First Day of School!

Today was the first day of school for all 3 of my girls! Ellie and Nina started Kindergarten and Nichole went to school for the first time ever. Oh what a day!

Ellie did fantastic! We are very confident that she will do well. We waited until she was 6 years old and we see what a great choice it was for her. Her self-confidence is so evident even as she interacts with her classmates and teacher. Four students in Kindergarten were selected to have a locker this year (because the Kindergarten “hooks” were not enough. Sounds like Ellie made quite the impression on her summer school teacher because she was one of the 4. Ellie recognizes that it means she has to be responsible and set an example. We are so proud of her. She came home with so many fun stories and telling us all about her friends, her teacher, gym class, recess, lunchtime, snack time, and every other part of her day.






Nina did well. Probably better than we expected but not great. A few days ago, the teachers and therapists wanted to meet Nina and get things ready for her. We went to the school and we figured out the outlay of the classroom for her to use her walker, and how she would use the bathroom. For adaptive equipment, we figured what was the best chair for her to sit in at school, and what was the best chair for her when the kids have to sit on the floor. During that visit, I realized that although the goal was for her to use her walker most of the time, right now she cannot physically do that, so Nina will be using her wheelchair for going from A to B. For example, Nina uses her wheelchair from her classroom to her gym class, and then she gets down and uses the walker. Same to go to recess and art class.

When we dropped her off, she told Andy she wanted to go home. She did not cry, but we knew she was very nervous (she is not in the same classroom as Ellie; Nina has a special class where half the kids have IEPs). When we stopped by later in the day, we saw her PT and she was asking questions about some of Nina’s behaviors. As soon as we heard some of what she had been saying and doing we knew she was trying to cope with her new environment and she was probably very uncomfortable and nervous. However, when I talked to her teacher at the end of the day she said Nina seemed to have a great day but was very tired and could barely hold her weight from all the walking she did today. I can’t imagine what it would have been like if her wheelchair was not there! She did not have stories to tell when we picked them up other than she had some great friends that were big like mommy and daddy. I really hope she starts interacting with other kids and not just with her teachers and therapists. However, as Ellie was talking about her days, Nina would chime in an “I got to do that too!” or “I liked gym class too!” As she gets used to her new environment she will do better and better. One-step at a time. We know she will do great!

Nichole had a HARD morning. People with Down syndrome are creatures of habit (many of them) you do the same thing, the same way, every day. That is how Nichole likes it. So when there was going to be no show while drinking her milk and having crackers after breakfast, she was not happy at all! Getting dressed that early in the morning? She would have none of that! Taking her picture? No way! She was angry! Once we got to school, her teacher grabbed her hand and told her it was time to get her friends that were waiting in line. The handing over happened so fast that Nichole did not realize what was happening as she walked along with her teacher. By the time we came to pick her up, so was holding her teacher’s hand and waiting for us. She had a good day.

This is one of the few times that you will hear me talk about what I dislike about Down syndrome, because mostly, we are living and loving life with Down syndrome. However, it breaks my heart that Nichole cannot tell me what her day was like. It makes me sad that she does not have the words to tell me what happened at school, what her teacher said, or what the other kids in her class are like.

That said, Andy and I had a great late morning, early afternoon time with Nichole, just the 3 of us. Nichole loved it! She kept telling us she wanted to go “play.” She signed and signed she wanted to “play.” When I picked up the girls I asked one of Nina’s teachers (who is also Nichole’s teacher) if they had used the sign or words “play” a lot that day. The teacher said that most of what they do they call it play. So although Nichole cannot tell me she liked school, I do get it, she liked to “play” and she wanted more. That makes my mama’s heart feel good!

These are the pictures outside our house. See, Nichole would have nothing to do with the camera!
 Not even if Ellie was in the picture with her!
 Ellie, on the other hand, did not mind the pictures.
 And Nina wanted a picture with her big sister too.