The Democratic National Convention was on television, and Obama’s plan to revive Hope in America was supposed to be at the forefront of my thoughts.
Instead, I was sitting in a friend’s living room, searching my inbox for the phone number of my mom’s hotel in Sweeden. It was 4 a.m. there. If anything was an emergency, your neighborhood being on fire while eight months pregnant qualified.
The phone rang.
“It’s gone,” he said.
- – -
Obama was elected when my son was six weeks old, the foundation of my new house setting. We sat in the living room of a rental house, feeling like foreigners in our own lives. But there was Obama. My son was in a red, white, and blue onesie. We cheered. Hope. We needed it. Change? We weren’t quite ready.
Days after he was elected, my face was paralyzed, and I was in the beginning stages of late-stage Lyme disease.
Hope for America? I was just hoping I’d be able to smile again.
- – -
It’s been four years. Four years since Obama’s promise.
I look back on the events of the past four years, and I see a lot of change, most of it in my own life. It was change that was, in many ways, forced upon me. A new house. A new set of daily symptoms that must be overlooked to function normally. A new smile, the old one permanently rewired by some misfiring nerves.
There too is change in our country, change that for many feels forced upon them by one party or the other. Change in the healthcare system. Change in our foreign policies. For some it’s too much change. For others, not enough. Like my face, I feel like our country has gone through paralysis. Are we hardwired to oppose and reject change – even when we so desperately want to believe in it? And if so, how do we grow as people, grow as a country? It seems so easy to blame others for the direction we are headed in. I certainly have spent plenty of time blaming, well whoever you blame when your house burns down and you get chronically sick. But ultimately, whatever the circumstances, whoever is to blame, I am the one in charge of how I handle the change. And that doesn’t just mean bitching at the top of my lungs.
Regardless of who wins tonight, the political landscape of the country will change. There will be a new Congress if nothing else. It is our job as a country to embrace the change even if it’s against our will, figure out how to operate within the new realities, and stop being paralyzed.
I know what can happen in four years. Houses can be built. Health can be regained. We can all grow (up). Is it possible too that a country can be reunited and finally come together and compromise? I hope so.
I thought the open bar at our wedding was going to be the biggest of the culture clashes. I was wrong. At least for the wedding I had prepared, ordering cases of Martinelli’s Apple Cider alongside the Korbel champagne.
I never thought I’d marry a Mormon – or, I guess, an ex-Mormon, though I wasn’t sure it was possible to separate the culture from the religion. Even if you didn’t think you got to make planets in the afterlife, you still knew they spoke Adamic there.
Dan’s eighteen year old sister had even called the month before our wedding telling Dan it was a mistake to marry me. I told her that I hadn’t converted her brother, that he was free to practice any religion he chose, but that I probably wouldn’t marry him if he were a practicing Mormon. Relationships were hard enough without adding in the stress of opposing religious viewpoints.
I am an optimistic agnostic, hopeful that there’s something else out there but not all that particularly concerned with it. I grew up at the Edgar Cayce center in Virginia Beach, exposed to yoga before downward-facing dog was a part of the American lexicon. While other kids made finger puppet Apostles, I colored in my aura.
Dan lived in a world where they had a name for family time (Family Home Evening) and set aside specific nights for gospel teachings. Apparently watching Wheel of Fortune over dinner and making snide comments about the contestants wasn’t considered bonding at his house. They went to church for three hours on Sunday, where he sometimes had to prepare his testimony, and they were even assigned which church they went to, and which service they had to attend, young single people having a different service than the elderly apparently. If they missed church, someone checked in on them. There was no hiding in the back pew. And while I was practicing the art of the French kiss as a freshman in high school, they were limited to group dates, and only after they turned sixteen.
And yet, here I was, standing in front of Dan’s seven aunts and uncles (on his dad’s side) and cousins I had never met in a converted firehouse with a female Unitarian priest presiding, promising to love and grow with my new husband.
