Stupid Girl Does a Stupid Thing, Part Three
Almost Four But Not Quite Yet

First Grade, First Grade

On Friday I took Noah to his school's Open House. We met his new teachers, checked out his classrooms, and I was completely thrilled to see that the school assigned him to the teachers of his dreams, to exactly the kind of teachers Noah has historically responded best to and worked hardest to please.  

(Young, babyfaced-types with gobs of enthusiasm and no fear of Bribery With Snacks.)

(I am about 99% sure his special ed teacher from last year hand-picked them for us.)

Before we left, Noah insisted on visiting every former teacher and classroom. There were big hugs and high fives and marveling over his missing front teeth from his kindergarten teachers (and yes, Hot Teacher Is Still Hot, Only Now More Tan And How Did I Not Notice The Tattoos Oh My God), and then we stopped in to visit his preschool teacher. He had the same teacher for two full years of the Preschool Education Program (PEP), though it already feels like forever ago.

Noah ran in and gave her a hug and they chatted about his summer (BEACH WATERSLIDES BEACH AND 14 MILLION HOURS OF LEGO), and I stood there and stupidly beamed at him, all big and huge and grown-up looking. 

And then I saw the other parents. The other parents with the terrified, nervous faces, because it's not the same for them. A classroom visit is never just an informal, no-big-thing. For them, this visit is loaded with meaning, with promise, and with a million things that could go wrong. What if my child doesn't like it here? What if they have a fit, a tantrum, an "episode?" Are the other kids "the same" as my child? Better? Or worse? Autism? SPD? Downs? Non-verbal? Is that kid still in a diaper? Does anyone notice that my child is still in a diaper? 


What if this teacher can't help? What if this wasn't the right decision?

I knew what they were thinking because I remember thinking all of those things, forever ago. 

I tried to make eye contact and smile at a couple of them, perhaps so I could work in an encouraging comment about how wonderful this teacher is, or how happy we were with the program or something.

But they were all watching Noah. Handsome, bubbly, talkative Noah, proudly announcing his first grader status and talking about waterslides.

He was all the encouragement I could possibly offer to any parent in that room. Look at him. Listen to him. You'll get here too. It's scary and overwhelming right now but you can do this. Keep swimming. Keep fighting. You'll get here too.

Photo (37)

He's a first grader now. Officially.

Photo (38)

Bring it on. 


Amelia Sprout

I saw some of the older siblings hanging out in M's kindergarten class and it was encouraging to me. Especially since so many of them know other kids from the district preschool and we're the dorks who put our kids in private daycare/preschool. I know she'll adjust just fine and thrive even if it gives me an ulcer.
Holy crap, he's a first grader, with missing teeth. Congrats to you!


Yay, Noah! So exciting!

bethany actually

He's HUGE! And he's come so far, and so have you guys. I'm tearing up, here, thinking of how hard you've all worked and how much you DESERVE all the success you've had. Hooray, first grade!


Holy Sh*t! 1st Grade?! GO NOAH!!

Mom In Two Cultures

Go, Noah!

Every year, it gets a little easier, and we get a little better at being ready for it!


You guys are the best. Thanks for the tears at my desk! :)

dawny dee

such a great perspective - thanks so much for sharing. i just know some of the parents got the vibe message you were sending.
and you should take a moment to be so proud of the supportive role you have played for your little man.


Yay for Noah and all of that, but I'm kind of still stuck on last year's teacher and wondering how you can get some more pics of his tanned and tatted body for us to revel in? Gratuitous baby and kid pics are nice and sweet, but want we really want is some gratuitous hot teacher pics! :)


He is just beautiful, and doing so well. go Noah!


He is just beautiful, and doing so well. go Noah!


so awesome. i cant believe how grown up he has gotten.


How cool is that? Other parents are freaking out that their kid is leaving the bubble of Kindergarten, and you're all 'my kids got this.'


Dammit, why you gotta make me cry. Yay for Noah and being such a shining example!


I didn't tear up at taking my daughter to her first day of kindergarten and now you've got me blinking furiously over here to keep my cheeks dry. I don't know whether I love you or hate you right now for making me feel feelings. Noah is so going to own first grade and oh my lands is he a good-looking kid. Can I put in dibs for him for my daughter?


Tears!!!! Love this. :-) go Noah!!
Also: moar hawt teacher ;-))


Oh Amy, you are making me cry at work again. Lol, that is so wonderful to see the improvements and success Noah has made. My special needs guy is going into 4th grade this year. I can't believe how fast it goes by! So happy to see how well Noah is doing!!!


