Thursday, September 23, 2010

Belonging to the special group of special moms

Yes, looking at preschools and you are thrown into the real world, the realm of normalcy, of typical kids, with typical parents and typical skills. Our children with special needs have to be part of that world. The "little" problem that they have to deal with
on a day to day basis, that we know how to care for, suddenly becomes magnified under the lense of the world out there.

At PIP, in our support group, we think of our children as being part of a cocoon, where all of our kids can relate to one another. They are all beautiful people, with their little problem. At first, when we got there (Zoe was 11 months old) her MMD was huge, immense, immesurable, it made everything else feel minute, and then, as time went by, it became the small or little problem. You tend to forget what affects your child, because you realize that it does not define him or her. The 'disabled' plaque in your car becomes invisible, the AFO's or SMO's (Different kinds of orthotics) are just a part of the shoe, the speech problem doesn't prevent the singing, the mouth taping makes you look like a cute little clown...

With time, the doctors'visits become sparse, neurologists have nothing more to add,we are told that time will tell, cardiologist and ophtalmologist will be seen in a year's time, when future check-ups are needed.

With preschool looming, we are now aware of the differences, the special needs become even more special. Our kids are different and we have to face it. Whether we like it or not. And we have to start explaining how special our kids' needs are, what makes them look different or act different. We all agree that we should say the least, because what is important is not the diagnosis but the way our kids will conquer the odds, how they will be challenged, how they will teach other kids what it's like to be "different", how resilient they are, how passionate and independent they are in their own "special" way.

I had to explain Zoé to her new "teachers" at SNAP! Yes, after being on the one-year waiting list Zoé has entered the pool!!! We go every Monday evening. She loves it.

I try to put myself in Zoe's shoes, to see the world through her eyes. What she'll enjoy and relish in. What challenges she'll have to face, how she'll exceed her dreams. We must let our children be our guides, they will find the loopholes when tricky situations arise, they won't feel that any task is daunting. They have already taught us so much about ourselves. How strong we are, despite the difficult and scary place we find ourselves in. How, we too, can be resilient, strong and determined, to give them our utmost devotion and love. Because that's what it is all about in the end. Our kids were meant to be!

I found a school that I really like for Zoe. It's play-based, with a little structure. What I do love is the artsy component: very much hands on with clay, playdough, sand tables, water play, easels and free paint, collage and mixed media. At the same time, kids can feel free to go outside as much as they like, with different play structures, kitchens, slides, boats and they also learn to take care of animals, for the school offers chickens, rabbits (Sugar and Spice, I already know their names!!!) fish, parrots, etc.
I can see Zoe there but I also wonder whether she needs more structure. She does get that at her French school, where the teacher focuses on the French Kindergarten curriculum.

I can't believe I am writing about that. I feel we've come such a long way, from my little rag doll in the NICU to my vibrant, playful, social butterfly.
She is ready to flutter away, out of the PIP coccoon. And I am not!

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