Monday, February 24, 2014

New Beginnings and Bittersweet Endings

My sweet girl just started going to preschool. This past fall we started thinking about putting her in some type of preschool or MDO when the new year started. It is something Eric wanted to do for a while, but I was hesitant and financially we weren't in a position to entertain the idea anyway. I knew my baby girl would need a push before she starts kindergarten since she has a very reserved and cautious personality. Going from being home with me all day everyday to suddenly in school 5 days a week would be a major (major) adjustment for her. She is easily overwhelmed. About September we started calling and emailing and visiting "schools". The first one we visited was not associated with a church or religious organization. We quickly decided after visiting that school that we wanted Claire to be in a Christian preschool environment. I also knew that I did not want her going more than 2 days a week, at least for the first year or so until she adjusted to being away and socializing more. After many calls and emails we discovered just how popular these types of programs are and most of them had a waiting list that extended well beyond our January enrollment date. The ones that did not have a wait list that we visited we actually did like and some were even quite affordable, but the drive and gas crossed those off the list. Finally we found a program that was near our house, in a Baptist church (which Eric really liked), the people seemed nice etc. On paper it was everything we were looking for minus it's price tag. We talked about it and decided that this must be where God was leading us since every other place had been a dead end. We even paid the registration fee and reserved her spot in early December. There were several things I wasn't thrilled about, but I knew were small things such as the pick up time which was smack in the middle of Luke's naptime and the 2 days a week were a little longer hours than I had wanted. Again small things we could work around. The New Year rolled around and for some reason I had yet to finish the enrollment paperwork (super unlike me, I am usually full speed ahead on things I am excited about). Eric asked me when I was going to turn it in and I would say I was working on it. Several comments were made that I was "stalling" because I "wasn't ready to let go of her", etc. I kept saying, "no, that's not it. I want her to go to school, make friends, learn about God, and learn preschool stuff". I really meant it. For several weeks I just couldn't place what my hesitancy on enrolling her in this program was. I am so thankful for good friends and my own Momma who told me to trust my "mommy gut" and told me I wasn't crazy for feeling the way I did. Finally mid January the school called asking when she would be starting. I knew at that point my gut was telling me that it just wasn't the right place for her. I had no idea why, but knew that I had to make a decision before I put her somewhere I would regret. I will say a lot of my hesitancy was the monthly tuition. It was double what we budgeted for, but after talking with so many schools in the area I realized that preschool was just more expensive than what I thought. It is hard for me to justify spending a lot of money to when we don't "have" to. That's part of the reason we decided I would stay home with the kids. Anyway, shortly after that phone call I started praying. I put Luke down for a nap, Claire was entertained playing in the other room and I shut my door and spent the next few minutes praying for God to show me where, if anywhere he would have Claire attend. Again I had done Google search after search. Talked to many friends and acquaintances about all the nearby programs over the past 4 months. For some reason I sat down and did one last search on the computer. I wasn't very hopeful since I had thoroughly researched every program within a 15 minute radius. The second link I clicked on was a preschool in a Lutheran church, that I had never come across before. I read about what they offered and it was EXACTLY what we were looking for. Good hours, great price (our original budget), excellent reviews etc. My initial excitement was tamed when the little voice in my head said "yeah right they won't have an opening". I called Eric and my Mom and told them what I found and asked them to both pray before I called the school that they would have an opening and it wasn't too good to be true. I called and found out that in Claire's age group they only had a once a week opening in their Monday class and next year when she moves up classes she has the option of going 2 or 3 days a week. I was totally fine with that. Long story short we toured the school and were completely at ease. Found out their preschool program has been around longer than I have been alive and truly felt that this is the place God wanted our little girl to go. She was super excited to start school and didn't cry at all when we dropped her off the first day. The following few weeks she has cried when I left, but her teachers say within 5 minutes she is fine and interacts and plays wonderfully! I couldn't be happier.

All excited about her first day!

As I have mentioned before Claire has also been in speech therapy since last June. In the fall we noticed what great improvements she had been making. As the holidays rolled around it was evident to extended family how much better she was doing. Everyone who had not seen her in a while was truly amazed. The New Year came and with the the start of the year came the start of a new insurance plan. Insurance started pressuring the speech therapist that it was time to do another evaluation or they were threatening to stop paying. The weekly amount charged to insurance was substantially more than the measly 20% we paid. They did the evaluation and she (as we already knew) had grown leaps and bounds in 7 short months. The initial discussion when we started was she would be there a year at minimum so I always assumed we were in it for the long haul. The evaluation showed that she ranked in the 50% compared to her peers. On par for her age and they could not justify to insurance keeping her any longer. Initially I was extremely nervous about pulling her out so soon. It seemed like it came to an end so sudden. I cannot say enough good things about her therapist and the clinic as a whole. Her therapist and the owner and lead therapists reassured me she was where she needed to be, that going to preschool would only help her, and they were only a phone call away if I felt she needed another eval. As I have also mentioned we adored her therapist. Claire has really missed seeing her weekly. We keep in touch and text about every week. She is also a swim instructor and Claire is super excited about taking swim lessons with her Mrs. Heather.

So not related to anything, but this picture totally sums up my goofy sweet girl.

It seems like the start of the new year has been full of changes! My little man took his first steps the first part of January and now he is running everywhere and into EVERYTHING! He also decided to wean himself. I was totally not prepared for him weaning so early. Claire was a few months older and I had plans of not forcing the issue for a while longer. Breastfeeding is something I have truly enjoyed. It is bittersweet for this chapter to have come to an end. It's freeing in a way that I am able to get back on some medications that make me feel better, but I do miss my early morning cuddles and the thought of never nursing another baby makes me sad. I have wonderful memories of the time spent nursing my babies and I am passionate about helping and encouraging others through their breastfeeding journey. 

Off and running at the neighborhood park. He has turned into such a little boy lately.

Enjoyed his first sample of chocolate pudding. Just don't tell sister (she was at school and missed it).

I just love watching these two as "friends".

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