Wednesday, August 27, 2008

After I wrote this post a few weeks ago, I sat down and had a meeting with myself about my goals for Thomas, how to handle bureaucracy without pissing off the People Who Make The Decisions and what to do about the whole school mess. Then, I made some phone calls and sent an email to the PWMTD. Here is an excerpt:

Dear {PWMTD},

I want to follow up on our conversation yesterday with an email to summarize my concerns with Thomas's school placement.

My main concern about {preschool A} is that Thomas would be the only non-mobile child there. While there may be other kids attending the school that receive physical therapy, Thomas is unable to walk or crawl. Thomas is also unable to defend himself or move away if another child walks up to him and wants his toy, or pulls his hair, or tackles him like his little sister does.

I want him in an environment where he can see other children using equipment to assist mobility so he can learn from them. I don't want him to think of himself as an outsider because he can't walk yet. It also makes me profoundly sad to think of Thomas just sitting while all the other kids are playing.

I think Thomas needs to be in a situation with his peers, children who have difficulties that more closely resemble his own. I am willing to keep Thomas out of preschool until a spot at UCP opens up rather than send him to a school where I worry about his safety.

I'm happy to report that it worked. Thomas starts PRESCHOOL next week at the UCP Center. Oh Happy Day! Except for the Thomas-starting-preschool part. I'm not happy about that at all. I mean, he's just a baby! To me he's still the tiny thing that came home from the hospital weighing under 5 pounds.

I still want to cuddle him and kiss his little head and smoosh his face in my hands, and he still lets me, for the most part. Well, not the smoosh his face part but that's understandable.

I ask myself where the time has gone and then I slap myself upside the head and say Self, remember the last three years? The ones full of pediatrician visits and specialist appointments and hospital stays and surgeries and a bajillion hours of therapy? Remember the sleepless nights and the tube-feeding by syringe because you were NOT by God going to have your child hooked up to another machine? Then remember the feeling of relief when you got that feeding pump and you realized how much better it was for everybody?

Those were all in preparation for this. For Thomas being ready for School and Learning and the Next Step. And I'm really excited for him. So next Wednesday, September 3, I will drive Thomas to preschool and I will *deep breath* leave him there. For three and a half hours. Ok, truth? I'm not really leaving him there - for the first couple of days I will stay and make sure he's ok because C'MON PEOPLE! I can't just DRIVE OFF the first day and pretend like I didn't just abandon my firstborn and then go get a latte at Starbucks!

Oh, by the way, school actually starts THIS week but I forgot to consider that when making our plans to go to the mountains with friends for Labor Day and whoops! He's going to miss the first week of school! Heh. Three years old and already a truant.


anymommy said...

Ahhh, good luck next week. Your letter is amazing and focused and to the point. I'm so glad it got you the response you wanted.

My oldest two start next week too. Just one day a week and I'm still all stressed out. Will I actually drive away and leave them there? I have to I guess because I've signed my baby up for a class at the same time.

I'll be thinking of you. Thank you for your lovely supportive comment the other day. It meant a lot.

Dana said...

Oh my gosh!!! Congratulations! How thrilling and exciting and, you're right, nerve-wracking.

I say that, but I myself would drive off, tires screeching and not looking back. ;) Whoopee!