Every time I turn around, another week is over. This week just seemed to fly by. On Monday, I spent the morning at our local Down syndrome Breakfast Club. We meet once a month during the school year. I have not made it to one in a while and was glad to get a chance to visit. It turned out to be an interesting visit. We started talking about Rachel's Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and school placement for the fall. I have put her in a Varying Exceptionalities(VE) kindergarten class for the fall. This means that she is in a class where all the children are, for lack of a better word, disabled. The class contains about eight kids and has a teacher and two aides. I was feeling pretty good about this until I discussed it with the moms at the breakfast. They all feel that I am doing Rachel a great disservice by placing here in the VE class. I spent the week considering all that they said and doing some research on Down syndrome and inclusion. Everything I read says that inclusion is great for children with Ds. Then I started trying to remember why I thought the VE class would be best. I realized that when I visited the classroom, I loved how protected Rachel would be in that class. The problem is that protecting her is not necessarily the best thing I can do for her. I guess I am going to try to talk to a few people and see about changing Rachel to an inclusive kindergarten class. I am not sure how much I will have to fight for that. I keep hearing what a fight it will be to get the services I will need for Rachel in the school system, but so far I have not had any problem; then I realize that I have not really asked them for anything beyond what they were recommending. Now they are recommending the VE classroom, so we will see what happens. It is going to be hard to me to fight for a choice that I find a bit scary, but I am trying to build up my courage to fight for Rachel. When she wraps her little fingers around my hand, I realize how much she must trust me, so I have to do the best I can for her!!! She is counting on me.
Wednesday I had to volunteer in Allison's classroom in the morning and after lunch Leah's classroom hosted a tea for their moms. That was interesting too. The first part of the tea was what you would expect......children reading notes they wrote to their moms, everybody drinking lemonade and eating sweet treats, the kids giving their moms a little gift they had made. The last part of the tea was spent in the science lab. Yes, the science lab. All the moms and kids went over to the lab and made one heck of a mess! The science teacher gave every kid two solo cups, some ice, some rock salt and a freeze pop. Then we had to go outside, put the freeze pop in one solo cup and cover the top with the other solo cup. Then we had to shake the cups really hard for a really long time. This was supposed to freeze the freeze pop. Supposed to......can you see this coming from a mile away, right? Okay.....so the kids thought this was cool for about 35 seconds. When they opened the cups and the freeze pop was not frozen, guess who got to shake after that! You know...shaking ice around in a solo cup can make hands REALLY cold; a 10 foot radius of ice and rock salt around the person shaking the solo cups; dry cracked hands sting and burn when the saltwater runs out of the cup onto your skin; a LOT of noise when 30 kids (I mean moms) are all shaking at the same time. No one managed to freeze their freeze pop, ironically. But the kids "ate" them anyway. The moms were glad when it was all over and were very glad that they did not have to clean up the mess we made!!
Thursday morning, after dropping the kids off at school, I met some neighbors for breakfast. After breakfast we went to a movie. That was a nice change of pace, but I just kept thinking of all the stuff I should be doing around the house.
Friday morning I spent some time researching inclusion on the computer. I guess if I was a really good mother, I would have done this BEFORE Rachel's IEP last week and not after! Friday afternoon, Allison all of a sudden started crying with her ear, saying it was hurting really bad. She claimed it just started out of the blue! It was 4:00pm when it first started hurting, so I quickly called the doctor and got her in immediately. Sure enough, she has a really bad ear infection. She had run a low grade fever Wednesday and Thursday, but I had sent her on to school anyway-well, I figured if she felt well enough to play after school that she was well enough to go to school. Anyway, she spent Friday evening feeling miserable with the ear ache. We had ear drops for pain, but they did not seem to make a lot of difference, and Allison refused to take something by mouth. She HATES taking medication!!!! (It took me thirty minutes to get her to take her antibiotics by mouth this morning!! She is such drama queen.)
Allison was better today. She said her ear was uncomfortable but that the pain was just about gone. Rachel went for her horseback riding this morning. Thank goodness next week is the last one for the year. It was soooo hot out there today! Leah spent the afternoon outside playing and swimming with a friend. She got a little too much sun, but thankfully not so much that it hurt. Rachel had a great time in the pool. She still cannot stay in it too long without getting too cold, but that does not stop her from begging to get in every day. Maybe I can get her swimming without support this summer. That would be great! I cannot believe summer is almost here! The girls have two and a half weeks left in this school year. Summer time here we come!!!