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Elsa and I made our bi-annual visit to the Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician last week.
The doc was floored by Elsa’s progress. And she says it’s clear I have a somewhat different set of challenges on my hands now.
Last year, I had a kid with ADHD (severe) and sensory issues who was probably going to need special ed services and who was going to struggle in a “regular” school environment because should could not self-regulate and had no impulse control. Public school was probably the way to go, because the services were funded by the state and we were really gonna need those.
NOW, I have a kid with ADHD (moderate?) and sensory issues who is pretty good at self-regulation, and who can now be identified as gifted. As a result, she may struggle in a “regular” school environment because she is going to be bored stiff. Public school is probably NOT a good way to go, because she needs some accommodations but won’t qualify for services, and (per the pediatrician) she really needs to be surrounded by smart kids and in an academically rigorous program.
Holy cow. That is a much more fun challenge to address. And I’ve been doing a bunch of reading to see what I can learn. Here’s the most striking thing so far, from a paper about giftedness in the adopted population:
“Gifted children have emotional as well as cognitive needs that vary from the norm. They are more intense, sensitive, perfectionistic, easily frustrated, questioning of authority, and reactive to criticism than their average peers.”
Oh my – that’s Elsa to a T! She is Every Single Thing in that description.
So now, I gotta find the right school.
And also figure out how to pay for it.
Look at that.
If there was ever one photo that captured Elsa’s essence, it is this one. She is bold, fearless, bursting with enthusiasm and unbridled joy.
I am head-over-heels for this child. She truly takes my breath away.
Dear God, please let me walk through the world just a little bit more like Elsa does.
Happy birthday to my little box of sunshine, the greatest gift in my life.
On this day, four years ago, Elsa and I arrived at San Francisco International airport.
My little box of sunshine and I have been family for four years now.
I am so blessed.
And, as is now tradition, I’m sharing the photo montage I submitted to Ethiopia with my annual report.
To get myself inspired, I just went back and re-read last year’s post on Elsa’s birthday. It had some interesting foreshadowing. But one really nice thing is that the Elsa fundamentals haven’t changed:
Elsa still has a big BIG personality, with very strong opinions, and is intense about just about everything.
She can be a bull in a china shop, yet is a very sensitive little person.
She still sings in the morning.
She still cracks me up.
She is generous with other people. She is the ultimate extrovert.
But in the last year, she has gotten more complex as a person, which is so lovely to see.
She’s a big fan of superlatives, especially those she invents herself. Things are the mostest, the bester, the goodest, and if something is extra good, it’s a hundred million thousand good.
She spontaneously tells me she loves me. She loves school. She loves to draw. She kisses and hugs with great enthusiasm.
She is about as princess-y as humanly possible. She loves dress-ups, sparkles, fairies, unicorns, tiaras, Barbies, and all the associated detritus. But she’s also rough-and-tumble and will happily tackle anyone who wants to wrestle.
If there was such a thing a Toddler Princess Football team, she would totally sign up.
When asked her favorite color, she will reply “rainbow“. (Actually, until very recently, she said “rainboat“, but she’s now figured out the pronunciation. Which bums me out a little – I liked “rainboat” very much.) But I am struck more by the substance of her answer : why pick one color, when you can pick them all? That’s Elsa in a nutshell.
She is doing terrifically well on her medication. She is also loving OT and I can see that it’s going to be hugely helpful for her. There is a lot of work ahead of us, but I can tell she is going to soak up all this stuff like the smartie sponge that she is.
I’m so excited about her new school (starts Sept 6th!) and her wonderful new teachers, who are already engaged with the rest of her “team” to make sure that she has the best possible experience.
I think Elsa as a four-year-old is going to be truly something to behold.
thanks to you all for the response. i had written and deleted the previous post many times, for fear of… i’m not sure what. fear of being judged. fear that people wouldn’t believe me. fear that no one would respond at all.
but you guys did, and i feel much, much less alone.
some good news i should report is that the latest Rx we’re trying – a sustained-delivery system (in the form a patch) – seems to be working really well, without big swings. hard to say for sure (we’re just on day 3) but it looks promising.
also, Elsa had her first swimming lesson yesterday. i was afraid it was going to be awful – high potential for a very public meltdown of epic proportions. but it went, well… swimmingly.
finally, the rather epic bad news: today is the first day of what will be five weeks without childcare. the au pair quit (citing Elsa as the reason, which made me want to punch her) and the new one won’t arrive until September 10.
pray for us.
[so much for retirement]
Well, it’s here again – March 25th. On this day, three years ago, Elsa and I (and my intrepid friend Clare) stepped off the plane at San Francisco International airport and came home (thanks to my other intrepid friend Kate who picked us up!).
I have been blessed with this amazing little sunshiney soul for three years now.
Last year, I posted the photo montage I submitted to Ethiopia with my annual report. Thought I’d share this year’s with y’all, too…
wow, Christmas with three kids, one Oma, one fabulous Aunt Kate, and one au pair is a whole lot different than that single-mama-one-kiddo holidays of the past.
total chaos, but i wouldn’t trade it in for anything.
This morning Elsa said to me: “Mama, can you help me please? I need to turn on the light because it is too dark in my room.“
I swear, she said that – exactly. All those words. In that order.
It was shocking.
My just-three-year-old is suddenly sounding like a real live human, who uses complete sentences and (mostly) proper English words and pronunciation and syntax…
Tomorrow Elsa will be three.
I know I’m supposed to say I can’t believe it, but I can.
I have always been a little annoyed when people tell me that the time will fly with my girl. That this parenting experience is fleeting. That it is a gift – and that I better not blink because I’ll miss it.
As if I could miss it.
I mean, yeah – it happens at times… all of a sudden a behavior changes (she says “thank you” without being prompted!), or a milestone is reached (big-girl bed! potty trained!), and it becomes obvious that the whole thing is happening whether I’m ready or not. And it’s going to keep on going – this relentless march toward a fully-developed person and, ultimately, independence from me.
Luckily, we’re not even close to that yet.
And in the meantime, I am soaking in the amazing little person that she is.
Maybe it’s because I have lost people I love, much too soon. I know what it’s like to wish desperately for just one more moment, one more conversation, the chance to say I love you, the chance to sear into my memory the look of happiness on that person’s face. That kind of thing makes a mark on one’s heart – and, in my case anyway, helps me remember in a very visceral way that today is all I’ve got for sure.
Not that all the moments of our little life together life are idyllic, of course. There are days – or weeks – of sleep deprivation (especially lately, though the tide is starting to turn). There are trials of patience. There are truly epic tests of will. There are tantrums bordering on ridiculous.
Mostly though, there is singing in the morning when she first wakes up.
There are spontaneous hugs and kisses.
There is a fierce independent streak matched only by the fierceness of her connection to, and desire to be with, the people in her tribe. This is the perfect balance that I’ve been trying to achieve for (mumblety-something) years – and she just comes by it naturally.
There is energy and enthusiasm and a joie de vivre that is hard to describe – you just have to witness to believe it.
There is lots and lots of laughter. Hers, yes – but also mine. Elsa cracks me up daily, sometimes hourly.
There are very strong opinions on what to wear.
There is dancing and skipping and stomping.
And, I am here, soaking it all in.
I do feel like I’m in the moment with Elsa – I am not going to miss it. And that is the biggest gift of all.