I never really saw cultural identity as an impediment to a relationship. I was the five year old white girl in bouncing pigtails chasing a little black boy around while my step-dad’s family lived in a place where it was still acceptable to use the “n” word. The family of my first serious love came from the Cayman Islands, most definitely a world apart from the Idaho cattle ranch where my mom’s parents lived.
None of that had mattered. And yet somehow I couldn’t reconcile my life with the Mormon in-laws I had just acquired. They all wore special underwear meant to keep them holy, garments that they received at the temple after their weddings. Only good Mormons – ones who tithed ten percent of their salary – received recommendations from their Bishop to attend the temple. At the end of the year, they didn’t just share their income tax statements with the IRS; they brought them to the church, in a tithing settlement, to ensure they had given enough. Their temple was sacred – no, secret – and non-Mormons were not allowed, even if their children were getting married.
It would have been culturally negligent of me to joke about grits and weaves, and yet it seemed perfectly acceptable to make witty jokes about religiously necessary – and to me, altogether ridiculous – undergarments. Visible panty line anyone?
I was one of four grandchildren in my mom’s family; one of ten in my dad’s. Our children would rank somewhere in the eighties for number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren Dan’s grandparents had. Even my dad who was on his second marriage to his third wife didn’t seem as complicated to explain as this large extended family I wasn’t sure I wanted to know.
I could remove myself from the family reunions, conveniently finding some other event that took priority. But I found myself struggling to back out of family gatherings with Dan’s mom (his parents, much against the Latter Day Saint (LDS) tradition, were divorced). We lived thirty minutes away, and even if I managed to avoid Christmas day with her, there were still 364 days in the year, and even I couldn’t fill my schedule up that tightly, as much as I may have wanted to.
One Christmas we read from the Ensign, the official LDS magazine and then discussed the teachings together, including the benefits of group dating. I am about as equally opinionated as Keith Olberman, and here I was having to sit through a lesson in line with Glenn Beck. God help me.
After a year and a half of marriage, we finally flew up to see Dan’s grandparents, people who had confronted Dan about the unholiness of masturbation when he was a teenager. He told them not to worry, that masturbation was probably far better than the sex and drugs he was doing. We managed to get through the entire weekend without much mention of the Mormon Church – and we were there on a SUNDAY. The night before we left; however, Dan’s grandfather offered Dan the father’s blessing. My husband, not being raised in a family that rebels against authority, allowed it. And then his grandfather told him to command me to receive the blessing.
I laughed. Aloud.
“Command?” I asked, doing my best not to stand up and walk the few hundred miles back to Boise. I wanted to ask if he had heard of the women’s liberation movement, which I mistakenly believed to have been settled before my birth in the early eighties. I had been to a few friends’ weddings where they vowed to obey and honor their husbands, but I was pretty certain none of them actually meant it; the words were a tradition, but those women still had no problem telling their husbands they were wrong. I wrote my own vows. There was nary a word about “obey” in the entire script of the ceremony.
When we got pregnant, – which coincidentally we did without needing to pray for an entire day at the temple – Dan’s mom asked how we would raise our child with morals if we had no religion. I struggled, too, to understand this question. I was certain my morals were no less rigid than those spouted in the Doctrine and Covenants. I went to a college where the honor code was so well ingrained we took unproctored finals. I worked as a special education teacher with kids who threw scissors at me. I recycled. All without the word of God telling me to choose the right. It was as though she believed that the only way to know right from wrong was to hang the Ten Commandments on the wall. Dan looked at me, his eyes showing he was unprepared for this moment, uncomfortably straddling the line between his progressive wife and the family that raised him. Even if he had demanded I comply, I wondered how one actually acquiesced internally, especially when such a concept was so foreign. Did you have to be born into such a culture to understand female submission?
