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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Preschool Thanksgiving

Since Raya's surgery got canceled (or, rather, never got scheduled) yesterday, she was able to go to school and have her little preschool Thanksgiving party. It was a little Thanksgiving feast. Her teacher sent home a paper last week with assignments of who needed to bring what but the teacher had written a note asking me to circle anything that Raya was allowed to eat and then send something with her that she could eat. Knowing how much food was involved made me nervous so I gladly checked the "I will be able to attend" box. :) I really wanted to see what she's like in the classroom anyway and figured that a class party where all the other kids are eating would be a great time to work on all of our feeding therapy skilllllllz.

When I walked into the classroom, there were 10 or 11 toddlers sitting around a table wearing the most elaborate construction paper turkey hats I've ever seen. They (the kids and the hats) were ADORABLE!!
Is that not the most adorable construction paper hat ever?!? I don't know which was more impressive, the fact that all the kids had made these elaborate hats (with a lot of help from the teacher & aide, I'm sure) or the fact that they were ALL wearing them AND sitting in their chairs. Preschool is just stinkin' cute.

One by one, they all took off their hats because they were "poky" and "scratchy" and "itchy". Then it was time for their feast. A lot of what they had was food that Raya can't eat but we found her some things she could have. I didn't think she WOULD eat some of it, but we put some banana slices, apple chunks, corn, non-dairy whipped topping (aka Cool Whip), and a slice of turkey.
The only thing I expected her to eat was the bananas and Cool Whip. I knew she wouldn't want the turkey or corn and thought there might be a chance at getting her to eat apple. Turns out if you let her mix corn in Cool Whip, she likes it. Go figure. It also helped that I gave her a Smartie after every couple of bites of corn, banana, or apple. She ended up eating a little bit of banana, 2 or 3 small chunks of apple, and about 2 teaspoons of corn. And 2 teaspoons of Cool Whip. She took a couple of tastes of turkey but spit it out rather rudely, so before I took the turkey off of her plate, she had to kiss it goodbye. One of those funny feeding therapy things. There were a couple of times when I could tell that she needed to take a drink so she didn't gag on her corn but SHE didn't realize that she needed to take a drink so I had to tell her. Those are the kinds of things that make me feel a little hesitant to send snacks with her that take effort for her to eat. Marshmallows are a piece of cake for her. She can eat them without any problems. Other things are a little tougher and unless someone is sitting right there with her coaching her through it, she either doesn't eat it or she has trouble eating it. If I knew someone was going to be helping her eat, I'd send more challenging snacks with her but for now I'm keeping it simple.
All of her little classmates finished their food in about 15-20 minutes. Raya spent about 35 minutes on her food and ate a fraction of what everybody else ate. I'm okay with that because she's actually EATING something, but I hope that she'll be able to pick up the pace a little bit in the next few months. After she finished eating, she cleared her plate from the table, had a little drink of water, and went to play with her classmates. More like parallel play with her classmates. There's still pretty much zero actual interaction. She did do a good job helping to clean up when it was time to clean up though. Someone turned on a song about cleaning up and all the kids except for 2 started cleaning up. It was fun to watch them. :) Here's Raya & her little friend putting away blocks:
Love it!

I should mention that when I dropped Raya off at preschool yesterday morning, it wasn't pretty. She was having a rough morning. It all started when she realized as we were getting in the car that I hadn't put a baggie of marshmallows in her backpack. She didn't NEED marshmallows because she was having food at school. It didn't matter to her though, she was upset and once she got upset, she couldn't calm herself down. When I got her out of the car, she was crying and clinging to me so when I signed her in, I literally had to peel her off my leg and hand her off to her teacher. I knew she'd probably calm down after a few minutes so I left.

When I came back a while later for the party, I could tell that she had cried for a while because she had white crusty gunk below her nose but she seemed pretty happy. During the party, another mom was talking to the teacher about her little boy (who is the CUTEST little guy!) being like a baby koala and how you don't even have to hold on to him because he clings to you when you pick him up. I laughed and said Raya was the total opposite and that picking her up is like picking up a brick that wiggles. The teacher said she had learned that after I left because she'd had to hold Raya for a while since Raya kept freaking out when the teacher would try to put her on the ground. I know this sounds terrible but I was SO glad to hear that! Someone else is FINALLY seeing what she can be like!

During the party, she was pretty happy. When it was time to leave, she was still happy but she was really wound up. Since I had parked and come into the school, we had to walk back to the parking lot instead of just the driveway like we usually do, and that meant she needed to hold my hand or let me carry her. She didn't want to do either of those things. I couldn't help but laugh because while all of the other little preschool kids were calmly holding their parents' hands while walking to their cars, Raya was trying to get away from me and then kicking, screaming, and yelling at me while trying to wiggle out of my arms as I tried to walk as quickly as I could to the car so I didn't drop her. All I kept thinking was, yep, she definitely needs preschool. :)

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