As most of you already know, our daughter, Ingrid, has Down Syndrome. She turned 3 last week and began preschool the same day. As her mom, the one who knows her best, I thought I was doing what was best for her even though I wasn’t positive it was truly the best. Though she was blessed with Down Syndrome, she has a charisma about her that is captivating. Friends and strangers alike tend to gravitate to her. Her smile lights up the world!
As the second week of preschool rolled around, I began to feel that my concerns were fitting. Ingrid had been enrolled into a program for special needs children that granted her appropriate therapies during school time. Although it seemed wonderful, I felt she wasn’t ready to be in such a setting. Her first two days of school went smoothly. She enjoyed herself! This week brought out a completely different child. The girl who is whole-heartedly warm & sweet is now miserable. She is incredibly unhappy with the change, which we initially assumed was exhaustion after a busy weekend. No. She has sobbed for days now at the mere mention of school. I felt compelled to keep it going, to do what everyone else thought was best for her, that maybe I was just being overprotective. I realize now that I do, indeed, know her best. And that being mom is about being more than her protector. I’m her advocate.
The opinions of others has never meant much to me until I had kids. I don’t need validation to know I can parent properly, even if we do things unconventional. I do, however, take into consideration the suggestions of professionals who have my child’s best interest at heart. I know I’m overprotective. I have justifiable reason for it. But I can see another side to things outside of my views. Regardless, in this case, I can safely say, no one knows my daughter better than me. When talks began of her starting preschool, I cringed. I was not ready for her to take such a huge step at this young age. It was presented that it was appropriate for her age, her diagnosis, etc. But deep down I wasn’t feeling it. We went along with the plan because that’s what everyone said I was “supposed” to do. Funny thing is.. I’ve never done such nonsense until now. After doing so, I could kick myself.
Ingrid has proven that she is not ready for school. She is not in the mindset that some kids are at her age, willing to part with her comfort zone. She has spent several days increasingly unhappy and reverting back to harsh habits.
I guess the moral of the story is.. nobody knows your child better than you. It’s not worth the tears! We want our kid to flourish in life, not fear it.
I’ll be withdrawing her from the remainder of the school year. We’ll give it another go in the fall. For now, she needs to be loved, at home, where she’s comfortable.
Take care friends! I wish you the best!