Today was parent teacher conferences at my kids' school. 2of3 has a new(ish) teacher this year. His old grade 2-3 teacher went on maternity leave (we get one entire YEAR up here) and he should have just been placed in her replacement teacher's room, but her replacement teacher just so happens to be my next door neighbor. He's seen her in her jammies. She will not be his teacher this year; no way, no how.
He was placed in his grade 2 math teacher's class, so she knows him, but only in the context of the one subject he loves. He is a great math student. He pays attention, he knuckles down, he excels. We were practicing algebra tonight, for fun, if that gives you a better picture of his beautiful little mind.
My kid doesn't pay attention to anything else at all ever. Well, except for puzzles. He's kind of a genius when it comes to puzzles. Like, enough that his preschool teacher pulled me aside one day and said, "Duuuuuude." To which I said, "Tooooootally."
Today, I sit down in my little 5" chair and say, "So, I don't have any concerns for you; whatcha got for me?" She says how he is a great little guy, how he's really creative and clearly very smart, and then she winces a little and says, "But, um, errr, he's not really so great at focusing?"
Yes, dude, I so know.
We talk for a while, and she asks about his history scholastically and at home, and I tell her about the tricks I attempt to use at home to help keep him on task. She tells me about her classroom strategies. She tells me how there are several kids in her class with this issue, and how it's pretty common at his age, but that even though he is sweet as sugar, and never naughty per se, wow o'lordy is he ever disruptive.
I just nod and smile.
I ask her if he's folding paper at his desk. I ask her if he is getting sidetracked by any little noise in the room. I ask her if he goes no more than 2 minutes at a stretch without talking to someone. Her eyes get kind of wide, and kind of relieved.
Yes, sister, I know exactly what you're talking about. Yes, these are his standard flibberdygibbits. Welcome to every minute of my day.
I tell her that I am totally willing to implement any strategies at home that she may think will be helpful in order to reinforce classroom habits. I assure her I am on her side, and that I will work with her. I mention to her that I could actually use some help with him, because I was at the point just a few months ago where I was looking into getting him tested for either Einstein levels of genius or ADD.
She sort of choked a little. She said, no, she stuttered, "That was exactly what I wanted to talk to you about, but I didn't think it was my place."
My child is funny. My child is very smart. My child will charm the pants off you and your daughter someday. My child has a huge heart, and he knows right from wrong, and he is good. And no one will help me with him. He has a need for something that is greater than I can provide for him. Is that something medication? Only if you killed me, cremated my body, spread my ashes on the ground, stomped on them, put them in a prune tart, ate them, and pooped them out the next day. I have nothing against giving meds to children who truly need them, but I feel pretty confident I know what that looks like. He isn't that. He needs tools. He needs training. He needs to understand that his brain is just wired awesomely, and that he needs to work with it, not against it.
More importantly maybe, I need tools. He is 8 1/2, pushing puberty, and this is going to affect his self-esteem, his image of himself as a learner and a member of his classroom, which is the closest thing to a community a kid has at that age. It is my job to guide him, to help him learn how to become a fabulous person. I taught him how to grab the stool and push it up to the bathroom counter when he was too short to reach on his own, I taught him that maybe his index finger is just too big to get up his nose, but look at how little that pinky is (Hey, kid's gonna do it, might as well not give himself nosebleeds) and I need to help him work around this, too.
I don't want my son to have ADD. I don't want to know he does, I don't want it in his "permanent record" and I don't want him to have a label slapped on his forehead. But I do want him to have every resource available to him in order to get the very most out of his education. I want him to love school, to love learning, to cherish his years before fucking high school hits and the zits pop out. Right now, he does. Right now, his teachers are so swoony over him, with his tiny little stature and his big blue eyes that he is happy to bat at them, that they will bend over backwards to accommodate him. That's not going to last forever.
So, for now, we are going to wait and see. We are doing this with the understanding that if he seems to need it, we may explore the option of having him tested for a few things. And though I am not excited in one small way about the idea of that, I am more relieved than I can tell you that someone finally saw what I have been seeing, that my little boy is just a little more, and she is willing to help me guide that in the best direction.