Jo Jo started preschool last Monday. She was supposed to start a week earlier, but missed her first week due to an ear infection.
It was very bittersweet dropping her off her first day. There are eleven students in the class, seven with special needs and four who are typical peers. It wasn’t the 50:50 ratio we wanted, but that looks like it will happen next year.
She seemed right at home as soon as we entered the classroom. She headed straight to the books and pulled out a few Dr. Seuss favorites. When Teddy and I left that first day, she didn’t seem phased at all. I snuck back in to take a peek at her and she was sitting with one of the aides, drawing and singing.
She seemed happy when we picked her up. Her teacher, Ms. Matthews, said she did really well. She followed directions, participated in circle and story time, ate her snack with gusto, and, apparently, created the letter J with a bunch of dried macaroni. (I’m guessing she had some help with that one.) But when my mother asked me what she likes about preschool, I didn’t really have an answer for her. “I don’t know, mom,” I said. “She’s not very verbal.”
It’s a lot of adjustments, both for her and for me. She likes to sleep in, but every morning I have to wake her at 6:50, put her on the potty, get both her and her little brother dressed, somehow get breakfast into them, and then load everyone into the car by ten to eight so we’re at the preschool by 8:10. It’s been a bit of a mad juggle, but I think we’re figuring a routine out. Somewhat harder to get used to is the idea that I just drop her off and pick her up a couple hours later. For the last three years, I’ve had Birth to Three therapists in my house, so I know exactly what they’re working on with her and how she’s doing. Now, in the school system, I feel like I have a lot less control.
Still, she seems happy, and the teachers and the aides seem supportive and nurturing, so I guess at a certain point you have to have faith and let go a bit. Which is true for any child, but somehow much harder for me to do with Johanna.