Monday, October 17, 2011
10.12.11 A Parent's Concerns
It's all relative isn't it? What makes a parent concerned that is. In the pediatrican's office you are often asked if you have any concerns. In a parent-teacher conference you are always asked if you have any concerns. Even in a place like a children's museum or a water park, you are asked if you have any concerns. As a parent in general, concern is par for the course, it is part of what makes being a parent such a full-time occupation, whether you are with your kids every day or if you are a thousand miles away on a business trip. But when you are the mom or dad to a special needs child, particularly one with multiple challenges, the question "Do you have any concerns?" is kind of like asking my six-year old daughter if she wants a pony or asking a fish if it likes to swim or asking my husband if he would like to sleep in on Sat. morning....Right.
So, when I go into a neurologist's office, or an orthopedic surgeon's office, or a speech therapist's office, and fill out that pile of paperwork that feels like an application for a security-clearance government job, (while the receptionist looks at you with that, "I'm so sorry I have to ask you to do this" look), and I get to the question, "Do you have any concerns you would like to discuss with the Doctor?", I never fail to to go through the same ridiculous circuit of emotional responses. Usually I start with indredulous indignation which goes something like this: "Why the heck would I be sitting in a neurologist's office in the middle of the day with my stressed out child if I DIDN'T have concerns.....Do you think that I LIKE looking at the crappy magazines and balloon wallpaper? Does anybody come here because they are concern-FREE?" Then it usually only takes me about 30 seconds to do a complete flip-flop which verges on the edge of panic and goes something like this: "If I don't write down ALL of my concerns this very second, then it is possible that this over-scheduled, too-busy-to-read-between-the-lines doctor might not have ALL the information they need to make the best determination about my child's health and therefore his/her entire future...better to write it down and hurry, hurry, hurry!" It is ridiculous, yes. I'm also pretty sure it is totally normal when you come to live with and love a round peg in a vast world of square holes....
The photo above was taken about a year and half ago when Max was still able to fit into a "bouncy seat" that he loved to play in. He was a master at manipulating his body in space and preforming aerial manuvers in this seat, that if my typical children were to try I'd have fainted. Visitors coming to the house and watching Maxwell in his element would be at first horrified and then amazed by his awareness of his body and ability to avoid ever crashing into the floor or falling out of the seat. He could feel his hair on the floor and would "measure" the distance he could bounce down before hitting his head on the floor. Max has memorized the way things feel and the distance between objects and the position of furniture and walls...playing in this seat was cake for him as long as he developed the body strength to do it over and over and over again....and he did. (His spatial mapping skills are still stunning to me.) As usual, everyone would ask the same question: "Aren't you concerned?" And in this instance I could truthfully say without a single back-talking thought badgering my conscious, "Nope. I'm not."