Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How's things?

Yesterday was overwhelming, that's for sure. A busy morning was just that-- nothing bad, just busy. In the afternoon I got some news from the school that I can't say I wasn't expecting... but I was hoping not to get. If you remember, I was told Emma wouldn't have a 1:1 during her IEP meting. Her IEP says "small ratio" or something like that. But... in early summer they hired a 1:1 PCA (personal care assistant) for Emma for this year. I was thrilled! (And a bit... a LOT... surprised!)

School starts, Emma is doing ok, 2nd week hits, she goes down hill. Wednesday last week I went in to the classroom just a bit in the morning and that same time they got a new student. A very cute little girl that also has a lot of needs. Thursday Emma didn't go to school and Friday she was home as well. Monday she's back at school... Tuesday... I hear that "Emma's 1:1 PCA" is no longer Emma's. She now is a classroom PCA because they do not plan to hire a second PCA for the same classroom.

I know this makes sense. I know it wasn't in Emma's IEP (therefore they CAN do it). And I know that there's really NO WAY for the classroom to function with just the teacher and 1 aide along with 4 students that are "somewhat more independent" but still needing a LOT of assistance as well as a child who needs the same level of assistance as Emma... and have the PCA just work with Emma. There's no way for 2 adults to handle those 5 children.

So... Now there is a 1:2 ratio in the class. Still not a big class. Still a LOT of work on EVERYONE I'm sure. I would venture to guess that the class really should have a 4th person in it, whether a teaching aide (instructive) or a PCA (personal care). I'm not sure what to think of all of this, except to know that the teacher (temporary) is a strong Christian and that I CAN trust that Emma will be well cared for and not neglected. Academically... who knows. Can 3 people really take care of 6 very needy children and get in academics too? I guess we'll find out.

Then when I got home from getting the kids yesterday, I see a note from the kindergarten department saying that the "drop in informal open house night" (which is the only info I'd receive about it) is actually, for Kindergarten, a 1 hour meeting where they'll go over curriculum, etc. Not in the classroom, not with the teachers, and not drop in. And... don't bring your children.

Thankfully I'd already set up a sitter for Micah and even that morning had planned to leave Emma and Brianna too and just bring Kristopher... figuring he would be the one that wanted to show us around his classroom, etc for the open house. Apparently not. Michael ended up going to the kindergarten 'meeting' and I spent the hour with Emma and Brianna (and Micah's) teachers. The kids' speech teacher also came by for a little while and we all talaked shop. There was only one other parent that came out of Emma's class so the second half hour or so of the evening we just sat and chatted. It was nice to have that time to connect!

And... since Emma's temporary teacher is also the permanent aide in Brianna and Micah's room, and the classrooms are on opposite corners of one 'pod' in a building, the pre-k teacher, Emma's teacher (the pre-k aide) and the speech teacher and I all just together and talked. Then Mike joined us for about 15 minutes and we headed home. It was very nice... but definitely made for a long day, especially as I was still working on processing the whole aide situation.

Today I got up bright and early, through the shower, 4 kids up dressed, fed, lunches in backpacks, medicines given, shoes on, Micah's 'first day supplies' packed into the car along with his highchair (we have requested a feeding seat at school but won't have it for a little bit so I sent ours from home and we'll make due for a few days and hold him to have his bottles or whatever we need to do). We got extra diapers for Emma into the car and everyone's backpacks... and off I went with a carload of kids that were all going to school!

But don't let that fool you :) Although I did plan to drop Micah off the first day, kiss him on the head and have him turn around and run for the toys (because up until this time he's always wanted to stay and I have to carry him out of the room), his teacher asked if I would stay for a little while on the first day to get him situated and so they could figure out his feeding, high chair, and just have a little time to get adjusted. I readily agreed (and had earlier considered offering but didn't want them to feel they HAD to accept it). I know Micah is a handful!

So I brought the kids to their classes then signed in as a volunteer, made two more trips from the van to the classroom (got in my exercise, the classroom is on the back of campus!), and helped out for the morning. Micah doesn't exactly... listen. Or sit. Or walk in a line. Or stay put long. :) He's a BUSY GUY! At home, not so bad because we have gates and parameters for him, but at school... he needed someone to be on him or with him at all times. So not just "one more head to count", but one more body that needs to be sat ON in addition to the 7 other children in the class! He also needs to be spoon fed, walked by the hand from place to place, and he apparently wasn't so sure about leaving the playground to go to PT and dropped on the ground and cried when she tried to take him.

Honestly, I was glad to see that! He so readily goes with people that I was glad that someone that he wasn't familiar with wasn't just easy to walk off with. Hopefully he will decide that these therapists are ok really quickly though, because I don't plan to stay long tomorrow :). I did walk with him to the cafeteria where they were going to work on going up and down the stairs to the stage while holding on to the wall. I left when they were there and let them have their time, though. I didn't want to be everywhere with him and have him just have as rough of a time the next time because I'm not around.

After lunch, as the kids were going down for naps I headed out since they nap and pretty much have dismissal right after that. Plus... I'd made my own plans to have lunch with a friend :) I have no idea how many MONTHS it has been since I've gone to lunch with an adult friend and no kids! Had a great time :) Then went right back to the school to pick the munchkins up.

So today, though it was the first day of all four kids going to school, was a very long day! LOL I enjoyed being able to help out in the classroom a little and to see Brianna participate with the class and especially to see how independent she was. I was afraid me being around and especially being in and out (I didn't go to the playground with them except a few minutes and I also left to go to PT with Micah) that she would have a hard time with it. She surprised me and did great :). LOVE when that happens!

A very long post about nothing, but Micah had a great first day, though his teachers are definitely going to get a run for it with him until he's situated in the routine. He's the youngest by a good year, maybe more, except for Brianna-- the only other 3 yr old in the class. Add to that a 'typical' developmental delay because he has Down syndrome, and an additional DD because of the time he spent in the orphanage... and you have a baby in the prek room. I hope it works out ok and the teachers aren't pulling their hair out too badly!!

He will go tomorrow and then be home Fri and Mon (same as Brianna) and Tuesday all the kids will go late to school after doctor's visits (so long as they are all up to it... M and E will get vaccines and all 4 will get flu shots if they're available). So at least his first 2 weeks won't be all 3 long days.

I'm done rambling... for now... and I have a pic or two of Micah's first day that I'll try to share later.

Tomorrow, I might bring the kids to school, have my bloodwork done, and go home to sleep for a few hours :D

Thanking God tonight for the Christian teachers that he's placed over every one of my children this year-- even in the public school system :)


  1. What a blessing you have all those christian teachers with your children! Not only is it great for them, but gives a Mommy and Daddy some peace of mind. Praying they all do wonderfully in their new environments!

    Hope YOU get rest tomorrow!

  2. Well, addressing your concerns about the academic side of Emma's class. Where I lived for the past 6 years, atypical classroom for kids like Emma would have 5-13 kids depending on age in 1-4 class levels with one teacher and one part time aide, and they get the academics in just fine. Of course it's a completly different school system, and learning to functionally read is spread out over as many years as needed and kids don't actually start in a school setting till they are 6.

    Hopefully it will all work out wonderfully for Emma.

  3. Wow - a busy day indeed. Just FYI - the parent night thing with Kristopher is typical. They don't want the kids there because sometimes they are a disruption (imagine that, they are just kids after all, but some parents are worse!!)and they want to be sure the parents are getting the info so they can help the kids at home and be supportive. But the reality in life is, you do what ya gotta do!! I am sure they will all excel in their classes. You guys are great parents!!