This week, Nicholas celebrated the 100th day of preschool with his classmates. I was nervous about Nicholas starting school on the very first day, and then I blinked, and now we’re here.
The mom guilt is real
I was supposed to dress Nicholas up as an old man for this occasion, but never had the chance to get him an outfit. Instead, I put him in the same shirt as he wore on valentines day, which was another day I almost forgot to do something for school. I had to sit on the couch and prepare blank valentines for Nicholas, finishing as we were walking out the door. Oh well, I’ll get the hang of it eventually..
If you’ve been following our story for a while you’ve probably heard me say that I sometimes forget that Nicholas has Down syndrome because it just doesn’t come up in our everyday lives. He is just our Nicholas!
It isn’t until something like starting a new school or attending an IEP meeting comes up that I remember. You can read about my preschool jitters here: My fears surrounding Pre-K.
Were my fears legitimate?
I can’t blame all of my preschool anxieties on Nicholas having Down syndrome. Much of it had to do with the fact that my “baby” was getting tossed into a full day of school for the first time ever!
I panicked for an entire month before school began. I had a list of worries that was too long to measure. Now that he has survived 100 days, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the worries that I had and compare them to the outcome in case there are any other parents out there who are sending their child to preschool next year.
Will being in a new place make him nervous?
I was so afraid that Nicholas would be scared in this new environment without anyone that he knows. I imagined him crying all the time wondering where we were.
There’s no tears in these pictures though!
Nicholas claps when we pull up to the school these days. He absolutely loves it there, and the pictures I get all day make me less nervous. Let’s be real, I was the more nervous one to start with.
Communication – Will his preschool teachers be able to understand him?
I was so nervous that Nicholas’s sign language “slang” was something that only we would understand, and that his teachers and therapists would never know it if he were hungry, thirsty, tired, or anything else.
His teachers and I work very closely together and figure out what Nicholas’s signs mean as a team. He has learned so many signs that I didn’t know and had to google as he was using them!
Nicholas also has a communication notebook that he brings back and forth so that I can see what he’s learning about and use those clues top figure out his signs. Isn’t it funny that I was afraid that his teachers wouldn’t be able to understand him, and now it’s me who doesn’t know what he is signing to me?
I will try and be better about adding his new sign language skills to his instagram page under the “sign language” highlight. I’m obsessed with learning new signs!
The Bus / Nap time
It was terrifying to me to stick him on the bus for the first time. Anyone else? He’d be leaving a building that he’d never been to and board a vehicle that he’d never seen in his life.
Not to mention his usual nap time was two hours before school let out. Am I losing the nap I depend on them taking every weekend?
Now that he is in the routine of it all, I can’t believe I was so worried about it. Nicholas is so tired from the bus ride that he lays right down for his nap. The other kids, including Marley, wait to nap until he gets there.
They still have a set nap schedule that they do AT THE SAME TIME, but it’s just a little later in the day. I can easily translate this schedule to Saturdays and give myself that important mommy union break I need so badly.
Leaving his sister
Nicholas and Marley were being separated on a regular basis for the first time. Let me tell you, it has been great for them both. Now, they each have their own experiences in the day and aren’t reliant on each other.
At the end of the day, they reunite at their beloved babysitter’s house and still get to spend some quality time in the day after they wake up from their naps. I want them to be comfortable without each other, and that is what this schedule achieves for them.
I love getting pictures of them having fun with each other without me. It alleviates the pressure of thinking I have to constantly be around my children in order for them to be happy. They have a blast wherever they go, but have extra fun at school or at their babysitter’s house.
The bottom line – I had nothing to be afraid of.
What a shocker…
There are so many added bonuses to his preschool experience. Nicholas has so many buddies at school that we don’t even know. He gets to go outside for playtime.
He is able to learn how to thrive in a school setting. I am so proud of my boy!
Next time a new experience for Nicholas scares me, I am going to scroll these awesome preschool pictures as a reminder that Nicholas can do just about anything!
Also, you should know that the picture at the top of this page was taken on the 100th day before school. I asked him “where do you want to stand for your 100th day picture?”
He immediately turned and got on top of his toddler table and smiled at the camera.
This kid knows how to celebrate!
This kid knows how to celebrate!