Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I Still Can't Believe My Baby's 3...


Samantha is now 3 years, 1 ½ weeks old. The things that she has accomplished in the last 12 months are staggering. I certainly don’t judge anyone or the choices they make about their child’s education, but putting Samantha in preschool at the tender age of 2 years, 3 months old was the best thing we could have done. Having the structured learning environment where her needs were addressed daily has allowed her to blossom. The social aspect of being around other children close in age (and usually older) has provided her with the opportunity to learn so much more than she could learn just from mommy and daddy.

Just a year ago, Samantha would rarely chew her food. This was a huge concern for us, as she would just swallow things whole and choke, so her feeding had to be monitored very, very closely. We kept her on supplemental formula bottle feedings until the day she turned 2, so we would know that she was receiving necessary vitamins and nutrients. Not only did her bottled formula feedings end, but we also saw an end to her reflux. I have to believe that a huge part of that had to do with the formula, in addition to the fact that she was finally walking (she began at 21 months) and spending all of her time upright. When she went into school, they also monitored her feedings closely and encouraged her to chew her food and self-feed by taking smaller bites.

Just a year ago, Samantha wasn’t using any sort of pincer grip. Self-feeding involved her whole hand, and the thought that she would one day hold a crayon was laughable. The OT at school worked so closely and patiently with her, and I was absolutely thrilled the first time Samantha came home with a scribbled piece of paper. That was the most beautiful scribble I had ever seen.

Just a year ago, the idea that Samantha would one day walk into her classroom at school, take off her backpack, put it in her cubby, then take a seat at a table was an incredible one. I’d like to see how they’re going to accomplish that one, I thought.

Just a year ago, I had no idea how many friends Samantha would have, but she thrives at school and the older children dote on her. She says “please” and “thank you,” and understands the concepts of cleaning up and taking turns (well, most of the time). For example, we were at the playground on Sunday and Samantha, in true Samantha style, wanted nothing to do with anything except playing on the swing. If she could have her way, I’m sure she’d swing all day, but there comes a time when the swing needs to be given up for another child who is waiting patiently. I told Samantha it was time to get off the swing, but she clamped her arms to her side and shouted “No!” I could see that I was getting nowhere, fast. Then I thought maybe I’d try a different approach. I turned her to look at the other child and said, “It’s her turn for the swing, okay? Can you share?” Well, my little angel stopped her tantrum and put her arms up so I could take her out of the swing. I was so proud, and thanked her for being so nice and sharing.

I don’t always know exactly what they do at school on a daily basis, but I do know I should never underestimate Samantha and what she may be learning. She’s surprised me many times with the things she knows or can do.

Samantha’s last day of school until ESY begins is Monday. She’ll have a few weeks off, then 5 weeks of ESY, then a few more weeks off before the fall session starts. I’m a little sad about this, as I know she’ll miss her friends and will have to get used to a whole new set of teachers and therapists over the summer, but I think she’ll surprise me yet again with her resilience.

On a side note, please send a big hug to Sammi’s friend, Lila (Lila’s Miracle Life), who had her tonsils and adenoids removed and tubes put in her ears this morning! We’re hoping for a swift recovery and fantastic results!

10 comments:

Monica Crumley said...

What a great post! She's growing up so fast and doing so many amazing things! I got a little choked up reading her accomplishments this year. Awesome! Happy Summer.

Carol N. said...

Amazing little Miss Three Year Old! I'm so proud of her - she's done so well!

Aidan sends hugs to all of you.

Amber said...

I needed this post! :0) Grace is set to begin pre school in the fall...we just met about her IEP...I'm having those same feelings about the goals they have set for her.
I'm encouraged...thank you! I share your joy in all the accomplishments that Sammi has had!!!!!! :0)

Ruby's Mom said...

That is just wonderful that you have had such a good experience with Samantha's schooling and it is so encouraging to me to hear all the things that she is accomplishing.
Love the sweet picture of her and as always she is dressed so cute!

Renee said...

I love hearing all the things Samantha is doing! She is amazing!

datri said...

What wonderful progress! We put Kayla in PreK at 2 1/2 years and she's done great. I'm so sad she'll be leaving her preschool after ESY and entering Kindy (don't even know her placement for that yet!).

Michelle said...

And what a beautiful 3 yr old your baby is! Wow she sure has come a long way in a year!

Jeanette said...

Becca..... I SOOOOO needed to read this. Sydney is turning 2 this year and she is due to go to school next year. I have already stressed about it. I am not sure why, but it just has scared the bejeezes out of me. I respect your judgment and it was good for me to read this!!! Thank you my friend.

Melissa said...

I agree, GREAT POST! You should be so proud!!

Lisa said...

Bridget and Sammi are close to the same age. I am so happy to hear that school has been such a positive experience for you guys. Bridget starts preschool this fall, and I think she will benefit in the same way. Until a few months ago, I didn't think she was ready. It turns out that maybe it was *me* that wasn't ready...

We also had the chewing/choking issues until about six months ago, and they have improved greatly also.

What a difference a year makes!

Happy Birthday Beautiful Samantha!