Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Yin and Yang

I sometimes wonder what it was that brought Baroy and I together, because in so many ways, we’re such opposite types. He says that it makes for a good partnership; that we balance one another. And in many instances, he’s right. But sometimes I just can’t see it that way. Sometimes it just makes me feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders, and there’s no one there to help me shoulder it.

So it is, right now, with N. I had a long talk with The World’s Most Wonderful Occupational Therapist yesterday, the one who led the class that observed N’s preschool on Monday—a key point here being that WeeyumWise does not go to preschool on Mondays. So N was in all his separation-anxiety glory. Anyway, not only did she spend extra time with N, but she then sat with me for a full hour, talking about what she’d seen and what she thinks I ought to do about it. And, keep in mind, the woman has absolutely nothing to gain from this. She doesn’t have a clinical practice any more, so she won’t be the one to get a new client out of the deal. And she wasn’t charging me for our talk yesterday; in fact, she scheduled it during her lunch hour, and then kept apologizing when her family called her a few times, because they knew it was her only free hour of the day. Even though I didn’t love everything she said, I loved her.

What did she say? Well, nothing too surprising, I guess. She said N has social issues that need to be addressed if I want to be sure he’ll be successful in his early elementary years. And also communication issues that she said she still can’t quite put her finger on; she’s interested to hear what N’s speech evaluation in a week and a half turns up, if anything. Plus, she—like everyone else I’ve spoken to who’s a so-called professional—is just not sure about the whole imaginary friend thing he does. It’s somehow just not quite right.

Still, she said he’s wonderfully quirky—she kept telling me what a truly special kid he is, and I believed she wasn’t just blowing smoke up my rear-most orifice. But she said that some of the quirks, if not addressed, may turn into weirdnesses down the line. And that’s what I want to avoid, if I can. I mean, if he’s going to be the short kid—and he IS going to be the short kid—then he’s going to need some pretty solid social skills to avoid having his early adolescence turn into a complete and utter nightmare.

When I asked for specifics, she gave me an example of something that I, as his mother and security blanket, have never had a chance to see. She said the kids were all playing outside in a circle, and N wanted nothing to do with them. She asked him whether he would go and join his friends, and he said, “Want me show you what I do?” She said sure, and he sat her down just outside the circle, with her back in line with the kids’ backs. Then he put his hands on her face and positioned it so that she was looking slightly to the side, away from the circle.

“Now you can’t see anybody,” he said. “They’re invisible.”

“But I can still hear them,” she said.

“Yeah,” he replied calmly. “I know. But it goes away after a little while.”

That story just about broke my heart.

The good news, she said, was that when he was inside, and put at a table to do an art project, he did make comments back and forth with the kids near him. So he does have the social skills to handle other children, she noted. It’s just that not all social situations in his future are going to be facilitated by an adult with crafts, you know what I mean? And he needs to be able—he needs to WANT—to bridge the gap between himself and his peers and make contact with the people on the other side. And that, in a nutshell, seems to be what he’s missing right now.

Anyway, she recommended I take him to our local children’s hospital—where his pediatrician practices anyway—and get him evaluated by this group they have that does a complete developmental workup on kids. He’d be looked at by a psychologist, a developmental pediatrician, a speech pathologist, an occupational therapist...all at one time.

And this is where my issue with Baroy comes in. Because he was just so Not There when I talked to him about all of this last night. He couched it in other terms: he’s afraid “they” are going to want to medicate N, he’s afraid that the more people I have look at him, the more likely it is that they will find something, anything, to pin on him, even if it’s not the truth, he’s afraid all of this is overkill and that N’s going to have ripped from him the things that make him N. And, see, those are my fears, too. (Well, not the medicating part, because I know that I’m not letting anyone medicate my 4-year-old.) But despite them, I’m more afraid of what happens if I don’t help him now, of what happens if he just goes down this road. There’s no turning back the clock later. I’d rather err on the side of caution with my child.

Now, I’m sure that sounded convicted and confident. But trust me, I am SO not either of those things. I’m conflicted and not at all confident. And all I want is someone—no, all I want is my husband—to be right by my side, buying my theory, backing me up when I start to falter because I’m just not sure. Instead, what I get is someone who tells me he supports me because he knows that I know what’s best, and this is an area he long ago abdicated to me, but that from where he site, watching, he knows that this is just not how he would be dealing with it.

In other words, he said, though not in so many words, “I’ll support you in whatever decision you make. But just know that, really, you’re on your own.”

I am really, really tired of being on my own.

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