Monday, September 21, 2015

School: Not What I Expected

Ella has been going to school for a month now and I can honestly say things really aren't going at all like I expected..

For example, I expected her to have a hard time leaving me in the mornings. I thought she would be upset and scared and unsure and take a long long time to transition to riding with a 'stranger.' 
Instead? I can't shut the door fast enough after I put her in the car in the mornings to go to school. If I even try to chit chat with her aide for a minute, Ella is pointing at the door saying 'shut.. door. shut.. door.' This girl has no issues whatsoever leaving me and cannot WAIT to get to school.

I expected her teachers and aides to have a hard time communicating with her and knowing what she wanted or needed. I was worried that I was the only one who knew her so well and no one else would be able to understand. 
I didn't expect that everyone would pick up on her signs so quickly and be able to know exactly what she is trying to tell them.

I expected to have to be diligent about pushing for what she needed and ready to advocate on her behalf at every turn.
I didn't expect every single person who works with her to go above and beyond their role to get her things I never even thought of her needing (pencil grippers for her silverware at school, a 'teething' necklace so she doesn't put the toys at school in her mouth..) and bringing things from their own homes, or buying her special things to help her.

I expected the kids in her class to have reservations about playing with her and including her when they couldn't communicate with her very well. 
I wasn't expecting the school to text me this picture of eleven little girls waiting their turn to be able to push her in her new swing at school.

I expected to be content with sending her only 2 mornings for a long time.
I certainly didn't expect to be the one setting up the meeting only a few weeks into school to discuss sending her more days because she is doing so well and wants so much to be there on days she's at home.

I expected her to be crabby and exhausted when she gets home.
I didn't expect one of my very favorite parts of the day to be when she comes home from school and seeing her eyes light up as we go through her folder and read the notes her teacher, aide and therapists have written and talk about the things she did that day. She is SO proud of herself and it just shines through her.

I expected her be the same little Ella she always has been.
I didn't expect two separate people to tell me last week, the minute she walked in the room that they could tell something was different. The librarian at story time said she immediately could see the difference school is making as Ella was just so much more confident and independent. And one of the gymnastics teachers asked what we did this summer because she was so different (after we'd been there about 2 minutes)

I expected her to maybe learn a few colors this year while she was at school, but my ultimate goal was mostly just get used to the idea of being in a classroom and listening to a teacher. 
I most definitely did not expect her to point at the correct letters on my t-shirt on the 2nd week of school and say, "EEEEE!" I did not expect her, after only a handful of half days of school, to know the letters E, O, C & L and be able to find them on her own, in books, on signs.. everywhere! I did not expect to hear that academically she's right on track with her peers. 

Ella pointing out the 'E' appropriately enough in "DREAM BIG"
Well, at least I was right about one thing.
I absolutely expected everyone to adore her.
Spot on.