Monday, September 17, 2012

School Days

I just walked in the door from dropping Victoria off at preschool.
I have piles of laundry.
A kitchen stacked high with dirty dishes, and breakfast remains still sitting out.
Bags of grocery sitting on the kitchen table waiting to be put away.
I have two exams this week that I haven't even begun to study for.
And in 45 minutes Antalya's school day ends, and I'm back to 100% mom mode.

Life is busy. Most days I feel a bit overwhelmed, but things are moving forward one step at a time.

Antalya is enjoying school. I'm realizing we've entered a whole new ball game with elementary school. Somehow I thought because she has always exceeded and had friends in preschool, that kindergarten would be the same. I thought the mainstream approach would just happen naturally like it does with all kids. But I have had to face the realization that special ed will always be a part of Antalya's schooling. She is in the regular kindergarten class for most of the time, but she has been really struggling with sitting for so long and listening to so much instruction. So every day they pull her out for 30 minutes to work on additional math skills with her and a few other special needs kids in the special ed room. She's also pulled out every week for OT and speech. For the most part, I think her classmates are nice to her. But they know she's different, and they don't understand why she acts the way she does. I'm going to talk to her class about Down syndrome this week with hopes that it will help ease some of the tension and help the kids understand ways they can help and encourage Antalya.

Victoria loves going to preschool. It's at a neighbors house, so it's been really fun to walk with her in the mornings and listen to her babble on and on about this and that. Her vocabulary is exploding lately. In fact, did you know that young children learn an average of two new words a day? Just a bit of knowledge I have gained from my own studies this semester! Victoria is definitely there.

Lately I am so amazed at how easy life is for Victoria. She learns things so quickly, and the world around her makes so much sense. She doesn't have to work hard at anything. And her sister works so hard at everything! The vast difference is on my mind a lot lately. I wish I could help people see just hard Antalya works. I wish her teacher and her classmates would see how hard she works. I wish the world could more easily see past her weaknesses and disabilities and see the amazing strengths she has to share.

Maybe it's that I'm finally stepping into an advocate role. Up until now, I haven't felt much need to advocate for my daughter. But now that elementary school has begun, I feel that for the most part, her happiness and success in school and life for the next 13 years depends a great deal on how well I can advocate for her. I can feel the extra weight on my shoulders. I can't let her down!