Saturday, June 8, 2013

school turmoil

Rhys turns 5 in two weeks. It's hard to believe! FIVE!  He is growing taller and less baby-like and I can see him getting more lanky!  I figure that out of all the kids, he is the one that will look like his Grandpa Jack the most!  (that is Hunny's father, who died of a very aggressive colon cancer 2 months after his diagnosis just 6 months after Hunny & I got married. It was sudden and shocking and left us not really knowing how to deal with it.  :(  Kai is named after him. But I think it is Rhys that will resemble him the most with his tall, very skinny, body!)  It's sad and bittersweet to see Rhys grow up physically. I don't want him to get too big for me to snuggle with! I get sad at thinking that one day he will be too heavy for me to carry, and too long! (he's almost getting too long now!!) *sigh*  But I am also looking forward to seeing him grow and learn new things and expand his surroundings.

Five is the typical age that kids start kindergarten.  Well, that is, both Abi & Kai are Autumn/Winter babies and so they started K when they were four-and-a-half.  Yes, they were young, and their wonderful teacher (whom I still love dearly!) would remind us whenever it seemed as though they weren't as "quick" as the other kids, but by the end of the year, they had caught up just fine! I don't regret it; they really were ready for school when they went. Bryn turned 5 the summer before school began and he was ready too, and there wasn't any doubt that he'd do just fine! But Rhys.... oh Rhys.  He is not ready.  I've been in turmoil all year over this, weighing options, praying for solutions, seeking advice, and even after I've made up my mind, I still worry if it was the "right" one!

When other five year olds enter Kindergarten for the first time this Fall, (and I know many friends with newly five-year-olds) Rhys will instead be entering his first year of Pre-school. And I'm okay with that.  But I'm also not.

It's hard when you know that your child is not ready, is lacking in a few areas, and would benefit from being held back. It makes your heart ache because all you can see is how he's "missing out."  Not that Rhys knows that he is, and that makes it a bit better, and yet it's still sad for me. :(

My son is delayed, and I've known for a long long time, but I'm now being forced to recognize it.  It was easy to just tell ourselves that "he'll catch up one day!" or "he has older siblings to do it for him!" or "boys are slower!" or even "his older brothers were a bit delayed as well!" as if the excuses would somehow make it true. But it wasn't and all these excuses didn't help at all!  He is still delayed. He didn't "catch up", after all.  It was so easy for me to just shrug it off, ignore it, I mean the excuses were easy to give and I was surrounded by others who weren't concerned, so why should I let it bother me?

But it did.  Deep down, I've always known.  There is something in my Mommy Gut that tingles. (and not my gall stones, ugh! lol!) Something that's "not right". Something I can't quite explain or put my finger on. And it's so frustrating! He's being seen by our old (crazy) pediatrician (more on that in a later blog post, there is so much to say) right now and she is investigating some ideas, so that's a start, but it is a slow process. Now that we have a doctor who is concerned also, I have been going back on old information on him, tests that he took as a toddler, even past posts and I see this has always been the case. And that actually shocked me!  I had somehow convinced myself that maybe it wasn't that bad. But he's been delayed from the beginning! And that weighs me down with sorrow and guilt! Should I have been more pushy? Why didn't I mention anything to my doctor? Why didn't Michele at IDP say anything if it was a concern? How did this slip past us? :(   I can't change what was or wasn't done when he was younger, but the worries I carry now for his future hang on me. Words like Special Needs.....Mentally Retarded.....Genetics.....they all whisper in my mind. Something isn't "right". But what?????

This afternoon, he surprised me, though. He actually held an imaginary conversation with his LEGO minifigs (or should I say, Kai's minifigs, since he keeps stealing them off of his bunkbed!), and he did imaginary play with a stuffed pig (he asked me to get a drink for him and the pig, but I stopped at making Piggie his own sandwich and said R could share his like a good friend!)! That was so exciting for me to overhear!  And today, he actually counted!!! All the way from 1 to 6! On his own!  Yay! I can't get him to do it when I asked though; whenever I ask, he acts like he doesn't understand and will only repeat the numbers after me, so I really don't know how high he can count, but he did it up to #6! And then I heard him count backwards from 4! That made me so happy! He is learning! There is so much that he can't seem to do, but I don't know how much of it is real disability or lack of confidence or just not applying himself because he has never really had to.  :/  It's difficult to tell with him.

Last year at this time, he was terrified to go to school, and he carried that fear all the way up until a few months ago! I was so worried he'd never actually want to go, but I am happy to say that he is excited about it now! I've been building up the enthousiasm, excitedly telling him of all the things he'd be doing (painting! playing! listening to stories! singing songs!) He'll attend where Bryn went, at Learning Blocks Preschool at the Olders' school. (B's old teacher isn't there anymore though, which is sad, but I'm sure these other teachers are awesome!) We've popped into the classroom twice already after dropping B off at his classroom, and Rhys has been excited and one of the teachers said 'hi' and made him feel welcome. She invited us to go inside the classroom while the other children were still playing, but I didn't want to disrupt the class....or get him too involved so it would be harder for us to leave. But this is a start!

After this morning, when Rhys seemed like a "normal" kid, I started to have doubts with keeping him back from Kindergarten! But I then reminded myself with the concerns we have and I feel pretty sure that this is the right step. There is nothing glaringly obvious about Rhys that tells us he has issues, and that's tough. It's a relief, but it's hard to know what to do. Is he just immature and will outgrow this? Or is there something more? Like I mentioned, I've been going over all his past records for some sort of clue and I can see how he's been delayed, but I also see how none of us were worried back then. You must remember a few posts ago, dated two years back, where at 40 months old (3.5 yrs), he was only developing at a 30-36ms range...stuff like that. When I wasn't really surprised at how far behind he was, but I also wasn't nervous over it and thought he'd "get it" one day. *sigh*  How foolish of me.

The hardest part about this whole thing has got to be that I don't know what it is that's causing it. I want a name. I want a diagnosis. I want some clarity. I want to know what to do, how to help him! :(


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