A month before our son was born, our house burned down. Strangers showed up at our nonexistent doorstep to sift through the ashes of our lives, and yet, this big Mormon family, the one who had such morals, was absent. I longed to send out an email with the subject: “What would Joseph Smith do?” We could even have bracelets made. Apparently he’d be in church, praying for our security. Or maybe for our conversion, though I didn’t know why it mattered since they would baptize me when I was dead, using someone else as my “proxy.” Apparently once I saw heaven and was banished to Outer Darkness, I’d be longing for the day when someone on Earth would erase my agnostic checkmark on the “Religion” box, moving me firmly into the LDS camp.
A number of other conflicts have happened along the way. Dan’s sister went on her mission; I catered her going away party so I wouldn’t have to go to church that morning. I still got the emails though, including one where she wrote it bothered her that so many people misunderstood the Mormon Church. Dan’s mom has asked us to stock our pantry for the Second Coming. And I’ve learned you don’t call during General Conference, televised live during October and April.
His sister has yet to marry, even though she’s in her early twenties, and I can only imagine the chasm it will create when we aren’t allowed at her wedding, being unworthy of the temple and all. There certainly won’t be an open bar, and instead of a divided toast, there will be apple cider for everyone.
This is Everett. He’s eight months old, and the poor kid has rarely been blogged. It might be because his life is pretty well documented on Facebook. Or maybe it’s that I’ve just been far too busy to blog. So this post is for him, about him – as the younger brother, I’m afraid there are far too few moments that are devoted just to him.
First things first. He looks like Kellen. Actually, they look like they could be twins other than maybe their eyes (and the fact that Everett is going to be bigger than Kellen). It’s amazing to me that they look so much alike. The siblings on my mom’s side of the family (the side we all look like) don’t look alike at all, and it’s really been cool to have brothers that actually look like family.
Everett is a happy child. A very, very happy child. He is content to play by himself, be held, observe. Other than when he’s cutting a tooth, hungry, or poopy, he rarely cries. Have I mentioned that he’s happy?! (Given how discontented Kellen is/was, I can’t overstate this happiness.)
Everett rolled over practically the minute he was released from the hospital. I joke that I must grow my kids in spinach. He had neck control just like his brother, even though he was a bit early. We thought he would crawl early like Kellen because he met other milestones on pace with Kellen. But Everett hated being on his stomach because he had significant GI distress (though no reflux thank goodness!). He started crawling after he pulled up to a stand right before he turned seven months. We’ve been expecting him to start walking some time around nine months, and his cruising on the furniture the last two days has confirmed my belief that he will be walking by Christmas.
He has two bottom teeth and is about to get two top ones.
He loves sweet potatoes and winter squash best and isn’t too crazy about berries or prunes. He also has no interest in actual solid foods and is very content with baby food. I think he’s going to be my very capable child who just doesn’t seem altogether concerned about doing. He’s content to just be where he is (which is quite a good life philosophy if you ask me and something I wish I could be more like). Kellen had a very consistent schedule. Not Everett. We spend a lot more time reading cues and watching the time since he last (slept, ate, played).
He is a very social child, though he is definitely a mama’s boy right now. He loves faces and has taken a liking to dolls with child-like faces. While he obviously cannot talk yet, he does communicate fairly well and is already very skilled in letting us know when he means “no.”
I struggled so much last year with the thought of having another child, with feeling somehow that I was letting Kellen down. And now? Now, I cannot imagine my life without Everett. He truly brings so much joy to our otherwise very chaotic life. And I can’t wait to see what he makes of his life.
Today is the start of NaNoWrMo (National Novel Writing Month). As an offshoot of that, people have created a blogging event encouraging people to blog for a month. I figure if there is ever a time to try to resurrect the blog… Actually, next month I already have a whole month of blogging planned, so this will be good practice to keep myself in the writing mood to continue for my December project.
