Monday, July 28, 2014

Our Own Personal V-Day

The finish line is sometimes merely the symbol of victory. All sorts of personal triumphs take place before that point, 
and the outcome of the race may actually be decided long before the end. ~L. Malone

Today was the eligibility placement hearing for Scootch with his school - otherwise known as the culmination of our entire summer of testing. This poor kid has had a test almost every other week since May; speech testing, psychological testing, social skills testing, motor skills testing, learning evaluations, physicals, neurological name it, he probably had it. It was a pretty big test for Mommy too, having to weather all the stress and anxiety. Was I doing this for the right reasons? Would it be worth it subjecting him to all of this? It was hard not to over analyze everything he was doing now, or sit there and criticize myself for deciding to take this route instead of just leaving him back to repeat a year and trying to let him fend for himself. But over and over again, as the testing results were trickling in, they were reaffirming the same things we were worried about - lack of focus, poor impulse control, and immature fine motor skills.
The hearing today was with hubby and I, the child study team, and Scootch's Kindergarten teacher. They reviewed all of the evaluations that were done through the school and summarized the findings for us. Best part of the day was hearing three different evaluators tell us what a bright, wonderful boy Scootch was, and what a pleasure it was to meet with him. They also all agreed that he presented with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a diagnosis that was likewise found by his private neurodevelopmental assessment we had done. So with the diagnosis comes his eligibility for special services. He is now qualified for an IEP - Individualized Education Program, and will be moving up to first grade with the help of an inclusion class, where there is an extra aide in the classroom to help keep him and a few other qualifying students with their weaknesses. He will also be attending Occupational Therapy twice a week during school hours to hopefully get his fine motor skills stronger and more up to par with his age level.
Overall, it sounds like he'll be getting everything we hoped for him! Hubby and I shared a high five on our way out of the school, and it truly felt so good to feel like we won a battle for our child. Hopefully this upcoming year of first grade will be just as rewarding for Scootch as today was for us. Even the fears I have of him having a stigma, or being labeled, were almost completely overridden by the relief I felt that he will be getting the extra assistance he needs to learn and grow. I know he is capable of great things, and hopefully this will set him up with the skills to achieve everything he sets his mind to!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

My Daughter, Myself

"And thou shalt in thy daughter see, this picture, once, resembled thee." ~A. Philips

Monkey and her classmates waiting in the wings during recital

I always wanted my daughter to be her own person, I just never realized how much it would hurt. Being so similar is a double edged sword; on one hand, you always know you can find things you'll have fun doing with her. But on the other hand, when she rejects doing something you treasure so much, it feels more like she's rejecting part of yourself.
Monkey has talked about being a ballerina ever since she was four years old and watched "Barbie and the 12 Dancing Princesses." When I signed her up for classes a year later, she was very put out that she was required to take tap as well, because all she wanted to do was be a ballerina. It took a year and a half, but she was finally in an all ballet class this year. Since this should have been a glorified accomplishment for her, to say I was taken aback by all her complaining was an understatement. She complained about the stretching, she complained about the pointing, she complained about having to repeat the routine over, and over, and over again, to get it right. The final blow came a week before recital - she calmly informed me as I was reading over the summer schedule that she didn't think she wanted to take dance anymore. I think my heart might have actually stuttered as I tried not to cry. 
What I would give to go back to ballet class. To feel that warm limbed exhaustion from working every muscle group you weren't aware you even had, or reveling in that in weightless feeling when you're flying through a grand jeté. I even miss the blisters and missing toenails displayed in old flip flops in November, because you put in six extra hours of practice in a week so you could join in a special production of The Nutcracker as a snowflake. But I had to remind myself that she wasn't me. I didn't want to heap all these memories on her to guilt her to keep going just so I could live vicariously through her.
So her second recital this year became a bittersweet one. I sat in the audience through the first show to try and soak up all the dancing I could, and then volunteered as the class mom with her and her classmates through the second show in the afternoon. Recitals were always my favorite growing up, with the anticipation and adrenaline mixing with makeup and costumes. And as I sat "backstage" in the freezing cold high school lunchroom, watching the girls playing tag, reapplying makeup, or doing one last run through of their routine, I tried to take it all in. The realization that this might be my last time experiencing this made a little lump in my throat. Lining Monkey up to go on with her classmates, I watched them as they sat in the wings wide eyed watching the older girls before them perform their routine and I was transported back in time to my own girlhood. The smell of rosin and gaffer tape and hairspray all mixed together in my mind, and I just sat there for a moment savoring the memories. And after her number, when she rushed out of the doors and into my arms all breathless and exhilarated from performing she hugged me tight and looked up at me and said, "Mommy? I think I still want to do just one more year of dance."
Maybe that means I'll get one more year of memories too.