Teacher (watching me write down Erik's date of birth): Oh, so Erik's 4?
Me: Uh, no, he's going to be 3.
Teacher: Oh. I'm not very good at math. That's why I teach preschool.
The weather has finally transformed into something much less volatile. The evening I posted last brought probably the most violent thunderstorm I have experienced in my lifetime. There were simultaneous thunderclaps and flashes of lightning over the house, shaking everything inside. It was like the unrealistic storms you might see in old horror movies. All we needed here to complete the evening was Vincent Price. Our power was out for nearly three hours, so the house was filled with candlelight and the sound of the football game on our little camping radio. Some fires flared up nearby, but the drenching raindrops fell again, extinguishing them before they caused any harm. I retired early under the influence of an entire Unisom tablet and was shaken awake several times. Where was Erik, you might ask? He was so exhausted from the night before that he slept through the entire thing!
We had hippotherapy yesterday. Erik looked like John Wayne sitting on his horse this time when he used to look like a precious, little cowboy-fetus who needed rescuing. His body seems so strong now. Besides a little poopy pants incident in the parking lot, it all went quite well. After lunch, Erik and I went to see his new classroom and talk with his teacher. She was nice, I suppose. When I initially met her a month ago, I liked her. However, this time she struck me as unorganized and scattered. She was unable to locate her business cards, and there were no adult-sized chairs to sit in to fill out paperwork. She instructed me to sit in "the red chair," a lilliputian piece of furniture in front of a table perfect for tiny tea parties. I'm almost 5'10" and have a very sore navel, so folding myself in half like a contortionist was not on my list of things to do. I obliged, however, and hunched over a stack of papers, signing where instructed. Some sort of classroom helper sat to my left and said almost nothing. I was quite impressed with the new speech therapist from Maine, who came to join us halfway through our meeting. He was a handsome guy with pewter-colored hair and lines on his face from smiling kind smiles. The teacher asked me to explain Erik's diagnosis to him, which went better than it ever has, even though it has been months since I have done this. I sounded like I was reading out of a book, but it all flowed automatically from me as the women nodded a little vapidly. I explained all of the points I wanted to, and he sounded quite interested. This man seemed highly intelligent and quite interested in Erik's strengths. Erik played with trucks and doll strollers quietly as we talked. When the speech therapist said goodbye and stood up, Erik looked up and said, "See ya next time." The man was quite surprised and laughed.
Brian attended the meeting on IEPs last week, as I was at hippotherapy earlier in the day and was completely burned out. He was told that the school district staff members are instructed not to offer extra services to parents of children with special needs unless they specifically ask for them--all in the interest of saving money. I shudder to think what happens to kids like Erik when their parents aren't as involved as we are or simply don't care. I am going to try not to think about that, because my heart will split in two.