I don’t think about Jonathan’s development on a day to day basis. I don’t dwell on the likelihood that he will need more than 18 years to get through high school. Rather I take comfort in the fact that if we do the right things by Jonathan each day, he will be alright in the end.
Given this rose-colored stumbling through child rearing, I am mostly happy with how things are going. There are, however, a few times when the reality of the situation comes home and I have to hear and face the fact that Jonathan will be behind “normal” kids of his same age.
When we meet with his teachers for his Individualized Educational Plan (IEP), it is a difficult conversation for me. This is when I hear that Jonathan is behind and needs help that other kids don’t need. To me, he is “perfect,” so when we are given unvarnished feedback about where Jonathan needs help, it hurts.
Another memorable conservation of this type was when Jonathan’s fantastic kindergarten teacher, Mrs. McCray, recommended that Jonathan stay back a year before going into first grade. (Mrs. McCray was the teacher that gave the lesson on bullying in the Deedah DVD.) Although deep down we knew we would likely have this happen a time or two during his school years, it still stings. Part of it is to think of the friends he has made drifting on ahead; part of it is the reminder that it will be harder for Jonathan in all the things he strives for.
We have been so blessed to have people supporting Jonathan’s development. He has teachers who push him to keep up, and paraprofessionals who nurture him with tough love. These people have become close friends whom we love more than we can express. Brooke tirelessly sits with Jonathan everyday and makes sure he completes his homework. We try to read to him every night. (I have literally been woken up by Jonathan having fallen asleep while trying to read him a bedtime story.)
We also have blessings from unexpected places. One pleasant surprise came last year when Jonathan sat between two kids who really pushed him to keep up. When an exercise was given, they would encourage and cajole Jonathan, “C’mon Jonathan, you got to get this done.” Jonathan hates to be left behind and this sort of push was very effective.
Do parents that are always bragging on their kids annoy you? The endless monologues focused on how brilliant their kids are, smarter, better athletes, more after school activities… If you can’t take it, you’ll have to forgive me for a just a minute.
Last week, Jonathan came home with this:
I think Jonathan is going to be just fine.
(According to Charlotte, E’s are Excellent and S’s are Satisfactory, and “Mr. Myers is a REALLY tough grader.”)