Today the kids went back to school. I have one word to celebrate this joyous occasion.
While some parents are emotional about the beginning of kindergarten for their littles, which I GET it. I really do. I felt a little emotional when my oldest began the journey into Big School. This year however…. nope, nada, no sadness. It was pure joy to know that the days of endless fighting has ended. I grew up as an only child and thus this mystery of sibling rivalry and fighting with your brother or sister was foreign to me. You may think I am lucky, I do now. When I was a kid though, all I wanted for the longest was a sibling to play with. I had HIGH hopes for my kids that they would treasure this gift of siblingship (I know…its NOT a word) that I so craved as a child. Then once Ari was diagnosed with Apraxia I thought well maybe it will take longer for them to start fighting because she isn’t very verbal, especially when she gets upset (she tends to be harder to understand and doesn’t usually want anyone around her).
Then…….Summer 2014 came. They had the privilege of spending the end of the summer out of camp and in each others company EVERY SINGLE day for about a month and half straight. Last week I think I finally LOST my mind and any remaining patience that I may have had saved up. It truly felt like they just could not get along no matter what you tried. Even when they were playing together they were play fighting. Baby doll vs. Paint sticks….. I found myself counting down to today.
Last night we went to meet Ari’s Kindergarten teacher and give her some information on Apraxia and all that fun “new school year stuff”, Ari made herself at home and checked out the room. Made sure she knew where her desk was and also where her spot for circle time was too. She sort of said hi to the teacher *at least made eye contact* and we went on our way.
Today was the big day that we had been anticipating all summer long. I can’t even begin to tell you how I agonized about this day. 3 years ago when my beautiful little girl who had only 2 sounds in her vocabulary began her journey in Speech Therapy with her amazing therapist Ms. S. I was SO scared for our future. We didn’t know what the diagnosis was or what to expect. After learning about Childhood Apraxia of Speech I was even more scared and nervous about her future success. I read about other parents who had older children in elementary school who were doing great but that didn’t help me much. That was them…. this is my little girl. What if she didn’t progress the same way? What if we could never whisper silly secrets to each other? What if she never had friends to talk to and laugh with and have sleepovers with? The pain or grieving process that you go through when your child is given a diagnosis of something severe is real people. The unknown is downright SCARY and it is OK to feel that way. Its ok to be mad that your child has more of a struggle than their sibling or cousins or neighbor. Its not OK to continuously dwell on it though and let the pain overtake you.
I will say once we got more informed and educated about CAS my outlook got brighter and as Ari has progressed through speech therapy she has made SUCH gains in her communication skills. She does speak in sentences now and family understands her probably 75% of the time. I think I understand her about 85-90% because I have to. Its my job as mom to learn what my child is communicating to me.
As we were driving to school this morning and I was thinking about how she might do today in a new classroom (transitions in preschool weren’t the easiest at first and this is a completely new school) with a new teacher that she had only seen once. I felt like she may have some struggles but I pushed the negative aside and kept the drive very positive! She was ready to go! When I got to the school I had a text message from Ari’s speech therapist who we said goodbye to on Monday (long story). Mrs. S. thanked me in the message for allowing her to spend time and work with us over the years. That is when I got teary. I was more sad over losing her therapist of 3 years than handing her off to a new teacher/school/environment. I felt that may be ironic but my therapy moms will get it. It really made today feel like we were starting a new chapter with our big girl.
She had a great hand off and got right to business doing bell work and coloring her picture. At pick up her teacher gave me a good report and when I asked Ari if she likes Kindergarten she said “YET” (yes).
Meanwhile we got home and she fell promptly asleep and there has been NO fighting all afternoon. God does love me!