the evaluation

by lani

it was fortunate that our housemate savannah wore her clickiest heels today.

the day of the big developmental evaluation. the day that we hoped to get some answers. the day that we had to drop aida off and be up on the hill by 8:45am … and our alarm didn’t go off. fortunately, our housemate’s loud, clicky heels saved the day, and we managed to get there on time.

we didn’t receive many results, conclusions, or diagnoses today, but we didn’t need to. they spoke everything we needed to hear. every validation, every concern, every loving comment about ash, every affirmation of our parenting, not one of these was wasted.

“of course you can’t just use normal sleep training methods with him.”

“of course you can’t just take his bottle, his source of comfort, away.”

“you guys must be exhausted.”

“i can see the anxiety you’re talking about.”

“his signing vocabulary is excellent, and he obviously understands language really well.”

“it’s ok that he’s on such strong medication; sometimes it’s needed.”

“you guys are doing such a good job with him.”

“he’s such a sweet, engaged boy.”

and on it went.

we’ve received so many pat answers to ash’s problems. so many practitioners have insisted that if we just take away his bottles, let him cry it out, follow a stricter routine, respond less to his outbursts, that these are the answer to his problems. so we try this or that or the other thing, and it doesn’t work, and we go back to hear the same thing, only firmer, harsher. and my mother heart aches, and joel’s father heart seethes, because you can’t fix such deep pain and difficulty with a few parenting techniques and a thick skin.

but of course, today’s practitioners knew that. they handled ash with gentleness, caressing him with loving touches while performing examinations, smiling with him as he raced down the hallways, praising his earnest attempts to accomplish tests, laughing at his sweet smile. they understood.

they saw him, not as a problem to solve, but as a baby to help.

and so, even though we don’t have a magical solution to the fact that he is half a life behind in spoken language, struggles with physical milestones, startles and fears the world around him, and doesn’t sleep at night … that’s ok.

he was seen. he was heard. he was loved.

and we have some new referrals to some new people and some new tests, and maybe next time will be different. maybe.

for now, though, we are done with the tests, and the doctors, and the exams. done with papers and questions. together and content, the referrals and the answers can wait for another day.