Monday, October 31, 2011

Clinically wiggly. Thank goodness someone else noticed.

Andrew fascinates me.  And not just in a "how did this creature jumping on the bed grow inside of my body" type of fascination.  Although there's that too.  

He just makes no sense in so many ways, and yet it all comes together to be Perfectly Andrew.  Even the things that drive me crazy... like his constant need to climb/jump/tackle/bounce...I wouldn't actually change any of it, really, even if I have long periods of temptation for a straightjacket for him.  Just for 5 minutes.  Or 10.

Andrew had an assessment this weekend -- the first time a professional "outsider" has reviewed or analyzed him.  It was just a 35 minute entrance thingy for an academic program, so it wasn't an exhaustive battery.  But she was a psychologist and had a lot of experience, and I was curious to hear her thoughts. 

The highlights from her verbal report, right after the battery:

He missed easy questions, but dominated the hard ones.  As in, missed naming some letters, but read words.  Got the one that just counted squares wrong, but quickly answered correctly: "If you had 7 items and someone took 3 away, how many would you have?"  

Yes!  I know!  This is the same kid who completely skipped over baby toys and went right into action figures.  Who would rather watch grown-up movies (and follow the plot) than watch cartoons.  Who doesn't like kid music, but loves the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, etc.  The same kid who was asking existential questions about our purpose in life before he could name colors. 

What does this mean?  And: Does it matter?  Is this a problem, or just a quirk?  

I wanted to hug her (tightly and weirdly long) when said: "Andrew is very wiggly, isn't he?  I have 3 sons, and this isn't just a 'boy wiggly' thing.  He's really active!"

Thank you, Psychologist, for professionally validating that for me.  

She doesn't think it's ADHD, because he was focused on the test the entire time.  Stayed intellectually connected and aware, but just moved the entire time.

My working-theory is that he's just SO bodily-kinesthetic as a learner that if you ask him to stop moving, his brain shuts down.  So to process the test, he needed to stay moving.  

I don't know.  But gawd, is he wiggly.  To put it nicely. 

When I think about who Andrew is going to be as an adult, I don't even feel a flutter of concern.  I can look into his being, right now, and see a great man in there.  Not even the great man that he's going to be, but that it's already in him.  

He feels things so strongly.  The good and the bad, but along the way, he'll find that balance if we guide him.  He's such a deep thinker and has so much curiosity. And I can already see in him what a good husband and father he would be -- his caretaker spirit and his protective love for people around him.  

If a crystal ball predicted he'd be a Doctors Without Borders doctor, I wouldn't be surprised.  He seems so tuned in with saving other people and life and death and other cultures. In whatever job he chooses, I really think there will be an element of "superhero" in it.  Saving lives or just helping people.

Whatever he'll be, I know he'll be fine.  Not just fine, but great.  There's a lot of complex goodness in him. 

But in the day-to-day of raising him, I feel exhausted sometimes.  Sometimes it's about the bouncing off the walls.  Sometimes it's about the non-stop philosophizing in the backseat, and not wanting to crush his spirit but also needing a moment of quiet space. Knowing what to do with a child who takes a completely non-conventional path to everything.  Figuring out how to honor everything about him, but sand down the edges of traits that might complicate his life.

Simone and Jack have their own complex parenting journey, definitely, but it's a different one.  For another post.  They seemed to come out of the womb with their own manual pre-written, and it's just about listening to their instructions.  :)

Andrew has this gorgeous, colorful, complex soul that really aches to be understood and nurtured.  He's so much more wrapped up in the interpersonal elements of life -- cherishing family and spending time together -- that figuring him out as we go just seems trickier. When I mess up with him, I feel even more strongly about going and making it right with him.  Apologizing and re-connecting.  His value on our relationship is so powerful in his life.

I know that someday, I will look across the room at Grown Andrew and how truly great he turned out will take my breath away. I really believe that.

Along the way, though, I see a lot of late night chats with Steve, figuring out this special little man who came into our family.  He deserves the best we can give him. 

I am committed to his complexity.  We can do this.  Wiggly and all.

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