I’ve been meaning to write about Kellen’s evaluation, partly because I don’t really know how to frame it. Kellen is a very bright child with some challenges. I guess it’s hard for me to say my kid is smart. I know he’s bright; I know he’s likely gifted. But I don’t really feel comfortable talking about it even if it also means that Kellen requires a lot of support in a very different way. And even having a piece of paper that states Kellen’s intellectual abilities and how they contribute to his struggles with daily living, well, it doesn’t really make it any easier.
Kellen has been diagnosed by two specialists with anxiety. We are working very hard to reassure him. We have seen how this anxiety hampers his academics because it contributes to perfectionism. He often doesn’t want to try lest he make a mistake. It has also really created some social challenges, and we have implemented a few strategies to help him make friends at school.
He has also been diagnosed with SPD (sensory processing disorder). I’m still not 100% sure on this one, but I do know that he is *very* sensitive to auditory input. The day before his evaluation, he melted down at the first day of school assembly because of all the clapping. It was way too much. We believe that this sensory sensitivity is a part of the reason Montessori was so very challenging for him – too many kids, doing too many things at once, making too much noise. The next step is an OT, which I have admittedly been lax about (in addition to getting caught up on Everett’s shots – bad mom).
The results of his evaluation and the first quarter of school have proven to us that moving schools was the absolute best decision we could have made for Kellen. The structure works so much better for him, and I feel like he has more time to learn through play. He plays a lot. He plays hard. And he learns. Most importantly though, he’s gaining self-confidence and starting to actually have friends. Watching the friendships, hearing him talk about other kids, has been such a great addition to my day. And for that I am grateful.
Kellen is still the same child, but with the right supports, with more patience than I have most days I’m afraid, Kellen will blossom into a kid who is not only smart but who is confident, self-assured, high-achieving, and most importantly… Happy.
Kellen starts his new school in a week. Despite not knowing what, if anything, he’s supposed to bring, we decided that he at least should have a backpack. He didn’t have one for Montessori, but we’re trying to build the whole going to school experience up so that we can make this year a positive one and gain a love of going to school.
I’ve looked at other backpacks, but I haven’t a) been too excited about them, b) thought they reflected Kellen, and c) remembered to do anything about it. So Saturday in Costco, we came across some backpacks for younger kids. Perfect!
“This one?” I asked holding up a black and red Mario backpack. Kellen’s into Mario, kind of. I saw the Minnie Mouse one first and thought that he would probably pick that one because it was pink, but I thought I at least ought to make an effort toward encouraging the “boy” backpack. The fact that I felt compelled to do that makes me a little sad.
“Or this one?” I asked, holding up the Minnie bag once I could tell he was unimpressed by Mario’s power fist.
“Not that one,” he said. “That one.” And I looked.
“This one?” I asked, a little surprised. The purple Tinkerbell backpack. For my almost four year old son. “Oooo-kay.”
I asked Kellen what he liked about it. I think he said the glitter.
I could tell Dan was worried. I knew it wasn’t the idea that Kellen picked something girly. Dan could care less. The other kids, he acknowledged. After Kellen’s previous school experience, Dan was worried that Kellen was going to be teased by the other preschool kids. He already gets raised eyebrows from the other kids when he tells them, completely unashamed, that his favorite color is pink.
This kid is definitely going to test my beliefs on gender roles.
Until Friday night, we hadn’t even spent much time talking about boys and girls. Kellen’s frequent misuse of gender pronouns probably has a lot to do with the fact that we don’t make a big difference out of boy/girl differences in our house. And as timing would have it, I decided on Friday that I should at least discuss what makes boys and girls different.
“Boys have penises,” I said to Kellen. “And girls don’t.” I hoped he wouldn’t ask anything else.
“What do that have?” he asked immediately.
There’s nothing quite like trying to simply explain a vagina to a three year old, especially when he decides that his parts are inside too because they are inside his skin.
Other than the biological stuff, I don’t want to make a big deal about gender differences… I know if I had a girl, I wouldn’t want my daughter to feel stuck in traditional gender roles. Likewise, I shouldn’t want my son to feel pigeon-holed either.
