Time for a new thread!
Our youngest family member is home after 5 weeks in the NICU, and our home seems much fuller – and happier than it ever was. DS2 has recovered from two surgeries and one massive UTI but is doing very well now. We are catheterizing due to neurogenic bladder, keeping him on a low dose of antibiotics due to kidney reflux, doing PT and donning braces, but it has all become routine surprisingly fast. With all he’s been through, DS2 is an amazingly happy and content baby - punctually on the first of December, he has started smiling and laughing.
People who see the shunt and scar from the shunt surgery on the top of his head tend to ask worriedly whether there will be mental disabilities, and we answer honestly: It’s not to be expected, but there may be complications causing them. As a rule, kids with SB are on average as intelligent as able-bodied kids, with an average IQ of 95, so may lose a few IQ points (they are at higher risk for learning disabilities like dyscalculia and executive function issues). After I had patiently explained this to yet someone else, DH said to me out of the side of his mouth with a wry grin “well at least in our family we can hope that kids have a few IQ points to spare...”. Couldn’t imagine sharing this comment in another forum, lol!
His siblings love him and play with him, DD loves putting in his paci and doing creepy-crawly finger games on him and DS1 has “lent” him his favourite stuffed baby tiger. There aren’t any obvious jealousy issues but DD has turned from a fairly compliant toddler into a ferocious limit tester. She is also ever more fiercely independent, as opposed to regressing into “baby mode” (except for wanting to lie on my chest for snuggle time). Tiny DD is toilet training herself, bringing a stool to climb up onto the “big toilet”, taking off her diaper, peeing, wiping, taking out a new diaper and putting it on, then climbing up on another stool to wash her hands. Dressing herself, including coat, shoes and hats, only needing help with buttons and starting zippers. Cutting her food with knife and fork. Getting out milk from the fridge and pouring it (sometimes forgetting to stop and flooding the sitting room, DH yelled so loud I almost had a heart attack in another room, thinking she was doing something really dangerous).
All this while we still basically have to “sit” on DS1 for ten minutes in order to get him to put on his socks, turning our constant attention on him in order to get him to eat the semblance of a full meal. The contrast is ludicrous sometimes!
However, he appears to be thriving in school at the moment, which is a HUGE relief. We are very happy with his teacher. I had our first conference and was very pleased with the way she talked about him. She told me that at first she’d been bowled over with his reading and the way he explained nuclear fission to her and the third grade teacher, thinking she’d have to immediately get out harder work for him to keep him challenged, but then realized that for some reason he appeared to be quite challenged with the regular work too, not being finished any sooner than the others so she had held the extra work back so far.She felt that she couldn’t quite figure him out though and was appreciative of my explaining asynchronous development, but without jargon – we also carefully avoided use of the words “gifted” and “talented” throughout, coyly using “advanced” instead, which at this point I think does not really cover it anymore, he is not just “more advanced”, but different.
I explained that DS1 was cognitively advanced, but his socio-emotional and fine-motor development was age-appropriate so being the youngest in class I felt he was rather challenged at the moment with fitting in in a new school and classroom with new routines and demands, with learning stuff like letter formation and math symbols and with having to work neatly and consistently, and that not being faster with the easy stuff did not mean he was actually intellectually challenged. I also explained that we hadn’t been doing any formal academics with him, that his reading and writing was entirely self-taught and she said she’d realized that he was seeking his learning out by himself, because when she’d asked him about his science knowledge he’d said things like “ I found this book from my papa’s and read about it because I was interested” (exhale – I’m officially not That Mom in her eyes). She’d also noticed how he’d taught himself cursive the other day when sitting in in another classroom because he was excused from PE. However, when she offered for him to go the the 2nd grade classroom to learn cursive with them he refused (I thought he might be afraid and suggested having a 2nd grade girl be a “buddy” for him and was please how she made a note of that suggestion. DS, however, told me when I asked him if he might like that “I want to teach myself, that’s easier for me!” We’ll see). I pointed out that was one way he was seeking out challenge. Another was getting up during work time to excitedly tell her stuff he was interested in right now, which we agreed wasn’t behavioural but yet another way of seeking challenge and “fodder”. I was so pleased with the way she came up with all this stuff by herself in our discussion, even though it was new to her! His behaviour is okay otherwise, he is partipating well in stuff like circle time (but always has a LOT to say!).
We agreed that she was going to monitor him closely for signs that he was getting restless and she promised to let him move on to harder work without making him complete the easy stuff first all the time. It sounded like she meant it. DS1 loves her and I think if all this works out I will too!
A grade skip did not come up at all which I was pleased about too, because there is no way it would be a good idea for DS1 right now, who is just making friends and beginning to feel socially comfortable, and it means she is ready to work with him.
Oh, and I asked if his being colourblind (which we hadn’t told them about, wanting to get DS1 used to advocating for himself) had come up yet and she said the art teacher had come to her after he’d painted green squirrels and she realized that my labelling all his crayons with the colour with magic marker was not a tool to help him learn to read as she'd thought at first...
And I asked her to occasionally remind him to actually eat his snack because his focus and behaviour deteriorates with low blood sugar but he does not realize he is hungry (again not using the term reactive hypoglycemia, just keeping it all about DS1 and how this runs in our family), and she took it seriously immediately, said this happens to her even now as an adult and she’ll keep an eye on it. Whew! I think we have been very lucky with this teacher and hope that when she gets married next year, she will wait a while before having kids herself and stay in this classroom a long time, maybe even all four years which is the school’s policy.
Sorry for the novel. I just felt I had a LOT to tell!