I get asked about how Playette is doing all the time. Which is wonderful. I'm so glad that people care!
So let me break it down so that it will forever and consistently be broke.
One of the main reasons...no wait...THE main reason we live where we do is because of what we learned about the elementary school. Our desire was not only for Playette to be fully included, but for it to be done well. Because, y'know, there is a difference.
I was tired of fighting for every little thing and, chances are, we'll be moving again sooner than later, so why not take a reprieve?
The first week of school for everyone else was not so for the Kindergartners. They were provided a gradual entry schedule, which meant that we, along with Playette, went to the classroom and met the teacher on that Monday and then she went back for a full day with 1/3 of her class on the following Thursday.
I was very interested in how that Thursday would go, so I waited to hear from the teacher and...nothing. I tried not to flip out. I was almost kinda successful. Perhaps just a miscommunication?
So, on Friday morning at 7:30, after tossing and turning all night, I called the school and left a message for her.
And then I waited.
All day, I waited.
When school let out at 3:25, I sat dejected and came up with a hundred reasons why this situation was obviously not going to work out. No communication. Was my daughter doomed to be sitting in the corner alone, not learning anything all year? Or would she be the class mascot, coddled and, again, not taught one academic skill?
At about 4pm, we left the house. I was sad and needed to get out. I spent the rest of the weekend feeling like my dog had run away with my best friend. I whined to whoever would listen. I sighed. A lot.
And then on Monday, Labor Day, I checked the voicemail. Totally randomly.
The teacher had called at 4:30 on Friday. She filled me in on all the haps from Thursday. She gave me her personal cell phone number. She was totally nice and professional and everything I would have hoped. She assured us that she teaches about diversity in her classroom and that she has had children with Ds in her class every year for the past several years.
Things had gone well after all. They weren't planning to kick her out (my totally ridic worst nightmare).
And then, because gradual entry is cruel, we got to do the First Day kinda all over again. First Week! And then, the following Monday, First FULL Week!
Every day, she would come home with her folder full of worksheets, showing us what she had accomplished. Sometimes they had little notes on them, saying something was done "HOH" or hand-over-hand (meaning Playette was guided while writing) or by herself (yay!) via the term "IND" or independently.
On the first Tuesday, when I went to Back to School Night (and brought the teacher something small and thoughtful so that I could restore a semi-decent spot in the universe), I was told that Playette was disciplined for something or other and had been required to move her clothespin from green to yellow. I guessed that she didn't like that and I was correct.
No coddling: Check.
Since then, we have worked through numbers and sight words and writing and library books and lunch making and bus riding and and and...
It's an adjustment for us all, really.
With the new routine, I get to see both of my children lay in Playette's bed at night, happily and expectantly looking forward to being read a story. I'm kinda in love with that part of the day. They fidget and laugh and play and sometimes I fuss about stopping if she doesn't stop or follow along or get off of him already, but I never do.
She enjoys school and they enjoy each other and that's the best scenario for me.
Now, I had planned to share these photos, including some of Playette's classwork from that first week, but now I'm all nervous. Vulnerable. I was so proud and still am, but I also know that this is not typical five-year-old performance. I have to keep reminding myself that it doesn't have to be. She has every right to go to her neighborhood school and have access to the general education curriculum. She doesn't have to do it all the same way as her peers.
I have to repeat this over and over to myself.
I'm a work in progress, y'all.
Because, honestly, I think she's doing FANTASTIC. She is working to her own full potential and doing more than I even realized she could. And if she were given some of this work again today, I know she'd do even better. She's progressing.
Hooray for teachers and aides and special educators and therapists and volunteers and peer models and administrators and parents like us who truly give a damn.
It takes a village, y'all.
IEP meeting this Wednesday. Am I too relaxed? Maybe. But I'll take it.
Of course there are things that need to be honed and chatted about and fretted over and negotiated and I'm sure to show my Inner Crazy Lady again soon enough, but not today. And not tomorrow either (well, only because tomorrow is a holiday). Instead, I will take that time to worry about the fifty-eleven other things that are rolling around in my brain.