Monday, September 24, 2007

A parent's job

As parents it is our job to worry. Our job to take every little thing they do, or don't do, and examine it. Look at that action from every different angle and try to discern whether or not it's "normal." Whatever "normal" means.

There are times I worry about Dylan. Ask him a question and the answer may or may not make sense. It might be related to the question or it might be a verbalization of whatever is going on in his head at that moment. There are times he says things with perfect pronunciation that make perfect sense and sound so advanced for his age. Yet there are others that he babbles whatever is going on his head. I look at his peers and I see this is fairly normal.

There was a time, a few years ago, when I was worried. Dylan exhibited some early signs of Autism that were hard to ignore. Everything had to be sorted by color, by size, by shape, by type. Everything had to be just so. He was so particular from such an early age that it freaked me out. I would see that behavior and be scared of what it could mean. It meant nothing. Luckily, I know enough about Autism to know that socialization is really the biggest indicator of whether or not a child is on "the spectrum." Anyone who has met Dylan know he is very social. It was the one thing that put my mind at ease.

Today I worry that he won't be ready for kindergarten next year. That he still won't have the concentration it takes to sit still and listen. The comprehension to learn the things he needs to learn. Then I think about it. Why the hell am I worried about something that is in a year? What the hell is wrong with me that I don't see the progress he has made in the last year? I think back to swimming lessons last fall. He couldn't keep his head out of the water long enough to listen. He didn't yet have respect for the teacher/student relationship. This year he sits quietly and listens to the teacher. He focuses on what he is being taught and makes a real effort. He has come so far.

I am so confident that he will grow to be an intelligent, wonderful child who is creative and whimsical. That he will be compassionate and kind. I try to remain confident that he will be ready to make the leap into kindergarten next year. And you know what? If he isn't, does it really fucking matter? Does it matter if he goes to school at 6 rather than at 5? No, it doesn't. A dear friend went through kindergarten twice because his mother felt he wasn't ready to move on. Well, he proceeded to graduate from both undergrad and his MBA program something Cum Laude.

Then I look at what he is supposed to be able to accomplish at the end of kindergarten and he has 95% of it already mastered. I guess I really don't need to worry.

But I will, because that is my job.

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