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This blog captures my thoughts and observations of Amelia since there are so many wonderful things I want to just bottle and enjoy. Time doesn't stop and while I will have memories, it will be nice for both her and me to have these in-the-moment snapshots of her life.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


It's been a roller-coaster getting Amelia into kindergarten.

She is 23 days too early to start without getting tested, etc. My mother-in-law, a retired 1st grade and special ed teacher insisted that Amelia is ready for kindergarten and offered to pay for the testing, which was good considering it cost $455.

The list of approved psychologists was 2 people long and only one called me back last Spring. He said to wait until the summer. When I called in June, it turns out they close for two weeks so we didn't get her tested until July 13th and she exceeded the required 98th percentile. He also said she was reading on a 2nd grade level. I asked about how much she fidgets, etc., but he said she was totally normal for her age (the testing took two hours so he saw her in all her glory) and that she was not hostile and was easily redirected. Despite her meltdown at the beginning of the session because when they called us back she dropped her markers and had to put them back in the exact order in which they came, he didn't mention anything about her having autistic tendencies. (She also did her hand waving thing when she gets excited - it's rare but she does do it. I actually think it's cute since she's been doing it most of her life.) And despite how active she is and how easily distracted she is, he said nothing about ADHD which was a relief because it runs in my side of the family. (I later learned that being able to be redirected means she isn't ADHD.) [Note: I was not overly concerned about autism or even ADHD ... but from time to time I would wonder if my super active, intelligent girl who doesn't seek out friends might have some tendencies for either or both. She is very happy, not given to hostile outbursts at all, and makes eye contact, etc. BUT as a mother one does worry more than is healthy.]

So all of that was a relief until I contacted the school and was met with an icy, "Are you sure he gave her the right tests? Tested her for both ability AND aptitude?" I actually did say, "I would hope for $455 that he did." I didn't say, "And he was on your mighty short list of options!" but I thought it. I knew I had to get two letters of recommendation from preschool teachers and/or caretakers so I had already gotten that ball rolling. However, I also needed to put together a portfolio of her work that came to include examples of her cutting (fine motor skills), art (kitty cat drawings), letters and numbers.

When I turned everything in - the formal report from the psychologist, the letters of recommendation and Amelia's portfolio, I was told that Administration had up to 30 days to make a decision, even though school started in less than a week. I was shocked! It turns out that IF they let her in, she would be treated as any other transfer student. Her absences would not be counted against her because she wasn't enrolled. But I worried about her not getting to start with all the rest of the kids.

The teacher I want her to get is Miss Mary because she comes so highly recommended. Seriously. I've heard about this teacher since before I even thought about having Amelia. After I turned in the materials, Amelia and I went down to meet her and see the classroom so she would have a point of reference in case she does get in. Miss Mary was also concerned about Amelia missing the first day of school. Our back-up plan is a private school that we visited in the Spring. We love it, and it doesn't start until September 1st so that buys us some time, but we would prefer not to have such a high tuition bill so early in Amelia's schooling.

Public school starts tomorrow and I was informed at 2:06 p.m. today that she met all the criteria and that tomorrow we go in at 1 pm to enroll her. What a relief!! During the call I begged for Amelia to be placed in Miss Mary's class. (Yes, I really begged ... at this point in the Hoops Nightmare, and I'm not referring to basketball, I lost my decorum.) Around 5 pm today I found out Amelia IS in Miss Mary's class. (She also happens to be my boss's wife and the founder of the preschool Amelia attended last year) So that was a HUGE relief. Even better ... kindergarten has a stagger start so only half the class starts tomorrow and the other half, including Amelia!!, starts Friday. So not only did Amelia manage to get in, but she won't miss the first day of school.

Wow! I am excited and relieved, but I also have a lot of logistics to figure out in a hurry including getting her supply list tomorrow so we can go shopping in time for Friday morning.

When I told Amelia she would be starting school Friday she was pleased but not nearly as excited and relieved about it as I was. Her daddy looked at me and said, "That was your battle, dear." Yes, I suppose it was, but I'm still nervous about whether it was the right decision to push so hard.


Blogger Midlife Mommy said...

Wow - I can't believe that they made you test like that. Glad she came through with flying colors. You must be so proud of her reading skills!

11:35 PM  

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