Thursday, November 21, 2013

"We Just Love Aiden"

This is how most parent-teacher conferences begin for me.

"We just love Aiden."

"Aiden is the sweetest boy."

"He gives the biggest hugs."

I have come to dread parent-teacher conferences. With Aiden's early developmental set backs with speech, followed by concerns about his space perception and attention span - leading to the discovery of his Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) being linked to his inner-ears, affecting balance, hearing and attention span. This is just always a tough thing. Sitting with his teachers, who see him often and know him well, and hearing that he's not quite where he needs to be, or something new is wrong. It's exhausting being that parent.

This year, things went a little differently.

After explaining to me how much they love Aiden, they began telling me about how much Aiden loves his Mommy. I find it difficult to be sharing this without tearing up a little, because that day, I really needed nothing more than to hear that, and it warms my heart to be able to share it with everyone else. Aiden talks about his Mommy, all day, every day at school. About painting and cooking and bowling and reading the Wizard of Oz and about what a terrible singer his Mommy is.

As per the usual, we went through his evaluation task by task. He can pick out all numbers 1-25 from random order and organize them. He has a mastery of writing his upper case letters and can pick them all out at random from memory. He writes his name, beautifully if you ask me. Aiden understands past tense, present tense, all of his verbs and adjectives agree with his nouns and subjects and proper nouns.

While his teachers are very aware of his *slight* obsession with the littler girl in the next class, they are in total agreement that he is a happy kid, with a positive outlook and a bright social demeanor. He especially loves to sing the peaches song to his teachers...

We sing this song while we cook at home and often while we eat - as it turns out, I do this terribly, he has only been sparing my feelings. 

After he drew and then cut out all of his shapes for his evaluation, he asked his teachers for more because they were too easy. One of my personal favorite tid-bits - after naming the colors for his teachers, they asked which is his favorite...the rainbow.

As far as his attention span goes - the diet is helping drastically. He has trouble following multiple directions at once but he is paying attention and he wants to learn, like a regular four year old boy.

Helping the banker count the money.

Helping Mommy organize promo stuff.

Waiting patiently while his ball rolls all the way to the end.

Happy kiddo.

The very next week in class, Aiden received an award for following all of the teachers' directions, right away. It was a noisy award and it gave Mommy a couple head aches, but for a good cause. 

The next day after that, he received another award. This one was a certificate which now hangs on our refrigerator. Aiden had his teachers in tears when he calmed and comforted a classmate who was upset.

My heart beams. For those of you who have read The Help, Aibileen nurtures the love and self esteem in Mae Mobley who is somewhat neglected by her own mother. Every night, and when on occasion Aiden claims that something is "all my fault," we tell each other, "Aiden is kind. Aiden is smart. Aiden is important."

When I heard what Aiden had done for one of his friends at school, I could almost imagine him telling his friend, "You are smart, you are kind, you are important."

It's easy for me to get so busy trying to take care of Aiden that I forget how much he does to take care of me - he feeds my soul with his silliness and he heals my heart with his love. So, I have started doing all sorts of things to help fill in the tiny places in his day where he might not know I am thinking about him with reminders of that.

I started off pretty rough.

But I have definitely gotten the hang of it!

No matter how crazy things get for the holidays, it's most important that Aiden knows I am thankful to have him and that there is no greater joy in my life than to see him turning into a boy that I respect and admire and love. From his waxed poetic vocabulary about boogers to the tiny little fuzzies between his toes that his stinky socks leave behind.