Thursday, September 10, 2009

1st day of school

It's probably a good thing that I am such a slacker and didn't post these on Tuesday or yesterday....I would have said a lot of ugly things along with it!

Anyhow, Tuesday was the first day of school here in Spokane Valley. Hunter, my big 5 year old guy, started Kindergarten!! I can NOT believe it, how is it that I can have a Kindergartner????? I did not think that I would be SOOOO emotional when I dropped Hunter off at school. At the age of 3 Hunter atteneded public preschool (available for all kids in Texas) for a half day, 5 days a week and this past school year he atteneded a fabulous Montessori School 3 full days a week. He is SO smart and SOOOO social so I had/have no doubts that he is completly ready for 5 full days of Kindergarten, so I wasn't worried about him (I had met his teacher who is very sweet, young and hip, and seems like she will be a lot of fun, a perfect match for Hunter.) But, for whatever reason, standing on the playground watching him line up with his class I started SOBBING, seriously boo-hooing. It was pitiful, luckily I was wearing my sunglasses and standing far enough away from Hunter that he didn't notice so he wouldn't be totally embarrassed by his crazy mother!! Anyhow, he had a great day just like I knew he would!!!! Here is the handsome guy.

checking it all out

Walking into the school
Boo hoo hoo hoo

My little Ella on the other hand, you know my little 33 inch tall spitfire, I was not so sure was ready for this school thing. (Ok, really I knew that she would be fine and think it was fun, but I knew that I am not ready for this for her.) Ella is in an ECAP (I don't know what it stands for, but it's like HeadStart) class with 17 other children, only one other that I know of with special needs. She is half the size of the other children, the youngest (she made the b-day cutoff by one day) and of course essentially non-verbal. We met Ella's teacher at the open house last week, I was SO NOT impressed. The teacher bent down, said hi to Ella and then walked out of the classroom to greet some people she knew in the hallway, it was pretty crazy there but she did not attempt at all to talk with me any further. Doesn't she know that Ella's mother is neurotic and scared to death of leaving my baby with people I don't know for 2 1/2 hours a day, and also that I have very HIGH expectations of what goes on with my baby. Hmph!! Anyhow, 1st day of school we show up, the teacher has NO SMILES for any of the kids (really when you work with 3 to 5 years olds isn't it a requirement that you like kids???) no "it'll be okay mom," for me (Hunter's teacher was assuring all of the parents, and she was having a crazy morning too) no "is she potty trained? Did you bring diapers? No nothing except go hang up your backpack and stand in line to wash your hands for breakfast. Um, yeah pretty sure Ella needed to be shown what to do no worries I did it, although I definetly think I was getting stink eye for being in there. Then Ella goes to wash her hands and even while standing on the stool still can not reach the water, this is not looking good to me. The room starts filling up rather quickly so I back out and plan to watch from the door, suddenly the door closes and there is a curtain over the window in the door. AAAAAHHHHH!! Of course I started crying and had to leave the building. When I pick her up the kids are being shoved out the door with their backpacks on, I asked the aide "how did she do?" her response "she's so cute!!" Really???? Great. That's just why I want her to go to school, so she can be cute. So we get in the van and I say "Ella what did you do at school today?" she says "cool" which is her way of saying school. Great, I have NO IDEA what my baby did for 2 1/2 hours.

Yesterday I worked and so Chris took Ella to school and picked her up. He said that he was not impressed and that her teacher seemed like a b***h to him, which for him to notice anything really says something. So last night I was going through my options in my head. I could yank her out of school and keep her at home, BUT Ella does so well learning from other kids and really needs the social aspect of school plus I LOVE my job (you know, I work at a school for kids 0-3 and I like to smile at them because I like them, ha ha) and just take Ella into the school for her therapies. I could try her in the Montessori Preschool that Hunter went to last year, but I'm not so sure that she is old enough for that yet, they demand a bit more from the kids and it is very individual driven which I'm sure they would help her but then there is the cost of that (we already pay for Hunter to attend full-day Kindergarten because he needs it : ) plus I would still have to take her to the public school for her therapies. I could always ask to change teachers, which is still a huge possibility. Anyhow I had a pretty restless night because all this was swimming through my head. (Which by the way, I failed to mention that I decided to wean myself off of my anti-depressant, long-story, but this was obviously NOT a good time, too much change going on so I now cry at the drop of a hat!!) So this morning I take Ella into school, preparing for battle or at least to schedule a meeting with the teacher, and much to my surprise the teacher smiled at Ella. I know, maybe not important to most but is to me!! She told Ella, "go hang up your backpack and then go in to wash your hands so you can eat." So, Ella heads over to her little locker by herself (knows which one is hers, they have a pic of her above it) of course I have to help her hang her bag up cause she can't reach that high and then she heads right for the other room to wash her hands. The aide has to pick her up to reach the water and the teacher says to me "we ordered a stool with another step so she can reach." Ok great. So she does notice my kid, this is a step in the right direciton. Then when I pick her up the special ed teacher in charge of Ella's case says "I've never met a 3 year old so ready for school. Good job getting her ready," and tells me that Ella already knows the routine and does what the other kids are doing. So, I definetly feel a ton better today. Still not overly enthused but better. Whew. Here are the pics of Ella....
Ella is in love with her backpack. She calls it "blehbleh." It is SO cute, I'll have to record her saying it!!
Here she is walking into school. Yes, I know her backpack is as big as her.
They are required to bring "full size" backpacks.
"Hurry up mom!!!"
Here she is in front of her little locker
And here she is waiting for no doubt her favorite part of school, breakfast!
Stay tuned for posts about Ella's last day at the Guild School (along with some REALLY cute video) and a ton of pics from our trip to Georgia!!!


