Nil point. Nil point is what I’ve scored in the last week for any of my ‘Something New’s’. But in fairness, I think I have a good excuse.
Monday afternoon I took my son back to the speech therapist to start the actual speech therapy. She gave me the same “talk” as last time. I’m not sure why she felt the need to tell me her “professional opinion” again and again, given that she also suffixes it with “it doesn’t make a difference because I’d perform the same therapy anyway”. Maybe she likes looking parents in the eye and saying autism, ASD and The Spectrum over and over again.
I’ll be honest this isn’t my first rodeo. In the last six years, I’ve had the privilege of sitting before five childhood developmental professionals, in one shape or another, and have them tell me that in their professional opinion he could be on The Spectrum. The first three times I cried in front of them, the last two I cried afterwards. However, the thing to note here is that after a few months of their care, they all pronounced him “better/recovered”.
We then took him to a leading behavioural consultant paediatrician who told us he is chronically shy and that while he may have a few quirks, it’s his shyness that brings out the most awkward behaviour. She told me something I will never forget – she said you cannot be autistic at school and not at home. It doesn’t get “better” either, you don’t recover.
So that was my Monday afternoon. Number six was hard to take, and as irritated as I was then, I had a wee weep with my husband later. His speech is very poor. I’ll give her that. We live in a detached house in the country and we have to make a concerted effort to ensure he socialises enough, which we’ve done. You can imagine the impact lockdown had on his social diary and therefore how his shyness has amplified over the last few months, his behaviour spiralling…
Tuesday afternoon his teacher rang me. That was not a fun conversation either. Apparently, he has gone from being completely “normal” in December, when she told us that she had no worries about him at school at all, to this week when she requested we get him formally assessed… again. His deportment in March at school was troubling, although she did admit he’s been much much better in April. I tried to reason with her that we have only just started speech therapy and I have decided to also initiate occupational therapy. Could we not wait for those to have an impact before assessing? And maybe also, to let the lockdown anxiety fade away a little bit more?
Wednesday I was interviewed for a job. I gelled with the interviewer and was feeling very positive, particularly after she asked me when I would be available next week to meet with her and her boss. However, I’ve since had reason to believe that the recruitment agent doesn’t want me to get the role, so that will be the end of that.
I’ve been around this block before too. Last year I was interviewed by a global HRD who went so far as to state, on the call, that I was through to the next round and asked when could I meet the CEO. I was thrilled. Then the headhunter went into the long grass only to resurface a few weeks later to tell me that the role went to someone else. It’s incredibly frustrating as it is completely out of my control.
Thursday. My daughter is just four years old. In the last few years, the average age of kids in Junior Infants has rocketed. Four and a half used to be a perfectly acceptable starting age. However yesterday we learned that in the 2021 intake, one quarter of the class will turn six before she turns five. We need to wait another year. Feck. I had wonderful plans… oh well…
And today. Today. Today I found out that one of the kids at school who my son admires quite a bit had a birthday party in the playground. And we weren’t invited. I’m hoping it’s because the mother doesn’t like me, because I’m not part of the clique, because I don’t regularly go to the playground, because she doesn’t like the look of me, because she thinks I’m up my own arse. I’d go with any of those. But I know the truth. That kid doesn’t like my son because he was acting so ‘funny’ in March. This one hurts the most.
However, all the above withstanding, I feel good for some reason. I am inexplicably positive and upbeat. The sun has persisted in shining all week. Even though there are problems, my kids are so darn happy. And healthy. And there are folks out there with much much greater issues, juggling tougher, more gruelling lives.
We have the countryside. We have the sunshine. We have each other, our health and our happiness. We are lucky in our own way. As my mother in law says “once you have your health, you’re a millionaire”.