I was looking for a particular photo of my van since today gave me a reason to purge a brain blog on that subject. I couldn't find it. Ah, well. That blog will have to stick in my brain for a while longer. Instead, I found this old journal entry marked "draft". I think I'll post it as is (minus the rant on DIBELS). But first, here is a recent photo of my mustard-only sandwich-eating son with a certificate for reading from the librarian at his school.
“Parrish does not eat paint.” The horror! All the other kids in the class eat paint, except for my son. Maybe I could put it on the dinner menu one night to prepare him for his next paint eating assessment.
Parrish’s teacher told me that he was her “shining star” and insisted that he had the intelligence to be an engineer. She described for me how he studied each toy in the classroom before he would play with it. He inspected for usefulness, function, and purpose the classroom toys. All the other kids slung the toys around without a care as to whether it was being used properly. Another blow. Why doesn’t my son eat paint? Why doesn’t my son play grab-and-go with the toys? What’s wrong with him?
At that conference, regardless of what the teacher actually said, I heard that my son isn’t creative and carefree. I heard that my son is too linear, methodical, and analytic. That night I asked him why he didn’t eat paint like the other kids. He slowly fixed his big blue eyes, rimmed with long brown lashes my way and blinked. What did I expect? He was only 18 months old.
Why is it that I considered the two days a week my son spent at daycare “school”? Why is it that as a parent I neglected to honor my son’s strengths and focused instead on imaginary areas for improvement? Since birth I did that with both my kids. Due dates, milestones, and so forth were met with my smug pleasure at being ahead of the curve. I’d like to say that I didn’t care what other kids were doing, but I’d be lying. I want my children to be normal. Well, slightly better than normal.
Here is my son then. Clearly, you can force your kid to wear funny glasses and he will still be serious if he's a serious kid. The glasses and guitar lessons and routine screenings of The Muppet Show will round him out either by pumping up his cool factor or providing a depth of issues.