Monday, April 22, 2013

This, too, I fear

Tomorrow, I pre-register Bailey for kindergarten. He's pretty excited, especially since we just found out (for sure) he's not due for another booster shot until the age of 11.  He's looking forward to meeting new friends, learning to read, furthering his writing, playing, crafts, etc.  

I'm looking forward, with zero shame, to being kiddo free for seven hours a day starting the second week of August. I've loved being a stay at home mommy, don't get me wrong, but I've been one now for nine and a half years (pregnancy counts!) and frankly, I want to be able to pee alone, work without interruption, clean something and it stay clean for longer than five seconds, and maybe, I dunno, do something not kiddo related.

My head was already swimming with how we'll adjust our budgets for double the field trips, class fees for God knows what, lunches (my kids are so brown bagging it next year), uniforms, school supplies, etc., when Morgan got into the car today. He had been sent to school with $10.00 for the book fair and an order form for the Legos book he was supposed to get for Bailey and him. I told his para he could spend his change, so not that surprisingly, he bought a Thomas the Tank Engine book, too, and a scented marker. He handed Bay the Legos book and said, "Here's your book, Bailey- it's a chapter book!"

I peeked at Morgan's book and saw it was a counting book. I know he bought it because it had the demonic blue engine on it, but the differences between the two choices were fairly stark. I mentioned to Morgan that he can read his book to himself with very little help from me and he told me that's why he bought it. He mentioned that the rest of his class, or "everyone" is already reading chapter books and other than a couple of other kids, he's the only one reading non-chapter books. I asked how that made him feel since I know reading is a sticky subject for him and he said it's okay, but he feels "left out."

I gave him a pep talk, like I always do when he feels down, but it tipped off a flood of anxiety for me. With Bailey entering school, how long will it be before he catches up to his brother... and then surpasses him? Bailey tested at a "above average" level on a few things when I had to have him evaulated through the state last fall (he was being tested for speech, you get all tests). He is already writing his name, numbers, letters, wanting to read, legibly drawing, speaking fairly articulately (As in, even with his lisp, his speech organization is clear.), and striving to learn things that Morgan doesn't know.

I'm scared.

If Morgan feels "left out" because of where his neurotypical peers are in school, how will he feel about his neurotypical brother?

Is it wrong of me to <almost> wish that Bailey never tests as gifted? To never be above grade level?

I want what is best for both of my children... does that mean I must forsake one's feelings for the others?

This is something that I've really been struggling with ever since it was made apparent that Morgan would be "behind" by whatever standards and that Bailey would be slightly above. Morgan is ahead in math, for now, and we hold onto that. I love that he loves that subject. It's his. However, in other areas, he's deemed "behind," "odd," and "age inappropriate."

I feel, sometimes, as if I must try to hold Bay back. That is so wrong. Each child, to my thinking, must be encouraged and gently pushed to the fullest of their potential. I don't act on that feeling because I know how wrong it is to feel that way. I add it to the laundry list of things I know I'm doing or thinking wrong. Ways I might be microscopically or hugely messing things up.

I'm just stating that whatever Bailey accomplishes, I hope that Morgan does, too. I hope that Morgan never thinks Bailey's academics comes as easily to his brother as riding a bike did. I'm scared shitless of that.

My two awesome kiddos.

Those of you with both Autistic and neurotypical kiddos, is this "normal?"

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