“Why are you crying?” Ms. X asked. “Because Sophie’s doing so well?”
I couldn’t answer. We were huddled around a tiny table in the kindergarten classroom yesterday for Sophie’s parent/teacher conference. I pretty much knew what to expect when I walked in, but still, I hadn’t seen all the test results. The evidence.
Sophie’s kicking butt. No, Ms. X doesn’t think she’ll ever learn to read phoentically (it’ll be more through memorization, which luckily she’s good at, but she will read) and no, I didn’t ask how she’s comparing with the other kids. I guess I”m growing up a little, in that regard.
But really, by a lot of measures, even I — the nervous, Chicken Little mother I am — have to admit my kid’s on her game. Sophie’s mastered every sound, she can recognize ever letter. She can count to 57 and she wrote her numbers 1 to 20 without prompting (and you can recognize most of them). She can recognize a penny, nickel, dime, quarter and dollar bill. She knows a lot of sight words. Her writing is slowly getting more legible. She follows directions much better than she did at the beginning of the school year. Her Third Quarter self portrait (she’s near the bottom in pink, I’m not sure what the rest is — tropical landscape?) was done with no prompting, and you easily can see a little figure. Her little figure.
Maybe it’s true; maybe she is ready for first grade.
“There’s nothing more I can give her in kindergarten,” Ms. X said, wiping away her own tears. “She’s amazing.”
A couple weeks ago I wrote that losing Ms. X was like getting the security blanket ripped away. Yesterday it felt more like falling off the edge of a cliff, with Sophie in my arms.
The first grade curriculum is night and day tougher than kindergarten. And without the right teacher….
There might be a parachute.
The scuttlebutt around school is that there’s a teacher list out there for next year. Ms. X will still teach kindergarten. But the current special ed teacher — an incredible woman who already knows Sophie and certainly understands the challenges of Down syndrome — has supposedly been assigned to teach first grade.
That’s not to say we’re guaranteed the pick of teachers. Far from it. But of all the things I could pitch a fit over — and the list includes demanding an aide for Sophie, keeping her back a year in kindergarten, getting someone to spend 5 minutes making sure she gets from the cafeteria to the playground safely at lunch — this is the one I feel the most confident I could actually score without legal action or bloodletting.
“Wow, things really fall into your lap,” a good friend and fellow mom said, when I told her about it.
I guess so. Ms. X had her own way of looking at it.
“The stars are aligning for Sophie,” she said.