Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Oh, this blog.... I keep falling behind on updates and meanwhile, many post-worthy events continue to occur. I know there are some great-grandparents out there that would love to read about what has been going on with the kids. Maybe Trip should help me out with keeping this blog thing going...hint hint!

The past month or so has been full of transitions. I took Harding to kindergarten registration in May and filled out paperwork while he went with a teacher to play games and be evaluated. He left excitedly with two books and a goody bag full of school supplies and told me that he wanted to start kindergarten tomorrow. He finished his last day of pre-K at the sweet little Lutheran school that he has attended for most of his life a couple weeks ago. It has been a great year for him...Harding has learned and grown so much. He is ready for kindergarten, but I'm not sure I am.

Since she was three weeks old, Shelby has been a part of our state's Early Intervention Program for children with special needs. Early Intervention has provided Shelby with a service coordinator (Molly) and three phenomenal therapists; Beth (PT), Adam (OT), and Alisa (ST). I first spoke to an Early Interventionist on the phone when we were driving two-week-old Shelby home from Duke Children's Hospital after she had recovered from her initial shunt-placement surgery. I remember wanting badly to just get my baby home, pretend everything was "normal", and shut out all of the worries and fears that surrounded Shelby's medical diagnosis. I did not welcome that initial phone call from EI because it was yet another reminder that nothing had gone as planned for our daugher and that we had no clue how she would develop. Needless to say, I was not keen on complete strangers coming to our house regularly to evaluate and work with Shelby and our family.
Surprisingly, these "strangers" have become a part of our family. When the only answers we received from doctors were "we'll have to wait and see", Beth (and later Alisa and Adam) would come to our house weekly with ideas and support and hope. Molly, Beth, Alisa, and Adam (and some others along the way) have seen us through so much over the past three years. I can't thank them enough! I also realize how fortunate we are to have Shelby in this day and age where there are so many programs like EI that support children with special needs. I don't know how people used to do it!

Another blessing for Shelby (and me) in the past three years has been the Early Head Start program that we were fortunate to get Shelby in to. Shelby started going to school there for half a day when she was six months old. It was so hard for me to trust her with other people, but it was worthwhile. When I had to go back to work teaching full-time when Shelby was fourteen months old, I felt so comfortable leaving Shelby in the capable hands of Ms. Tara, Mrs. Marilyn, and Mr. Eduard at the preschool.

Shelby graduated from Early Intervention when she turned 3 last week and is now part of the school system. I have dreaded this transition for a long time. We met last week to finalize Shelby's IEP (individual education plan). Shelby has been placed in a wonderful Head Start classroom at a nearby elementary school. Her new teacher is actually certified for teaching special education AND the visually impaired. Shelby will be receiving physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech at her new school.

While it is bittersweet to leave the familiarity of the kids' old schools and teachers (and some of the therapists), I am so excited about what is to come for them next year. The best news of all is that Harding and Shelby will be at the same school. This will be incredibly convenient for Trip and me, and it makes me happy to think that their classrooms are on the same hallway. But until mid-August, we've got summer to enjoy!

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