Humble Pride

There's nothing quite like those moments -- those rare public moments when the child you've spent years of your life raising as a kind, empathetic and polite human being opens his mouth...and says the most impulsive, selfish and socially tone-deaf thing he could possibly come up with. In front of God, everybody and at least 50 other adults with video cameras. So I left a little anecdote out of my entry about Noah's belt test. Because...well, it wasn't exactly the sort of story I felt deserved to be preserved for posterity. At least...not at first. At first it was one of those "let's forget THAT ever happened" stories. So Noah was waiting for his turn to break his board. It's the last task of the test, the big moment that signals your successful graduation to the next belt level, the part where everybody claps and cheers for you, and not to mention, is completely fucking awesome, because you get to break a damn board with your fist. But the little girl ahead of Noah was not getting that completely awesome moment, because she could not break her board, no matter how many times she tried. The instructor switched boards, had... Read more →


I had to ask what, exactly, a "word retrieval disorder" meant, when we met with the child psychologist to go over the action-packed, 25-page report on Noah's evaluation. I understood most of what was in there -- ADHD, auditory processing, some too-early-to-tell red flags for dyslexia for us to "keep an eye on" -- but the word retrieval bit was a new one. Was it like apraxia? I asked. No, she said. That's an inability to form words. This is more about plucking the right word from your brain soup. Basically having it right there on the tip of your tongue, but unable to remember it, or only coming up with words that are similar in concept, but not quite right. For example: saying shovel when you mean hammer, bicycle for motorcycle, or in a unique-to-Noah coping mechanism the psychologist noted, expanding a simple sentence to include a ton of extra, early "filler" words, thus buying himself more time to come up with the more difficult verbs and nouns that would come later. That was really fascinating to see, she said. He's already very aware of what's difficult for him, and is coming up with his own accomodations in lot... Read more →


Noah has his first karate belt test tomorrow. A "formality," really, since white and gold belts are still grouped together, skill-wise, in the same class. A "confidence booster," according to the instructor who called me and twisted my arm up out my gut instinct that Noah probably isn't ready and convinced me to turn in the test form (AND OH RIGHT THE $40 FEE) anyway. "Eight to 10 classes" is all it typically takes to move from a white belt to gold. Noah's attended 12. Every other white belt is taking the test, and the next opportunity to move up isn't until three months from now. Okay! Okay. Fine. And then: "Hmm, I dunno" from a different instructor on Monday, when I told him Noah was signed up. The attention issues, the inability to focus or look instructors in the eye, the non-stop wiggling and bouncing, all of it could, in fact, pose a little bit of a problem. He can do all the required moves at home, and one-on-one with an instructor when we've requested a bit of extra help. But the belt test isn't at home, or one-on-one, or even really, about the karate moves themselves. The first... Read more →


The thing, with Noah, is that his victories, however small, are so hard-fought for. And harder won. Little things like preschool, karate class, swim lessons, riding a bike, talking to another child or simply using an idiom or bit of slang correctly are huge for him, and for us to witness. He is playing a constant game of catch up. And we are his cheerleaders, celebrating every baby step and breakthrough, screaming from the rooftops. And then there's Ezra. Things come easily for Ezra. What once was a sigh of guilty relief over his "typicalness" is now a gasp of wonder at all the things he can do already, at his seeming bottomless well of innate talents and abilities. He doesn't just talk. HE TALKS. Full sentences. Every word he hears he immediately absorbs and starts to use. He talks about things he sees and thinks and did earlier that day and would like to do tomorrow Nouns, verbs, abstract concepts and feelings and scenarios playfully pulled from his imagination. He asks questions, he wants to know what and why and when and how come, and he ponders your answers with a seriousness in his eyes that looks so out... Read more →


Noah went to his very first karate class yesterday. Long-time readers: Yeah. You know the deal. You know that this was kind of a big step. Newer peeps: There's no way to nicely sum up three-plus years of developmental delays, meltdowns, evaluations, diagnoses, successes, failures, therapy, IEP meetings and God knows what else in a sentence or two, except to say that yeah. This was kind of big step. After our success with the homegrown hardscrabble soccer practices, we started wondering what other organized activities Noah was ready for. Soccer is on hold until the spring, since we could no longer consistently track down indoor venues and the constant switching of locations was driving the kids a bit batty. Jason suggested karate, mostly because Jason always, ALWAYS wanted to learn karate as a kid but Jason's parents wouldn't ever let Jason learn karate and yes, sometimes parenthood is little more than an ongoing experiment in Surrogate Childhood Wish Fulfillment. He then let Noah watch the original Karate Kid movie. (Not only was karate completely off the table for me as a kid [GIRLS DID BALLET, YOU KNOW] [P.S. I HATED BALLET], I wasn't even allowed to see the Karate Kid... Read more →


