“To Annabelle’s Sister Sophie”


Tomorrow morning — early! — I have a meeting with Ms. X, to discuss….

Well, I’m not exactly sure what we’ll be discussing. Ms. X was uncharacteristically vague. All she said was that we’d be discussing Sophie’s progress, which has been great, and that I’m not to worry.

Of course I’m petrified.

The school year’s rounded the halfway bend, which means the homestretch is well in sight. Funny how it works that way. It’s mid-February, and I’m already behind in signing the girls up for summer activities. (Don’t get me started on that subject vis a vis Sophie — I have no idea what we’ll do.)

And it’s time to think about the next school year.

There’s an argument to be made for holding Sophie back for another year in kindergarten. The prospect makes me sad. I love the kids in her class, and I remember all too well how it felt the last time she was held back (in pre-school) — the embarrassed looks from the other parents, the way the birthday party invites dried up. She never did really get to know the kids in her new grade.

Of course, this would be different, since Sophie’s school goes all the way through fifth grade. But I’m fairly certain she won’t see fifth grade (perhaps not even third or fourth) there and what if Ms. X suggests tomorrow that Sophie go someplace else entirely next year?

It could happen. Sophie might not be at all ready for first grade, and as much as I fear she’ll be held back, I’m terrified they’ll push her forward.

Here’s a familiar refrain: There’s no money. There wasn’t before the economy collapsed, and there certainly isn’t now. The school district we’re in is talking about a host of options: eliminating full-day kindergarten; forcing parents to pay for full-day (that I wouldn’t mind, if I could find the money); cutting teacher pay; and refusing to let kids stay back.

For Sophie, that part will be a challenge no matter what. You’re not supposed to hold special ed kids back. In any case, I know the principal would rather she move to the school with the MR program.

And that, naturally, raises the other issue constant in my mind: Sophie doesn’t qualify as MR. I’ve about given up on trying to find a psychiatrist who will say her IQ’s below 70, when two others have put it above 80. So not only is she not suited for that school program, when she turns six — POOF! — she’ll lose all her state services. (Which are not, as I’ve discussed previously, insignificant — five hours of therapy a week, plus.)

So maybe you can see why I’m nervous about tomorrow morning. Above all, I want my girls at the same school as long as possible. Not because it’s convenient (some days, it’s most certainly not!) but because they — we — are building a community.

On Friday evening, we went through all the valentines the girls had collected, and stuck in Annabelle’s folder was one for Sophie. It didn’t say much, just “To Annabelle’s Sister Sophie,” signed by a kid I’ve never really spoken to (not the mom, either).

But for me, it said it all.



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4 responses to ““To Annabelle’s Sister Sophie”

  1. Good luck tomorrow. I think one of the best things any of us has found there is our community. I don’t mean as the school in general, either. It’s the friends you find and want to keep.

  2. All I can say is good luck. My head is spinning after reading this post. So many options, sometimes having so many choices makes it even harder. Not that we don’t want choices but I think you know what I mean. I know you will make the right decision though.
    And for some reason that valentine from Annabelle’s friend made me tear up. Of course.

  3. elewinnek

    That is the sweetest Valentine.

    My mother has a good theory that, for a healthy life, it’s necessary to belong to at least five communities. One is not enough. For my mother, there’s her book-club, her work, her neighbors, her church, her family, and her incredibly close old friends. Each of those communities overlap, but not much — and if she were only in one or two of those communities, her life would be far less rich.

    So no matter what happens, Sophie is in Annabelle’s and Ms X’s school community — and she will be in other communities too. I hope.

  4. Sorry, I’m new here but why would your child be tested for IQ? She’s kind of young to get any kind of accurate IQ? And, money or no money- she’s entitled to whatever she needs and they have to give it to you. My daughter has DS and I visit a lot of sites but I’ve never heard of giving a child her age an IQ test. She seems lovely by the way and I’m enjoying reading your blog.

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