Phone calls, voice mails, emails. Messages on Facebook and Twitter and blog comments. How's Noah? How's Noah doing? You haven't written much about Noah this month, about the schools, about how he's doing. So how's Noah doing?
When I was busy assembling his birthday video, I admit my jaw dropped a little when I came across the stuff from this time last year. This time last year, may I remind you, was months after he'd graduated out of early intervention and speech therapy, yet still a couple months before his preschool decided to stop being polite and start getting real, before we started living under the shadow of Various Ominous Acronyms.
In about...oh, 90% of the video from last year, I cannot understand a word he says. I could at the time, and in one particular video from Ezra's birthday I can also pick up some barely-veiled annoyance at my in-laws for misunderstanding Noah for the 50th time during a 20-minute hospital visit, like ARE YOU EVEN LISTENING TO HIM? ARE YOU EVEN TRYING?
Of course they were. And I'm sure his preschool teacher was too. It's so obvious now, when I hear his garbled little babyspeak, that he was having a hard time communicating with anyone who wasn't US, who wasn't on Noah's Day & Routine Auto-Pilot. Once Ezra arrived even we started falling down on the job -- getting irritated at his lack of flexibility, having less patience for his tantrums, depending on him to make his needs known in some way other than freaking out because Grandma put his Cheerios in the wrong bowl.
Anyway. Cliffs Notes version of This Past Year: TOTAL. BALLS.
But if you go back and read my entries from the Great First Weeks of Preschool (and oh God, please don't. and definitively don't tell me about them, or call me on the phone and read them out loud into my voice mail like my one friend used to do whenever she thought I was being particularly jackasstastic.), I am pretty sure that I am brimming with boundless optimism and pride. There have been QUITE A FEW points in our special-needs journey (my voicemail: your JOURNEY? where the fuck are you going? on a vision quest? shall I now serenade you with a few bars of Don't Stop Believin'?) when I've had an itchy trigger finger and written some kind of summary final-chapter "and now I shall never use the speech delays or SPD category labels again, huzzah!" entry.
And then a few months after that I have to eat my words all over again. Oh, remember when I said he was fine? Okay, scratch that. Maybe not totally fine. Or the kind of fine I thought I meant. Something is not quite right! Something is wrong! Hold me, Internet! I'm neurotic and have lost my mastery of basic punctuation!
So...I have been treading lightly, this past month. Noah takes the school bus to our local public school four mornings a week. He gets home, I spend 30 minutes trying to coax a peanut butter and jelly sandwich into his mouth hole and then we all get into the car and drive several highway exits north to the private school, where he attends five afternoons a week. I start the week the off in the writing-deadline weeds and by Wednesday or Thursday the weeds are up to my chest and have developed opposable thumbs and a penchant for kneecap-whacking. I realize I can't ignore the catch-22 situation of needing to continue working -- and likely up my workload -- to send Noah to the preschool in the first place, but also needing to secure just a few hours of babysitting during the week for Ezra so I can even come close to keeping up with my current deadlines. I actually need to be back in the car in about 15 minutes from now, even though I'm still thundering through a first draft with no real point or cohesiveness, thus in 15 minutes I'll shrug and hit the publish button and wake the poor baby up from his afternoon nap AGAIN and drive up there and pray that no one notices that I'm not showered. Hey, I was working out! I did The 30 Day Shred!
I did it last night, before bed, but whatever. MERE TECHNICALITY.
We're working harder at this -- this THING, this WHATEVER -- than we ever have before. I don't have time to write about it, I don't have the stomach to put it all down into words because it feels like the roller coaster never ends, but in fact sends you through another plummeting free fall and loopdeeloop whenever you start thinking it's slowing down. Sometimes I'm just so tired of it all.
So for now, we just keep going with it.
But still. Dear readers and friends and family. Noah is fine. Noah is great. Noah is entirely too preoccupied with kicking ass to bother with any of us. He loves school, he loves his teachers. He made a ladybug out of a rock and a giant tree out of construction paper. He loves the school bus, practicing his letters, both of his music classes...and one particularly pretty little dark-haired girl in the afternoon program named Zee. They hug a lot.