Friday, May 24, 2013

I have a kindergartener

When I was a kid, we didn't have pre-school graduation. We didn't have kindergarten graduation. However, the last 3-4 days, those pictures and stories have been flooding my Facebook feed. Don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining. I enjoy seeing proud parents showing off their smart kids! It sure beats reading another rant about politics or religion.

My kiddo didn't have a pre-k graduation, but she did have a ceremony where she got a certificate. It was cute watching her wait for her name to be called, spring out of her seat up to the superintendent and give him a hearty "THANK YOU!" when he gave her the certificate.

What wasn't cute was that there were 200 people crammed into a very small cafeteria which, no joke, was about the size of the downstairs of my house. Granted, we've got a good 1000 square feet down here or so, but try cramming all of those people into my house and yeah - no thanks. The school is a special needs school, so the children are hypersensitive to crowds, lights, noises, etc and I have to laugh because even I was going into sensory overdrive with the crowd, lights and noise from the kids crying!

There were 2 actual graduates of the school - the school is ages 6 months through 21 years. One of the graduates has downs syndrome and I can't even begin to tell you what it was like watching him graduate! It was so special and his parents were beaming so much that I thought the smiles would burst right off of their face! It was heartwarming and incredible. Their son was grinning ear to ear the entire time. It brought tears to my eyes to think of all of the things we take for granted that other families struggle so hard to achieve.

I admit much of the ceremony was boring and I found myself thinking a lot about how far Maddie has come in the last year since I sent her off to school that first day. She wasn't a stranger to school. She'd been enrolled in a private pre-k3 program last year, but it wasn't designed to get her ready for real kindergarten. It was just learning and socializing with other kids. This year was the real deal and her teachers/aides worked hard to get her ready to transition to kindergarten. I dropped her off the first day of school and she ran into that classroom and didn't look back. She's gone from being recommended to being in a self contained classroom to being in the general ed kindergarten room at the school she'll transition to. She's always amazing me with how far she's come and people always give me credit for it, but the credit is all on her. She always tries and never gives up. Sometimes I feel like I'm just along for the ride and that my job is to keep her from getting killed LOL.

Here's a comparison pic first day of school vs last day of school:

If you look at where the dress falls in relation to her knees, you can see how much she's grown this year! She looks bigger in the pic on the left because she's closer to the camera, but she has grown probably 3 inches this year if not more.

I'm so proud of her and I can't wait to see her excel in kindergarten, but I won't lie, I am afraid of bullies. Kids already think she's weird because she flaps her arms and says strange things, plus her speech is still far behind - it's more like that of a 3 year old. Hopefully she can make a friend or 2 who will help her in bully situations.

Hope everyone has a great start to their summer!

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