I read a quote recently that I assume is about three quotes rolled into one as only a sleep deprived, scatter-brained and desperate mommy is capable of. It went something like, “a mother’s work is never done; from sun up to sun down, and more if you have a son.” I would like to lend a hearty amen to that. Actually, I may have actually made that up. I can’t even remember anymore, because let’s face it, my brain is like oatmeal 75% of the time these days. In addition to the usual mommy and wifey tasks I have on my plate, I have a new obsession. It’s called “name that disorder.”
I say “disorder” very lightly at this point because I really don’t think I like that word for our situation. At least, I’m not ready to say it yet. Have you ever been in a position with your kids (or dogs or significant others for that matter) where you know something is up, something big that is going to require a major change in the way you do things, but aren’t ready to really say it out loud? It’s probably safe to say that’s where I am today.
We recently had school conferences for our little man who is nearing the end of Kindergarten. This is a conference I have not been looking forward to. I knew what was going to happen. I knew the words “not ready to move forward” were going to be said. I knew the school’s learning counselor was going to be there. I knew because I invited her. I invited her because I knew we were at a point where I needed help.
Let me tell you some things about the little man. He is six and the size of an eight or nine year old. Seriously. He is the most sensitive, loving and kind-hearted little guy you’d have the privilege of knowing, even if you weren’t his mother.
He has also been referred to as the following things: “destructo boy,” “mr. destructicon,” “aaaalllll BOY,” “three boys in one,” “just a typical little boy with lots of energy. LOTS of energy,” “rambunctious,” and oh so many more. Are you catching my drift here?
He’s also known as a tender-hearted sweetheart,” “Mommy’s little boy” (aka: Keli totally babies that kid and coddles him) and “the baby” of our family.
For all intents and purposes, Jordan is “normal.” He really is a rambunctious little guy that is all boy full of energy. He’s a boy that likes to run and jump and climb and play. He’s a little boy that likes to be good at stuff. He likes to be praised and be told he’s doing well. He likes rewards and stickers and routine. He is also a little boy that learned to throw himself out of his crib before he could even crawl all that well and one that we had to lock in his completely bare room at night in order to keep him safe because of what an expert “house explorer” he was. Trust me, once you find your toddler sitting on top of the stove attempting to turn on the burners, locking him in a completely empty (except for a bed) and child-proofed room at night no longer seems like child abuse and just seems damn smart.
Before this year, we tried Preschool twice with Jordan. Both attempts were very unsuccessful. Both attempts ended with us removing him from the class and saying we’d “try again next year.” We also had him in a formal daycare situation for a year and a half. You’ve probably heard me refer to this as the time from hell, and the reason I became a home daycare provider. All this time, I secretly wondered if there was just a little more going on with Jordan than met the eye. I always waited for someone to tell me that he had some sort of a “disorder.” Each doctor visit I waited for someone to say “autism” or “aspergers” or something. Each time no one did, I was relieved, but left with lingering wonderment.
Beginning Kindergarten this year, I knew at some point there would be a “conversation.” You know what I’m talking about. That moment when the teacher or counselor comes to you and says the combination of some dreaded letter formation that means my kid is labeled for the rest of his life. I was on guard. I was scared. I was hopeful. Hopeful that it would be the beginning of some sort of answers to questions I haven’t dared to even utter out loud. Questions I knew I would be judged for asking and questions I didn’t want to be thinking. Questions like, “what if Jordan isn’t just ‘all boy’ and has something special going on inside of him?”
Part of me feels like a coward for not asking those questions out loud much sooner. And part of me knows I’m a coward for not wanting to face the opposition that I feared would come from some people around us, saying once again that “Keli is a dramatic, over-reacting attention-seeker.” Could Jordan be having a far more successful Kindergarten year if I’d asked someone if there was something special going on and would they have even listened? I know I’ll never know the answer to that. And it’s stupid to even ask it, since it really doesn’t matter at all.
The point is, I am asking questions now. I have started down the road of finding out if there’s something I can do to help my little man learn how to read, learn how to sit still when it’s carpet time and he doesn’t like sitting there in that completely unstructured circle listening to sounds that have nothing to do with story time, and learn that no matter what, he’s smart- probably even too smart. We are letting someone that knows far more than we do take a look at the way he thinks and learns and reacts and responds to see if there’s something more there than “a typical little boy that needs more discipline and less coddling.” There may be, and there may not be. I’m completely open to whatever it is we find out. I know no matter what, we will all benefit from this experience, we already are.
But, the more I read about a little something called Sensory Processing Disorder, the more I know, deep in my gut, that I have finally stumbled onto something that may make my baby’s life so much less frustrating and so much more “right.” My mother-in-law always tells me that God gives us the kids we need in order to make us the kind of people he wants us to be. Never more than in this time has that statement been so true for me. I love my kids more than anything in this world, and I will do all I can to be the mom they need. I’m not perfect, but I think that’s what makes me such a good mom.
I know I’ll be processing my way through this experience on my blog. I know it’s not what many of you expect when you log on, and I’m sorry if this is just not for you. But, as always, this is where I get my crazy out. And right now, my crazy pretty much revolves around this. I hope you’ll stick through it with me. Or not. I can appreciate that too. I also want to apologize for my absolutely non politically-correct or proper verbiage when I talk about these things. I know calling a kid “normal” is frowned upon. I know there are better words to use than “special” or whatever. I don’t care. This, for now, is me exploring a world that is foreign. I don’t mean to offend or be off-putting to anyone. I just need to get the crazy out.