Pride and Joy Minus the Tears

I did it!  I made it through the first part of Josephine’s journey – getting ready…

…riding the bus…

…and off to school!

Now is the next step…making it through the school day!  Something tells me I will be fine.  This is what Josephine needed and what I needed.  She is good and that helps my heart smile.

This is the Moment.

In 7 hours and 40 minutes (give or take a few seconds), my little girl will get on her first school bus and head off to her first day of preschool at P.G. Chambers School in Cedar Knolls, NJ.

I AM FREAKING!!!  And I haven’t gone to bed yet!

I have been so excited for this moment and played it out so many times in my head.  I imagined celebrating after Josephine rides off into the sunrise.

Instead, I will be following her bus, most likely in tears, to make sure she is all settled and adjusting to her new school.  After all, Josephine will be there every day from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, so should be comfortable and happy.

Butterflies are racing around my stomach as I type.  Don’t know if I will be able to sleep.  Not what I expected.  I thought I was stronger than this.  Then it hit me…I am a MOM whose daughter is going to school for the first time.  Why wouldn’t I cry?  Why wouldn’t I be nervous?  I am a mom who’s had a companion (no matter how loud the cries or how frustrating the days) since August 27, 2008.  And now she’s leaving.

Wow!  It’s a lot to take in and process.

I’ll check in with ya once I am back home from school, as long as I can type through my tears of happiness, sadness, nervousness and most of all, PRIDE.

My little girl is going to school.  Wow!

School Days, School Daze


These 3 words are music to my ears…and ones I wasn’t certain I would ever hear.  I have heard that West Orange has a great child study team that looks out for the best interest of their children, but didn’t believe it until we saw it.

Josephine’s preliminary transitional meeting was scheduled for January 28.  In attendance were our EI Service Coordinator, a West Orange Preschool Case Manager/Social Worker, our EI PT (Lana), our EI ST (Carrie), Sheldon Daddy, myself and Josephine.

Given the rarity of Josephine’s diagnosis, I was prepared to bring a 48 page Power Point presentation, complete with over 50 pages of articles about the 13 other cases documented.  After a firm reprimand from our Stepping Stones family (Josephine’s group therapy school), I decided to forgo all those pages.  Instead, I created a one page document, listing Josephine’s 4 diagnoses and 21 symptoms related to the Tet 8p.  (click on this link to access the specific document – Symptoms)

That document was ALL that was needed for the case manager to determine the West Orange program was not suitable for Josephine’s needs.  No explanation was necessary.  No fighting was needed.  Of course, it didn’t hurt to have her therapists there also – in fact, it further solidified the decision.

What was originally supposed to be a preliminary meeting quickly turned into the second meeting to arrange for the evaluation to formulate Josephine’s IEP (Individual Educational Plan) for the Fall 2011 school year.  The child study team evaluation is scheduled for March 15, 2011.

We were also told to check out several private schools and were given a list of those schools, which matched the list I already had in my head.

The schools for consideration are:

1.  The Children’s Therapy Center in Fair Lawn (already toured on Feb. 4)

2.  The Horizons School in Livingston (tour scheduled for Feb. 15)

3.  The ARC Kohler School in Mountainside (tour scheduled for Feb. 16)

4.  P.G. Chambers School in Cedar Knolls (tour scheduled for Feb. 17)

Once I have toured all the schools, I will let you know my assessment of each, along with our 1st and 2nd choices (hopefully).  I have my favorites from what I’ve read and heard about, but I am really trying to keep an open mind until after I see all of them and can compare adequately.

The good thing is we have this option, which gets Josephine one step closer to getting what she deserves:  a life that’s “Normal for Josephine”.