What am I missing?
I’m sitting outside of the preschool watching the playground. It’s the second day of “Circle Time Camp”, the camp for all the kids attending preschool for the first time in the fall. I’m watching Lewis. He’s running around the yard, going up the ladder and down the slide, reaching his hands up high to hang from the monkey bars. When camp is over, he follows the other kids to the bench and waits for his name to be called to go home. He sits with his hands in his lap, nicely waiting his turn.
What can’t I see?
On Monday, I’ll be taking him for his developmental evaluation at a hospital in Boston. It’s the appointment that I canceled back in March, when my gut was telling me that there was nothing wrong. It’s the appointment that I rescheduled after his early intervention speech pathologist suggested that he needed to be evaluated. He’ll be seen by a developmental pediatrician and a speech/language specialist. I’ve filled out all the forms and arranged for child care for the other boys. We’re actually going this time.
But I don’t want to go. I don’t want to hear what they have to say. I don’t even know what to say to them.
I have watched him carefully since I made the appointment, looking for red flags or something that makes me feel like the appointment isn’t a waste of time. He has a speech delay. That I know. I’m watching his eye contact, his pretend play, his transitions. I asked those who know him to tell me honestly what they see.
They see my little guy. Nothing else.
When we did this with Howie, I knew there was something wrong. Something “off”. I expected a PDD-NOS diagnosis. This time…what is it?
This appointment is making me question everything I know as a parent. He was my surprise baby. I have watched him like a hawk since day one. Checking off the milestones on the list, including all the ones his brother missed. He’s my eater. My sleeper.
“Mom? How come all the other little kids at the family reunion could say their G sounds better than Lewis? Is it because Howie doesn’t use his right words and he’s copying him? Or is there something wrong with Lewis too?” My oldest’s words swirl around my head.
I’m not only challenged with figuring out if his behavior is that of a typical 2 1/2 year old or if there’s something developmental different about him. I’m also challenged with determining if it’s learned behavior from his big brother.
I’m the one who called Early Intervention three times to come out. I’m the one who knew that he wasn’t talking like he was “supposed to”. How could I be missing seeing something else? How many more labels will be added to the end of this child’s name?
I know the labels don’t change him. I have said it a million times to friends, family and other parents across the internet. The label does not make him anything else but who he is. All it does is get us the help he needs. That we need.
It’s easy to say. Not easy to remember.
It won’t matter what they tell me. I’m going in with an amazing, smart, funny little two year old and I’ll be coming home with the same kid.
It does matter. It matters a lot. I don’t want to do this again. I am not sure I can do this again.
I have to do it again. For him.
We have to know. And then, move on.
“If you put your trust in me I’ll make bright your day.
Look into these eyes now, tell me what you see.
Don’t you realise now, what you see is me.
Tell me what you see.
Listen to me one more time, how can I get through?
Can’t you try to see that I’m trying to get to you?
Open up your eyes now, tell me what you see.
It is no suprise now, what you see is me.
Tell me what you see.” – Tell Me What You See by The Beatles