Leah Spring said...

Oh my gosh, how cute!!!! I know some schools ban them (ours does) but we had a roller backpack put into Angela's IEP, so had license to have one. LOL This worked much better for her than trying to carry a backpack that was as big as her when it was EMPTY, and weighed more than her when it was full!

My name is Sarah said...

This is Joyce. What an emotional few days you have had. The kids look adorable!! I always wear my sunglasses the first day of school even if it is dark and cloudy just to hide the tears. I think I even put them on each September when TJ gets in his car to go back to college:)

From your pictures and description, I have to agree that Ella seems so ready for school. As hard as it was to leave her, I think it sounds like the teacher "gets it" which in the long run will be so good for Ella.

I look forward to hearing about how marvelous she is doing. Hugs to you mom during this transition.

Cammie Heflin said...

How cute! Sounds like it's gonna be okay, but how stressful for you! Addy turns 3 next month and I have chosen not to send her to the preschool classroom yet. She is nonambulatory and non-verbal and is pretty much like a 12-18 month old. She is 31 inches tall and 18lbs, she's a baby! So her therapies are going to continue at home and we'll try preschool next January (2011). Good luck Ella! I think she'll do great!

Jennie said...

Kacey, oh my goodness, I could just eat that little girl up! I'm so sad for you that the first day was so hard. But how encouraging to hear the great compliments about her being prepared and into the routine!

Jennifer said...

OK, after reading the first day, I was totally going to suggest switching teachers. I think she should have shown Ella more attention (not only because she's the cutest in the class, but b/c she needs more help!). Seriously, where is Ms. Gilkerson when you need her?! :) But, for her to order another stool, she has to be on top of things, right? If she wants to go every day, they must be doing something right. I'll pray for ya!

Mary said...

You have the cutest kids ever. I hope things work out at school but its good to have a back up plan. I'm the queen of plans but always feel better when i don't really have to use them.

Colleen said...

She is so darn cute and happy for school! How stressful that must have been to try and communicate to this teacher about your baby. I'm glad she eventually came around and started smiling. Hang in there! You're a great Mom!

Cate said...

My daughter who has DS is 3 and just started preschool too. I also have a 5-year-old son who just started kindergarten. I was crying too. So much change!

I wouldn't be too happy with Ella's teacher either. I cut everyone some slack because it's the beginning of the year, but still. Can you ask for a meeting to talk about the problems?

My big issue is communicating with the school, and they have started sending home a form with some fill-in-the blanks about the day. She also has a notebook that they're supposed to write in, although they haven't yet.

Aunt Tami said...

Gosh, what a stressful first day of school for mommy!!! Glad Hunter had a great day and Ella!!!! But poor you!!!! I would have totally asked to changed teachers, but it is good that you waited. Sometimes waiting a few days to see how things progress (or fail to progress) is a good thing and it seems to have worked in your favor!! She seems to be on top of things by ordering a new stool. That sucks that they close the curtain and dont let the parents view for a little while at least!!! Geesh!! But maybe it is easier that way..not for you for them..ha ha!! And of course she is doing exceptional..its Ella!! I wouldnt expect any less!! She is a smart little cookie!! Pretty soon she will be running that classroom!! LOL!! I would have to agree that stopping your antidepressants at this particular time probably wasnt the best idea...highly emotional time to be doing that!!! Why are you wanting to stop them anyway??? You said that you are paying for Hunter to go to full day Kindergarten, is that extra or is he in a private school?? I am so glad they are enjoying school so much...and we love you guys so much too!!!! Hugs and Kisses~Aunt Tami and family

Amy Flege said...

you sound so much like me on maysons first day! but i will say they were prepared for her, etc.... its so hard isnt it??? hang in there, i have a feeling both of us will feel better as time goes on!!!
Love the pictures. your kids are so adorable!

datri said...

Oh, she is just TOO cute. Hope things get better with the teacher. I love her backpack -- it's almost as big as she is, LOL! Kayla still can't wear her backpack and she's in Kindy.

Bethany said...

Aww, it is so hard to not know what is going on. I have had to deal with that this week with Payton's class too. I'm trying to let it go, but it is hard! Hopefully they keep Ella in the loop!

TUC said...

I burst out laughing when I saw the pic of Ella from behind walking with daddy. That blehbleh really is almost as big as she is. Yeah we know she's not going to school to be cute because God knows she is already as stinkin cute as a kid can be! Why don't you invite yourself to a one on one with her teacher and let her know your concerns, as well as find out more about her? She is going to fall in love with Ella, who wouldn't?

JoAnn said...

Kacey, I totally understand your fears and concerns. My Emma, also 3 years old (not DS, but definitely special needs), started preschool last week too. I was worried even though she's going to a school for ONLY special needs kids!

But your little Ella is remarkable...she looks totally ready just to jump into school and enjoy it! But don't hesitate to ask for a different teacher if there are issues; trust your instincts!!

What a little doll Ella is!! She is just too cute for words!!

Anne and Whitney: Up, Down and All Around said...

LOVE the pictures from the first day of school!!!! I was getting worried as I read your post about Ella's class, but I feel much better after hearing that the teacher was smiling at Ella, that they ordered a new stepstool so she can reach to wash her hands and that they are so impressed with how ready she is for school! awesome!!!
hope you are doing alright with both in school and your job!!!!