I knew the day was coming but I was living in denial. As the big day drew closer the worry and fear began to set in. I poured my heart and soul into this post but there wasn't anything I could do other than brace myself for the harsh reality of my baby starting preschool.
Liam's first day of preschool came and went and we both survived!
It wasn't easy to hand him over to a stranger. There were no tears from Liam which is exactly what I expected. He doesn't have stranger anxiety. He did, however, look a bit confused as his teacher picked him up, shut the classroom door behind behind them and took him to his seat. I'm sure he was wondering where I went. There was no time to say goodbye. It felt so weird to walk out of the school with only Lily's tiny hand tucked into mine.
I held it together until I started to drive away from the school. It just felt wrong to leave him behind! That's when the tears started to fall. I cried the entire 1/2 mile to the library and had to sit in the parking lot for a few extra minutes to compose myself before taking Lily in for Storytime.
The entire afternoon felt so strange. It was weird sitting in the silent library completely alone while Lily was in Storytime. That hasn't happened in 3 years! It was weird eating lunch without him. And afternoons just aren't the same without that Toddler Tornado tearing a path through my house.
Thankfully those 2 1/2 hours flew by!
While I waited in the hallway outside of his classroom I peeked in to see what he was doing. It took me a few seconds to spot him. He was sitting behind a table, all by himself, flipping through a book. He wasn't smiling but he didn't look unhappy.
Liam had a busy day! During those 2 1/2 hours he also receives his weekly therapies. His therapists who have been with him since he was born no longer come to our home each week. He has a new set of therapists and all therapies now take place in school. It's definitely a huge change for us!
The teacher assured me he had a good day and his speech therapist said he was using a lot of words. He also had his weekly physical therapy session in the gross motor playroom.
When his teacher brought him out to me he just looked overwhelmed. I don't blame him for feeling that way because I felt the same way. I'm sure it was confusing and overwhelming for him! He immediately reached up his arms so I would pick him up and he held on for dear life. It felt so good to have him back in my arms!
When we arrived home we looked through the papers in his take home folder. It was so funny to see his first two pieces of schoolwork. He's too little for that!!! After that I had so many emails and sweet messages to go through. I guess it was evident that I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown! I was definitely touched that so many people were thinking about us. It wasn't easy but we made it through the first day!
Liam had today (Wednesday) off due to teacher training sessions so we headed to the eye doctor instead. Yet again we were relieved to hear that his eyes are healthy and his vision is perfect! He returns to school tomorrow and I'm really hoping for a smooth drop-off. He knows what to expect so it really could go either way!
Liam will be attending this special ed preschool on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons from 12:30-3. There are 9 kids total in his class but not all of them are there every day. Some kids are there 2 days a week, some kids are there 3 days a week and some kids are there 5 days a week. The structure of the day is very similar to a typical classroom and the ultimate goal is to have Liam ready for full inclusion next year.
Liam's teacher has an assistant and there is also a speech therapist in the classroom on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Liam will receive a half hour of PT and a half hour of OT each week during school hours. That's all he qualified for and no outside therapy is needed at this time.
My worries eased a bit after I dropped Liam off on Tuesday. I was so worried because he is the tiniest and youngest kid in the class. The entire class was together last year so that means he is the new kid. I thought he was the only child with Down syndrome so I was thrilled when I spotted another little boy rocking his designer genes when I dropped Liam off. And guess what his name is? Liam!!!
I'm trying to stay positive about the whole situation. I think it is going to be good for Liam but if it isn't we have other options. As for right now I'm just going to go with the flow and hope for the best! My fingers are crossed that tomorrow goes well, too!
The first day of preschool wasn't as difficult as I expected it to be but it's definitely going to take some time to adjust to our new normal! I truly can't believe Liam is in preschool!
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