Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Normal Test

Love Monster is starting Kindergarten in the Fall. If you’ve been following Mother-naked for a while, you know. You know, Love Monster is... high energy. To put it mildly. I want her to have the best possible experience in school (and life). And if that means she need a little extra help in the behavior modification department then so be it.
This means... dun dun dun ... evaluation.
It’s scheduled. It’s happening. I feel good about this. Then I get mailed a gigantic stack of paperwork to be filled out before said appointment. Maybe I picked the wrong day to fill it out, because I treated this paperwork like a judgmental parent at the park.
        The questions started out fairly standard. Basic info. There was the food sheet. Circle what she eats. Not enough veggies, but I can’t be the only mom who has THAT problem. Then we get to more in depth questions. 
Is your child accident prone?
Please explain.
She is a bit clumsy. But sometimes she can be very athletic. I mean she’ll bowl over any kid if it’s in her bee line, but it’s not malicious! She falls a lot, but only because she’s so fast...
I actually wrote the ellipses. I had to trail off my my paragraph of justifications. Yes she is accident prone. I suppose. What does that MEAN?
Does your child speak two or more word phrases? 
Answer: She’s five. She can say anything you could imagine.
Give an example.
Answer: That is a lot of paperwork mama.
Then they had a list of about 300 words.
Circle words she uses all the time.
I write in: She says all these words.
Yes, I know these are all valid questions. And yes doing this evaluation was my idea, but in my head the voice asking these questions is super condescending and is implying my kid’s an idiot.
Then they ask all the milestone questions: When did she roll over? When did she lift her head when she was lying on her stomach? How many accidents did she have during potty training? Etc. I stare at these questions for a long while, before I admit it. I DON’T KNOW! That was forever ago and me, Miss Organized, did not write this shit down. Sigh. I’m sure this means something to whoever reads this.
Does your child use four or five word sentences?
Again. She’s five.
Give an example.
I really don’t like to do things that waste my time.
The answers got more smart-assy from there...
Then my favorite section: The “Never-Sometimes-Often-Always” section. Here are some wonderful examples.
Your child:
Argues when denied a toy Sometimes
Has a short attention span Always
Decides what to wear Always (But one time she didn’t. Should I write sometimes?!?)
Breaks other kids toys Shit I think she’s done that before. But not always!
Holds a grudge Never
Encourages others to do their best Always. She constantly validates me. It’s great.
Annoys other people on purpose Not on purpose...
Does strange things She’s five. Of course she does.
Sets fires Whoa! Never.
Need to be reminded to brush their teeth This is right after “sets fires.” What?? 
Is unclear Sometimes? Again she’s five and has a strange fantasy world named Creepy-land.
Complains of pain Never “Mama I’m a tough guy.” 
Tries to be perfect Sometimes
Falls down Always. Then I cross that off and write sometimes. Again sure to be read into.
Pays attention Sometimes? Often? Sometimes.
Hurts others? Not on purpose. She’s got some tunnel vision sometimes..
Is easily distracted  Always
Is sad Never. Well not “never” but rarely. So “sometimes”I guess, but that seems like a lot!
Acts strangely Okay how is this different then “does strange things” ... This is a trick.
Shares Sometimes
Gets sick Sometimes. Who doesn’t??
Pouts Never. Well I guess sometimes. I really don’t like this word, “sometimes.”
Seeks revenge She is not evil. I know that’s what you are really asking.
Hurts animals And no she’s not a serial killer. 
        If we were asking these questions of an adult and they were answered the same way I feel like we’d lock this person up! Again paranoia has set in. And to make it worse. There are two separate packets with the same or similar questions. Are they trying to find out if I answer differently? AHHHH!
        I finish and put the paperwork away in the envelope. All ready for her appointment in the coming week. I want Love Monster to have the fullest life possible and I want her to do well in school. I hope this helps. I’m worried about over analyzation. I’ve tried to have to talk to a professional before and that did not work. The woman just tried to make her sit down and talk right away and the woman was surprised and looked worried when Love Monster didn’t want to. Well of course she didn’t want to! She doesn’t know you and your were trying to make her open up! And I know she had this feeling she was there because something was "wrong" with her. Sigh... I want Love Monster to be successful, but I don’t want all her wonderful qualities to be stifled either. She’s not a sit-perfectly-still-on-the-carpet type of gal. But that doesn’t mean something is wrong with her. At least I don’t think so...  
I think Frank Zappa said it best, “The more boring the child is, the more the parents, when showing off the child receive adulation for being good parents- because they have a tame child-creature in their house.” I hate that people think a good kid is one that’s seen and not heard. 
Basically what this comes down to is this: what is normal? What is acceptable? There is no “normal.” Acceptable? I’m not sure. Yeah violence and general mean-ness is not okay. But beyond that I think we should broaden what else is acceptable when it comes to kids. And we push making them share. I talked to a friend of mine about this. I understand sharing is a concept that good for them to learn, but I think it’s okay for them not to want to sometimes as long as they handle it well. My friend said, I mean do we adults share all the time? Hell no. My computer is not just open to anyone’s use!
I don’t have a calm, “easy” child. But she’s also insanely smart, hilarious, creative and definitely not boring. But learning a teensy bit of conformity to use in the right situations might be helpful. And maybe making sure she’s aware of other people and her surroundings so she doesn’t take a kid’s head off swinging a bat around might be good. And helping with that interplay will be helpful... So bring it on. But don’t you dare tell my kid she’s unacceptable.
So whatever the evaluation brings, I’m ready.
And those of you with tame kids out there. Good for you. I’m sure your child is not boring. And lucky for you, you don’t have to deal with insane children waking you up at crazy hours singing songs about how your breath smells and eating cereal while making a play-dough sculpture of a Pegasus eating sand in your bed. But also how unlucky for you because you don’t have to deal with insane children waking you up at crazy hours singing songs about how your breath smells and eating cereal while making a play-dough sculpture of a Pegasus eating sand in your bed.
 Wouldn’t trade Love Monster for the world.

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