I have tears in my eyes and I am not a crier!

My son is nearly 4 and entering his second year of special ed preschool. He's autistic, non-verbal, globally-delayed and slightly visually-impaired. He's also smart as a whip and a total sweetheart.

Reading Noah's story over these past couple of years has given me such hope! He's a great kid and an inspiration already!


Way to go Noah! I'm beaming for you both! :)


I think I'm going to cry. The photo of him wearing his backpack did it.


You don't know me...I've been addicted to your blog for a few years :), but this is so awesome. Have you ever thought of asking the school to let you share your experiences with the newbie parents to help ease their anxiety? You have done such a tremendous many others could learn from your awesome example.

Suzy Q

Yay, Noah! And yay to Mama and Daddy, too!


I've been in your shoes, and I am so very happy for you, Jason, and especially Noah!


This is so totally, completely amazing. My sensory kid is about 6 months younger than Noah, and every time I read about you guys, I had hope to make it through. Even when you were struggling, it helped us so much to know there were others out there, learning as they go, doing the best they can.

She just started first grade, too, and is such a contrast to the girl who screamed outside the supermarket, who cried during parades, who didn't want anyone to touch her. It is awesome to come out the other side.

Thank you so much for sharing this whole journey with us. It helped more than you will ever know.


Making me cry. Congrats to y'all on FIRST GRADE. It's a big deal.


Brilliant, Noah!

I have a first-grader too, and starting school this year was like night and day from last year. Such a relief.


I'm all choked up.

Amy in StL

I'm such a big dork that when things are going really crappy, like the bank where I'm getting a home loan quits returning my calls crappy, I recite "Just keep swimming" to myself... In my head, mostly.


You and your husband have done such a wonderful job. Go Noah! Moved to tears - so proud of him.


Way to go, Noah!! Keep fighting for him Amy...I'm so excited for your progress :) Happy First Grade, kiddo!


What a difference two years can make (and tons of effort, worry and parental hand-wringing.)


Sitting here crying, thanks. LOL Way to go Noah! I can't believe the difference a year has made for my son, and he's just in his second year of the special ed preschool program. I hope we make as much progress as quickly as you guys have! :)


so proud of Noah! He looks so grown up.


Hooray, Noah! And his amazing parents! (And also, when did he grow up??? He's like, a full-on KID! He'll be driving tomorrow!)


Yay. What a testament.
First grade? Wow. I believe Noah was a toddler when I first began, reading you!


My heart swells with pride! Thanks for sharing these moments.


I promise you this is one of the main reasons I love you so. Yes, you are smokin' hot and I want to feel you up because of it, but mainly it's the love, fierce determination and dedication that is so damn page-jumping-offish when you talk about the boys. Knowing that other parents are where you once were, wanting to let them know it gets better, the kids get better, shit gets easier even when sometimes THIS DOESN'T FEEL EASIER, is probably the most basic thing we can do from one parent to another -- give that eye contact that reassurance, that hang in there.

First grade, you are not ready for all that Noah can and will be. Please refer to and note the cute, first grade. NOTE THE FUCKING CUTE.


Tears - just plain old happy tears for all of you and how far you have come and for the kids and parents that you are inspiring with your much-deserved success. And THANK YOU for sharing all of it with us so very beautifully.


I am such a sucker for Noah stories! Goodness, this made me cry. So happy for him, and you!!

cagey (Kelli Oliver George)

How is our boys are in FIRST grade? It seems just yesterday we were more concerned with what sort of strollers and baby carriers and diapers to buy. Bah. Stupid kids and all their stupid growing up.

cagey (Kelli Oliver George)

Also, judging from the horrible grammar and typos in that comment, I could probably use some more schoolin' myself.

Mrs Q

Yippee! Go get em, Noah!

Sue C

My son, dyslexic, dysgraphic, written language disorder, ADHD, sensory issues out the wahzoo,oral language disorder, etc, etc, etc,worked SO hard for so many years and graduated from high school with honors. I have never been so proud in my life. These guys do get there, I promise!


I am one of those parents in the PEP class, wondering if we made the right decision, wondering if we will ever get beyond this. Thanks so much for the encouragement--sincerely.


My son was just put on the Autism Spectrum (no diagnosis yet) and this year -- in six days!! -- I'll be one of those pre-school parents. Reading about Noah's sucess helps me to keep my head up when I have rough days with my Gabriel. I know there will hard work and bad days ahead, but I also know that there will be plenty of good days and that it will all be worth it in the end. Thanks for sharing. GO NOAH!! :)

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