My external soul

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

When you have a child - of any age - it is as if a piece of your soul is living in front of you.

Yes, sometimes you want to throttle that soul and get some god damn peace and quiet, or for the love of god please pick up that wet towel from the floor -Who the hell raised you?, or if Mommy doesn't get some alone time, some very bad things are going to happen.

But, still, that piece of soul is Yours. Entirely Yours. You know every inch of skin, every fold, every roll, every toe and finger. I tell Emily all the time that she is my favorite person in the world. That anyone who grew in my body will always be my favorite person in the world. "More than Daddy?" she asks. "Yes, honey, more than Daddy.", I reply.

I say all of that to say this.

Yesterday I had to go to my daughters "team" meeting at school. I poke at the team, because it is my nature to do so. I sign in with all my educational credentials out there for them to see, and make my husband write all of his educational credentials - then write Mother and Father at the end of the credentials. It is my professional way of saying "Don't fuck with me. I know what you are talking about."

Professionally, I do know what they are talking about. I understand "phonemes and graphemes" and syntax and all of the other things that gets thrown around in these discussions. Professionally, I agree with their assessments. I know that my daughter has to work REALLY REALLY hard to understand how letters make words. That these concepts aren't easy for her. That keeping her in first grade was the right decision. That her articulation is rotten and her grammar is non-existent.

So, after the academic assessment , speech assessment and before the occupational therapists assessment, I almost started to cry. I actually had to look down - think it through and make myself suck it up. The urge to put my head down on the table and cry was so strong, it was almost irresistible. Here we sit - two ultra educated parents of an only child. Here we sit - two ultra high achievers and perfectionists. And we can't do anything. They are ripping my external soul to pieces.

Then, just as I am about to crumble, the academic assessor says "She doesn't sleep through the night? Have you talked to the pediatrician?"

Oh sweet sanity. I am able to snap back to my professional self.

"We have been talking to her pediatrician since she was 2 weeks old. Of Course, we have. It is just the way it is." Please, do not broach the issue of her sleeping in her bed with me. I will surely have to open a can of whoop ass on this woman if she dares to offer me any advice on getting my child to sleep through the night.

And we finish the meeting.

Being a parent hits you in odd unprotected places. Places I thought I had covered with my shell suddenly reveal themselves to be tender and open. I guess that is what love is.

1 Baleful Regards:

Anonymous said...

I laude your remarkable retraint, specifically on the "have you talked to her pediatrician?" question (which had to be a CYA measure so that could say they said it/document same - cuz otheriwse, COME ON, lady). when people say stuff like that, I would have been all "you certainly have a grasp for the obvious" through gritted teeth. tho team meetings prob. are the place for caustic sarcasm (?..then again..).
My mom had to deal with stuff like this for my little brother (he had/has ADD and learning disabilities) and often those meetings just killed her.
I don't know how to end this, for this being such a heartfelt post. "Good luck" or "be strong" or "fight the power" seems a little too casual (I can't say "glib" after Tom Cruise went and ruined it for me). So I will leave you with this:
At least Emily didn't get kicked out of class her first day of school (1st day of mainstream, no less) for making armpit noises. My brother? not as lucky.

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