Archive for December, 2008
C’s new obsession is guns and war. He discovered both this year with his very patriotic teacher who has talked about the war a few times. Yet his interest is not in the traditional “I want a toy gun” vein, but rather the “Guns scare the poop out of me” way. He wants to know all about wars and guns, and fear is behind the questions. We try to answer them, because we know in the greater picture of this obsession, he’s trying to sort out bad guys and good guys and all of that. He’s finally decided that perhaps Nerf guns might be acceptable after repeated assurances that they won’t kill anyone, but he was worried about the glue gun I used on a recent craft project. “Does it shoot bullets?” he asked. No, but the burns I suffered are apparently okay by him. As long as it doesn’t shoot anything.
Once C found out Husband used to be a park ranger/law enforcement officer, it about sent him over the edge and took us with him after the zillion questions he asked. “What are bullets made of” “Do guns weigh a lot?” “I never want to touch a gun. Do I have to someday?” “Is every person that has a gun mean?” “If you have a gun, do you have to go to war?” “Why do police officers carry guns?” All good questions, and ones I felt I had to answer as calmly and succinctly as possible so as not to arouse additional stress, concern, worry or obsession.
We see, however, the obsession spilling over into fear. Everything that is scary now involves a gun. He wants to know which movies, video games and TV shows have guns. There’s a surprising amount of violence in even seemingly benign Disney movies (Ratatouille caused the latest “run screaming from the room” incident), and I believe he may never truly outgrow this fear. I don’t really care if he never gets past Thomas the Train movies and into Batman, but I suspect he’ll take some heat from the boys on it eventually.
So when he screamed for me last night, at 2:15 in a particularly frantic voice, I figured it had something to do with guns. He’s had a bad dream, he said, and could only tell me there was a gun in it. I asked him if it was a purple dream, had polka dots in it, or if a giraffe was walking through the dream, and that seemed to calm him down. But I knew that wasn’t the end of it, and sure enough today, in the middle of his daily barrage of questions about guns, he used his power of logic to solve the problem. “I know,” he said. “when I’m grown up, I’ll just make them all cost so much that no one can buy them.”
Best idea I’ve heard all year.
Years ago I stopped consulting the developmental charts. For a long time, it worried us terribly that C didn’t catch up. Given his prematurity, we operated under the premise that he would catch up by age two. Two, and then three, came and went with no catch up in sight. Eventually, I’d see the little poster in the doctor’s office with the milestones and when they should be met, and I’d chuckle and know we needed a completely new developmental chart for C. It would probably look something like this:
Walking: Oh, sometime around 20 months. But there should be no toddling around. Don’t wait for that first, tentative step followed by lots of bumps and bruises as the skill is perfected. One day, he’ll just stand up and walk, and that will be that.
Talking: Well, in theory that should happen shortly after walking. The all-knowing developmental therapist feels sure that C can only “work” on one thing at a time, and right now that’s walking. Surely he’ll do it right after he learns to walk. Or perhaps a couple of years later.
Nodding head “yes” and shaking head “no:” Don’t know about that one. C’s still trying to figure out how to do that. The developmental charts put that skill at around 19 months. Apparently it’s in fact sometime around 8 years old.
Reading: Oh, that’s easy. He will learn that all by himself before age 3. It won’t be obvious, because he doesn’t really talk, but before long it will become clear he can read every word he can say, and then some.
Running: It won’t be pretty, and actually will be fairly entertaining to watch from behind, but he’ll be able to do that fairly soon after learning to walk. It may never be a normal gait, but it will get him where he needs to go.
Sequence counting: He’ll amaze people in lines by counting by 12s and 13s long before he should be able to. He’ll also be able to say the alphabet backward faster than should be normal.
Walking down stairs properly instead of using a “step-together-step-together pattern:” I dunno, maybe never?
So thanks anyway, What to Expect books and posters at the doctor’s office, but I think I’ll stick with the “C Developmental Milestone Chart.” On that chart, everything C does happens Right. On. Time.
For whatever reason, I am usually the one getting up with C in the middle of the night if he needs something. “How did you sleep last night?” Husband will say, usually followed by my tired litany of how many times I got up for C, followed by my by then awake enough to be astounded. “You mean you didn’t hear him screaming over the monitor???” I’ll say, incredulously. Truth be told, Husband is great about doing the early morning “I NEED A WIPE!” hollers that we get a few mornings a week (that’s another post altogether). Frankly, I envy Husband’s ability to sleep through a hurricane, tornado, hail storm, ambulance in the front room, coyotes outside our bedroom window, or the sounds of the high school band wafting up to our neighborhood on football nights.
But every once in awhile, C will specifically call out for Daddy. Husband must be in tune to his own name, because when C called “Daddy!” one wee hour of the morning this weekend, followed by a more frantic, “DADDDYYYY!!!!!!” he managed to stumble out of bed. I blissfully rolled over, grateful that whatever was going on, it was clearly a Daddy issue. Those usually involve needing bandaids in the middle of the night for an owie, either real or imagined (Daddy is a much better bandaid administer-er, a talent I have acknowledged over and over to C in the hopes that some of those middle of the night owies will fall to Husband instead). Yet apparently there is a new skill C feels Daddy possesses: Bug wrangler.
