The kids went back to school today. Normally this is a day I’m counting down to because my kids during the summer are typically… ummm… tough, demanding, intense, draining, and needing a lot of supervision. But this summer was different than I expected. This summer flew by and we had more fun than stress (yesterday not withstanding, lol). Anna was quite a bit more independent than she’s ever been. We had our annual review last week with the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) to go over Anna’s history (we receive some respite services from one of their waiver programs) and one thing we were struggling with last year was wandering. She didn’t do that at all this year! No leaving the house without permission at all. Way to go, Anna! She is growing up. Plus we had an awesome caregiver in Erica… I didn’t worry about her even for one minute when they were together. Thank you, Erica. Dominic was also easier this summer; he could go up the street to see if friends could play and mostly they could and played here at our house. He also developed a pretty serious addiction to my iPhone and has dozens of games on it so that kept him busy and motivated to do chores to earn time on it.
So today came along and I was excited for them to start school but didn’t feel like it was needed to save my sanity. Dominic has Mrs. Scrimpsher who was Anna’s 2nd grade teacher so I know he will be taken care of, not just academically, but also emotionally… which is something I could not say of last year’s teacher. I am worried about Anna though because the school district moved her Functional Academic Class (FAC <formerly Life Skills>) to another campus due to budget cuts. When we visited our home campus last week for Dominic to “meet the teacher”, dozens of kids said hi to Anna and she got tons of hugs from teachers too. It made me really sad that she’ll be in a new, strange environment that won’t have that familiarity for her. Plus it’s 15 minutes away!
This morning went great. The kids were excited to get up and get ready. I know that in a couple of weeks, I’ll be having to drag them out of bed.
First day of 4th grade for my sweet Anna!
First day of 2nd grade for my darling Dominic!
Because both of their schools start at the same time, we dropped Dominic off as early as possible (7:20). He was still a little bleary-eyed!
He was so happy to see Mrs. Scrimpsher and get settled in class.
Then we hoofed it up to Anna’s school arriving just past the final bell (7:45). Tomorrow should be a little faster because we’ll be able to drop Dominic off in the car line instead of walking him in. Since Anna was the last one to arrive in her class, it was pretty overwhelming walking in. There are 15 students compared to just 7 last year. She knows a few of the kids. They have the same amount of staff too, one teacher and three aides. So where Anna used to have 1:2 and even 1:1 support depending on the time of day, this year it will be 1:4 or so. Anna is the highest functioning kiddo in the class and again, I was struck with how there isn’t a perfect placement for her. I had to really pep talk her into just sitting down and she grabbed onto me and said, “Mommy, I don’t like this room. I don’t want to stay here.” At least three kids were crying and Anna was already shutting down. Sigh. As I got ready to leave, I touched base with Mrs. M, Anna’s teacher (same one as last year, thank goodness). I said to her, “This is dreadful! You have too many students.” She agreed and said it was like this all over the district. Oh it was awful walking out of that room and leaving her. She feels so far away.
See the difference in her expression in just the 45 minutes between photos?
I’ve left a message for the transportation department about Anna riding the bus. If it is not too early of a pickup, it might be a possibility because Anna isn’t scared of the bus anymore (so she says anyway). So that would simplify life a lot if it worked out. I’ve already arranged to pick Anna up a little early and Dominic a little late ’cause I just can’t be in two places at once. I’m hoping that after a few weeks, she will get used to the new school and classroom. I’m going to do some research about the other campuses and see what, if any, other options we might have.
I’ll post an update after they get home today. Hopefully they both had good days! Please, please, please.
I also wanted to share that Jenny started her sophomore year at college yesterday, I’m so proud of her! She is taking criminal justice, sociology, government, philosophy, and one other class that’s slipped my mind… I’ll have to ask her. She is so excited to be taking some classes that are interesting to her and in her major.
I hope everyone’s first days of school go well and hope to hear from everyone how things are going!