Katelee's Preschool story is actually a pretty stressful one when I look back on it. We had her registered with our friend Kacy's preschool that Ethan went to last year. We even went to the open house and got her excited about going there. We had Grandma and Grandpa Nelson all ready to have her Monday/Wednesday and Friday's of each week. Then one day Ethan brought something home from school about a preschool that his school has. This preschool is a Peer/Mentor program for children with speech problems and other disabilities. They were conducting interviews and would only be notifying parents if they were chosen. Chris and I discussed this, she would be going to school Monday thru Thursday at the same time as Ethan. It is free and she would be given the opportunity to be around kids with disabilities and learn not to be afraid or intimidated by them. The downside points were that she wouldn't be going to the same school as Ethan, She wouldn't get to spend as much time with Grandma and Grandpa Nelson, they might go a bit slower due to the other students in the class and Kira would have to pick both kids up after school instead of just one.
We went in for the interview on Friday morning. They discussed with me the ideas of the program and the requirements of Katelee to be in the class. There will be 12 kids with some sort of disability that can be anywhere from a speech issue to a physical disability such as Cerebral-palsy or Downs Syndrome. They would like the kids to speak up, tell the kids to give them a toy back if they took it from them and basically be an example in class. While one teacher was discussing this with me the program the other one was trying to get Kate to interact with her. Of course Kate was being her normal shy self, but she did do a puzzle with her. I told them that Katelee does well at church but she was more on the shy side than the talkative side. I was very upfront and honest with them about Kate's shyness. I didn't want them to be sold on a kid that just wouldn't work with their class plans, it just wouldn't be fair to them. They asked if Kate could follow directions and I said yes. They told us that all of the eligible kids' names would be placed in a hat and the principal would draw them out. Only two kids per class would be accepted. They asked Katelee to push in her chair and she did as we left. I went to work and spoke with Chris about it. I just wasn't sure if they would want Katelee. I wasn't too stressed because I saw that they had like 20 interviews and they were only going to accept 2 per class, I figured the odds were well against us and I was fine with that.
During lunch I missed a call from the school saying that she was accepted and could start on Monday if we got all of her paperwork completed. This sent me into panic mode... I wasn't expecting her to get chosen, I figured since she didn't even talk that they wouldn't really want her. I then started second guessing all of the positive reason I felt this program would be beneficial for Kate. I finally got a hold of Chris and we discussed it. We both felt OK about it and decided to do it. I wanted to get Kacy's professional opinion about these kinds of programs. She was very nice and said that if it wasn't working out for us that we could always just bring her back to her class. That helped me feel better. I got off the phone with her and said a pray, asking for a feeling a peace if this was an OK decision for us to make. As I called the school to tell them we would accept I felt calm and good about the decision.
We weren't able to get all of Katelee's stuff together in time for her to start on Monday (her birthday) which was fine with me, so she started on Tuesday, September 11, 2012!
She was so excited to go to school, especially the same school as Ethan. I was afraid that she would be too shy and cry when it was time for me to leave. I talked with the teacher before hand about what I was to do if she started crying when I left. I was already to simply walk away as she was crying.... We waited for her class to arrive (they come on a bus) and for her teacher to get there. Once I saw her teacher, Mrs. Adams, I leaned down and told her it was time for me to go. She said OK, kissed me and let go of my hand. I started to walk away and she was completely OK with it. I turned only once to make sure she was good and she was. I turned back around and started crying. I was so happy she was OK with me leaving but I was so sad as well. My little girl was grown up and ready to face the big world of school without me. Did I want her to cry when I left? I don't think so, but I cried when she didn't. I looked like a crazy mom as I cried walking across the crosswalk. I got in the car and started bawling like a baby, I mean the kind where you have to breath deeper to keep up with the craziness... I called my sister and was talking to her and even cried then too. So silly, but such a huge thing for Kate... I was so proud of her!
I wasn't able to pick her up on her first day but Kira was there to do it. They actually drop Kate off in Ethan's class at the end of the day so they can be picked up together! She loved school and hasn't cried about me leaving once. Last Thursday we were eating breakfast and she looked at me and said, "I don't wanna go to school EVERY DAY of the week!" I laughed and said well you don't have to go Friday! She looked at me and said, "oh, OK!" That has been the only time she has said anything negative about school. Even that night she said, "Mommy, I do want to go to school tomorrow." We talked about how no one would be there to play with her and that she needed a day off, so she was OK with it.
Her teacher told Chris that she is shy, but that she is starting to play with the kids and talking a little more. She will warm up real soon I'm sure and it will be a great experience for her! I can't believe how big my little lady is getting. I love her to pieces and know she will do great in preschool.