thoughts about the weeks ahead

It's a cool August evening, the kind that hints at the changing of seasons. Some of the trees in our neighbourhood are already turning red and orange, and the soccer seasons are over for Em and Soph -all part of saying good-bye to summer.

Rachel will be joining her sisters with starting school this fall. She has two assessments in early September, and she officially starts on September 20. Just this week, her OT (occupational therapist) was discussing with me how Rachel might do in circle time, part of the routine for her class.

Rachel's "school" is part of a daycare program, a two hour block each morning, Monday through Thursday, where several children with special needs learn alongside normal children. I will be driving her to school (within the building of Niagara Peninsula Children's Centre) for 9 A.M. and picking her up at 11 A.M.

I am not sure I've completely thought this idea through - that Rachel will be in a classroom. She thrives on being around her sisters and loves watching other children. Yet, she does not like to touch stuff -and she is still nonverbal, needs to be moved from chair to floor, and needs her diaper changed frequently, as well as her bibs. Is this all going to work? Time will tell.

The truth is, I wrestle with how to help Rachel and Janneke each day. What do they want to do? They don't cry for attention, and they don't play with toys like other children. It hurts to say it, to write it, but they are the kind of kids that can be neglected, left alone in their beds. We work very hard as a family to make sure they are a part of what is going on. I am so thankful we had two normal children before Rachel and Janneke; we try to anticipate what normal kids their age might want to do.

So, we go to the grocery store and chat with the old ladies who think I have very big babies. We go to the pet store to see the fish, birds, hamsters and kitties. We go for walks and talk about the leaves moving in the wind. We sit on the trampoline and watch our big sisters do tricks. We visit the Snoezelen Room at the children's centre and stare at their enormous lava lamp with floating plastic fish. (It's pretty cool!)

This is called Snoezelen Therapy - light and visual stimulation.

I guess going to school is another step of giving Rachel the stimulus she deserves, the love from new friends. This will also allow some special loving for Janneke, as some tail-enders in families miss out on the one-on-one time with Mom.

And so, the cool wind I feel tonight coming in through the screen seems to hint of not just the changing seasons but also of more change for our family, good changes that will widen our circle of friends.

There is no foot too small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world

Peace. And a special hello to our new niece Julia Neeltje Lynn DeJonge in Michigan.