“THERE’S A BUG IN MY TOILET, DADDY! GET IT OUT!”
I watch from afar
As he runs silently around the playground
Happily, with a smile on his face.
He darts to and fro,
Searching for someone or something.
He takes a turn on the slide,
Runs around some more,
And then lines up for class.
All the while, that silent smile stays on his face.
And I wonder as I retreat and leave him for the day
How a child in such a large group of children
Can appear so completely and utterly
To Whom It May Concern:
It appears that my son C has had his share of developmental evaluations over the years. From one therapist to another we have made the rounds, completed by Preschool Language Scales, CELFs, EVTs, Language Acquisition Challenge Test, SPELT scores, Expressive One-Word Picture Vocabulary Test, DIAL-3 Language screening, Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, Peabody Developmental Motor Skills, Bayley Scales of Infant Development, Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, Sensory Profile, Beery Test, B.O. Motor Test, and the Vineland Scales. These objectively scored tests don’t really tell me much about my child, so what follows is my evaluation after nearly 8 years of intense study.
C has more enthusiasm than just about anyone I know. His teacher’s husband (otherwise known as “Mystery Man”) brings popsicles into class every week or two, and C can hardly contain his excitement. On the Scale of Enthusiasm Development, C is a 10 out of 10.
C has the best dimples. Inherited from Daddy, C got lucky and has them on both cheeks. For the Cuteness Rating, C’s scores are in the highly developed range.
C spreads his joy wherever we go. Whether he’s charming little old ladies at the grocery store or chatting up the bank teller, his Flirt Factor is well above average.
C does not have a mean spirited thought in his head. I watch other kids fake whispering to each other to exclude him, and am happy he would never even think to do that. On the Kindness Growth Test, C’s scores are perfect.
C is funny. He says and does funny things all the time. He often doesn’t realize he’s being funny until we start laughing, and then he heartily joins in, of course repeating (a zillion times) whatever behavior or comment brought on the reaction in the first place. On the Humor Placement Chart, C gets an A.
C’s fixations and obsessions tend to pass just about the time we’re about to go crazy hearing about them. Some, like trains, seem to be permanent, but fortunately the plumbing interest (as in, investigating the pipes in any and all bathrooms in our path) passed relatively quickly. On the Doesn’t Drive Mommy TOO Nuts Scale, C places fairly well.
C can do some amazing things. He can count by 13s for just about forever, and he can read nearly anything you put in front of him. C can nearly whoop me at Scrabble, and I’m pretty good. And don’t even try to play concentration with him. On the Pretty Cool Tricks to Bring Out at a Cocktail Party, C ranks near the top of the charts.
In conclusion, C is a delightful child. Please put this evaluation in front of all the others you have, as it is by far the most important and telling about C.
C’s Mommy and biggest fan.
Thanks to Mama Mara for inadvertently suggesting this post!
I am reviewing ”THE BOOK.” Parents of special needs kids know what I’m talking about. We all have some version of it. C’s is a huge binder that includes his medical history, therapy (occupational, physical, speech, and feeding) evals, specialists’ reports, lab results, and the like. I take the book to every doctor’s appointment and all our IEP meetings.
The book doesn’t get much traffic anymore, I’m happy to say, but mostly because we’re fairly comfortable with the status quo at the moment. We’ve done the bloodwork with the geneticist, the poop studies with the DAN doctor, and all the allergy testing we can find. We’re comfortable with the supplements he’s taking, and curing his allergies would require a move to the polar ice cap. He’s doing well, his health is holding steady, and he’s happy. We’ll leave things as they are for now.
Mostly these days I get the book off the shelf simply to add a progress report or an updated therapist evaluation. It’s like reading a somewhat disturbing report card about your kid that has nothing to do with who he really is or even how he’s really doing. C is one of those kids that presents in real life far differently than he appears on paper, and most people who read his history before actually meeting him are completely surprised by the child they actually meet.
So when I look back at an old physical therapy evaluation from when he was just shy of four years old, I am taken aback when I read the scores. “Percentile rank, less than 1%,” “age equivalent in months, 1 month,” and “rating, very poor.” This is what my child was? This is what my child is? How is he even walking around with a report like that just a few short years ago? C has learned to swing this year, and he’s proud of that, but he still comes home crying that he can’t run as fast as the other, bigger boys in his class. C thinks his shoes are the problem, and I’m looking at it from the other side being truly happy he runs less and less like Forrest Gump with each passing day.
Our first day at the beach (with Ga) and our last day at the beach. Although he loved it from the first moment he saw it, it overwhelmed him (thus the hand flapping and splayed fingers). But by the end of the trip, he was almost completely comfortable. He still didn’t want to walk around barefoot or get into the cold water above his knees, but everything else was true love!
C’s teacher has daily brief writing assignments when the kids first arrive. The writings are my favorite thing they do in class, because they bring out the truth so well, and I feel as though I’m getting a special peek inside C’s head. I keep more of those than anything else that comes home. This is one of my favorites:
Living alone would be…boring because I like my parents. I would be so sad. I also wouldn’t be happy.