Sorry for the lack of updates lately. There are lots of things that I think I should put on the blog, but just never seem to get around to it. Trying to squeeze too many things into each day!
School has been going well for Emily. I ended up staying with her for 4 days. The first 2 days were training days. The third day, the aide wanted me to be there for another feeding so she would feel more comfortable (the nurse would be out that day, so she was nervous to be completely on her own). And the fourth day, I was supposed to drop Emily off and go. That was until the tornado warning. October isn't usually the time when we would have to worry about tornadoes, but it isn't usually a time when temps are in the 80's either.
I arrived at school just as the sirens were going off. They had gathered all of the kids into the halls and they were crouched down on the floor. The preschool kids were all gathered into a sensory room (it is a tiny room with mats and a swing). The am preschool kids were just about to leave and the pm kids had just arrived, so we had everyone together in this tiny room for about 45 minutes. We never did get a tornado near us, but it was raining pretty hard and it was really windy. When they gave us the OK to return to our rooms, the power was out and there was some talk about sending the kids home early. That never happened. The am kids had to wait around for a little while, but eventually got to go home. The power was off for a while, but all the kids did great. By the time things settled down, there just wasn't enough time for me to leave and come back for Emily so I hung around that day.
The day that I did drop Emily off went fairly well. I kept thinking I would cry, but I didn't. As Mike would say "by that time you were over it". I gave her a kiss and off I went. The hard part came when I picked her up. The teacher had told me to sign her out at the office and then wait outside by the door. When I went into the office, the secretary asked if I needed to go back to the room and I said no, I would wait outside. She told me to wait while she called and then said I could go back to the room. As I headed back there, I could hear Emily. She was bawling her eyes out (I found out later that the teacher had called the office looking for me, but the secretary never mentioned that to me). The kids sang a song during October that included yelling the word "boo". The day before Emily laughed so hard during the song that I thought she would hyperventilate. For whatever reason, that day it really upset her. When I got to the room, her face was bright red and she was inconsolable. It broke my heart that she was so upset. It took me a while to calm her down, but once she was over it, that was that.
It was not that easy for me. I took it pretty hard. It was a reminder for me that my little girl is growing up and I will not always be there when she is upset or hurt. When I told Mike about it later, I could not help but cry about it. This is certainly not the first time she has been upset when we weren't around so he could not figure out why I was taking it so hard. I am not sure I can even put into words why it upset me so much. I think it was just the timing. Her first day at school by herself. She's with people who are just getting to know her. There are so many things that Mike and I do on a daily basis without even thinking because we know her. We know what she likes and doesn't. We know what may be too much for her and we either avoid it or do what we can to brace her for it. The teachers and aides do not know these things. Sure I can tell them certain things, but I cannot prepare them for every thing that may come up. They have to learn for themselves. And that is what is hard. I am putting my child in their hands. My child who cannot speak for herself. It is a scary thing to do! For any parent, there is a process of letting go and as much as I tried to prepare myself for it, I still feel like it snuck up on me!
Since then, Emily has been doing great at school. She loves being around the kids and they love being around her too. Whenever the teacher asks who wants to help Emily to do something, a bunch of hands go up. They all want to help her out. They all want to make her laugh. They show her their crafts and look at books with her. Today, she had fun playing Go Fish with one of the other girls. The teacher said they had to take her to the nurse's office to change her diaper and Emily fussed and fussed about it. When the teacher said they were going back to the classroom, she quieted down. Apparently she wasn't done playing yet. That makes me so happy! It also made me smile when one little girl pushed Emily out at the end of school today and carried her backpack for her.
There is definitely a learning curve for everyone involved, but I know that the teacher and aides have Emily's best interest in mind. That goes a long way in making me feel better about taking her there every day.