Sunday, October 14, 2012

Back to School 2012

Having a maternity leave that coincided almost exactly with summer break was amazing.  I knew both our summer and mat leave would seemingly fly by.  The first six weeks or more after a c-section is more sitting and cuddling and aching than relaxing and fully enjoying.  But, I wouldn't trade time with my husband and babies for anything.

So, before I knew it . . . it was time for school to begin again.  And, time for Gavin to officially start school.  Having Gavin in preschool in Canada and last year here definitely eased the transition a bit.  But, there's just something about that bus that gets to a mom.  The bus seems so big and suddenly our baby seems so small.

Autumn started school almost two weeks before the kindergartners.  You don't know how many times I have said something or referenced Autumn being in 1st grade rather than 2nd over the last month.  Obviously this mom is in denial that her little girl is growing up!  2nd grade already.  I remember my second grade year in Mrs. Smith's class.  I love school and still do.  I honestly remember 2nd grade being my least favorite year of elementary school.

Autumn has a really amazing, positive and happy teacher, Mrs. Hansen.  Autumn really loves her and so do we.  So, I'm really hopeful that Autumn is going to have an amazing experience this year.

And, then it was time for our little guy to become a kindergartner.  He has the two boys from the neighborhood in his class and Kyler Hicken, his best little friend.  So, we are thrilled that he is surrounded by good boys that can help him - but, also that treat him just like all the other kids.

Jeff and I let Gavin ride the bus - and then met him at school to take some pictures and walk with him to his classroom.  As soon as we got to the gym, Gavin left us behind and was happy to run over and play with the other kids.  Of course he was sitting beside Kyler and being as silly as ever.  On Gavin's left is Bentley - and directly behind Bentley is Koler - both boys in the neighborhood and in Gavin's primary class at church.

Kyler and Gavin love to make everyone laugh.  The video of these two kids is even funnier.  I'll upload that soon.

Gavin had no problem powering down the hall to his classroom.  They literally walk from one end of the building to the other.  The only thing that slowed him down was a too-big backpack sliding off his shoulders over and over.  I quickly remedied the situation with a new Spiderman backpack and sternum clip combination the next day.  Since then, he hasn't slowed down. 

Since the chin-splitting incident, we have been super conscious of water complications.  When it rains, we send him to school with his walker.  We don't want to take any chances of any other falls.  This winter, we are going to have to send a walker daily.

Gavin also has such a cute and happy teacher, Mrs. Stanley.  She has been so positive and encouraging and happy to work with.  I feel very lucky to have her.  And, she treats us like normal people (hard to explain - but, I've only felt really comfortable with a few of Autumn's teachers so far).  Mrs. Stanley is great for Gavin.

We celebrated the first day of school with our traditional Jell-o jiggler letters.  Grandma and Grandpa Peterson were in town helping us put an entire irrigation system in the backyard and plant grass.   So, rather than the full letter display, Autumn and Gavin cut out their initials . . . and then everyone dug in.

Two kids in elementary school already - and two more to go.  It goes by quickly.

And, I won't linger too long on the subject . . . but, man . . . I felt like I had another full-time job coordinating everything that Gavin would need to be a successful kindergartner.  Gavin has had no problems at all fitting right in and doing it happily.  It's all the behind-the-scenes stuff, that I really don't want him even thinking about, that was so complicating.  I spent hours and hours at school in meetings, IEP groups, 504 coordination, meeting the aides, training the aides, educating the nurse and more.  Not to mention, we've both spent hours coordinating with the bus transportation staff for what ended up being a slightly sub-par solution (Gavin's afternoon bus doesn't drop him off at our door.  So, Jeff has to meet him at the corner.  Imagine that with two babies, nap schedules, and eventually snow.)

In our first large school meeting (including the principal, new teacher, aides, resource leads, district personnel and more), I started by walking through a presentation with pictures on Gavin  and Spina Bifida, including his progression and special needs.  A few days later, the special education lead, Lauren, told me how impressed they all were to see the presentation I had prepared.  She said that you'd be surprised at how little so many parents are involved.  It was very encouraging for me to hear.  I had debated whether or not to give the presentation and then had slightly rushed through it.  Lauren has been an amazing ally.  I really appreciate having such supportive people around to lean on.

Yes, we are Gavin's best advocates. And, no, it's not easy.  But, he's worth it.

1 comment:

  1. Karen you are amazing! Gavin is so blessed to have you guys as parents!!! I can't get over how big your kids look, Autumn is so TALL, she has grown up so fast. I hope Gavin has a great Kindergarten year, he looks very independent!
    Enjoy your favorite season...