when the duke was almost 4 his very cool preschool in southern california did their annual assessment of all the children. this particular assessment had nothing to do with 'academics,' how much or well they were learning, but more with assessing their abilities. establishing a baseline for further notes on progress or regress.
see this preschool was unique in that was ALSO for differently-abled children. children with mental or physical or emotional limitations or issues. every class was a mix of all different kinds of kids. everything was integrated. if you could even call it that because it was just the norm. there was never a deal made about it. it was really a great experience.
and for the yearly assessment they observed all children. regardless of ability.
so. when the duke was 3 going on 4 and wingman was 2 months and 2 days old i received the written assessment for the duke from the specialist they brought in. honestly, i never remember receiving it let alone reading it. i was recovering from another hard pregnancy and another hard birth and was still adjusting to life with a preschooler AND a newborn.
i found the report the other day. i noted the date. i read it. honestly, it's like they were talking about a whole different child than the duke. and i cannot imagine what i would have felt had i actually read it at the time.
"...lacks the shoulder/elbow/wrist joint strength to increase stability for coloring. This suggests low muscle tone in the upper extremities."
"All of his interactions with others are rough and quick. He objects to holding his dad's hand or to hugs. This suggests he does not like any form of touching. Be sure to encourage touching, firm and quick, with verbalization."
"Does not use own legs to turn self on merry go round. Waits for someone to turn it."
"Tends to move in fast spurts of energy. His graded motor output may be difficult. A brushing therapy program may help."
the report suggested that future IEPs for school would be necessary. (individualized education plan for children with learning or other disabilities so that they may get the best possible opportunities and resources to meet their particular needs.)
may i say the the duke was a very energetic boy who loved to run and play and jump and climb and hug and hold hands. he was rambunctious at times. he was 3.
he colored well and was already writing his name and knew his alphabet and could count to a gazillion. okay, i don't know how high he could count but that's the point. he could count. he was 3. it didn't matter how high.
and who turns their own self on the merry go round? just because you don't doesn't mean you can't. and who doesn't want someone else to do it?
then attached was a referral to a specialist at a local hospital for further evaluation.
all this from one visit one morning with a stranger.
and here's the thing.
i totally appreciate early intervention. while i don't have a child of my own with different abilities or special needs or an IEP i know MORE than my fair share of parents and kids who deal with one or both or all of these and MORE on a daily basis. i am compassionate and i am educated and i am aware.
and i know there are a lot of parents who have fought for a long time to have their children observed and properly diagnosed by the 'right' people. who wait forever to get an IEP and then have to on the regular fight the red tape and bureaucracy and administration and ignorance to keep their kids resources intact.
people who NEED resources for their children.
but what if i had read that report when they sent it to me? when i was still cracked out on my pregnancy and birth and newborn? when resistance was low and i just two weeks prior made the decision, out loud and with conviction, that i was now turning my sights on being a mama solely. and that i would no longer pursue my career. thus leaving me ripe for finding a 'mission.' or a 'purpose' beyond wiping bottoms and trying to figure out how to put together the figure 8 wooden train track 'exactly' like on the box and sourcing individually wrapped cheese sticks for the best price.
because that report was heavily suggesting something that never came to pass. that report didn't nail the duke. not even close. not at 3 almost 4. and not for now.
and maybe i would have just known that and maybe i would have not. and been alarmed. and taken the action they were suggesting.
i wonder what road i would have gone down. i wonder if things would be different for the duke. for me. for our family.
i don't know where i'm going with this other than to say, it happens. sometimes it happens that kids get observed and referred and labeled and put on a track. a track in this case that was and should have just been called '3 almost 4 year old energetic taurus boy' and let it commence as such. but is called and viewed as something very different.
i really do wonder if i dodged a bullet for the duke by sheer lack of awareness, lack of sleep, lack of two minutes when my breasts weren't leaking and my body wasn't trying to knit itself back together and there wasn't a bottom to wipe.
wouldn't that be something?
the other day after i read the report this song came on the radio. i looked in the back seat and saw my two boys sitting there. each staring out their own window lost in thought somewhere else. and i thought about the time and the climb it has been to just reach this point. how every moment seems so big. even the moments you miss. and how it just keeps going. this parenting thing. running up that hill. making deals with god. wondering.
it is that spirit that i bring you this installment of your moment(s) of zen.