Today will be the end of one era in Maya's life and tomorrow -Wednesday, September 3, 2009 -marks the beginning of another one for her.
On Wednesday morning, about 8 a.m. , a small bus -kind of a little bit larger than a van but not a big old yellow school bus that one thinks of -will come here and we -Mandy and I -will escort Maya out and get her settled into that mini-bus for her to leave and begin her very first day of KINDERGARTEN!
Hard to believe that she is that old already -she'll be six on October 18th, ya know.
If that day is anything like the first day we put her on the van and sent her off to the special preschool she has attended for the past two years, there will be tears shed, for sure. Hopefully, we will be able to contain them until the door on the bus closes and pulls away with my sweet little princess all settled in a seat there though.
On her first day of preschool, there were three of us who were out there to get her in her carseat, buckled in, giving her hugs and kisses good bye and waving to her as the van took her off to the school about 20 miles from here. It was Mandy, me and my son -good old Uncle Clayton -who did that and the three of us all were very teary-eyed as we walked back down the sidewalk that morning and back into the house to have another cup of coffee to sip as we wondered -and worried -how she would fare in this new world that had then been opened up to her.
And if the Kindergarten thing goes along the same way as the preschool did, we really shouldn't have a darned thing to worry about I suppose.
One thing that is nice is that she will have Christine, her very own wrap-around aide -her TSS -with her all day at school. Christine will be there to gently nudge her if her behaviors get a bit out of line -which does happen from time to time. She'll be there to guide her through all the new things that take place in a full-day kindergarten setting too -like the cafeteria, sitting down and eating lunch in a very limited amount of time. Seeing to it that she makes visits to the bathroom and sees that the bathroom at the school isn't the scary place -with "loud flushes" which is what she told me about 2 weeks or so ago that those things was the only thing she was really afraid of about going to kindergarten.
It will be so very quiet here now for the entire day and it will be quiet that way for five days out of the week now for the months ahead. I think I can actually adjust fairly well to that part of this new process of hers though.
And next Tuesday, on the 8th of September, life will change yet again here as Kurtis will begin school -again -at the preschool program he is enrolled in. He will attend four days a week now, from noon until 3:30 p.m. and those hours from about 11:30 a.m. when his van driver will pick him up, until around 4 p.m. when she will bring him home, will really be the quietest this house has been in what seems, as I think about it now, forever!
One nice thing to note though is that Monday evening while Mandy, Bill and Maya were up at the school for the kindergarten open-house event, the driver of Maya's bus called to tell me (us) that she will pick Maya up about 8 a.m. on Wednesday morning. She also said that the son of our neighbors about 2 houses up the street from us, will be riding the bus to school with Maya but, because he is in high school, he will ride a different bus when he comes home. However, the really good news in that call was when the driver informed me that Jacob, one of the little boys who was in Maya's preschool class, will also be riding the mini-bus to and from school with her.
And when they got home from the open house tonight and I told Mandy that Jacob will be on the bus with Maya, she couldn't wait to tell Maya about that.
At least she knows she will have a companion there. Someone she knows, someone she likes, someone she trusts and who also trusts her, to lean on along with Christine -her TSS.
We've still be very worried about one other aspect with Maya though and how this would play out in kindergarten and that is that she has not seemed to be paying any attention to getting the potty training issues all under control. We've tried all kinds of reasoning with her about how she has to pay particular attention to this -as we sure don't want her to have any accidents of that type once she is in school simply because other children can and often do remember those things well past the time of their graduation no less.
But the good news in that respect is that the past three days now, Maya has begun to go to the bathroom without any coaching on our part and doing what has to be done -no accidents!
I'm sure it is still going to be a mix of some fears, some fun with Jacob by her side on the bus and excitement over meeting new friends in this setting.
I'm so proud of her for all the achievements she has made thanks to the preschool program -she's known the alphabet for over two years now -to say it and to recognize each letter and name it and she's been able to count -knows her numbers very well too for the same amount of time. Her vocabulary is quite extensive now and also, she can read too! Her biggest issue still is the social skills stuff that is often very difficult for children with autism to work through but even in that area, she has made tremendous strides in the past two years.
But damn -I sure am going to miss her while she's starting out now on this new and very fine adventure.
And I can't wait to see how she grows and fits into this new program too.
Even if it does make me cry from time to time as I have to watch her begin to pull away from us here at home.
It will all be good, I'm sure!