Sunday, October 5, 2014

Kingergarten Kid

Ella has been in Kindergarten for a little more than a month it's about time I get back to this blogging thing. I have so much to update and so many feelings about school, growing up and the future! Kindergarten is a BIG deal. I am proud to say I handled the first day a lot better than I ever expected I would. Not a tear was shed (on that day). As expected, Ella did great and was so proud to march right into school. She spent six weeks in the summer program getting to know her teacher, Miss Chew and the lay of the land. She was ready to go.

We have had a good month overall. It's been busy with dance class, both girls are taking swimming lessons (on different days) and Kellen is already 6 months old and full of energy. There have certainly been ups and downs as Ella adjusts to school. It's an adjustment for all of us. Kindergarten is a full day, so Avery is getting used to not having Ella around for much of the day. She misses her sister a lot and is always asking if it is time to go pick up Ella yet. It is very sweet to see her run and hug Ella every afternoon...and then of course there are the days when the tenderness only lasts so long and they are duking it out before we even get to the car! 
Hat Day at school!

Ella is learning a lot and it is so encouraging to see how she is picking things up. She is writing her name and pointing out some of her sight words on things at home (Wheel of Fortune especially, haha) There are some challenges as well. As homework becomes more difficult, Ella is getting a little more frustrated. She will tell me she can't do something and move back to something she is more confident in. It's happening at school as well. While I know a lot of this is very typical 5 year old behavior, I do worry that Ella will become frustrated. Her speech delay is pretty significant. The gap is closing, but at a snails pace. I hope that she doesn't regress because of this...shut down and not talk because she is frustrated or feels like she can't get anywhere. Everyone—learning disability or not—has their own unique learning style. Some people learn best by seeing or reading, others by listening, and still others by doing. Right now we are figuring out day by day what works best for Ella. One of the strongest assets I have seen this year of her teacher and the staff is that as soon as something doesn't work or progress isn't what everyone thought, a new plan, a better technique is tried. Most importantly there is constant communication which always puts me at ease at the end of the day.

We know Ella is smart. We know she is far more capable of doing and learning things then even she often lets on. Miss Chew is a master at getting many of these things out of her. She is so good for Ella and so reassuring to me. She has only been in school a month and Rome wasn't built in a day. 99% of the time I bring my positive attitude and know Ella has already surpassed any doctors or diagnosed expectations. There are still those fleeting moments (often when I have a rare moment alone or when I am deliriously tired) that I get upset. I can admit that there are times where I long for things to be easier for Ella, for her speech to be clearer, her muscles to be stronger. I snap out of it pretty quickly though. Ella is awesome, strong, smart and HAPPY. I am so proud to be her mom and so proud of how well she is doing.
Ella's artwork hanging in the hallway at school!

All children need love, encouragement, and support. I am so confident in the setting Ella is in right now and with the teacher and therapists and classmates she has. All of these positive reinforcements will no doubt help ensure that she emerges with a strong sense of self-worth, confidence, and the determination to keep going even when things are tough.

PS - Stay tuned for my next blog...this week I have to dedicate an entire post to Aves. She is my quirky, funny, strong willed two year old who makes me laugh (and lose my patience) every day. Her one-liners and "weird" little ways must be shared!

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