Friday, March 1, 2013

He’s Bright but Confusing – Sound familiar?

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
The library is abuzz. My childhood librarian is probably spinning in her grave. Back in her heyday, if you breathed heavy, her dagger filled look pinned you up next to the moose head above the library door as a warning for other heavy breathers.

Upon spying the pinned specimens, whisperers were known to blanch and run back out the way they came. O.k. Not really, but you know what I mean. My, how times have changed.

Just behind me sits a young man and his tutor. The timbre of his voice signals he’s only recently beyond the great divide and into the land of razors and girlfriends. I don’t have to look at him to know what’s happening.

His tutor’s first words said it all. “I’m so disappointed in you,” was quickly followed by a muttered sermon about wasting their time. I can tell he’s slouching under her disdain.

The topic at hand is math as it relates to circles. It’s just how every young man bursting with pubescent energy wants to spend his Friday afternoon and early evening.

I sigh deeply and fight my inner homeschooler. I want to turn around and interfere. I want to rescue him. Thankfully, they find a bit of common ground before I have to pack up and leave to keep from embarrassing myself.

I look out the window. The clouds contain, per the weatherman, a forty percent chance of snow. Their voices lull me to once upon a time, long ago and far away.

A little boy, all decked out like a train engineer, was toddling around the waiting room. I was thankful they had a lull because it meant he could wander around without invoking the doctor’s-waiting-room-wrath-of-Kahn.

He was a wanderer, that one. If you tried to pen him up, energy built up as if he was a living breathing static charge that had to seek release. He made up for it with white blonde hair, blue eyes, and rosy lips that melted onlookers when they parted to smile.

He toddled over to the other waiting room captive and worked his magic. Not quite two, his language skills were emerging at a logic defying pace. He grinned and began to talk.

I smiled smugly to myself about all the days I read to him in utero. Within hours of his birth, I was already reading chunky board books to him. (Insert Barney Fife of Mayberry satisfied snort.) Yep, yep, yep. Parent of the year. That was me.

The lady looked over at me and smiled that smile I secretly lusted for. It was a nonverbal signal meant to convey that, as a parent, I simply rocked.

“He’s so smart! He’s gonna be his teachers’ favorite.”

My heart froze. “Really? Do you think? Thank you. I’m not so sure. I think . . . “ my words trailed off as the nurse called her name freeing her from our mutual waiting box.

Not long after, I confessed my fears to my husband, “He’s really smart and engaging. But, there’s something I can’t put my finger on. I think . . . I think he is not going to be able to put down on paper what the teacher wants the way she wants it. I think he is going to be the bane of her existence. I’m afraid.”

My little train engineer was not quite three when his Sunday School teacher met me at the door of his class. She had inherited the ‘problem child’ from the nursery.

He was the one whose cries for his mom only quieted when they could distract him with car lights. Specifically, brake lights. Meaning he was never distracted during daylight.

“He’s amazing!” Her exclamation melted the icy fear that flash froze my heart every time I reached the nursery door. We’ve already cleaned up, but you should have seen the creation he made with Tinker Toys. If you don’t have them, you need to get him some.

We chatted for another moment or two. She said enough to tell me that she saw my conundrum. My son was amazing, articulate, and intelligent. And yet, there was something . . . something confusing . . . going on.

He was above ninety percent in his height and weight percentiles, potty trained at eighteen months, and spoke like a five or
six-year-old. I told myself the confusion hinged on folks forgetting he was only three when he acted like a three-year-old.

Courtesy B. Creasy - 2010
It would be three more years of watching, waiting, and searching before that ‘something confusing’ had a name. 

For the link to part 1:
click here

Psalm 139: 16 The Message

Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you,The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.


  1. I'm going to bookmark you and come back every day and see what more you will share! My sweet vivacious bowl you down with his emotions 4 year old needs some interpretation, and I'm curious about yours.

    1. Oh, Ruth, I love the way you describe your little buddy. I'll be sharing these stories 3 days a week or so and hope you will come back often!

  2. I will have to come back, too! We're in our 6th year of homeschooling, with ADD, Asperger's, and Dyslexia, sensory processing issues, etc, newly discovered this year in multiple kids! I thank God He has been gently leading me and showing me how my wisdom is not what I need on this journey...they are HIS kids that I'm teaching, and He will provide! What an adventure He has given us!

    1. Meg, I love the enthusiastic way you have embraced your journey. I wrote a post for Home Educating Family entitled Better Than Normal based on something my 15YO Aspie said a few months ago. I'll link it here!

  3. Carol, I kinda feel like I have found my long lost twin! Your words could be my very own! After years of teaching in PS, I "retired" to care for the precious baby God blessed us with after many years prayer. I too began reading to her immediately. At age 3, as DD sat in the library reading a chapter book, the librarian asked her to read for the visiting County Director. The words that impulsively popped out of sweet DD's mouth were a direct quote from the movie Nemo, loud and clear enough for all to hear: "GO AWAY. LEAVE ME ALONE." As we tried desperately for the next 4 years to figure out what exactly we had on our hands, the pediatrician continually blamed DD's quirks, atypical behaviors and non-conformity on homeschooling. It's been 3 years now (and a new pediatrician), since DX's at age seven, and we still struggle daily with the asynchronity of our situation. In addition, no matter how often we attempt to educate people, most are not able to look past her immense vocabulary and amazing intelligence to see special needs and the heart of someone who emotionally sensitive and years younger than her chronological age. I have joined you on FB. Happy to have found you, via Jennifer Janes! =)

    1. And, I am so glad you found me too! Jennifer is a wonderful friend and resource to the Special Needs community. Isn't it funny how each of us experience this journey differently but our unique experiences all resonate together? Some days, I don't think we'd survive but for the comfort and support we bring each other! Especially when the institutions of medicine, schools, etc so often get it wrong.