We don’t talk about boy and girl toys. Granted, the tubs in Kellen’s playroom are full of cars and trains and things that make loud noises. Though I’ve offered, Kellen has little interest in caring for dolls. But I would never tell him that dolls were for girls… or that trucks and cars were for boys.
There are no boy colors. Pink is as celebrated in this house as brown. Ok, I lied. Pink is a highly respected color in this house. (Everett has taken a particular liking to a bright pink knitted blanket.) I find the concept of gender-specific colors to be completely absurd. If girls can wear blue, why should it be an issue for boys to wear pink?? Answer: it shouldn’t.
I am proud that my son doesn’t look at objects and assign them a gender. And yet…
And yet, I am still a little uncomfortable as he makes his way into the world with his choice of seemingly girly items. He has a pink suitcase (his choice) and now a purple sparkly backpack. There will come a time when my sensitive child is told that pink is a girl color or that his backpack is for girls (though until we had a talk about boys and girls, he probably wouldn’t have cared since he thought he was a girl as often as he thought he was a boy).
We live in a conservative state. I know of a few people off the top of my head, adults mind you, who would, without concern for my son, tell him that he was making the wrong choices. His sexuality, my not-quite-four-yearold’s sexuality, might be questioned… all because he likes pink and has a purple princess backpack. It’s bullshit. If he is gay, I don’t care, first of all. But I also find it highly offensive and ignorant of a society that claims to be so progressive (and becoming more tolerant) to still have such confining gender roles for men. I’ve said it before, but in the women-can-be-anything-they-want-to-be movement, I think we’ve forgotten about our boys. Sure, they make more money than women and the executive ceiling doesn’t exist for them like it does for women. But I honestly believe in some ways, their roles have not expanded the way women’s have. Boys are expected to be tough. They don’t cry. They don’t dance. They provide. And they sure as hell don’t wear purple Tinkerbell backpacks to preschool.
As Kellen is getting older, I worry. Am I doing the right thing by allowing him to make his own way? Am I setting him up to get hurt by not talking to him more about society’s view of boys? How do I teach him to respond? It sounds great to tell kids to respond with clichéd phrases like “sticks and stones” but speaking from experience, when you want to make friends and feel like you need to conform, it’s not always easy for a child to say, “so what?”
And in this era of breaking out of gender stereotypes, when are our boys going to get the same chance to be whatever they want to be? When are they going to have the same opportunities as girls?
I have always loved the Olympics. Perhaps it’s the nationalistic pride that seems to unite otherwise divided people. Or maybe it’s the rooting for the underdog or the Michael Phelps of the world who are so close to shattering athletic records, proving that what was once inconceivable is now possible.
As a child, I spent my chore money on stacks of blank VHS tapes, ready to record every moment of competition to watch again (though I don’t actually remember rewatching much; once you know how it ends, the thrill seems to diminish!). I recorded Keri Strugg’s infamous one-footed landing and had the video in my possession for many years. You can only imagine how thrilled I am to have live streaming options now!
In 1996, in the lead up to Atlanta, my sister was chosen to run with the Olympic torch through the streets of Richmond on the torch’s country-wide tour before lighting the Olympic cauldron, an honor bestowed on Ali. My mom nominated her as a hometown hero, a teenage girl who had overcome numerous hospitalizations and who gracefully dealt with a significant learning disability. She took the honor seriously, and my mom and I struggled to keep up with her (literally jumping over spectators lining the streets of the city) as she ran her stretch of the relay.
