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Last night was the fall potluck dinner at Cole's school. A chance for everybody to bring a dish, meet the other families in the program, and see the classroom. Unfortunately, not everybody could make it. But it was still very crowded compared to a normal school day! By the time you got all the parents, siblings, teachers, and students together it was quite a party.

We played for the first half and it was cool to see Cole interact not only with classmates and his teachers, but how he plays with the various toys and stations in the classroom. There was an especially popular alligator game in the main front area where you try to press down gator teeth before it snaps its jaws shut on your hand. Fun, right?

Most of the time playing, the kids were in a back, open area where they have sort of a mini-gym setup especially for winter when they can't go outside as much. Mats and indoor bowling and basketball and scooterboards. It's also the area where they do some of the therapy time for the kids with physical special needs so the OT can work with them, etc..

Almost every area of the classroom has timers that the teachers can set and the timers ding when a given activity time is up or it's time to switch turns. I saw how well the staff used it and how much the kids cooperate so I've brought it to our home life starting today as well. It's amazing how well preschoolers and toddlers respond to it! We were also quite impressed at how well Cole participated in cleanup time when the teacher said it was time to put things away. He knew exactly where everything goes and cleaned up without being asked twice. Our question is why he saves all the good behavior for school?!

Dinner time was a nice spread of food, lots of it homemade. We took the safe, easy route and brought a tray of fresh fruit but there was guacamole, goat cheese and tomato salad, chicken, pizza, hummus, garlic bread, veggies. Had a few great conversations with staff and other parents. Although it was somewhat limited by having to watch the kids. I was more concerned about Leda who doesn't yet understand the rules of big kids and her limits for getting hurt. Though she threw herself into playing and, I think, is a little jealous of Cole's school time now.

One mom had some great stories about her other kids in other programs in the district...some Cole wasn't picked for currently and some that may still be in his future. She had a very honest-yet-positive perspective, in my opinion. It's fun to hear the backgrounds of the teachers and see how the kids respond to them. At least one dad was there who was trying to make conversation with me, Kelly noted, but unfortunately I wasn't at a point to really engage with him so we'll have to chat another time. Plenty more opportunities throughout the year.

We made the mistake of stopping to get ice cream on the way home which meant a very late bedtime for the kids. Cole was, apparently, up for quite a while overnight though I only heard him once and he's not usually much trouble. Unlike a certain little girl who is currently getting up in the middle of the night and throwing a tantrum so severe that she made herself throw up the other night. Not sure what her problem is. But her mom is getting tired of it...Leda won't take me and only cries harder. Has to be mama. Which is making life hard for mama.