Claire Wiegand's Story: 1994 - 1995
By age five, Claire's father, Greg, and I had separated and were soon divorced. Years of high expenses, stress, lack of sleep, lack of family support and lack of a social life took their toll. We had planned our first vacation together in 5 years, but by the time it arrived, it was too late because we had already decided to divorce. However, Greg and I got through the divorce cordially and have remained friends. We began our unique custody arrangement of sharing the kids every day. Greg gets the girls on the school bus each weekday, and their stepfather or I get them off the bus each weekday. The girls spend two weeknights at my home and two weeknights at his, and we split the weekend based on our plans. We even celebrated Christmas morning together until the girls were in their teens. It works well for everyone, and Greg and I both have a built-in babysitter we can trust, so we both get to have a break from the kids, plus we can take Jill on activities without her sister.
This school year, Claire continued another year of preschool, since she turned five just past the age cutoff for kindergarten, and enjoyed her second year at Orchard Park. She began using a switch that activated a tape recorder with a loop tape, so she could say "Good Morning" to the other children in her class. She was also becoming much more responsive and sociable, and started to seek out affection, something she hadn't done since age two. Her hand skills were also improving.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy