If you look up the word “boy” in the dictionary, you just might find a picture of my son, his body jumping in midair, eyes ablaze, with one hand gripping his beloved angry bird toy, and the other fist raised high in the air in triumph. My son is ALL BOY, as they say: spirited, energetic, sensitive, moody, sweet, charismatic, rambunctious, hard-headed, nutty, lazy, and a lot of other adjectives in between!
From the day he was born, he has been “my sweet baby boy.” I still call him that, even though my “baby” turns six-years-old tomorrow. When he falls asleep on the couch, I still pick up his 60+ pound body and carry him up the stairs to his room, his legs dangling and grazing my ankles. My husband keeps telling me that I’m gonna throw out my back, but I keep doing it anyway, holding on to the fading memories of when I used to carry him to bed as a baby.
So far his first year in kindergarten has been somewhat of a challenge. At the first parent-teacher meeting, his teacher said our son was doing well, but had a hard time focusing and that he could easily be side-tracked from doing various tasks. Well, DUH! That wasn’t a surprise. After all, he was our son, and we knew we had to tell him to do things at least 2 or 3 times (“Pick up your shoes/toys/coat/books/food, etc. off the floor…NOW!”) Plus we knew that kindergarten was a new experience for him and that he just needed time to adjust.
Well, six months later we met with the teacher again and apparently he’s still having issues with focusing in class. He’ll talk when he’s not supposed to, and will “zone out” at other times, and not complete his class work. She said that it wasn’t a behavioral issue, because she has kids in the class that she’s dealing with who are very disobedient. But our son’s lack of focus is starting to affect his development. He’s still learning, however, and will pass kindergarten, but he is at the bottom half of his class. His teacher (and his father and I) know that he is a bright child and is capable of much more.
She commented that she didn’t know what to do, and that perhaps we should speak with our pediatrician to determine if our son has ADHD or ADD. I wanted to cry right then and there and thought, “Our poor baby needs help. What can we do?” She immediately saw the concern in my eyes and said, “I’m not a professional in this area and can’t tell you if that’s what it is or not, or if he’ll need medication or what. I’m at a loss and I want to help him, too. I just wanted to bring this to your attention.”
To make matters worse, I had to leave the meeting to return to work and meet my deadlines. But that night my husband and I talked and we obviously agreed that we would do whatever was necessary to help our son.
However, in the days following our meeting, my husband has been especially attentive to my son’s needs. He has been calling our son’s teacher daily to touch bases on his progress. He has also been visiting our son throughout the day, just to check on him and keep him on task. (Thankfully his work schedule allows some flexibility.) So far the teacher said my son is doing better and she has already seen some improvement.
I don’t know if my husband’s hands-on approach will continue to be effective, or if something more medically comprehensive will be required. But I’m just so thankful that my son has a strong father figure in his life. There’s nothing like a mother’s love, but there’s absolutely NOTHING like a father to love, support and provide the encouragement and discipline a child needs. And to see the extra love and care exhibited by my husband these past few weeks has been astounding.
Going forward, we still plan to meet with the pediatrician for my son’s annual physical and to discuss his developmental issues. But as Oprah would say, one thing I know for sure is that my boy is so fortunate to be surrounded by parents, grandparents, extended family, and educators who care and want the best for him, and that fills my heart with such appreciation, peace and reassurance. And I know, no matter what, that my sweet baby boy will be just fine.