Really, school has been an absolute blessing. I was slightly skeptical. I'm sure you could tell by the way I only put her in for two days a week. Our good friends ~ Shauna and Dixie, were huge proponents in our decision making process. I so love you both for calming my nerves about the whole thing!! I'm so happy we listened to them and most importantly, trusted the process. At this point and time, I do feel this was one of the single best decisions we could have made for Aviana.
Aviana's teacher and speech therapist, both Kathys, had come to the house to learn how to feed Aviana prior to school starting. They called last Friday and asked if I could come in and show them again this past Thursday. If I'm being quite honest, feeding truly sucks for all involved. I know you've heard me talk about my g-tube fantasies on here before ; ) It's definitely one of our biggest challenges, so much so, that we are going to see a pediatric behavioral psychologist to "break this stallion!" ; ) Anyway, my mom and I went in and met all of the staff. They are all amazing. I couldn't have dreamed up better people if I tried...all of them. I feel blessed beyond measure to have Aviana surrounded in these teachers, and kids too. They are caring, compassionate, loving, people. It was more than obvious, they are all there for the right reasons. I think all good teachers are amazing, as it is a job I would never be able to do. I'm not sure though if there are any larger hearts, than those who work with a room of severely special needs. My gosh, not just my hats off to you, but everything. I wanted nothing more than to help them whenever I can in the classroom too! The kids, the kids, the kids....my heart a puddle! They were each so beautiful!
Anyway, since Aviana got out of the hospital and was recovering from her multiple surgeries, we gave up The Institute program in its entirety. We even put the patterning table away. It was such a weird feeling, much like a death of sorts. Dave asked me if it was temporary and I wasn't sure how to answer at the time. Something just doesn't feel quite right anymore though. We have to go with our gut from here on out, and I feel we have been going against it. More like going through the motions. I have to do what's right for Aviana and what makes her happy from now on. The program was not making any of us happy. I look around this huge classroom of hers, full of swings, and stations, and music, and activities, and paint, and kids, and different, happy faces, and therapy too, and I smile inside and out. And the thing is....while Aviana can't smile outwardly, I know she is smiling inwardly.
The bottom line is....gosh this is so hard for me to write. Dave and I had to have a really difficult conversation and that was, we don't know how long we are going to have Aviana, but however long that is ~ we are going to make sure she enjoys her life. We did what we had to do with the program. We put in 200% to see if we could get some sort of recovery for her, and we all know what happened with that. Now, it's about doing the things that make her happy. Riding the bus, going to school, going to the park, going out to the mall, doing hippotherapy, going to the beach, going on drives to Tahoe, going on field trips and lunch dates with Uncle Roger, etc. All we are going to do is keep her body in working order, but there will be no more back breaking amounts of therapy around here. We almost lost her last month. In those horrific moments, I thought ~ oh my GOD...she hasn't lived since the accident!!! Needless to say, we are soon going to increase to a third day at school, too : )
Another thing, when you have a child who can't do, or reach, or play, or move, you are fully responsible to entertain. I feel so much pressure throughout the day to be everything for her. When we were doing the program it was different, because I did not have one moment to breathe, as I was dragging her from this to that. But now, if I am not with her, reading to her, or feeding her, or if my mom, or someone else is not with her, I feel guilty. I'm not saying she can't sit by herself. I'm saying, if I am busy doing something for an extended period of time, she has no means to entertain herself, and sometimes, I turn around, or round the corner and she has fallen over. My heart breaks a little more each time. I know every kid, whether hurt or not, needs attention, but before the accident, she could entertain herself to some degree. I didn't feel the pressure I feel now. I can't explain what it feels like when I look over at her, and she can't move, or reach and she is just staring out the window, bored out of her gourd. It rips me up. I need help. The school helps me with this. The school takes some of the weight off my shoulders. They share it with me. I appreciate them. They actually do so much that I can't possibly do! They have so much to offer Aviana. My gosh...I am so impressed! They send me pictures and texts throughout the day. How sweet is that?
It may not look like it, but this is the one she liked most. She was to hit the switch if she wanted the video to play more. They said she hit it once. Sandy and Danny will do that to you, right? They will make a little girl hit that purple switch!
Avi made me a Mother's Day gift!
Aviana's new backpack. The ladybug was so yesterday.
School makes a girl a little sleepy. We usually keep her up way too late, so we've been trying to get her to bed earlier!
Young school girl....
you melt a momma!