Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Fresh Air

We are stagnant during the winter - maintaining some semblance of preserving our sanity while surviving the cold, snow, wind, flu, colds, and stomach viruses. But now that spring is around the corner, there is lots of change in store for us.

When we bought our house four years ago, Shawn and I discussed adding a double-car garage. We have the space for it, but always envisioned this as a project down the road. When we were pregnant with Violet, we dreamed about how awesome it would be to, not only have the garage, but add a master bedroom and bathroom on top of it. Once Violet was here, in her own room, and Simon moved into the bedroom with Jamie and Clare, we thought wouldn't it be wonderful to cut our existing master bedroom into two bedrooms. Then we could have a boys' room, girls' room, nursery (you never know!), and a guest room. As the kids get older, they could eventually have their own rooms. Dreams, dreams, and more dreams. Some dreams do come true! Any day now, they will be breaking ground for the addition. It's going to have everything we wanted - two-car garage, master bedroom, walk-in closet, master bath with a jacuzzi tub (that's mine!), mudroom, and our old bedroom will be converted into two rooms. We are blessed in so many ways, but we also have so many challenges in our life and have been thrown so many unexpected curve balls, that I am still in some disbelief that this is actually going to happen just like we dreamed it would.

We will be registering Clare for kindergarten next week for next fall. There is still so much uncertainty about exactly how this is all going to go. Clare's preschool teacher has been awesome discussing it with me as things come up, but I am such a planner and organizer that I hate the unknown part of it all. We, as parents, have definitely decided we want Clare to go to our district school, which is one of the best in the district. The only reason why I was not sold on this idea is because the kindergarten program is only a little over two hours a day. Right now, the special education team is planning on including Clare in a typical kindergarten classroom, so I was concerned about her being pulled out for services three hours a week. That's almost a third of her time in class. We could fight to have her placed in a full-day program at a different school, but I don't want to take her out of our district school and then transition her again in first grade. It's so confusing sometimes! You want to make the right decision for your child, but I honestly don't know what the right decision is. I want Clare to be included in a regular classroom, to be with the children she will be in school with for years, to have the chance to make friends. She needs all her special education services, but she also needs to be in her kindergarten class. She can spell her name now (drilled into her! C-L-A-R-E!), but has difficulty forming letters (part of that difficulty with fine motor skills), so she cannot write her name yet. She knows all her colors after months of working on it, but is still sketchy on shapes, numbers, and letters. She has made tremendous progress this year, but I think of where Jamie was when he was going to kindergarten, and Clare has a long way to go. I don't expect her to be where Jamie was at that age, but she is going to be with other children who are, and I just want her to be able to keep up. Clare has loved her preschool and has done so well in her self-contained classroom. I am scared of the unknown of placing her in a regular classroom. This is where the Mommy-protectiveness is kicking in.

Jamie was invited to join a travel soccer team this year. He was asked to play last year and we said no, feeling that six was too young to be on a travel team. After playing a season of outdoor soccer this past fall and currently wrapping up four months of indoor soccer, Jamie has demonstrated both that he loves soccer and that he has soccer skills. When his coach brought up the travel team again, at first we said no. After some thought, though, we decided to give Jamie the choice between baseball or soccer (he has played t-ball the past two springs). Jamie immediately chose soccer. It's a bigger time commitment than we've been used to, but I know it's going to be a great experience for Jamie. He has a terrific soccer coach and will be playing with many of the same players on his indoor soccer team. Plus it forces us to not plead tiredness and get some fresh air two nights a week after dinner and run around!

After watching Jamie play sports for two years, Clare is excited that it's finally her turn to have an activity just for her. She started taking official ballet classes two weeks ago and loves it. To test the waters, I signed her up for a little "Creative Movement" class at the YMCA over the winter. The girls do a little bit of ballet, then basically get to free-dance. She did this class for a few months. She paid attention, took it seriously (for the most part!), and loved every minute of it. Those were my three conditions she had to meet before I signed her up with a ballet studio. I know Clare will not be a ballerina. I know she will not be able to do everything at first, but I was more concerned that she would not be a distraction in the class. Clare did awesome, and I am so proud of her! (Not to mention that she looks so stinking cute in her leotard!) So we signed her up with a local ballet studio for a weekly class. She is in a petite ballet class with other 3-5 year olds and will even be in a show in June. Her class are playing the part of fish in The Little Mermaid. I was able to watch her class perform their little solo (it's literally about two minutes long!) last week, and thank goodness I had a squirmy Violet to also occupy my attention or I would have started crying. Clare was grinning away, doing her moves (don't ask me what anything is called), and so precious! She truly loves her dance.

And thankfully Simon and Violet still go with the flow! (Although Simon has stopped napping, which really ruins my quiet afternoons!) Some days are spent running around like crazy with the older kids' activities, that I cherish the calmer times I have with my little two. They are so sweet and their needs are so simple! I know our calm days are numbered in the near future once the addition gets under way!


Anonymous said...

WOW! It certainly sounds like you have your hands full! I am so excited to hear all the activities, especially the ballet! I never had that opportunity, and remember the 10 years Aimee spent dancing! Thanks for sharing all the details!! Love to all.....

Aunt Joan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michelle said...

You guys are getting sooo busy! It sounds like Clare is doing amazing! We fought for Ari's services to take place after the Kindergarten she would not be pulled out...better yet..fight for them to services her in the classroom whenever possible so that they can work directly (functionally) on the skills being taught at the time...O.T. can certainly come in during ART class or any table top activity, speech during "circle time" just better than always teaching skills in gives Clare a chance to practice what she is learning in 1:1 sessions in a real life way that is meaningful. I am glad Clare loves dance...Ari was the same way at the same age! Miss you guys! xo

Christina and Tee Jay said...

I'm the schmuck auntie who got teary just reading about Clare in her dance class - she IS too stinking cute in that leotard, and we'd BETTER see some Little Mermaid video come this summer!!