what's going on from in there,"I tried but she continued to cower there crying. As I tried to coax her out of the corner, another student of mine Katie walked up to us. Katie was a bit similar to Hannah but her regression was due to a brain injury rather than abuse. "Miss April why is she sad?" Katie asked. "She's just scared, it's her first day, you remember how scary your first day was don't you?" I told her. "Yeah I remember I cried a lot. Maybe I can be her friend Miss April," Katie responded. "Katie that's very sweet of you but I think right now Hannah just needs some space, maybe when she's feeling better you can be her friend," I gently suggested. "Okay Miss April," Katie said before she went to join the rest of the class. I turned my attention back to Hannah,"sweetheart does your elephant have a name?" I asked her. She nodded her head and replied through her tears, "El..Ellie." "That's a lovely name. When I was a little girl I had a cat stuffie her name was Whiskers," I responded. "I...I have a real kittie at home," she replied. "You do?" I asked her enthusiastically. "Her name is Juliet, I wanted to bring her but my Daddy said no kitties at school," she said calming down a bit. "Your Daddy's right, I think Juliet is much happier at home than she would be here," I said chuckling a bit. Seeing that she calmed down some I suggested, "Hannah it sounds like everyone is having a lot of fun over there, how about we go join the rest of the class on the mat? Ellie can stay with you and I'll sit next to you" "O....okay" she said nervously taking my hand.
When we made our way over to the mat Ryan was in the middle of teaching. Hannah and I took a seat towards the back. After he finished his lesson, I decided to introduce Hannah. "Everyone I want to introduce you to a new student in our class. This is Hannah. This is her first day, now I know you all remember how scary your first day was so I want everyone to be nice to her, understand?" I said. One of our students Kevin not so kindly responded, "she cries a lot! She must be a baby!" When Hannah heard that her eyes started to water. "Hey Kevin that wasn't nice. If I remember right you cried the whole day on your first day." Ryan replied and winked at Hannah. Kevin's cheeks started to blush and I saw Hannah giggle a bit.
For the rest of the morning Ryan and I switched off teaching and sitting next to Hannah. Hannah still seemed a little nervous but she wasn't as upset as she was when her parents left. By nap time she was out like a light. I think all of the sadness of this morning tired the poor little thing out. I was getting some lesson planning done when Katie walked up to me, "Katie why aren't you sleeping it's nap time," I said a bit sternly. "Miss April, Hannah's crying again." Katie said. "Oh sweetheart thank you for telling me. You go back to sleep and I'll go check on her." I walked up to Hannah and she was curled up clutching her elephant and quietly crying. "Hannah, honey what's wrong?" I asked her. "Dr..dream," she replied. "You had a bad dream?" I asked her. She nodded her head and replied "I want my Daddy and Papa." "Oh sweetheart, it's okay. You're okay. Do you want to tell me about your dream?" I said as I stroked her hair. She shook her head frantically "Okay, okay, how about I stay here with you until you fall back asleep sweetheart," I said as I held her hand and stroked her hair. She continued to cry some more but was able to calm down and fall back to sleep after a little while.
After nap time the rest of the day went pretty smoothly for Hannah. She was pretty quiet and reserved throughout the afternoon but she was no where near the devastated girl she was in the morning. Katie was very eager to be Hannah's friend but Hannah still seemed a little nervous and kept to herself. I reminded Katie that Hannah just needed some time and to be patient; she seemed satisfied with that answer but I knew she would keep trying in the coming days.
The day was coming to an end and it was time to go home. Everyone's parents were coming to pick up their children. When Hannah spotted her parents she ran into their arms, "Daddy! Papa!" She said as her fathers embraced her. "Hello darling, did you have a good day?" Freddie asked her. "Daddy, Papa I missed you!" She replied. "Oh we missed you too love, very much!" Alan replied. "Hannah did well today. We had a little bit of a rough start this morning and she did have a bad dream at nap time but she seemed much better this afternoon." I told her parents. "Oh darling, we knew you could do it," Freddie said. "Daddy, Papa can we go home now?" She asked. "Sure darling, but say goodbye to Miss April first," Freddie said chuckling. "Bye bye," Hannah said waving to me. "Goodbye Hannah, I'll see you tomorrow," I said to her as Freddie picked her up and walked towards the door.