Remember my troubled post about the kids and their failure to thrive in their educational environments? Well, here's the update. Luke is doing okay. He's aware that he needs to concentrate and finish all his work at school, but he doesn't really care one way or another. This weekend the teacher sent home three worksheets that he had to complete. It took him between 1 1/2 - 2 hours to finish the three worksheets while we constantly reminded him that he needed to keep focused on his homework. He's a little better, but there is still some room for improvement.
We also took Evie to the Child Study Center for testing a few weeks ago. They tested her for learning disorders and social disorders. Today we met with the child psychiatrist to learn the results. It was only somewhat disheartening. The good news is that Evie is completely average. She's even slightly higher than average with her verbal scores. Yay Evie!
Although the Dr. ruled out any learning disabilities, there is still some concern about Evie's anxiety level. She has a difficult time in social settings and group activities - remember Evie v. Dance Classes and Dance Class Hell? Yeah, well that's basically what we deal with when we take her to birthday parties or other group activities. It is surprising because she seems fine when we visit our friends houses or go to the playground. The Dr. didn't have too much insight, but gave us plenty of suggestions to help Evie try to cope with her anxiety. The bright side is that the anxiety is not keeping Evie from functioning, so there's no need to seek out medication or to even participate in therapy. The Dr. was quick to point out that Evie's anxiety is pretty mild compared to some and that Evie is still only 4 years old so there is a lot of development that will occur in the next few years.
For now, we're going to practice some techniques that will help Evie try to manage her anxiety. She starts swim lessons next week and that will be the first situation where we can practice these new methods. One method is to have her focus on things that give her comfort. One of those things is actually just Luke himself. Funny, right? We'll also try to find something that she can fit in her pocket since Luke can't be subject to her social calendar for the rest of his life. Luckily, he will be at swim lessons with her. Another thing the Dr. said to do is to have her sing a happy song to comfort her. Anyone have any ideas? "Raindrops on roses . . . whiskers on kittens?" We will also try a small reward system for those times that she is able to overcome her anxiety and participate with a group by herself, even if for just a few seconds or a few minutes. Every time she is successful she can earn a reward such as pennies or stickers - nothing too big.
Now, with that said, it sounds like my child is fully dysfunctional and not able to socialize in any form or fashion. That, however, is not the case. In fact, she is quite wonderfully normal to me. I, myself, despise group functions in the same way she does. I was shy growing up until I forced myself to become outgoing in high school (just ask people that knew me when I was young). It's still an effort. I despise camps or retreats. Hate them. We have this retreat called Bench Bar every year where lawyers get together at a resort over a weekend for continuing legal education and networking. Well, I hate it as much as I've ever hated camp. I hate planned ice breakers. I hate being forced into a situation where I have to "get to know" someone. But, if I have friends there, I LOVE to be social and have a good time. I have overcome my social anxiety and now can force myself to be social even when I'm in a crowd of strangers, but I still don't enjoy it. So, my daughter is like me. She will eventually have to overcome her social anxieties if she wants to be a part of the group. And if she doesn't, then she'll still probably have some really wonderful close friends that know her and love her for herself. And I hope that eventually, once my parenting duties are over, I can be counted among her friends.
So that's the update on my beautiful, wonderful, complex children. Thank you to everyone for your supportive words over the last several weeks, and thank you to Meredith who helped us get into the Child Study Center so that Evie could be tested. We really appreciate everyone's help and love.
And I remind myself that this family is what I love . . .