Thursday, November 18, 2010

Picture day...

Today was a very special day for Max.

Picture day at school!

Since Max is taught at home through the school district, he doesn't get to participate in most of the in school activities, but his classroom teacher worked her magic and the whole school came together to make it work for Max to get his photo taken today. Not only so we could have a school photo of our guy, but so he would be included in the year book too.

The day started a bit rocky, not knowing if Steve was going to be able to join us for picture day, because he had been called for jury duty. But, it turned out he was not needed, so he got home in time!!

We dressed Max in a new shirt, and tried our best to tame his wild hair. Steve told me to leave it alone, that if his hair was fixed it wouldn't look like Max. I finally agreed, and let the wildness show through!

When we got to the school, I called the front office and let them know we were there. His principal came out to meet us, and let us know we needed to stay out of the front office because there were a couple of sick kiddos that had been in there earlier. He ushered us through the front doors, and up to where photos were being taken.

We parked Max's chair, and the photographer took about 6 photos. She showed them all to us and we got to choose a couple that looked good. I think he was only looking up for two of them, so those are the ones we chose. He was smiling a few times that she was trying to get his attention, but she didn't take the shot because he wasn't looking her way. Oh well...I was aiming for him not having his hand up at his mouth, or having his head down. So, I'm happy she at least got one with him looking up.

I completely forgot to get a photo of him getting his photo taken, because we were all trying to get him to look up! It was the photographer, Steve, me, the SSN (special support needs) Teacher, and his 1st grade classroom teacher all trying to get him to look up and smile. He thought it was a party!

After we decided on the photo as the "yearbook shot", his classroom teacher and SSN teacher took us to his classroom to meet his classmates. It was like the President himself was walking through the halls. We had school admin lining the halls making sure kids were staying in their classes, so Max could be ushered through the hallway to the classroom with as little germ contact as possible. I think the whole of the school must know who Max is, because kids and teachers/admins alike were saying "Hi Max!" as we walked down the halls.

When we got to his classroom, the principal was sitting with his classmates, and they all turned around to see Max come in. In unison they said "HI MAX!!!!". I have to stop now and say I think I did pretty well to not start bawling when I saw 20+ kids so excited to see their "friend" Max...with each one of them wearing little surgical masks.

His classroom teacher bought masks for them to wear so they would "keep their germs to themselves", and so they would know what it was like for Max who needs to wear a mask when he goes places. They were all so sweet with him. Some really wanted to check him out, and get close, and others weren't so sure.

His teacher asked the kids if they had any questions for us or Max. One little guy raised his hand and asked "Does Max like to eat a lot?". I told him that Max does eat a lot, but not the same way you all eat. I told him that Max has a special belly button that we pour a special milk into that feeds him. And he likes to taste things with his mouth, but he can't chew like they can so he just eats through his special belly button.

The next question came from a little girl who has written Max two letters...and I think another one is on the way. He wrote her back in one of his writing sessions...and I think it's fair to say, she's in love. ;) She asked if he has a big seashell collection. I told her he had a lot of seashells from when we lived in California, and he loved to go to the ocean and we would get him seashells there. She then told us she was going to Florida at Christmas, and would bring Max seashells back.

One little girl wanted to know what house we lived in. The teacher told her our neighborhood, and she said, "yes, but what house?". So Steve helped with that one...she lives in our neighborhood, and wanted to know where Max lives so she can see him playing outside. I've exchanged a couple of emails with her mom already, but I thought it was cute she wanted to know EXACTLY where to look for Max!

Then one more question about where did Max a baby carriage or a crib? When I told them just a regular bed like you have, that opened up a whole new set of questions...does he fall out of bed, what does he do when he goes to sleep, how do you keep him in there? We were fielding all of those when the teacher asked if they wanted to sing a couple of songs with Max.

They sang a couple of Thanksgiving themed songs, and Max did join in with them. I got one on video, but I'll go ahead and let you down now, until you're sitting in our living room with us, I can't share the video or photos with the classmates from today. I can't presume that the parents of the kids would want their children on a stranger's blog, so we'll keep them offline. I did crop the kids out of one photo to show you Max in the classroom though.

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We chatted for a few more minutes with the kids, and his teacher before we decided it was time to go before Max showed them what a seven year old looks like when he's over stimulated by new experiences. So, we left while we were ahead, promising to come back when the weather was warm in the Spring, and of course to continue to chat over Skype every day.

Max was super proud of himself and jabbered about going to school for the very first time all the way home. We really have to keep pinching ourselves, is this real? How did we get so lucky with this whole school experience? His teacher today said they already have his next two teachers chosen for him for second and third grade, after seeing him on skype, they want to have him in their classes!

It was a pretty perfect experience, and one I really could never have imagined happening for him. We are truly so thankful for this school and his teachers and staff at his elementary school.


Junior said...

oh what a wonderful experience, such a blessing. I smile when I see the posts about Max and school. We had/have such a awful time with our district that it is a joy to see there are districts out there that are different.

Anonymous said...

This is so special Deanna, I have tears rolling down my face reading about the kindness of the whole school. The school is truly exemplifying inclusive excellence and the children are as enriched from Max as he is from them. Life is good today thanks to reading this story.

Thank you for sharing

Boliath xx

Lauren said...

I have no words for how cool this is! I am SO glad to hear how this experience just keeps getting better and better!