Thursday, February 13, 2014

In a world where you can be anything....

Be yourself. This is an inspirational quote pasted to the Goofy Child's wall because I want him to know that he is someone worth being.

There was a time that getting Alex's report card would bring me to my knees. A time that just getting those few pages of words would be enough for me to have to take a day away from blogging and social media, away from my phone, away from the world to just cry. I would cry for days. It was awful.

Then one day, I realized I was reading Alex's report card and it didn't hurt. Not that his report cards have changed much, he's still working on the same types of things, the kinds of things that make you recognize that young children are still zipping through developmental milestones that Alex hasn't reached yet. He hasn't changed much, but I have. I worried about his quality of life, the things he would never be able to do, the life he would never have... until the day that I looked at his life from his point of view, until I saw him for the happy person he was, content with his life. I know we still have rough times ahead. Eventually, his peers will be going to dances and finding girlfriends, and hanging out at the mall, driving cars, getting married, having babies... when those times come, I'm sure there will be the pain of what-if or what-should-have-been. but for now, he's happy. which is everything I want for him.

Next year he's due for his three year eval. I'm not looking forward to that. As much as I am ok with where we are and where we're heading, those evaluations are not something I want to face. Seeing your baby broken down into various percentiles... if he's lucky enough to rate in a percentile... is not a fun thing to see. I hate to say it, but with any luck, we'll just do a review of existing data because this time I already know, as perfect as Alex is, he hasn't made significant progress. I already know what those papers will say and I already know that I can't. But if we do, I already know the pain will come and the pain will go and life will go on the same as it always has.

What I did not expect, what I didn't know, what I never considered was starting all over again back at the beginning with his brother. Been there, done that, learned the lesson, right? No. That's where I was yesterday. I don't want to see anyone, I don't want to talk to anyone. I just want to be alone in my sadness.

I got the Goofy Child's records. 

1. I got all of his papers from Parents As Teachers which reminds me that where we are now is not because I didn't pay attention or because I was too wrapped up in another kid to see what was going on with my baby. I did get help. I did everything I could do. Parents As Teachers told me he was fine. and I'm sure he was, I didn't see a problem until school.

2. I got new AIMSWeb data that says the same as the old AIMSWeb data, just more current.

3. I got 1/2 of a page of teacher notes with the teacher's concerns noted:
  • Difficulty/unwillingness to follow instructions
  • Difficulty in unstructured settings
  • Limited or inappropriate social skills
  • Difficulty with task completion
  • Not motivated to do his/her best
  • Home concerns
#6 is to be expected, but the first 5 are a knife through the heart. Yes, I already know and I've been screaming it for going on 3 years, but school says he's "fine." No matter how sure you are, there is a small strand of hope that you hold onto with a sort of desperation, Please, God, let me be wrong. I was expecting to find something that explained why he was ok, something that backed up their opinions. Instead, I look at what small bit of information I was given...  and I wonder, where is the fine? Where is the typical? Where is the not uncommon? How can he be fine with all of the concerns I've had for years printed right there in black and white, in the words and check marks of someone else?

and I retreat into that place that only Alex's report cards could take me.

Standing at the back window, my forehead on the glass as the kids quietly keep their distance to let me be, listening to my music, lost in my head, lost in my sadness. Not knowing a way out, and not knowing if it's worth fighting.


I take a shower and pop some Tylenol PM to keep the nightmares away. I get up this morning and put my big girl panties on. I can do this.

I walk into the elementary, and am met by the principal. She wants me to know that she sent the Goofy One's Think Sheets home like I asked. This is a surprise, I thought that request was ignored. I asked her about the home concerns because I can't fix it if I don't know what it is. She's shocked. She doesn't understand why there would be home concerns, nothing was ever brought to her. There is nothing in his file, she said I have everything that is in his file but she'll try to get that information.

I was in the school to meet with the counselor, who invited the teacher, thank God. The counselor is nice and all but the teacher has kids Goofy's age and older, and the teacher doesn't seem to think that everything is a parenting issue. Some are typical, but some are not. They sat down to help me fill out the parent concern packet she sent home so that maybe this time I wouldn't rate Goofy in ways that I read over at the end and be all- who is this child? That's not what I said! It was nice, this cooperative attitude. This easiness. I want to hope that the hard is over... We didn't get all the way through but I think what we did finish was an accurate representation of his strengths and areas of concern.

I saw a new picture of my boy sitting at this table. Some of the comments about the things he does, his view on things, the way he sees stuff... I see his brother. I listen to her talk and I hear almost the exact same things Walter's principal had to say about him- he sees things differently. Understated confidence. Not needing to be part of the crowd but accepted by all groups. He's not a leader, but not a follower, he follows his own path. I look at Goofy with new eyes and see bits of his brother. I look at Walter and I look at Thing2 and I look at Thing1. I see a lot of the same. I think back on recent conversations, a shocked and almost horrified, "Mac! What would people say!?" or a censoring, "no one else said that." or a dismayed shake of the head because they know there's no use in arguing and I wonder... how much of that is my influence? That's giving me an awful lot of credit for my boys' awesomeness but I know that they see what I do and hear what I say and know what I stand for. They know that I'm not shy in the standing when it's needed but it's rarely necessary. I take this new look at my boys and I'm surprised at what I see. I don't see concerns, I see boys being what they believe. I see boys who are not afraid to not follow the crowd. I see them being everything I wanted them to be. I see strength, not concern.

This is something to hold onto. This is the person I am working to get help for. I won't give up... even if the skies get rough... God knows he's worth it.

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