This week Troy and I met with our local school district to kick off the monstrous process that will eventually be Brady's Individualized Education Plan (IEP). This IEP will determine where Brady will go to school this fall and the level of services he will be eligible for. Our every day vocabulary is filled with new acronyms which I often forget are foreign to many parents. I suppose I could write a lengthy post defining these abbreviations but today I just wish there was an acronym for how I feel.
On Tuesday Troy and I observed several special ed. pre-school classrooms and were quite shocked by what we saw. The kids looked normal. They sat in chairs around a table eating snacks and chatting while their backpacks were lined up near the classroom door. This setting was in sharp contrast to other groups with which Brady is involved where he might be one of the few children who can walk, who can see, who can eat.
I know pre-school is what Brady needs. I know these classrooms are full of typical students whose purpose is to model appropriate development and behavior for the differently-abled. But will they understand Brady? He can sit in a chair but will fall at any moment. He can eat but will stuff his mouth full and choke if not closely monitored. He can't talk. He will have a freak out of epic proportions and burst the capillaries in his cheeks if someone forces an uncomfortable or unknown activity upon him. How will a new teacher possibly begin to understand the intricacies that are Brady while juggling 10 other children?
I imagine these feelings of fear and concern are not unique. This is likely how all parents feel when they prepare their little ones for that first day of school. Or maybe how parents feel when their children charge out of the house for the first time, alone, with car keys in hand. And quite possibly this is stirring up some of what I felt when I dropped Brady off at daycare on his 42nd day of existence, thinking "how will she feed him? and how will I possibly get through this day?" And then I returned to a happy, full baby and realized that this day was not hard for him. It was only hard for me.
I know Brady needs this. He needs to be around more kids. He needs to not be the center of attention at all times. He will grow and thrive and learn. And I will find a way to manage my fears and let go, just a little bit, of my baby.