We met with some therapists for our youngest, Boonshka, today. He’s two years old (25 months, to be exact) and he just barely started walking unassisted on Monday. Suddenly he is talking more and more. And while I should be a proud and excited mother, I am instead frustrated by the fact that he makes these sudden advancements in his development the very same week he has an appointment with three therapists/evaluators. It was his second assessment so I wasn’t too anxious about it because I knew what to expect; he was first evaluated three months after his first birthday. The first time he scored very low – below 50% collectively, and as a parent you become instantly worried followed by a search for a location to comfortably place the blame. Surely it wasn’t your fault. Let’s just say, in my case, no matter where I looked I found myself holding onto that blame with a nervous and sweaty palm.
Once the panic the therapists had left me with the first time subsided, I was able to examine the results of the evaluation, break it down and identify the problematic areas. As a team, my husband and I recognized our failures or density in our roles as guiding hands in our sons developement but separately I’m sure we both were quietly blaming each other. There are things I am stuck between as a disabled parent and I have trouble communicating things to Kasper. I don’t know how to be a supportive “secondary” parent when my mommy-ness wants to push him aside and control the situation. There are things that he doesn’t do that I would do because I did them with our oldest. These are things I cannot complain or nag to him about because:
- I had a strong detachment period for like the first year of Boonshka’s life; my limitations made me feel incapable and inadequate as a mother so I backed away instead of trying harder
- and just because we are (common-law) married with two kids doesn’t mean we will always and forever parent in exactly the same ways. I try my best to allow him his space without ordering him to do things my way when I am not even able to do things my way.
Over the last year, we have been working with Boonshka. We work on things like balance and urging him to walk, at the very least, assisted. We try to get him to say identifying words like cup or up…things he should have been saying by the time he was a year old. We try to do the obvious, is my point. But nothing seemed to stick. Until recently. Maybe he fell one afternoon and when he hit his head something clicked or something. I have no idea because he just started walking around and saying words he could barely form last month. It’s all very strange and sudden. We kept the appointments for today because we noticed he favors his right leg, he is so clearly left-handed and he is still not saying things he should be saying (yet all of a sudden he says “Daddy” clear as day, like wtf is up with that?).
During todays assessment I found myself evaluating him as well as myself. This happened last time but I wasn’t able to make so many connections. I can’t tell if I am hindering his development or not but I feel like I am.
They asked me about his arm and I didn’t know what they were talking about. It is not abnormal to have a left-handed child. They asked how long it took him to roll over. He was maybe 6 months, possibly older. The OT (occupational therapist) then told me he seems to have problems crossing his arms over and recognizing he has two hands he can work with effectively. She suggested having him tested neurologically. She showed us what she meant by placing a toy on his right side and instead of him reaching over with his left hand, he would pick up the toy with his right hand, fail and fail again with the “test” until he put the toy in his left hand to succeed. She began signaling him to use his right hand or both hands and after a few reminders he seemed to get it. On the plus, she noted that he is resourceful. When he had trouble putting rings on that plastic stand, he picked up the stand and tried to stick it in the ring.
She said that is good because he is still trying to solve the problem and called him a cheater with a laugh. She asked about his climbing and I told her he never really climbed like his brother did. With Skas I could lay on the floor and he would climb onto my stomach and we’d play; I’d play with his hands or he’d pat me on the stomach or whatever. Boonshka never really did any of that, not with me or Kasper. The OT nodded and suggested some play activities to encourage him to treat both sides equally. I keep wondering why I never noticed the lack of participation in some of these events.
While I listened to everyone talk around me, absorbing the information, I began to drift back to his neglected side. I feel like it is my fault. I only think of what is in front of me. I try very hard to consider what a “normal” person might need to learn but it’s not so easy when you are not “normal.” The way we sit is to accommodate my left body and so life is more accessible for my right body. I present my right body to the audience and allow my left body to fade slowly back into the shadow where it can hide and be forgotten about by even myself. I truly have no need for it. I do everything face-to-face with Boonshka so, naturally, I communicate to his left body, thus offering him the ability to neglect his right body. It is like I am trying to create in him a mirrored image of me. How do I correct that? Everyone had pointed out, after it was my turn to ask a few questions, that Kasper and Skas and Skas’ friends are all fully able-bodied. I was able to shed some blame but it was replaced with a burden heavier. What is wrong with my son if I am not to blame? I would rather take that blame than be left searching for answers that may never be available to me.
I wonder about the things I don’t consider until these people come into my house and start asking about them. There are things we all do as parents that are simple yet vital and completely natural for us to pass along. We don’t even realize how much we educate our children just by our every day actions and reactions. Apparently that goes for more than behavior and star character traits.