The title of her post is exactly how I feel, too. I am kind of scared of Natalie going to kindergarten in the fall. See, I know that she has to go. It's part of her growing up and being as "normal" as possible. There's a tiny part of me inside somewhere that is really excited about this part of her life coming up. I love seeing my children grow up, even if they are still very young.
I had a bit of anxiety when I signed James up for kindergarten last year. All I could think about where the germs, the constant germs, how he'll get Natalie sick, how he'll get sick all of the time, and how different it would be for him. I was so scared that graduating from a calm preschool environment (where the regularly wash their hands) into a very large kindergarten classroom would be a nightmare. Well, a little nightmare. He barely gets to even wash his hands, let alone even use hand sanitizer. I haven't figured out yet if he's just choosing not to do it, because he is a boy. In preschool he had someone making sure he was doing something so simple. In kindergarten he's just another kid..in another classroom..in another big huge environment..with not enough eyes watching him.
I don't even think it's the germs that scare me so much anymore. It's more about the major structure change of regular elementary school that scares me. Because in August, Natalie will be lumped in there, too...and I want to cry.
I hate that I can't homeschool the kids. I hate that I don't even know if I could homeschool the kids. Lots of factors that I thought about and as usual with most life decisions, home schooling is kind of pricey.
And as much as I hate to admit it, Natalie really needs the socialization. That's also why I never home schooled James- he's way too social of a kid to be at home a good part of the time. I would feel weird to try homeschooling one kid but send the other one to public school. Just wouldn't feel right.
With how rough and tumble kids are.. how bullying starts at the early age of 5 now.. I'm so scared that Natalie will get hurt. I'm so scared that the school won't look out for her. I'm kind of scared that she'll be perceived as so normal-looking that everyone that works at the school will forget about her special heart. It's like.. you hate to point out the heart condition so much but in this case, I feel like I'll never point it out enough. I can picture, in my head right now, Natalie being like 8 and rolling her eyes at me for all of this. Saying something like, "okaaaay mom... gaaahhh", with her hands on her hips.
Natalie is rough and tumble. She's just as strong and energetic as any other 4, almost 5 year old kid. And I know that wherever she goes to school she'll have 2 parents advocating the hell out of her. We'll constantly be reminding school officials about her condition and disability status. I just don't want anything to happen to her. This is so silly I know.. I just get so scared that a classmate will slam onto her chest at recess..something like that. The teacher liaison at James' school suggested I have Natalie wear a chest protector at school. I don't even know how I feel about that. I mean, it would actually highlight her disability even more. I know... there's no way to make me happy here. It's like, do I highlight it or have her pretend like she doesn't need protection.
I just want her to be okay.
This summer, we're definitely moving to a different place. We'd really like to move to a different county altogether, but the only real requirement is that we have a little more space for the kids and the neighborhood needs to be a little better. Let's face it, our income keeps us in the low-income elementary school bracket. There's a pretty big chance that the kids are going to end up at a school a lot like the one where James is now. On a weekly basis, James is getting pummeled by some kid at recess. Some days it's just an accident, others it's not. I also know that James is a boy. The girls in his class stick together, usually out of harms way.
To be even more realistic, I could send the kids to a 5 star school and there's still just as much chance of getting hurt. It just really doesn't matter. I hope that when we have our 504 plan all set in place, that Natalie will be taken care of and looked out for. It's the biggest thing I can wish for. I think it's the biggest thing we wish for all of our children- heart healthy or not.