Friday, September 21, 2012

Meet an Greet

Today is meet and greet day at J's new preschool. Yes, my not-quite 2 year old will be going to preschool. The whole situation is a little bittersweet. This past spring, before everything came to light with J, the plan was for me to return to work. I am an Elementary teacher, but had taken the last 2 years off to stay home with J. I loved the time with him, and my husband and I weren't a comfortable sending an infant to daycare. We had decided that I would stay home until he was almost 2. At that point he would be talking a bit and be able to tell us a bit of what was going on - right?
    My husband is also teacher, so he had a week off from school for spring break. We spent time each day touring daycare centers, making sure we picked the one we felt would be best for J. We saw a couple of great centers  and narrowed it down to our favorite. It was bright and welcoming, and the teachers seemed warm and caring. They had a state of the art monitoring system, and we'd be able to watch J in class from a computer or our smart phones! (a feature I feared might get me in trouble at work LOL) There were awesome indoor and outdoor playgrounds, and they served hot lunches with fresh fruit delivered regularly. We were very comfortable with our choice, and I was actually a bit excited. I was looking forward to picking J up at the end of the day and having him run toward me with a huge smile and arms reaching out to me. We'd bring home his little at projects and proudly display then on the fridge. I had visions of him sitting in circle time and playing with the other kids. We put down a deposit, signed the papers, and he was set to attend in September.
   About a week later we had J's 18 month check up, and the possibility of him having autism first came up. As time went on evaluations were done, therapy was started, etc. As I began to develop his therapy plan, I realized that my returning to work and J going to daycare may not be the best option right now. I really want to be involved with his therapies, and would like to be able to observe and participate as much as possible. Yes, he could receive his services at the daycare center, but I didn't think that was the ideal situation. And once I enrolled him on the 15 hr a week ABA program, along with the 5 hrs of ST and 2 OT, I realized we be paying the daycare $1000/month for him to be constantly pulled out for services. Plus, I wasn't really sure that J could handle a full day in a daycare environment right now. So the decision was made that I would take one more year of unpaid child care leave. This will give J the opportunity to receive his therapies at home  where I can participate, and I can work with him on my own when there aren't teachers here.  Yes things will be a bit tight money wise for a while longer, but in the long run I really feel it will be worth it.
    In August I called up the daycare we had enrolled J in to let them know he wouldn't be attending. When the director asked why I explained that I wouldn't be returning to work. As I was speaking with her, I found myself tearing up a bit. I got off the phone as quickly as possible  and let myself have a little breakdown. As much a I think I have a handle on things, and that I have accepted where we are on this journey, sometimes the reality of everything hits me. This was yet another reminder of how our plans/expectations have changed. J won't be attending that wonderful center we had so carefully picked out for him. I won't be rejoining the workforce yet. We won't have those rides home where he tells me about his day, and he won't be making his little projects, running on those playgrounds, and playing with the other children there. I try not to get caught up in the "what if's", and I know that we will be creating our own memories and forging our own path. But as positive as I try to be, and as hopeful I am, sometimes a bit of sadness creeps up and hits me out of nowhere. I allow myself a few moments to experience these feelings, but don't get caught up in them. I think it's all about finding some balance.

    I will write about our decision to send him to this preschool and give the details of our meet & greet later. For now, here's some pictures of my handsome guy getting ready for his first day of preschool.

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