My Outside-the-Lines Kid {7QT}

— 1 —

Today was the last day of the one-week ballet “camp” Girl 1 participated in.  Here is the a drawing she made during the program:

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— 2 —

All of the other little girls drew neatly inside the lines.  My kid, not so much.  But she was the only one to think of drawing a person inside the tutu.  Why have a tutu without someone wearing it?  Sheesh.

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— 3 —

They had a little two-minute performance at the end for the parents.  My kid stood at the end of the line, closest to the teacher.  About half the time, at most, she followed the teacher.  The rest of the time, she was staring off into space, at us, at the mirror, or doing her own thing.

— 4 —

I have to remember that this is progress.  For two years, I took her to storytime at the library almost every week.  I thought she never would be able to sit and listen to an entire story without getting up and running around the room.  Now, she can at least stand in line, even if she’s not paying attention the whole time.

— 5 —

Pat says Girl 1 reminds him of himself at that age.  In tee-ball, he sat in the outfield picking daisies.  In tennis lessons he held his little tennis racket and looked to the side at his mom the whole time, oblivious to the instructor and other kids.  This makes me feel better because, you know, he turned out okay.  Still doesn’t like to follow the herd.  Still a little awkward sometimes . . .

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but those qualities just make him perfectly suited to be a software developer.  And that allows me to be the world’s lowest-earning attorney.  So it all works out.

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— 6 —

But back to Girl 1: unlike Pat, it’s not enough for Girl 1 just to do her own thing; she often wants to impose her will on the rest of the world (or at least on us).  And she tends to be hyperactive.  And she is LOUD.  But she is oh so charming, when she wants to be.  Very musical.  Very affectionate.  Very sociable though socially immature.  (Just now we have another little four year-old girl  over.  Girl 1 got a kick out of singing “Al-mond milk! Al-mond milk!” over and over to the friend, cracking herself up.  The friend gave a polite but bewildered smile. . . .”Why is she saying almond milk?”  Why, indeed?)  After dealing with Girl 1, along with her also strong-willed, light sleeping, loud-screaming little sister,  I am near catatonic at the end of the day.

— 7 —

I think Girl 1 could be considered ADHD, though her pediatrician says that, at 4, she is too young for a formal diagnosis.  I also think she has some degree of Sensory Integration Dysfunction.  (This book has been informative.)  Part of me doesn’t like to seek out labels for her.  But lately I’m thinking I should think of her as special needs.  Too often–although I try so so hard to be patient and encouraging–my reaction is “Why won’t my kid get with the program???”  I admire mom whose kids have autism or other special needs and who are able to focus on their kids’ individual strengths and weakness, without regard to what is or isn’t “normal” or “average.”  I need some of that.

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Because there’s nothing average about my kid.

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19 thoughts on “My Outside-the-Lines Kid {7QT}

  1. Oh my goodness, you just perfectly described my almost-4-year-old boy. Everything you said, it’s Max. My husband and I have discussed him having sensory issues with his doctor. I try not to label as well, because he is so smart and sweet and charming, and I don’t want him to feel “different.”
    That’s one reason why we’re seriously thinking about homeschooling a few years and possibly having him do some time with a specialist. I know he’ll somewhat of an outsider in a normal classroom and don’t want his formative years spent feeling that way. Maybe with time he can learn to manage his energy better and go with the flow enough for normal school.
    Good luck to you! I feel for you, and I am sure your sweet little girl would be my favorite in that whole ballet class!

    • Thanks, Nichole. I think, possibly, Girl 1 first got an inkling that she is “different” during the ballet class. It’s hard to find the right balance b/c you want them to be socialized and be motivated to adapt . . . but definitely don’t want them to feel like an outsider or be ostracized. Good luck to you too!

  2. Hi,
    This ALSO sounds like my 5 year old! When he was almost 2 we even took him in to a specialist to be tested for autism. The doctor said nope, he’s just really smart, give him time. While I was waiting for “time” to happen I got him involved in the Catechesis of the Good Shepard, at age 3 it has made such a difference in his life. Montessori does wonders for kids with sensory issues. I know a few moms who once their sensory kid is school age put them in a Montessori school and the child flourishes. We’ve also worked with him on some “at home therapies”. If you’re interested I can tell you what has worked for him and it literally takes minutes a day. We’ve seen a huge change in him for the positive with in the last 6 months. My husband and I are always looking at each other when he does something “normal”. Sounds like you’re on the right track already!

    • Hi Shannon, This is all so good to hear. Girl 1 did a three-morning Montessori preschool, which incorporated the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. It was a great experience for her, and we’ll do it again this school year. I’m interested in your at home therapies. I’ll email you.

  3. This is SO John Paul, too – he was the kid on the soccer field who was sitting on his ball and trying to balance cones on his foot while all the other kids were following instructions and playing with each other. And he totally repeats phrases he thinks are funny ad nauseaum and other kids think it’s totally weird… You bring her over for a play date and she and John Paul can chant “Almond milk” to each other ALL day, they’ll crack each other up.

    I’m just glad to read that he’s not the only one…

  4. In all likelihood, your daughter is just creatively herself. Everybody who’s different isn’t necssarily diagnosable. Even if there does turn out to be a diagnosis, those moms who are able to focus on their “special” kids’ strengths and ignore the parts that aren’t “normal”…that didn’t come overnight. At least it didn’t for me. My son is 10, and I’m just now coming to grips with the fact that I’m dealing with some big issues rather than little quirks. (I won’t go into it here; I’ve written about it extensively on my blog). Either way, it’ll be alright. Just listen to your “mommy gut,” and you’ll become exactly the mother she needs.

  5. I feel for you, and hope it all goes well with her-she seems like a doll. “Normal” kids are not nearly as exciting. If you suspect anything, I recommend you get her evaluated, not for the label, but so that you can get all the resources you need for early intervention. My oldest was diagnosed at 3 with Autism. We have gotten so much help for him and us! over the past few years.

    • Thanks Emily. We’ve talked to her dr about it. He wasn’t very concerned for now but, at my request, gave me a referral to an occupational therapist. I haven’t followed through yet but plan to do so. I def’ly want to take advantage of all the resources available to us.

  6. I’ve got twowith SPD and one with mild sensory issues and it can be challenging. I have good times and bad times with it, and I struggle to say that I have three “special needs” kids, but I have to at least acknowledge it to myself, so I don’t go crazy. Occupational therapy has been a tremendous help. Hope it helps your girl too!

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