Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Taking Stock Again

Had an epiphany today: I really need to stop bitching as much as I do.

I won't lie; it's been tough getting used to having the kids home for the summer this year.  Guess I'm having a crisis of patience.  All three kids are a little high maintenance in some way or another and sometimes I just want afewfreeminutesofpeaceandquietalonefortheloveofGodisthatTOOmuchtoask??  If I'm not cooking, I'm cleaning something or refereeing a squabble or shuttling them all over the place, and generally not to the same places at the same times, them being of different ages and genders and abilities and all.  The first week of September (school starts right after Labor Day around here) is starting to look really good, y'all.

All three of my kids having summer or summer-ish birthdays, this time of year we have a big round of annual well visits and eye exams and such, followed in quick succession by the annual checkup with Thing Two's neurodevelopmental pediatrician (NDP), which I hate with the blinding fierceness of the sun.  In fairness to the NDP, she is an absolutely lovely woman, but there is nothing quite like spending three hours with even the loveliest of human beings as she assesses your child and then details everything that isn't "right" in cold numbers and percentages and excruciating detail.  If he wasn't making so much progress year to year I swear I would have quit going long since...her annual visit with him really highlights his growth because she only sees him the once per year.  Everyone else who works with him sees him so often that the changes in him are not quite so apparent because of their gradual nature.  Kind of like not noticing that your kid is getting taller until he puts on a pair of old pants at the end of the summer and his shins are hanging out all of a sudden.

Before each NDP appointment a crap-ton of paperwork has to be filled out by everyone and their aunt Matilda and sent in.  Two of these forms are parent assessments, one general and one more specifically-targeted, and I gird my loins every year before Himself and I sit down to do them because we pretty much ALWAYS end up having significant differences of opinion and it sucks.  Part of the issue is that I am the stay-at-home parent and have two other kids to juggle as well, so I am outnumbered far more often than not and have to get all the regular daily shit DONE while outnumbered.  (See comment about patience, above.  Not my strong suit.)  When Himself is home, generally I am as well, so what he sees is not the one parent/three kids dynamic that is my daily life.  Besides which (and it pains me to admit this) Thing Two gets along much better with Himself than he does with me, hence Himself doesn't generally get the sass and attitude that comes my way.  Sadly, again, it is most likely because Thing Two and I are two of a kind in personality--Himself jokes that I shouldn't be surprised that he gets along so well with Thing Two because he picked me to marry, after all.

Anyhow, we did our forms the other night and only had one major issue, which was pretty good for us.  Then I had to find all the other stuff that gets sent in with them...the IEP paperwork, report card, therapists' evaluations, teacher forms, etc etc etc.  It isn't too often that I have all of that stuff in my hands at one time, so I flipped through the papers quickly and came across a paragraph in something--I think the IEP--that described Thing Two's abilities when the whole intervention/diagnosis process started, and it stopped me in my tracks.  Kid had staggeringly limited receptive and expressive language, no social skills, no classroom skills, and (not surprisingly) a lot of pent-up frustration that manifested as bad behavior.  Guess I hadn't thought back to those days in a while.

Whatever issues he may still be facing, and make no mistake, he's still got a steep uphill grade ahead of him, he's functioning just fine so far in a normal classroom with an aide to redirect him every once in a while.  His grammar and comprehension can still be banged all to hell sometimes but both the expressive and receptive language are orders of magnitude better than they used to be.  He has pretty decent social skills now, much more spatial awareness than he used to, and he plays basketball, travel-level soccer and the piano.  He even has perfect pitch, for crying out loud.  (The most amazing thing about that is that he understands a concept as abstract as 'this particular pitch has this particular name'...that blows my mind.)   Kid is wicked smart under all the crossed neurological wires, thank God, even if the NDP does repeatedly classify his language deficit as 'severe'.

He has been the single biggest source of stress in my life by far since the moment he was born (literally--maybe I'll tell that story sometime), almost nine years ago now.  I have cried more times than I care to discuss about things he can't or couldn't (or did, conversely) do.  But as it happens, recently I've come across a few blogs written by parents of children who have such significant medical issues that I simply have NO business complaining about my kid, who has legitimate problems but also gets a little 'better' every day.  Perspective is a gift, and it just smacked me upside my fool head.


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