I can’t believe the whirlwind 2014 has been – in a good way. I used to do a way better job at keeping this blog updated I’ve blogged a lot less lately, for a couple reasons:
1. Two kiddos! Baby Alice joined us in April, and oh how that little girl has stolen a chunk of my heart.
2. I work part time now. While this is AWESOME in that I get two extra days a week with my girlies, it also means I often use the after bedtime hours I used to blog during to do my half a day per week from home work.
3. I need it less. I think this is a really good thing. Blogging was definitely a means of coping for me – writing down how T is doing and how I’m feeling was a great emotional release. There are definitely still extreme moments of anger, but I find myself feeling more peaceful these days than I used to. That is a subject for another day.
Teagan is a big three year old now!! Once she turned three (literally two days after she turned three) she started going to school two half-days a week. There are four children in her class, who also have some reason to be in this early program, but due to rules about privacy the teacher couldn’t tell me why (I asked, so nosey!!).
This was a big change for us; I was so nervous about my little one meeting lots of new strangers and being somewhere I wasn’t familiar with so often. Because Teagan was the last in her age group to start, we basically had pick of what was leftover as far as classes to be placed in. We had tense conversations with Kristin, Teagan’s 0-3 special education teacher, met with one teacher at one school, didn’t feel good about it (although the teacher was lovely), had some tense phone calls, had our para neighbor share her thoughts on the best fit for T, met with another teacher, OT, and ST at another school in our district, and finally felt comfortable having her start there. I had to apologize to Kristin for having an attitude, and she told me “Don’t ever apologize for advocating for your child.” Maybe I’ll just try to be less bitchy about it next time ;-).
Before T started, she had to have all kinds of assessments done – new OTs and STs came out to the house to try and gauge where she fell in terms of development. This was incredibly frustrating. The ST came at 3pm, which was right after Teagan’s nap, plus T didn’t know her, so she was basically non-responsive. When we went to our first meeting at the school, the woman leading the meeting stressed that Teagan was behind…yes, we were aware. My guess is that a lot of times parents are in denial and don’t want to believe that their child needs help, so they have to be very firm about it – but for parents who have known for a long time that we are not in a regular situation, and who have asked for extra help vs. refusing to accept it, it was fairly irritating.
Luckily, the build up was far worse than the actual event – T is doing great in school! When I pick her up, either her teacher or the ST who is in the classroom gives me a little glimpse into her day – that she loved climbing in the gym, or making animal sounds, or having circle time. Teagan actually sits for 20 whole minutes during circle time while they read books, sing songs, etc., which is amazing. In her backpack each week, we get a sheet telling us what they are covering…and LOTS of art projects.
One day I showed up for pick-up about 15 minutes early, so I sat in waiting area in the hallway. Teagan’s class came walking along, headed back to the classroom from the gym, (luckily she didn’t see me) and she was holding one of the therapists hands with the HUGEST smile on her face. It made me so happy to know that she was enjoying school as much as her teachers told me she was.
A sad thing that happened is T’s private ST retired. She wants to spend more time with her own kids, work on her blog, and explore a few other endeavors, which I can’t blame her for…but she was a REALLY good ST. I had no idea how much went into teaching someone to talk when it doesn’t just happen naturally. An example: we are working on Teagan saying “wee.” So we get her to say “oooo” and then “eeee.” Never would have thought of that (you just tried it, didn’t you??). Her communication has made progress, but is still DRASTICALLY behind. She understands a lot, can say a little, and can communicate some stuff that probably no one but me, Joel, and maybe daycare would understand. She calls her blankie “B” and does the sign for blanket, which makes sense. She also calls a clock “Bah!” which not so much…but I’m telling you, she means clock every time.
Now that I’ve written all this, there is a lot milling around in my mind that is left to be said, thought about, written about. My fears around acceptance for Teagan among her peers as she gets older. Making sure she has her niche and doesn’t feel like an outsider. The relationship between her and her sister – Alice’s favorite activity is whatever Teagan happens to be doing at the moment, which Teagan isn’t exactly fond of ;-). Realizing, now that I am seeing what happens with a typically developing child, just how much work we’ve done. The previously mentioned increasing moments where my heart is at peace (PLEASE let this continue). And of course, the progress Teagan will continue to make – here’s to great things in 2015!