Noah's fever spiked last night -- not high enough to necessitate a trip to the ER or anything, just one of those HOT. DAMN. moments when you stare at the thermometer and struggle to hold on to everything you know about small children's resilient little bodies and their tendency to run 102+ degree fevers for no damn good reason. We dosed him up with Tylenol and I hovered around his red-hot presence anxiously, obsessively rubbing his back and his hair, convinced that we were, in fact, going to end up at the ER later and that it was pneumonia or something equally horrible, and wondering who the HELL left me in charge of this small, helpless human being? And the one in the next room? And the one that's not even born yet? Dear God, why didn't we just stop with the damn CAT while we were ahead? *** So I mentioned that kindergarten transition meeting thing yesterday. Kindergarten transitioning is a Big Honking Deal for the kids in the district's special education preschool program, obviously. It involves weeks of observations by a whole team of people, preliminary plans and pre-plans and planning to plan, then an initial "invitation" to... Read more →


It was cold outside, so I put on my new earmuffs. Noah stopped dead in his tracks. "What are those?" he asked, staring at me with rapidly darkening eyes. "Earmuffs," I explained. "They're kind of like a hat. They keep my ears warm." I watched his body tense up, his rigid little internal alarm sounding the different! new! unfamiliar! alert as he tried to make sense of the funny-looking circles on my head. Was it a costume? Was I playing dress-up? Did it bother him? How much did it bother him? "May you take them off please?" he asked, in his usual pained attempt to politely frame a demand as a request. "I think I'm going to leave them on, buddy. It's cold outside." As I said this, it was my turn to rapidly attempt to gauge the danger level of the situation, to try to figure out our odds of making it to the car without a meltdown, whether this was a don't budge power through teaching moment or one of those times to just give in for the sake of everybody involved. "It's okay, really. Just think of them like a funny-looking hat, but just for my ears."... Read more →


'Cause we're ready for some Christmas. Noah helped decorate the tree -- one of about a bajillion different firsts for him this year. We finally figured out that he's okay with having a tree in the house, he just doesn't want to see or even hear about it riding home on top of our car. Because...trees don't belong on cars? Because it might fall off? Because it's a flagrant violation of proper seat-belt usage laws? I DON'T KNOW WHY. I DON'T MAKE HIS RULES. All I know is that this year we skipped the whole picking-out-a-tree-as-a-family bit and didn't tell Noah anything about it until the tree was off the car roof and in our living room. This, he was fine with. More than fine, actually. Excited, even, to get going with hanging up the orbbamints. So our tree has a LOT of orbbamints on that one side, towards the bottom. I am more than fine with this too. Ezra supervised the garland placement. I waited until he was in bed to begin the untangling and cursing of said garland, and only barely managed to finish sometime before breakfast. The magic of Christmas! I used to pretend our holiday garland... Read more →


Bounceback

Those of you who have been reading for some time now -- particularly the stuff I've written about Noah over the past three years or so -- may remember The Thing About Birthday Parties. (For those of you who haven't been reading that long: The Thing About Birthday Parties is that Birthday Parties Suck Elephant Ass, Most Of The Time.) But we went to a birthday party on Friday night -- the birthday party of the very same little boy whose at-home, laid-back party was so perfect for Noah when I wrote this post, almost exactly a year ago. The party that came just hours after one of my lowest moment as Noah's mom, a moment that left me frustrated and angry and embarrassed and...scared. So very, very scared. This year's party was not at his house, though. It was at one of those dreaded kiddie gym places, with the parachute and the games and the singing and a good dozen activities with a dozen transitions in between. Basically, EXACTLY the sort of party we have avoided for years now. A ton of kids, a ton of colors and music pumped in over loudspeakers, with lining up and taking turns... Read more →


Hey look! I'm LIKEABLE, dammit! Likeable! I'm having a hard time refraining from typing a riff on Sally Fields' Oscar speech that includes the word "cocksuckers." But you're all probably imagining it now anyway. So there. I'm done here, let's move on! So. Noah. Costumes. Playing dress-up. Not at all a thing he enjoys. We successfully got him into a costume last Halloween at the 11th hour when he suddenly realized that Mommy and Daddy weren't playing: There was free candy to be had if you wore one. Okay Earthlings, I will indulge you this time in your strange fun-sized candy-procuring middle-man ritual. THIS TIME. Afterwards, though, whenever I mentioned next Halloween, he would do some kind of dramatic fainting-couch thing and announce that he was NEVER DOING THAT AGAIN. NO. NOT EVEN. Time went by, and he seemed a bit more open to the idea -- probably because in the wake of us cracking down with a righteous vengeance on food dyes in his diet, he's figured out that Halloween is his once-a-year window to fuck up his nervous system with all the Red 40 and Yellow 5 he wants because CHILDHOOD IS AWESOMMMMMME -- but he said he... Read more →