Of course, this was more of an undertaking than you might think, since Kyle works for the same district that our son goes to, therefore he had to hold practically the same conference hours as Kiedis' teacher, but we made it work because, well, that's what you do.
We talked with Kiedis' teacher (whom I speak with often anyway) about his progress, and his speech therapist came for a while to talk about his words and such, even the aide gave some input as to his behavior in class.
They had nothing but glowing remarks about how much he has progressed, how far he's come since he began with them last April, congratulating us on whatever we did over the summer that made something click and catapulted him so far forward. (We have no idea what the hell they're talking about, but we'll take it.)
And then, they handed me his very first report card.
Obviously edited to not let you completely stalk him/us.
The teacher told me that this evaluation was actually about three weeks old, and that he had improved even more than what this showed. And looking at it, I know he must not be doing things at school that he does at home, because I know he knows more of his colors than blue (he asks every. day. for his "ga-ween jackET!" as we get ready to go wait for the bus) and he knows almost all of his letters.
But then she told me something that I wasn't expecting, that the report card seems to contradict.
He can spell his own name. And he works every day on trying to write it, lately with a good amount of success.
Which is a Kindergarten-level skill.
This is where I remind you he's three and a half.
His teacher and the speech therapist both commented on how good he is with writing and spelling and that he's really at a borderline Kindergarten level skill with that, which is beyond where most kids in his class (half of whom are also on IEPs, the other half just normal kids) can do and is kind of unprecedented for a child his age with the challenges he faces.
My child, my boy who couldn't speak or communicate effectively with us for the majority of his short life, is showing hints of being ahead of the game with words.
He may not be able to say them, but he can spell them. Which means they're in there, we just have to keep working on helping him get them out.
I get choked up just thinking about it.
Because having the one thing that I, throughout my childhood, was exceptional at, was considered gifted at, be the one thing my son couldn't do or understand or process or whatever has been such a heavy load to bear, not being able to share with him the one thing I never ever ever struggled with, that has always come naturally to me. I've struggled with ways to foster a love of words with him and almost always been met with such forceful rejection that I pretty much gave up on him ever being able to share that with me, this special thing I hoped for both of my children to gain and love and cherish the way I have, I do.
But now, now there is hope, because they aren't asking him to do this, to write anything. He wants to. He asks to.
And my heart just leaps however cautiously please, please, let him love words and they're telling me he does, he does.
Three and a half at a Kindergarten level.
That's my boy.
Oh, and then there's this: