I woke up this morning and realized, my baby will be going to preschool! I will not have any children home for a few hours for the first time in years! What a change. I swear, it was just a blink ago that Cara was just a tiny 6lb, 6oz baby girl that we brought home from the hospital and now she's a confident preschooler!
We visited her classroom yesterday, met her teacher, Mrs. R, the classroom aide and the therapists that will be working with Cara. Cara made herself at home playing with the toys (purses & dolls were a big hit) while I discussed Cara's IEP with her teachers & other caregivers. I got a really good vibe from her teacher and the therapists and have a good feeling that Cara's needs will be met.
Cara has been so excited to go to school for weeks now, ever since Caitlin started a few weeks ago. Last night, when we were packing her bag with diapers, wipes and a sippy cup, she wanted to carry it around the house like a big girl and would jump up and down when we asked her if she was excited to start school.
This morning, we got to her school early, so Cara played and socialized a bit with the other children on the playground while we waited for her teacher to come out and welcome the class in. There are 16 children in her class with 1 teacher, 2 aides and therapists who visit on a rotating schedule. 7 of the children have special needs, like Cara, while the others are part of the Colorado Preschool Program, so a good mix.
Her teacher welcomed us all into the classroom where the first tasks where to sign in, find their name on a yellow hand print, put it on the felt board, hang up their backpacks, wash their hands and then find a book to look at. We helped Cara through this routine (which happens every day) and then went to say good-bye. She clung to Ben & I, like we knew that she would, but we were determined to make our exit as quickly and as calmly as we could. We hugged her, kissed her and said that we would see her soon and left the classroom. She cried but her seasoned teacher was already at work distracting and calming her.
Ben & I went out to the parking lot and cried. We just cannot believe that Cara is old enough for preschool or that we made it to this point. Those that know Cara's history understand how big this milestone is! We are so proud of our little girl for the progress that she's made and hope that she continues to surprise us!
At pick up, Cara was happy to see me and ran right for me as soon as I came into the room. One of the aides reported that she had a good day and only cried for a few minutes after we left. She was using some of her sign language (I think we are going to have to teach the staff) and enjoyed the activities. She received a smiley face stamp on her hand for doing very well on her first day. As we were walking out of school, I asked Cara if she liked various things, if she did various activities and every question got a very enthusiastic response. Judging by that and the big smile on her face, I'm concluding that she had a great 1st day! She even wants to go back tomorrow. We came home, had a quick lunch and now Cara is down for a nap, probably very tired from her busy day!
I am so glad that she's in preschool, for I know how great it will be for Cara, in so many ways. Just why must children grow up so quickly?! Don't blink or it will happen to you too.
Enjoy some pictures of Cara's first day or preschool---