Today has been a day that I have been putting off for two weeks.....pretty much until the last minute. Today I took Haley to "big girl school" as she calls it, for pre-k screening. For those not familiar with NC's pre-k program....qualification is either a financial need or some deficit. They do let "normal" kids without financial need or deficit in, but the ones that are affected get first choice. We've been told that Haley is pretty much a shoe-in because she has an IEP (her yearly therapy plan and goals). But I'm so torn.
Like most parents, it will be hard to see their "baby" go to real school. And to do it a year early is particually hard to consider. I'm not mentally or emotionally prepared to see this happen so soon. But its reality, I have to let go eventually.....unless I home school....yeah right!!!! One one hand it will give her a head start into the transition from preschool, she will already be acclimated to real school once kindergarten starts, whereas most kids are crying for mommy all day for the first two weeks. Right now, that is the only pro to pre-k that I can identify. But I know that's wrong, I'm just being irrational right now.
I love her preschool....LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!!! She has been there pretty much from the beginning of her Joubert Journey. She has been through every classroom. From the baby room to the three year old room and if she stays, the four year old room. Every single one of her teachers have been so good. Heck, everyone is, they all love her!!! They all say they will be so sad when she leaves and will be heart broken if she leaves early. So there is that sentimental attachment for me.
But what bothers me most is that she will be thrown into a classroom with 17 other children. Her class size now is 8, sometimes less. I feel like she is going to be thrown into a pack of wolves when she still has so much I want her to develop before that happening. I really worry about her speech. That is her main source of frustration. If she is not understood, which is often, she gets very upset. I suppose that is ok for her....she's been misunderstood most of her life, she's sick of it! I only imagine that the teacher will not have enough time to stop and interpret what she is saying. I fear that if this happens, she will regress and not say anything at all at school. I want her to have this one last year of special treatment where people know and understand her and hopefully improve her speech to where she is understood.
On a slightly less important self-centered note, I will hate the dreaded car-rider line. Sitting with car idling 1 hour before dismissal in order to be near the front of the line. I will inevitabily be one of those unfortunates, but give me one more year of easy drop off and pick up! It also means getting up earlier to ship her off to school, and for those who know me persoanlly know this is not a good thing for anyone.
But most of all I don't want to face the reality of the fact that she is growing up and no longer a "baby". She will always be OUR baby, but now she insists that she is a BIG girl and I don't like it! I feel selfish in some regards that I may be holding her back, that maybe its the right thing to do. And it will also be a SMACK of reality when she will really be in the minority being a special needs child. Where she is now, she is in good company with many special needs children. It might sting a little to see that. Or I may be pleasantly surprised when I see her with "normal" children who don't know her and accept her. And I have to believe that will happen, otherwise I may never be able to let go because of the thought of her being bullied or pick on because she's different.
One second I think we've made our decision and the next second we've changed our minds. We won't know IF or where she would be placed until late July. Maybe she won't be accepted after all and this will be a moot point (cheering yay on the inside...no decision to make!). So we have some time to think about it. Until then....I will be agonzing about the next step in her journey to "growing up".