I have posted before that we tried to put Tehilla into a private daycare (gan) at the beginning of this year. When I called and spoke to a few of these daycares, I listened to them describe their facilities, and schedules and when they were finished, I explained to them about Tehilla. I tried to say it gently and educationally, but it was always met with , "Gasp! I can't take care of a child like that. I won't take the responsibility! I'm sorry. I can't accept your daughter." One teacher even said to me with an air of disgust in her voice, "Why are you even trying to put a child like THAT in school."
Feel free to hurl expletives at said teachers. I did after I hung up.
One of our original PICU nurses who is now a dear friend, said to me, "Listen, Shoshana. Tehilla is so much more than her heart defect. When you just hear about her heart, you immediately conjure up an image of a sickly child. When you meet Tehilla, you see a normal 2 year old, who might be a bit out of breath sometimes. When you hear what she has been through, you are moved by such a miracle in front of you. From now on, don't tell the teachers on the phone about her heart. Get the details, and go to the gan (daycare). Once they see her and how normal she can be, then tell them about her heart."
That was really great advice. We thought about putting her in a municipality run daycare, but didn't feel comfortable with her being in such a big group of kids, without more careful supervision because of her heart. We applied to Bituach Leumi (Social Security) for Tehilla to get a medical shadow. Thank G-d, we were granted one. However, at this point of the school year, there are no more places left in the municipality daycares.
So, while Tehilla has been exceptionally destructive and difficult, we set out again to find a private daycare. This time, I listened to my friend. I was recommended a school and spoke to the teacher on the phone. I didn't mention anything about her heart. Yesterday, Tehilla and I went to see the gan and meet everyone. Tehilla instantly left my side and started playing with the toys and interacting with the kids. She ran up to the teacher and started talking to her.
Then she and I sat down and I explained that I didn't want to say anything before she met Tehilla, but now I should. I launched into an explanation and waited for the huge gasp or terrified look. But it never came. This teacher listened intently and then said, "What do the doctors want for her? What do you want for her? Explain to me about her previous surgeries. What are the signs to look for?" She asked questions calmly and wanted to understand everything.
After everything, I said, "I know I just gave you a lot of information and if Tehilla comes here, I will give you a detailed plan of what to do in different circumstances. It was a lot of information."
The teacher turned to me and said, "Yes. It was a lot. I guess you need some time to think."
I said, "Me? I've thought this through. I'm more concerned about you." She then hugged me.
And that, is why Tehilla is starting school tomorrow.
When I told Tehilla it was time to leave, she stomped her foot and screamed, "No! This my school! No go home!"