Today, after school, as I was unloading the boys and the stuff from the trip home, Christian came over to my side of the car, holding a dandelion wish. He had no idea what it was, so I told him, "All you have to do, is close your eyes, make a wish and blow! Your wishes float up to God and they may come true." I demonstrated, by closing my eyes and wishing, Please, God, let Elijah end up in the preschool program that is right for him... and then I blew the "wishes" into the air. Christian got very excited and ran to grab another dandelion wish. He closed his eyes, paused and then blew the wishes into the air. I couldn't resist. "So, what did you wish for?"
He said, "A race car bed and to go to Magic School."
Those are awesome wishes. But, my wishes these days are usually not for me. I have dreams and I have silly wishes too, but I tend to spend my wishes on my kids these days. At least when it's SERIOUS...like when wishing on a dandelion weed.
Yesterday, I toured possible preschool programs for Elijah. Frankly, it's depressing. Elijah has been in an AMAZING center-based therapy program since September this year. He has blossomed. He has been interacting and socializing with other kids. There is a 1:1 ratio, a Physical therapy gym, an Occupational therapy gym and 10+ therapists who care deeply about the success of the children who attend this program. It's a dream come true. ....And then there is the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). As soon as Elijah turns 3...and I mean, literally ON HIS BIRTHDAY, he must leave his current program and be transitioned into LAUSD, where he'll receive (hopefully) the services he still needs support from.
Happy Birthday. Now, get out.
I spent the morning crying over the options we'll have. I couldn't quite put my finger on the reason for the tears at first. It's certainly partly that Elijah is growing up quickly and already about to begin preschool (I also cried when Christian began preschool. Then cried when he started his second (and last) year of preschool. Cried when he graduated. Then cried when he began Kindergarten. I'm seeing a trend here...) So, there's that. But, it's also because the options for Elijah are greatly reduced. On the tour yesterday, I looked at a class at a nearby neighborhood school, and frankly, there is no way that Elijah is ready for that. Those kids were fully self sufficient, and there weren't any obvious diagnoses. I'm thinking mild speech delays might have been the extent of it. Elijah WILL get there, eventually. He's just not there right now.
We went to one school who had been on my "Avoid-this-school-radar", and I had very low expectations. The class we looked at is called a Preschool Intense Class...which sounded kinda scary and limiting, but when we walked in, I saw a very upbeat, positive and loving teacher who was engaged and engaging with her students. My first thought was, Elijah would LOVE her!!! Unfortunately, I also saw the same kind of class with a teacher who seemed cynical, down beat and slightly negative. Her tasks were ridiculously ill-suited to her students, and as a result, the kids' diagnoses seemed more severe. They weren't engaged. In fact, quite a few of them seemed a little "checked out." And, frankly, I didn't blame them.
Over the next few weeks, we have scheduled assessments which all lead up to a final IEP (Individualized Education Plan). As of April 20th- Elijah's 3rd Birthday- he will be booted from the current placement he is in, and begin a school placement that is purely about "Accessing the Curriculum" and not necessarily what is best for Elijah. Like I said,
Happy Birthday. Now, get out.
So, I'm using all of my Dandelion wishes on my kids right now, and because he needs it, especially on Elijah. My own wishes for "me" will be saved for after that 3rd Birthday. Although I did get a little "me" wish come true this week- no dandelion weed necessary. A client sent a little Thank You gift for a job well done. Just a little Michael Kors handbag to say, We appreciate you. It left me thinking,
"Get out??!!! Happy... Birthday!!"