Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A BIG step for our big boy!

Today was a very big day for our family.  M had is very first day of "school." It went so very well.  He was excited and nervous when he woke up this morning at 4am.  He couldn't go back to sleep.  A bit rough on mama since I was up until 1am last night preparing things for today and being excited and nervous myself.

He was eager and willing to take a bath early this morning.  This is a huge praise because he usually isn't too excited to take baths.  He put on a new sporty shirt and was ready.  I read him several books about school and of course "The Kissing Hand" and he was getting excited.  He wasn't super hungry, but I reassured him that I usually ate a light breakfast my first day of school too.

It seemed like forever for him to wait for the bus... well of course, it was over FOUR hours since he woke up so early haha.  We got everything ready and took some pictures and then went outside to wait for the bus.  It was quite chilly at 8:00am so I think we will wait inside from now on.

M hopped right into the bus requesting a window seat.  There were two other kids on the bus.  That is the total number of riders.  The bus is just for the early childhood program so he almost has the bus to himself.  He is the last picked up and the first dropped off so he doesn't have to ride the bus anymore than he would riding in the van to school.  The blessing for me is that T is still sleeping and I don't have to wake her.  The blessing for M is that he gets to ride the bus.  He LOVES it.  He was so very excited to ride it!  One more blessing, busing for early childhood is FREE!

It was so surreal for me to watch the bus drive away.  I had such an empty feeling.  I knew this was the best option for our family, but I also couldn't believe I was sending him with a stranger to a new place.  I am so thankful for peace poured over me.  Brandon and I came inside and spent some time praying for our sweet son and for our sweet daughter.

The morning went quickly for me as I was at church working on some exciting things.  I kept wondering what M was doing.  When the bus came back down the street I couldn't wait to see the look on his face.  I didn't expect him to be SO EXCITED!  He was just glowing as he bounced off the bus.  He was so proud and so happy.

He teacher wrote a note saying that he had a great morning.  YAY M!!!!  We are so proud of him.  Through a series of open ended questions and a note home from the teacher we were able to learn much about the books he read, the art project he did, center time (which he thought was called "enter" time), and snack time.

He talked to three grandparents today and was so excited to share his joy with them.  Each one did a great job acting surprised to hear he started school and asking great questions to get him talking.  He is excited to go back tomorrow and we are excited with him.

T missed M this morning asking several times where he was.  Hopefully she will soon come to love this special time with mommy each morning.

So... that was the summary of M's first day, but I imagine you have a few questions.   Last year you might remember from THIS POST that we were doing Classical Conversations and you might wonder what led us to this big move.  So here is the rest of the story...

If you have followed this blog for the last year, you know about the trauma that entered about a year ago and never really left.  You know about our big trip to Colorado. You can read about what we took away from it HERE. One of the take away points I mentioned with early intervention. We knew that we needed some help.  Through prayer and godly wisdom we truly felt led to look into the early childhood program offered through the local school district.  We knew that the class was small (7 children and two teachers), that it was sort of its own program (housed in an elementary school, but following its own schedule), the teachers were incredible (lead teacher is a trans-racial adoptive mom), and the services (like sensory OT) could really help M to function in a classroom of any sort (home/CC/or school). 

 We quickly learned that the time to pursue early intervention is during the school year, not during the summer.  Our school district doesn't have any year around early childhood staff, so even though I made the initial call in early June, it took many weeks of talking to secretaries to even begin the referral process.  Once the referral process began we went through rounds of paperwork and interviews and then finally an IEP and the news that M was enrolled in the early childhood program.  This is week three for his peers, but week one for M.

M has a great team of school officials who truly support us as parents.  The district even ordered several Heather Forbes books!  Awesome!

Every child in the program is there for a reason.  M qualified under the emotional/behavioral umbrella.  Yes, they did need to give him a label, but to us he is just M.  A label does not define my incredible son, it just allows him access to services!  Even though the label doesn't define M, the definition of the label fits his current reality quite well. 

M will attend school 2.5 hours a day four days a week.  This time will be special for him and for T and me at home.  The trauma that T has experienced from M is not small at all.  She has many emotional wounds and physical fears.  She truly needs respite to become more emotionally stable.  We are praying that school for M will also bring healing for T.

This program ends at age 6 so this is a one year commitment.  Next year a LONG way off and we are confident that the Lord will guide us to the perfect option for M next year.  Our children are worth fighting for.  We will do everything we can to help them both to feel safe and loved and to learn how to be safe with their bodies.  I would be so happy to answer any questions you might have about all of this and to fill in the gaps on things I really don't want to write about here.

We are so very thrilled for this opportunity for our family and we thank God for M's teachers and therapists and the team of people who cares about our son and wants to see him succeed.  We are so blessed to be surrounded by such a grace filled loving community.  We pray that the school transition honeymoon is long and that M will learn much about following direction, taking turns, kind words, gentle touch,  grown ups coming back, and working in a team... and so much more. 

We were so proud of you today M.  We love you so much and we want you to know that Love Never Fails!

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