Thursday, October 9, 2008

Braden Part 3 (October 9, 2008)

Show me a perfect parent. Well? Exactly. I definitely am NOT one. I have made so many mistakes, and I know I will continue to make them. But I feel this one is a doozy.

The past week or so has made me realise something horrible. Horrible and true. I gave up on my son. I gave up on him a very long time ago. I never realised this until about a week ago. Don't get me wrong. I love him with all my heart and soul. I would die for him. But along with his grade one teacher, I too have "failed" him. I am quick to hush him. When he starts jabbering on with some story then continues on and on and on, and ends up WAY off topic. It's annoying, so I shush him. Or give him a quick "Yeah yeah, mm hmm. Ok." And he's so LOUD. The more he talks, the louder he gets. The louder he gets, it's like he distracts himself, and the further off topic he gets.

What I am about to post, is very emotional for me. I feel so very very guilty. A guilt I have never felt before, and I hope I can forgive myself soon. I hope Braden will not hold it against me, and that everything will be okay. I feel I have severely effed up.

So Braden's grade 2 teacher is amazing. She got to know each and everyone of the students before hitting the curriculum. She knows my son. She knows how he works. Shouldn't it have been ME?

About the second week of school, Mrs. M came to me after school and said that Braden was calling out a lot previously, but he was doing very well with trying, and she cold see that. She very gently and kindly told me that one of her personal friends of many years was a speech therapist. She wondered if by any chance his loud voice and calling out had anything to do with some sort of speech problem. I didn't think much of it. She already had earned Braden and my trust. I told her to go ahead and set up an in school appointment. I really didn't think anything of it. They (Braden and the speech therapist *Mrs. D*) had an informal meeting, where she said she thought she could work with him. Monday, Braden met with her again for a formal evaluation.

Turns out my son has a language barrier. She described it to me as his brain being like a messy room. He has all these thoughts and ideas, but they can't come out "the right way". If someone reads a story to him and asks him to relay the story back, he'll start at the middle, go to the end, talk about fish and koala bears then finish with the beginning of the story. *DUH* I thought this was Braden not focusing. I thought this was my kid not paying attention because maybe he had better things to do. I thought he was trying to make me go grey. I am a stubborn selfish woman. If I had just put my anger aside last January when I received that letter, and taken my son in for "testing" WOULD the doctors have tested for a language barrier? Could I have made the last 9 months a lot easier on my poor baby?

Braden is dealing with a vicious cycle, and this ALL MAKES SENSE now. And this is why I am very angry at myself.
When he has something to say, he gets off topic quite easily. MANY times I have to tell him to take a deep breath and focus on what he needs to say. If not, he'll end up jumping all over the place (kind of what I am doing with this post apparently) and getting louder and louder. Sometimes in the middle of a sentence he'll just stop and say he forgot. Sometimes I am relieved by this. *hanging head in shame*

I was told that what he is struggling with, is when he is talking, he gets louder because he knows, he knows that people will start losing interest in him. Which causes his brain to think panic mode and blurts out part of what he's saying. IS this making sense? Am I making sense?

I remember when he was about 3 or 4, he could NOT say the word "yellow". he said "lellow" Cute, right? I thought so. Sometimes I would get him to try to say it correctly. When he got the "ye" sound out, he would stammer. It would end up sounding like "ye-ye-Yell-YELL-YELLOW!!!". He would end up SHOUTING it. I thought it odd, but funny. And it was the only word he ever did it with. Was that a sign I should have picked up on? No. Of course not. But I AM kicking my ass. I had a snotty thought that at the end of grade two when he was doing so well, I would go and have a little chat with the principle, and maybe the gr 1 teacher. (I hold grudges, what can I say) But wait. *I* didn't take him in for testing. I know they wanted him tested for ADD/ADHD, but what if. I know the what ifs are horrible, and the best of the best parents can waste away dwelling on what ifs. So I'm going to try not to. I'm going to try to pull my bitter ass into gear and get done for my son what needs to be done.

Along with feeling horribly guilty, I am also relieved. In a strange way, I am also excited. I will get to witness my son transitioning. Being able to get out ideas without me impatiently waiting for him to "get to the point already" or telling him to shush up. This obviously will not be an overnight thing. The school will be involved, as well as myself. I *DO* hope that it will strongly improve his self confidence. I need to learn how to help with that. I cannot imagine what I have done to help him feel inadequate. A little boy wanting to tell his mommy something. All he wants is to converse with me, and I tell him to shush because it's getting annoying that he's YELLING IN MY FACE and he's has zero topic to chat about.

Mrs. M. said that Braden has already progressed significantly with his school work. I beamed. Tears came to my eyes. I am SO SO SO very proud of my boy. Last night I vowed to myself that I will not give up on my son. Even though I fought tooth and nail last year to "protect" my baby, I really had, in a way, given up on him too. This is making me cry... it's too easy to get home from work/school/daycare, get a snack for the kids, send them off to play and "unwind" in front of the computer, and tell them I need quiet time. I say I need to work M-F 9am to 3pm so I can be at home with the kids. To do what? "SHUSH THEM??" Sigh.

Braden and Mackenzie. I love you more than you will EVER know. EVER. There will be times that you hate me, love me, think I'm the best, think I'm the worst. I promise whatever I do it's because I am trying to it for your well being. I may have to tell you to be quiet sometimes, but I will do my damnedest to never shush you again. The saying "kids should be seen, not heard" is a bunch of crap, and I am so so sorry.

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