This morning was Caleigh's official first day of school. She woke up bright and early at 6am feeling excited and nervous. It was a little early to be getting ready so she watched an episode of Sesame Street before getting dressed.
We got to the school early enough to take a few photos and meet with the nurse. We unpacked Caleigh's things and got settled in. When the kids came in they all picked out a book to look at before morning announcements. After announcements they all moved to circle time where they did the day of the week, month, pledge of allegiance and hello song. They sang to Caleigh specifically because she was new in the class. The teacher explained Caleigh's power chair and iPad and used the word "special" a lot. I'm not a big fan of special.
After circle time they headed to centers. Caleigh got to go to the kitchen center. The aide was just holding Caleigh and she was getting a bit antsy. I suggested we ask her what she wanted to do with her iPad. Caleigh said she wanted to play with toys on the floor. She also asked for her music. So I explained that we don't listen to music in class and she seemed fine with that. We moved her to the floor and gave her babies. Some of the other little girls started playing with her at that point. Caleigh seemed pleased. We did a quick diaper change. Then I held Caleigh up at the kitchen station while one of her classmates made her a bacon and hamburger sandwich. Caleigh quickly knocked it on the floor.
We then did a small group where Caleigh and two other girls identified red, green and blue. I modeled using the iPad and Caleigh showed the teacher her skills.
Then it was time to go to the library center. The little girls were playing with Caleigh and reading her books when the PT brought a new chair in for Caleigh to try out. We took her away from her new friends and playing to get fitted in the chair. Big mistake. Caleigh threw a huge tantrum. She was mad. I ended up singing to her to make the tantrum die down. After the fitting was done we returned to the center and she resumed happy play time in her new chair.
After the little girls read to Caleigh a bit longer, it was time to move to computer center. Caleigh once again lost it. I'm not sure if it was moving away from her friends or the fact that her diaper was wet, but she lost it. I was actually on the other side of the room talking with the PT and going over using the power chair. I held back to see what the aide and teacher would do. Caleigh got pretty bad. Not swallowing and in between each yell sucking in the saliva. She was close to retching so I nicely suggested taking her out of the chair. It was hard for me to not jump up and fix things, but I really wanted to see how it would go. She continued to cry in the aide's arms. The aide tried to sing to her, I guess recalling my solution early. It didn't work. Finally when the computer station was over I went and got her and realized her diaper was wet. We went into the bathroom and tried out the potty chair that they have for her and changed her diaper. All was well again. I asked her what was wrong and she said she needed her diaper changed. So she was trying to tell them the best way she knew.
We sat down and colored with the other kids. Each of them had to show Caleigh their drawing. It was really cute. One little boy was showing me his picture. I told him it looked great and he said "no not you, Caleigh." It made me feel nice to know that the kids are already so accepting of the new girl.
We closed with music time and that too didn't go so well. They sang a song with bells and I think it was too stimulating for her. She was also in the new chair again, which is pretty awesome actually, but the teacher took her out and held her. It didn't work but the song was over soon. The teacher gave Caleigh to me and I asked her if she didn't like the bells. She said "yes."
By then it was time to pack up. The kids got their backpacks and talked to Caleigh a little bit more. We got Caleigh all set up in her power chair and she drove herself out of the building. Day 1 complete.
When we came home I immediately sat down and asked Caleigh questions about her first day. She said she liked it. I asked her if she wanted to go tomorrow. She said "yes ma'am." She likes her new friends. We talked about the crying and went over the reasons for her being upset. I asked her if she wants me to come to class with her tomorrow and she said "no." Our little miss independent.
The nurse came in throughout the morning and I showed her what all we do with Caleigh's fluid. I signed in her seizure medication and gave her a goodie bag of supplies.
I think the relationship aspects of pre-k will be good for Caleigh. I have trepidations regarding her being able to talk at school. There just isn't enough time and patience scheduled in to the 3 hours to use the iPad the way that Caleigh currently uses it. We will see. It was the first day. A choatic getting everything situated day. I don't expect everyone to read Caleigh's mind like I can and most certainly not right away. It will be a learning process for everyone getting to know her.
Day 2 starts tomorrow.