I arrived in the morning with a van full of equipment - a corner chair, the CAP adjustable chair, a bag of nappies, container of wipes, Ashlea in her wheelchair plus her preschool bag and feeds for the day. We were greeted at the door by the SN teacher (Mrs C). Ashlea was quite happy to be there and seemed keen to push herself around in her chair and check out what was happening.
We had talked a lot about preschool without much response from Ashlea so I wasn't sure if she had understood the concept of preschool or that it was her turn to go there. Alone. All day. It was a relief to see that she was happy to be there.
Mrs C offered to get in the sandpit with Ashlea but I suggested we stick to positive experiences for the first day (Ashlea is NOT a fan of sand). They sat near the sandpit instead...it will take a lot of work to get her in it I think!
I stayed until morning tea so I could show the staff how to give Ashlea her tube feeds. They were a little unsure of themselves but seemed to get the hang of it quickly. I left preschool at around 11am. When I said good bye Ashlea just whispered 'bye mum' and went back to doing what she was doing.
And with that I left her for her first experience of 'out of home care'.
That was hard.
I took Emma and Audrey around to play at a friend's house which proved to be a good distraction for the rest of the day. I don't know if they noticed me checking my watch repeatedly - wondering what was happening at preschool and if it was pickup time yet! I only rang once to check on her - just after the second feed to see if they had managed OK - and was told that everything was going well.
FINALLY it was time to go and get her - as they wheeled her over to me she had a big grin on her face! I think picking her up and seeing how happy she was proved to be far more emotional than leaving her there in the first place!! Her teacher said she'd had a good day. She had sat at each of the tables and had a go at the activities - and she had shown the teachers her cheeky sense of humour. Like when she knows exactly what the teacher wants her to do and REFUSES to do it. And starts laughing hysterically about it. There was a bit of that.
And look at this photo - Ashlea sitting in the middle of a group of kids playing lego. Brilliant!
All in all I think we can say it was a huge success and we'll be back for more next week!