Our darling Jessica started kindergarten last week. KINDERGARTEN!!! How did that happen? I still cannot believe that she is that old!!! I must say that I am so glad that Utah doesn't have mandatory full day kindergarten like Tennessee. I think two and a half hours is perfect for a five year old!
Jessica is such a special little girl. When she was a baby, we began to notice some things that weren’t quite normal-- all of her milestones were met very late, she had poor muscle tone, wasn’t verbal, had frontal bossing of the forehead—just lots of things that we were concerned about. At eighteen months old, she qualified for help with the Tennessee Early Intervention System. Her delays made it possible for her to get occupational, speech, and physical therapy. We have watched her work hard and grow in so many ways. She has had excellent teachers in the special education preschools that she has been put in, and has truly amazed us at how far she has come. At this point, her diagnosis is "a genetic abnormality of some sort." Her symptoms seem to mirror those of William's Syndrome-- almost exactly. Her geneticist said we could just call it "Jessica's Syndrome." (: As Aunt Jenny put it, "Well, whatever she has, we should all have it!" That's a testament to her sweet, endearing, "sparkly" (her favorite word) self!
Because of Jesi’s delays and her August birthday, we originally planned to hold her out of kindergarten this year. We didn’t want her to be challenged even more by being the youngest in her class. Then we realized that she wouldn’t qualify for her special preschool because she was five—so the only way to get her services (like speech) would be to put her in kindergarten. By this time, the kindergarten classes at the new school (where the other kids are going) were full, so she had to enroll at the old school. What does that mean? It means I have kids at THREE DIFFERENT SCHOOLS this year! (Elli still goes to the special education preschool). Am I going just a little bit crazy? YES!
I must say that Jessica has amazed me at how well she is doing in kindergarten. She LOVES her teacher, and the worksheets she brings home are done very well. She has one little church friend that is in her class. His name is Elliott, and she just adores him. Apparently, he feels the same way about her, because his mom told me when asked what the best thing about kindergarten was, he replied, “Jesi!”
Luckily, Jesi lives in her own little world enough to not notice that she struggles with things that come easier for others. I doubt that she realizes she is behind. She is coming along, and we’re just hoping that sometime this year the reading thing will click with her. Right now, she cannot seem to get the concept of letters corresponding to sounds. In fact, the other day Jeremy asked her what sound “c” made. She responded with a high-pitched, “OOOOOOH!” We got a kick out of that one!!!
Our hope is that this year can be a great learning year for Jessica, after which we can transfer her over to the new charter school with her siblings and repeat kindergarten. That way, she won’t have the stigma of repeating (it will be all new kids) and she can hopefully be matched up better with her peers.
We LOVE LOVE LOVE you, Jessica!!! We hope you LOVE LOVE LOVE kindergarten!!!
Jesi and Elliott