**To catch up on this Flashback Series, click the link at the top of the page.**
When Baby Girl was three, it was time to switch from Early Intervention to pre-school. She was heartbroken to leave her Early Intervention family. She couldn’t imagine how She would function without the weekly visits, the therapists, the whole thing.
Plus, how did her Baby Girl turn three??
The transition meetings went well. The first IEP meeting went much better than She thought it would. She was so nervous about it all. The first time the bus came to pick Baby Girl up for school, She was a mess. How was She supposed to put her tiny-barely-20-pound little girl on this monstrous yellow machine? She followed the bus to school and walked Baby Girl inside.
Baby Girl got sick the first week of school and didn’t get better for the rest of the year. She was constantly sick. As a teacher, She knew that this was common, but it was still crazy how often Baby Girl was sick. It made Her nuts and was one of the many reasons why She decided to quit Her job. It was better when Baby Girl went back to school in the fall, but she was still sick quite often.
Baby Girl knew a lot of signs at this point but still wasn’t talking at all. Would she ever talk?
Baby Girl was walking with the help of her walker but still wasn’t taking steps on her own. Would she ever walk? Would she ever run?
Baby Girl wasn’t playing with things. She was picking them up and putting them in her mouth. Would she ever purposefully play? Would she ever stop putting everything in her mouth?
Baby Girl was eating pretty well but would still occasionally choke on larger bites. In fact, She had given Baby Girl the Heimlich maneuver several times already. Would she ever eat a meal without choking?
Baby Girl did not have friends. True, she was only four, but there were no requests for playdates. Would she ever have friends? Would she ever be invited over someone’s house to play?
It was hard to see the forest for the trees at this point. She was starting to feel like Baby Girl was not progressing at all. She was beside herself with frustration and anger and sadness over this diagnosis. School was making it worse. It was easy to pretend that Baby Girl was doing really well and progressing when She was at home, alone. It was harder to pretend when She saw Baby Girl out in the real world playing with same age playmates.
This made it real. This made it more difficult. This made it true.
She wasn’t sure how She could handle this or even if She could handle it.
This made my heart ache. There is such a personal connection when it comes to watching our kids interact with others. Longing for them to be accepted long before they even understand what that means. And the imagine of you following the school bus made me choke up. I would’ve done the very same thing this year if we lived far enough from the school that a bus came for my daughter.
Aw another beautiful and bittersweet flashback. I am all choked up, are you the same when re living it through your writing?? xx
You know, it’s hard enough to send our kids out in the world for the first time without being a worried wreck but when coupled with everything else you had to be concerned about, well, again – your strength and optimism impresses me.
Wrenching. Just gut-wrenching. I don’t know how you bore it.
Oh my gosh, I felt like I was right there, watching her get on that bus. It is so hard to see our children hit these milestones, let alone when there are things working against them. It’s so scary to let them out into the world, yet, that is exactly what our job is all about. Sigh.
So heartwrenching, so poignant. Thank you for sharing your flashbacks, your memories of how hard this time was for you.
I’m not sure how to phrase what I’m trying to say, so I guess I’ll just try my best.
While reading this, I thought of my sister. My sister has a beautiful little boy who also happens to have Down’s Syndrome. She loves him tremendously but still has moments when she grieves certain things. I am sure it will be even harder when she sends him off to school.
I believe that blogs like yours help mothers and fathers everywhere as they struggle through the different and often complex issues and emotions that come with having a child with special needs. Your Flashback Series, in which you eloquently describe everything, is beautiful, heart wrenching, and real. A perfect description of how it feels.
Thank you for sharing this with all of us. It helps me gain an even better perspective of what my sister and many others struggle with as they raise their wonderful children.
She’s such an amazing girl to have come so far. I honestly don’t know how you put her on the bus that first day. She was so incredibly tiny. I had a hard time putting Eli on the bus for kindergarten. And the fact that you sent her day after day knowing how hard that was for you. You have endured a lot and Olivia is all the better for it.
I love the flashback series, it’s amazing how far you have come and is very inspiring.
Gut wrenching… Nothing makes me feel more vulnerable as a mother then when we put our kids out there-hoping for them to succeed, wishing for them to be accepted, longing for them to be alright. You are brave. Olivia is brave. How nice to be where you are now?
Was Olivia 3 or 4 when she started pre-school?
Interestingly, all of these questions are all questions that I have been asking myself in this last month before my little one turns 3. True, what Laura said above… “vulnerable”. That’s exactly how I’ve been feeling lately. And each time I am asked about daycare or preschool or school… I have no answer. I just want to tell everyone to back-off – I’m not ready to go there yet! Will I ever be?
I sit stunned as I read this. Over the last year, I feel like I have come to know you. Know your beautiful family. And know Baby Girl. You have always been so honest with your triumphs and your deep struggles. Especially with your Flashback Series. Knowing where your gorgeous girl is now, I read this and I amazed at the mighty leaps she has made. But even knowing that, I hurt for you reading this. How could you have known then what the future held — difficult and beautiful? How much strength did it take to keep putting each foot in front of the other and believing in tomorrow? I hope you take the time to celebrate your accomplishments alongside hers!