I’m learning a thing or two about how we can look at something on the surface and be completely mistaken. Bren’s best friend from kindergarten is a sweet, funny kid with a kind of puppy thing going on. You know what I mean – all floppy and interested in the world around him. He’s ultra attached to his mom and it’s mostly just the two of them against the world.
So when I write this next part, I write it because I cannot believe I missed this…
He’s extremely gifted. Just how much, his mom is still finding out and she’ll know more tomorrow. But for today it has been one of those aha kinds of days.
Todd and I were talking about how he acts like such a happy, normal kid that you just didn’t see it. Of course, I don’t work in the classroom with him so I wouldn’t see it. And he’s just 7, like Bren, so it’s easy to miss at this age unless you really pay attention. Thankfully, his mom pays close attention because the first grade teacher sure wasn’t. At least Bren’s kindergarten teacher listened to us (somewhat) and finally attended to our concerns.
Here’s the scary part for me… Todd and I know it because we live with it. I still did not see it with this little boy. When she told us he was going through the testing I was glad because of the hope he’d end up in Bren’s class, but I seriously had no idea. All I saw was the friendly, active little boy.
His mom has been trying to get someone to listen to her since the 3rd week of school. Here we are, halfway through the year. And we feel her pain. It took us right to April 1st to get Bren services and by that point he was massively underperforming and disengaged. He actively disliked school and the only saving grace were his friends. This friend of his has been heading down that same horrible path. It seems like no one wanted to listen to her and I seriously wonder why that is. In his situation he just happens to be so social, it was easy to overlook.
There is a rainbow and a beautiful silver lining to this, at least it appears to be heading that way. It looks like Bren’s best little friend will get to join him in the class that has made so much difference (for all of us – happy child makes for happy parents).
What all this had done is made me revisit that same old question… Are we doing enough? I feel like my being in graduate school is eating up time and energy that I could be spending with the boys. I feel like they are paying for it. I wish it would be done soon so I could stop taking away from them.
But I have to stop those perfectionist attitudes and remember that my kids will forgive me this time. Maybe it will come down to my sticking with one small, reasonable promise at a time. Yes. We’ll build that quilt. Yes. We’ll take the boys to the Airhawk Museum. Yes. We’ll experiment with chemistry – outside, on the sidewalk where the mess can be hosed down – when the weather is warmer.
Yes. Bren can keep teaching his almost 3 year old brother chess (and if that isn’t hilarity, I don’t know what is).
Yes. We’ll all hang in there.
The fact is that our children are who they are. No matter where they are on the spectrum, they all need the same things – learning that is appropriate to their styles, love and affection, care, stimulation, protection… It’s hard being a parent. I don’t know if I’m doing it right, but I’m going to keep trudging along. And I’m going to open my eyes up a bit more. Because maybe if I open my eyes, I’ll recognize more of these kids. And maybe their parents won’t be so alone.