The dreaded Parent Teacher Conferences were yesterday. I was so nervous. You know, after years of going to Julia's IEPs and hearing all these horror stories of what she's doing wrong, I was pleasantly surprised to hear she is doing well in Kindergarten. Yay! My stomach started to hurt just thinking about all those meetings I had to attend in her preschool years.
Many people will never know what it's like to have a child with a sensory disorder. You can't cry about it in public; you have to be strong and get proactive. But let me tell ya, I cried hard in the car so many times those first few years. I felt very alone and very guilty because it must have been my fault: too much tv, not enough attention, the wrong foods, the wrong parenting style, etc. After reading a lot of material on the subject, both technical and personal accounts from parents just like me, I saw that Julia was very sensitive to certain things. Cutting out milk as much as I could (hard because she loves it so much) and really getting in her face to talk and direct her, school, the meetings . . . all of it has helped, and I'm so proud of her!!
I remember when she was three and I made her sit and listen to puppet shows. "Hi, I'm Ralph the dog and what's your name?" "I think her name is Julia. Julia. Can you say your name is Julia?" Nothing. Then a month later she came in the room and said, "My name is Julia," and walked out. There was this wall blocking her from being able to express herself. My job (and the school was a huge part of this) was to break down this wall. I feel it is broken, but she'll always be a little trippy, though not any more than the cool artists I know!
The other thing I wanted to say was how much writing has meant to me as a means of expression and escape. I was terribly down with all of the above and was very alone. And bitter. But I won't go into that. I just want to say that life is good. Julia was sent to me because she needed me, and I needed her. We both traveled this journey together and what a beautiful, smart, creative little girl I have!