Elizabeth got to keep the torch; I will never forget the dense smell of propane that overtook our hotel room that night. We put the torch in the bathtub covered in towels to try to dampen the smell, which was only mildly successful. That torch was then memorialized in a shadow box that hung on the upstairs wall of my home growing up, a reminder of an incredible moment in all of our lives. The Olympics to me embodies so much of that spirit, the can-do in spite of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
The Beijing games closing ceremony is the last thing I watched in my house before it burned down. Four years ago, the Olympics became a time marker for me. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to watch the games without being reminded of the change that happened so soon after one of my favorite events of the year. And yet, the Olympics still hold so much promise to me. We overcome. Four years after the fire, we have more than overcome. What I love about the Olympics is that even though there is so much that is steeped in tradition, so much that seemingly stays the same, there is also so much change, so much growth. Every four years, there are new athletes, new challenges, new venues, new promise. It’s an interesting metaphor for me, especially this first summer Olympics after the fire. Look at where we’ve been in four years. Look at what we’ve done. Look at what we’ve overcome. Like Kerri Strugg. Like my sister. Like so many of those athletes getting ready to walk out into the spotlight tomorrow, standing proud, bringing a little bit of hope to those around the world. That’s incredible to me.
“My son’s turning four. FOUR. How have four years gone by?”
“It’s 9:00. How is it already 9:00? I was supposed to be out the door ten minutes ago!”
“Five more minutes until bed.”
“You have three seconds to put down that crayon.”
I’m most aware of time though when I think about how to balance all of the roles in my life, how to make motherhood more meaningful with less time. I’m a working mom, a role I have by choice. I own a web development company, Digavise. I chose to start the company, and now I am fully invested and committed to its success. And I’m a mom, a mom to a baby and an almost four year old, both of whom require a significant time investment, even when I’m not there.
I’ve been watching the interest surrounding Melissa Mayer’s appointment and pregnancy announcement. I have no judgment. I am a mom and a business owner. I brought my son to work the week he was born, held meetings even with him in my arms. I am lucky that my clients are understanding and that my son slept for the first several weeks allowing me to work. But it’s still hard to be both mom and CEO… and that’s coming from someone who only manages three employees.
The first few weeks spent at work with the baby is still time, time that I perhaps should have been sleeping, or at least resting. Time that should have been spent cuddling and cooing. Time that could have been spent reassuring my older son that he mattered too (not that I didn’t spend time with him, but I could have spent more).
As a working mom in particular, I feel that time gets away from me, that even as much as I consciously balance work and home, there is never enough time for either. When I’m at work, I miss my kids. They are happy and well cared for even when I’m not there, but I still think of the moments we aren’t sharing. I check in often. I break my work flow to make sure they are ok. This is good, right? It’s good to be invested in my children’s lives, to want to be a part of their day even when I’m absent.
And in the moments I am with them? My head is often still at work, processing through the day’s to-dos, working through problems, planning our next business decision. I still enjoy the smiles, talk to the baby, cuddle Kellen. It’s just that I’m two places at once, always. My time, my thoughts, are split.
I love my life. I love my job. I love my kids. I don’t believe I have it all though. No. I don’t have everything. I have enough. I just don’t always have enough time.
Today was Kellen’s initial consult. The initial visit was first set up to be a full blown neuropsych eval, but the clinic changed their procedures. It meant that we got in sooner… but that we’d also have fewer answers in the beginning.
Here’s what we do know:
1. Kellen does NOT have autism. This was obvious to me, but it is still good to check that off.
2. Kellen has been officially diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified. The psych told us it is likely he will be diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder when he is older and that he will be more prone to depression. It is important for us to teach him coping skills now to better help him manage what will probably be a lifelong struggle. We will all work with a counselor in the next few months to work with him on those issues.
3. Kellen processes sensory information differently than the norm. Whether this is a full blown disorder has yet to be determined. We have an OT evaluation scheduled to determine if he has SPD. Given that he is sensitive to sound and also have some issues with knowing where he is in space this is at least an area of concern.
4. Kellen is bright. How bright, we also don’t know yet. The neuropsych evals have a 4 month waiting list. We should have something scheduled for late fall that will help us with some of those decisions. They told us that normally they wait until a kid is eight or so, but that seems like lost opportunities to me in terms of making educational decisions.
