We know of a kid in a faraway town (no it isn’t your kid, I’m talking friend of a friend situation, someone who doesn’t know I blog) who has a certain developmental delay. Rather than simply focusing on securing help for their child, kid’s parents took him/her to doctors all over creation until they found one that would say s/he didn’t have THAT delay. Kid still needed services, but there was a whole different, special and less stigmatizing explanation for it. Yet the intervention was the same damn thing.
When this was all going down I was very judgey. Who the fuck cares what the label is? Help. Your. Child.
Yeah, feeling quite a bit less judgemental right now.
Last Friday C’s new teacher did a home visit with him in preparation for the new year. For privacy purposes I’ll call her Teach. Also, because that is what my sister and our friend Jenny called whoever was teacher when we played school in our unfinished basement c.1985. We were very cool. T started in Teach’s classroom when C was a week old. During her home visit two summers ago C wasn’t yet born. So Teach might not have a close relationship with C yet, but she is certainly familiar with him. And we trust her completely. She agrees that his lack of speech is an issue and suggested we not wait until the school year begins, rather she felt we should have him evaluated to see if he qualifies for early intervention services now.
I called the program that afternoon. A caseworker contacted me on Tuesday, and our first home visit was today. Every person I’ve talked to who is involved with the program has been compassionate and informative. The process is moving much faster than I thought it would. It is absolutely the most pleasant interaction I’ve ever had with a bureaucratic agency.
C will be officially evaluated at our home on September 3rd. Kind of a loaded day for me. It is the third anniversary of finding out I miscarried. On a happier note, it is the 13th anniversary of our marriage. By the end of the evaluation we will know if he qualifies for services and if he does we will have the first session scheduled before his case worker leaves the house.
The case worker asked tons of questions about his history. She told us our story sounded much like her own with her two sons. Firstborn early developer, second child often ill with ear infections and delayed with speech. Her son didn’t start talking until he was two and a half. After a pause I said, “And now is when you tell us that your youngest is just fine.” “He is starting college.” she replied, “On scholarship.”
We have identified a problem. We’ve talked to people we trust. We are following their advice. We are aggressively going after this thing. We are going to help our little man.
I’ve been trying to write this all day. And I just can’t focus. Been doing a lot of crying. I understand he had tons of ear infections. I understand they made it sound like he was hearing underwater. I understand he had multiple illnesses and hospital visits on top of that. But I can’t help but feel like I failed him.
There was that moment in time when he was supposed to be learning to talk and it just slipped by us. I was too busy dealing with the kid that could talk to us, or trying to get C well, or worrying about my own stuff. He is my job and I failed him. I feel like I’ve gotten a shitty performance review at work. I think back to the first two years of T’s life, of the attention we showered on him, the books we read him, the talking we did to him. Of course he was an early talker. C gets his bedtime stories, but I don’t stop and read to him in the middle of the day nearly as much as I did with T. I try and have conversations with C, ask him questions, tell him about things. T doesn’t get it. He is right there with an answer, insinuating himself into every situation. He’s four, that’s what four year olds do, and he thinks he is being helpful. He knows that C can’t answer.
I don’t want C to need early intervention. I don’t need him to be the best or the fastest. But I want him to be on track. Mostly for him, but the shitty and selfish part of me needs him to be “normal” in every way. This isn’t about me, though. It is about doing what is right for him. And making this in any way about my job performance or my expectations from my kids is truly terrible. This must be about providing my son with the resources he needs to learn to talk. End of lesson.
Jesus fucking christ, this parenting gig is hard.
Dude grabbed a set of mystery keys we gave to the boys as a toy and bolted out of the house. He could not understand why he couldn’t unlock the car with them.
He stole his Daddy’s hat at the zoo last week.
And kindly returned it. He is a wonderful human. And now I’m crying again. I just want to do right by him. I want him to be ok.
And now to end on a happy note. A little #tbt for your viewing pleasure. The first picture ever taken of Z and me. Summer of 1998. Think my sister snapped the shot. We were dropping her off at the airport-it was either LaGuardia or Kennedy, can’t remember which. Back when you could go right to the gate.