Just so you know, I definitely did NOT cry and eat a half-pint of ice cream yesterday during the kid’s nap.
Ok, yes I did.
I have been running this blog since 2018, and in that time period have recounted many mommy crying episodes to you. Yesterday’s came out of nowhere.
I got a call from a representative from my son’s preschool that he will be attending in the fall. The call went amazing, and she was so nice and supportive. The same went for my son’s first IEP meeting last week. That didn’t stop me from bawling right after each though.
As I write this, I am trying to stop myself from posting something so awkward to everyone who reads these posts, but a person in a Down Syndrome Facebook group reminded me how important it is to share the good AND the bad moments.
My fears surrounding Pre-K have nothing and everything to do with my son’s Down Syndrome Diagnosis.
If my son did not have Down Syndrome, and he was a typically developing toddler, I wouldn’t even have to worry about this until next year. But, since he does and is leaving his Early Intervention period, I am in this position.
Other than that, I am wondering if my fears are every mother’s fears when it comes to putting your child in a school setting for the first time ever. My son definitely does some “toddler things” when it comes to trying to get his way.
For example, for the first week of being at his babysitter’s house last year, he didn’t eat a bite when he was there. Refused both lunch and snack. Maybe some sort of power-grab-hunger-strike? I am so worried about him refusing to eat and being hungry at school!
Also, obviously, I am worried about everything surrounding the pandemic. Will the preschool even open? Will it open for a while and then shut down?
When it comes to PPE, will Nicholas be able to see the whole faces of his teachers? He needs to be able to see his speech therapist’s mouth so that he can learn to communicate.
COMMUNICATION! That’s another thing! If you have been following our story for a while, then you know that he has his own little “sign language slang”. Will the teachers be able to understand him? If he signs “water”, will they know? I can’t even communicate with him that he is even going to preschool! All he will know is that his parents dropped him off at this new strange place and just left! If I could only tell him! I have had this book saved and ready for this exact occasion! Nicholas and Peppa go to school.
As he has been going to the babysitter once in a while through the summer, she reports that he and his sister end up napping right next to each other. He won’t be with his sister anymore!
NAP! There is no nap in the full-day program, which means that he will have to nap at the sitter once he gets off the bus. Should I start pushing his nap back? Should I take it away all together?
THE BUS! My boy is going to have to ride a bus for the first time ever with a bunch of people he has never met!
Do you see how this can get out of hand once you start thinking of every little thing that is new for him?
As I am typing this, I feel those tears were warranted.
Here is the reality. I am a teacher, so I spend my days experiencing, reading about, and learning about childhood development.
I know that if you raise a bar high, children will ALWAYS rise to the occasion. I know that sending my son to Pre-K just days after he turns 3 is the right thing to do.
But gosh darn it, I just hate the feeling!
The woman I spoke with yesterday was absolutely amazing at putting my fears to rest. She stayed on the phone with me until all of my questions were answered. I felt better, but not completely.
I know when I will feel better. I will feel better when it has been a week, and Nicholas loves going to school. I will feel better when he is used to it, and the bus, and is comfortable in his new schedule. So, until then, I will just sit here and think about it all the time and feel nervous! Who is with me on this?!
Anyway, Nicholas is going to do great in preschool. He was approved to have speech five times a week, and I know that this upcoming school year will mean AMAZING gains in communication for him. I am really excited about that. I just needed to get those feelings off my chest and let any other parents with these fears know that they are not alone, whether their kid has a diagnosis or not.
3 thoughts on “My fears surrounding Pre-K have nothing and everything to do with my son’s Down Syndrome diagnosis.”
Your fears are like all moms Mary! You will navigate through this time just as you have done the last three years, you have been an amazing advocate and you always will be, that’s what moms do, no matter how old our children are.
The first time I put my daughter on that bus I followed it all the way to Fitzhugh and I hid behind the bushes. I NEEDED to watch her walk in those doors and know she was safe. She stepped off that big bus and that was 20 years ago. Enjoy all of these beautiful moments, treasure them, keep these special days tucked in your heart. They become precious nuggets to hold when life is less chaotic and quiet.
You have a lot of support!
Thank you Sheri!