Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Weight

Sometimes the only way to get moving is simply to pick up one foot and put it in front of another. So...here goes.

The last few weeks have been so full. I feel like I've been jammed into my existence with barely enough room to breathe. Instead of writing, when I've had a free moment I've been trying to find something – prayer, meditation, hypnosis – that can take away the anxiety and stress that keeps me rigid and fearful and blind to the joy of this life.

I miss writing in this way.

I've been writing for work. And I've given a lot of thought to some creative writing that I want to do, although I haven't actually put pen to paper in that regard.

I miss writing in this intimate and meaningful way. I miss sharing the things that are challenging me and shaping me and hurting me and encouraging me.

Like the fact that I am incredibly worried about Brendan and my heart is breaking as I try to figure out how to mother him. He's so challenging right now. Defiant and frustrated and frustrating. He's not loving school. He tries hard and does really well in class. But getting him to do his homework is killing me. Like pulling teeth. For both of us.

His first parent-teacher conference left us shocked and terrified as the teacher suggested he has a fine motor skills delay. She told us how sweet and intelligent he his, but suggested he is falling behind because he lacks the fine motor skills to write and draw as well as the other kids. She suggested that he be evaluated by the school's occupational therapist, but then told me on Friday that the paperwork required is too extensive and that we should have him looked at sooner rather than later. I had already called our pediatrician and scheduled something at the Children's Hospital anyway.

I can't help but worry. I am terrified over what it might mean. Combined with his resistance to doing homework, his lack of interest in reading, and his stubbornness, I am so worried about his ability to live up to his potential, to become or achieve success and happiness in life.

How do you get a kid to enjoy homework? How do you make someone love reading if they don't? What do you do when those behaviors are so foreign to your own beliefs and way of thinking and living that you can't understand it and find a way to motivate your child?

I never imagined myself in this situation. Although it sure seems I've found myself saying that a lot these last few years.

I want the best for my son. If only I knew how to help him achieve it.


Kel said...

I wish I had some meaningful words to say that would help you, but I don't. I do know that mothering is hard - either with someone like you or not. Worry is what we do...hopefully it will all turn out ok and the dr will have the answers to point you in the right direction.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Dawn. I can really relate to how you're feeling about Brendan. His situation is very similar to The Actor (age almost 13).

Nate is in the gifted program and is doing well in most things, but he does not like to read and is a huge procrastinator about homework.

The best advice I can offer you is this: Talk to the teacher about what you're doing to encourage B. and ask the teacher's advice. Sometimes, just letting the teacher know of the special (I don't know what the right word is here) quirks or challenges for you child can make all the difference. Most teachers are will to work with you if you and the child will meet them halfway.

For example - the Actor loves nonfiction military history and reads WWII magazine. This would not qualify as part of his reading assignments, but his teacher is making that exception for him because it's reading - it's just not reading books.

I hope this helps. If you ever want to chat, please don't hesitate to email me and I'll send you my phone number.

You're not alone. This parenting this is a challenge!

Suz said...

Something I've thought of since we e-mailed yesterday-the teacher gave you bad information. YOu need to go above her. Find out who the special ed coordinator is for Brendan's school (or coordinator for a group of schools, or even the special ed director for the school district) and say to him/her that it's your understanding that IDEIA requires evaluation to be completed much more quickly than the 6 months his teacher gave you (it's left up to the state--in SC, districts have 60 days to complete the eval & hold the IEP meeting). If it comes down to it, ask to see the state regs that allow them to take 6 months. Keep me posted, you know I'd love to stay involved in a special ed situation!

Dawn said...

I certainly feel blessed that two of my four bridesmaids have expertise in this area. I'm just wondering why God put me in y'all's lives...what is it that I am able to give to y'all?

Suz said...

Your wonderful friendship, silly!

Wendy said...

I was going to write what Suz wrote, but she beat me to it. I'm thinking about you -- feel free to email if you have any questions, but Suz has it covered. I'm thinking about you.

rennratt said...

Kindergarten is a challenge. Kids used to go for half a day, and most of the time included tying shoes and coloring.

Now they have 30 minutes to an hour of homework. It is a huge adjustment.

Your son is a brilliant kid. It just may take some time to see what motivates him. [Does he love music? Perhaps he could 'sing' his answers to you? Is he emotional/theatrical? Perhaps he could read aloud with emotion to you.]