Monday, April 12, 2010
"please get dressed," i begged. "ok," she said, did the deed and skipped off to her daily business. this ensemble just couldn't sum up the last seven and a half years of our lives any better. it's been a topsy turvy, mix and match, unpredictable world ever since this little lady tumbled into our lives. i wish i could go back and enjoy every moment from the beginning, knowing now that it was going to turn out not just OK, but terrific. instead we spent many of her early years wrestling with teachers and specialists and doctors who insisted there was something wrong with her, who had labels ready to slap on her, who urged us to put her in therapy to fix her. after months of research and questions and the emotional turmoil of trying to decide what to do with all of these conflicting pieces of information and opinions, we asked ourselves: is she growing? is she learning? can she function in society, even if it is in her own way? can she do things she enjoys? most of all, is she happy? and the answer to all of these questions was yes. so we went with our instincts and decided to let nature have its way with her, to let her evolve, to see where she was going to shine, to approach her challenges as they arrived. we tossed every parenting manual in the trash, because for reasons you can see, the existing ones really don't tell you what to do with a child like this, and we told these people to leave us and her alone. not long after that we moved to lawrence, also a very topsy turvy, mix and match, unpredictable world, where she is now flourishing in school, has teachers who understand and encourage her, but do not overanalyze her. she's in a place where she can just be.
i know that our approach is not the right one for every child, but we felt that in her case these folks were trying to push her into a set of criteria that simply didn't fit, defining her quirks as defects, when really she just needed time to sort through those major milestones, and we needed to adapt to that. so we did, and the rewards have come in the form of an amazing little being who writes a new page in her own guidebook every day. not every day is a cakewalk. some days sync up beautifully, and in other moments my patience is so exhausted i'm ready to stick my head in the toilet. at those times i lean on the perspective of my husband, who watches her with stars in his eyes and says, "i just delight in her."