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Preschool...*sniff sniff**sniff sniff*...OVER! *sniff sniff*

How did this happen?! School is out for the summer and my baby is all grown up! Well, not ALL grown up but MUCH more grown up than I'd like her to be and it has gone by much too fast! Raya's last day of preschool was last Wednesday. Here's a side-by-side comparison of her first and last day of preschool. Her first day was a couple days after her 3rd birthday. She looks so little then and so old now!
Her big sister somehow talked her into letting her do a cute little braid thing with her hair instead of the ever-present ponytail. I had to take it out and redo it before we went to school and she took it out as soon as she got home, but it was cute while it lasted. I dropped her off at school and made good use of her last day of preschool by taking Piper in for her 15 month well check while Raya was at school. Then I drove through my favorite breakfast joint and got myself some French toast, put Piper in bed for a quick nap, and relished my last bit of peace and quiet until school starts again. It was heavenly but short-lived.

I walked in the door of Raya's classroom and quickly whisked her out into the hallway to sign the cards I had gotten for her teacher and aide. When we went back inside, Raya ran to her teacher, handed her the card, and hugged her. Then her teacher and I both exchanged a teary-eyed glance and a hug. We are going to miss her SO MUCH! There are just no words to explain how much she has helped Raya grow and develop in the last 2 years. She has been someone I could trust when I wasn't sure who was on my side, and she has gone above and beyond to help Raya succeed. She is as ready for kindergarten as she possibly could be. I canNOT imagine how she ever could have been ready for kindergarten if she had not been able to do {almost} 3 years of early intervention preschool. It's been more than academics for her. MUCH more. The academics were never really a concern for me. It was pretty much every other aspect of school that made me worry for her, and the last 2 years of preschool have definitely prepared her for "the real world" of kindergarten.

We now have a copy of her kindergarten IEP in hand. It was handed to me on the way out of the 6th grade awards assembly on Thursday. I haven't read it yet. Mentally, I'm just worn out with all this IEP stuff and I need a break from thinking about it. The school staff is gone for the next 2 months anyway, so nothing can be changed right now. I'll leave it sitting on my desk for a couple weeks and then look at it with a refreshed mind and clear head. I already saw something in the second paragraph that I want reworded because it is not accurate, so I imagine there will be other things as well. Even so, we feel like her biggest needs have been acknowledged and there is a plan in place to meet those needs. I can't put into words how gratifying it was to hear them say they are getting her an aide after dealing with all of the comments from people who told me she wouldn't get one and that the school doesn't have the staff to deal with what I told them her needs were. (it wasn't just school staff saying those things either, it was friends and family. and her doctor.)

I am trying really hard to be present and enjoy the last couple months with her before she starts elementary school, and also trying to not get sad about how fast the last 5 years have gone by. It's so great to see how well she is doing, and how much she has exceeded the expectations of everyone who worked with her the first couple of years when things were so much worse with her health and we really didn't know what she would be like by now. She is an amazing kid!


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