The one thing that they did say about placement decisions for school was that Montessori is normally really great for gifted kids. However, because of Kellen’s need for structure to deal with his anxiety, it might not be the best place for him right now. We are looking at some other educational options even though it’s kind of late to be making this change. If we stay at his existing school, I might talk to his teacher about having one activity set up for Kellen to do every single morning at drop off that might help with his need for order and structure (or I might contact the head of the school and meet with him as well). There are still lots of pieces to the puzzle to put together this fall to get a more accurate picture of Kellen’s needs, but at least we have a start.
Kellen’s evaluation is Friday, and I’m starting to stress out about it. I am really happy they were able to move it up to July (instead of September) because we are all going a little crazy around here, but it’s still nerve-wracking regardless. I shouldn’t be nervous. I know all about evaluations, like them a lot actually. And yet I am. Here’s why:
1. The pediatrician referred us to a behavioral clinic. Yes Kellen acts out and has a behavioral component to whatever is going on. However, the pediatrician specifically wanted them to look at sensory processing disorder, which falls on the autism spectrum. I am almost positive he doesn’t have SPD. He does have heightened sensitivities, especially to sound, but in terms of other characteristics that might fall on the spectrum, they just aren’t there for Kellen. And yet, because we are going to a behavioral clinic instead of just a neuropsych, I am worried that they will label him with a behavioral disorder.
2. I believe that Kellen is gifted, highly gifted perhaps. When your two year old can identify a lower case “e” and start spelling his name because he knows that there is an “e” in his name too, you know that he’s different. I have to teach Kellen advanced vocabulary in the car to keep his mind engaged so he doesn’t get bored… because when he’s bored, he acts out. And yet, Kellen thinks it’s hilarious to tell you the wrong answer. He knows some addition facts, which I learned by accident. But now if you ask him what 2+3 is, he says, with a sheepish grin, “four.” And then if you respond, he says “six,” again with a devilish twinge in his eyes. Only if you offer a reward for the right answer will he tell you five… and this is the routine every.single.time. I started talking to him about his evaluation today so he’s prepared. I told him he needs to give the right answer when they ask him questions. But I’m worried he will look at it as a game and answer incorrectly just because he finds it amusing.
3. I’m afraid that if it is just a part of his being gifted (an excitability if you will), they will tell me that nothing is wrong, or worse that we’re lucky… because who doesn’t want a kid who’s highly gifted, right? If we were going to a gifted specialist, I wouldn’t be as concerned. But we’re going to the behavioral clinic, and in comparison to what other parents are dealing with, I’m sure we are lucky. It doesn’t negate the daily struggles though or the fact that I repeatedly want to slam my head into a wall out of frustration. I am hoping that the evaluation provides some validation of those struggles, even if the problem is just intelligence.
4. I am afraid we won’t get concrete strategies for helping us, as parents, better help Kellen. I contacted a local psychologist a year ago, a psych that specializes in gifted kids, who told me they don’t start working with kids until they are at least five. I am hoping that isn’t the case. Kellen needs coping strategies. And we need parenting strategies. I am fortunate that I understand what it’s like to be a gifted kid, but being a gifted kid is different from being the parent of a gifted kid, and we need help. We also need guidance in academic placement decisions. Kellen is almost four… and Kindergarten is knocking at our door (btw, how is my son almost old enough for Kindergarten??).
5. I guess I’m also scared that they’ll tell me he’s not gifted. We’ve known for so long that he learns differently from other kids. I’ve already decided in my mind that he is gifted. I can’t even imagine knowing what I know about Kellen that he isn’t. But it’s still a possibility.
The preliminary testing starts on Friday but we won’t have a full evaluation for several more weeks. And even with an evaluation, Kellen is still the same kid with the same amazing and challenging traits. I’m just hoping that the eval gives us some more tools to be able to better address his needs.