Breath in, breath out...deep breath...this is a good thing...those were the words playing in my head all morning as Daniel and I got the boys ready for school. Friends, I was a nervous wreck knowing I was about to drop off Max for his first day of pre-school...I mean four hours away from this momma is a long time for him (and lets face it, me too...probably more emphasis on the me part!).
I absolutely LOVE his teacher, Mrs. Shea, and I knew he was in the best hands and was going to have a blast being around other kids his age....but it's still hard you know? Trying to physically align all the doctors orders for him to attend school, pack and prepare for the nurse to give him his bolus feed, pack up extra clothes for his accidents, bring a stock load of extra diapers/wipes to have on hand...
While emotionally preparing to be at ease with not being able to comfort him if he freaks out, not being there to see what is his favorite part of the classroom or school day, not being there to see his "firsts" like I was with the other kids because he's only 3 and already starting this schooling process. (Bad pictures alert...my camera wouldn't stop fogging up from the humidity.)
When the other two head off to school or mother's day out programs, they come home and share how their day went. But when you have a non-verbal child, your heart breaks a little to not ever hear from their perspective how things went.
So, while I'm wrestling with all my emotional momma stuff our sweet Mr. Max is just going along for the ride with us like it was no big deal. He of course doesn't realize that he is going to school, about to be left for a few hours, or how cool it is that he has his "very own locker" as Kason would say :)...
But like usual, our chill, go-with-the-flow guy was intrigued looking around the room. I took him over to the mat with the other kids and Daniel whisked me out of the door :).
So, there I was nervous still hoping for the best, but trying to prepare myself for the worst just in case...meaning he would be over stimulated or get too tired and freak out like he does sometime, but have no place to "get away" like he does at our home. I received a text from his teacher (because like I said, she's awesome like that)...
Max's vision therapist and vision mobility therapist worked with him and his teacher to make sure the room was set up easily for him to learn his way around. They even set up a little space just for him with a sensory area including lots of hard objects like he likes! Look at him try and use that right hand!!!
Of course I'm gushing with happiness that our little guy is having fun and I haven't had a call for any major melt downs. Then, when I go to pick up him, the teacher just went on and on about how awesome he did!!!
One of the aides even took a video of him spinning a toy and just giggling away while the other kids were playing in the background. The teacher said the only time he had trouble was when they were outside, he wasn't crazy about all the textures they were challenging him with (which is normal for him)...but Friday they have a different plan of attack. He did start rocking and hitting himself when he heard my voice, but once I got him out of his wheelchair and loved on him he calmed immediately.
Do you see that smile? Can't you just hear him giggling from this picture? My friends, he absolutely LOVED school!!! He hasn't stopped smiling or laughing since I picked him up...even right now when he should be napping, he is having a party in his bed :). I truly believe this is why it's important for us parents to let go and give our kids room to grow. While I knew in the back of my head that he was going to have a great time and that the school (teachers, aides, and therapists) were going to be able to provide for his cognitive/social/emotional needs in ways that I simply can't...I allowed my fear and anxiety to creep in. Today I am rejoicing that both my boys love school and that we are blessed to have other adults pour their lives into ours! (Especially since we all know it takes a village to raise a child.) So, here's to an awesome pre-K year for Mr. Max! Now...to somehow show Zoe this is a good thing and that she doesn't have to get tears in her eyes when she sees two empty car seats next to hers :).