|Tucked in with Tiggs, Bunny and Whiskey Dog...ready for his big day tomorrow!|
We began this journey with one goal in mind: Get Christian to his neighborhood or parish school for Kindergarten. Get him TOTALLY mainstreamed.
At times we took baby steps, with careful consideration of articulation goals and therapy plans. And at other times, we took giant leaps...like this past Spring when we decided to go bilateral and get his other ear implanted. All along the way, Christian took each step in great wonder. He embraced the moment, challenged his little body and big heart. He worked hard. REALLY HARD. We landed in the most perfect environment for a kid with hearing loss where he was nurtured and embraced at the same time as being taught to persevere and to press-on. He grew into an articulate, confident, sweet, silly, loving and incredibly smart little guy who just happens to use Cochlear Implants to listen and speak. I've said it before, and I will say it again, and again, and AGAIN--The best thing we ever did was give Christian the opportunity to learn side-by-side with typically hearing peers during his preschool years at The River School. He's so ready for this.
5 years later here we are. The night before Kindergarten. In our neighborhood school, where he will be taught side-by-side with 21 peers, all who are hearing. He will be in the classroom totally independently, utilizing his self-advocacy skills that have flourished over the past two years. His backpack is ready, his lunch is packed, and he picked out a collared shirt with a shark on it to wear tomorrow. He's SO ready for this.
I'm not worried about the typical Kindergarten worries. He is super social. He can navigate different situations with ease, has great conflict management, and he is just a confident little dude. Logistically, this year is going to be a bit EASIER! He's around the corner from me, as opposed to 40 minutes in traffic away from me. We get an extra hour in the morning together since we have no commute (we walk 1.5 blocks). He's been in a 5-day full day program for several years, so I know he can handle it. Now me on the other hand, not sure. I'm a ball of anxiety with this transition hiding it from him, but running to my friends and neighbors for pep talks and red wine. Am I ready for this?
This is what we've dreamt of, and this is has always been our family goal. It's happening. It is ALL happening.