I’ve been super stressed out this week about school for the kids. Jackson and Abby are in two separate places in their lives, and while it provides for a nice variety, it pulls me in two directions.
Jackson is going into first grade. We’ve decided over the last month that it’s time to transition him from private to public school. It’s just going to be too expensive to pay for both kids to go to private school. We could swing it, but we wouldn’t have room in our budget for much else. This has given me major guilt, because I know Jackson loves going to Gloria Dei. And I’ll miss the hand and heart holding that they do there. But I know he’ll do well at public school. As he starts to get older, I know he’s probably going to need more of the resources public schools have in the classroom. In private school, with any additional things he needs, like an FM system, those costs are left to the parent. Right now he’s on the waiting list at two schools (Langley and Barron) and I am going to register him at Booker where we’re currently zoned.
Abby is pottytraining. It’s going….ok. We’ve got a couple more weeks to get her into underwear full-time before preschool starts. That’s been a little scary for me too. First, she’s my baby and I don’t know if I’m ready to accept her in a backpack. Second, she’s still a little slow gross motor-wise. She needs hands-on supervision at the park, and her balance is a bit precarious. If you throw her off at all, she’s going down. Third, we’re pottytraining. You can ask Ev how he thinks that’s going since she peed on him this week in his work suit on the way to court. I know I shouldn’t still find her pee accident funny…but God gave me a special sense of humor. I think he may have referred to her as “your daughter” and “Little Miss Piss” when he called me to tell me.
Having children with “special needs” does not end at a diagnosis. What you don’t realize is the diagnosis is the starting line. Doctors give it to you and…BAM, there it is. This is what you have. The gun already went off…didn’t you hear me? I said go!
With this type of news… it takes you a few seconds to realize people are expecting you to scoop your child up and start running. As a parent, you don’t know if you’re running by yourself or on a relay team. It’s like, what? I haven’t trained for this! I’m not a runner! And once you do find your stride and you think you’re in really good shape, someone adds in hurdles. HURDLES!
It’s tiring. And it’s hard. And sometimes, you just wish you could pass the baton to someone for a few days.
But Jackson and Abby’s “extras” do not define them. It’s actually one of the reasons I’m so forthcoming. To me, it’s not the most important part of them. I want people to know they are awesome, brave and stronger because of what they’ve been through, not scarred. I don’t want their labels to be the first thing people see. I want you to see Abby’s sparkly eyes or Jackson’s handsome face before you notice her toe walking and his hearing aids tucked behind his ears.
I absolutely HATE calling it special needs or special education. When I was talking to the people at public school this week, I had to call the Special Education department to talk about Jackson’s hearing aids. Ew. I do not like that phrase. I’m sure someone thought it was creative at some point, but just…no. Not anymore. Can’t we just call it the Education department? Why do we refer to anything as a disability? I don’t want to be a dis-anything, so why do we have to use that term? All of these things have such negative connotation. I don’t like to categorize Jackson into a “group” just because of two little hearing aids. Can’t we just call it the Extra Department? Bonus Department? What about the VIP Department? Yes, that’s it. We’ll be in the VIP department.
So the plan is to send Jackson to public school and put Abby at Gloria Dei for preschool on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I think we’ll do OK. Next month will be a month of transition, but I’ll do whatever I can to make it go well for them. At the same time, Ev and I will be able to save money again for the first time in forever. Financial recovery takes so long after extended illnesses and side effects. I’m proud of us for keeping our heads above water. Actually…that would make a good future blog post. I’ll keep that one in mind!
I’ll end on this note: Jackson lost his tooth! The tooth fairy came and brought him $5. I’m not going to say who yanked it really hard when he wasn’t paying attention, but Jackson was “officially” the one to pull it out.