We had our parents teacher meeting on Tuesday afternoon. Afterwards, once we were home I disappeared into the kitchen to have a little cry. The little cry turned into sobs. Anyone who knows me, knows I’m the softest person on earth, so this may not be a big surprise. Mary’s crying again! Tears, happy tears, tears of relief and pride. Why? Monkey does everything in his own time and that’s fine. But sometimes it’s hard, for him and for me. From crawling and walking to talking. He was behind the ‘norm’. With social interactions, reading, writing, everything to do with school he has struggled and I have worried. Some days it’s felt like a battle. Some days it’s been fine and other days I’ve felt that I’ve failed him somewhere along the line.
But Monkey does everything at his own pace and I need to have more faith that he will show the rest of the world what I know is within him. Today we were told that he’s at the Expected level in all areas for his age. This may seem like nothing to you, but it’s the first time I’ve ever been told that. It’s like winning the lottery.
No matter how hard you try not to compare children, we all do it. No matter how many times I’ve told myself it didn’t matter, that Monkey does everything at his own pace, and gets there in the end, it’s hard some times. I’m always thrilled to hear of other children’s successes, of their achievements, big and small. For us, sometimes the biggest achievement has seemed that we’ve just got through the week.
There is no doubt that Monkey has changed beyond recognition this academic year. His confidence has grown, he’s extended his circle of friends. He has started talking to people, really talking to people. I’ve seen him interacting with family and friends he’s known all his life, really interacting, talking, laughing, relaxing. He’s joining in at school, he’s taking part in things, maybe a little reluctantly at times, but he’s trying.
Reading and writing are a battle, we’re getting there but its slow progress. I thought we’d be told that Monkey was ’emerging’. What a flipping daft word that is in the context of learning. I was prepared for our normal. The politically correct way of telling us that Monkey isn’t where his peers are, that he’s behind.
I was wrong, I made a comment about something to his teacher and she replied, but it’s fine, Monkey’s meeting the Expected level for everything. Yes we need to work a little with him on talking about what he’s reading, but he’s Expected. The boy who wouldn’t talk to anyone generally, the boy who wouldn’t talk to adults pretty much full stop. This boy is talking, asking, answering, joining in. He’s writing. Stop the press. He is writing, independently, he is using grammar, punctuation, I’ve seen the evidence. He is writing more than one sentence at a time. A revelation. A relief. A wow moment.
Monkey is at the Expected level for his age group. To some this may be nothing, I know plenty of our friends children are exceeding their age group, that’s wonderful, they are all amazing. But my son is an absolute star. For the first time in his life really, we are being told he’s exactly where he should be. There are no question marks, there are no concerns. Yes he can be shy, but the teachers have seen him playing with his friends. Apparently he’s not shy then! That did make me chuckle. Other people are seeing my son, really seeing him. They are seeing the boy I know, he is showing them his true self. He’s sharing more of himself, he’s trusting people, letting them in and letting himself out.
Expected – such a massive word. Such a milestone moment. A moment to reflect, and look at the amazing journey that has got us to this point. There have been times when I feared all sorts of things, people implied all sorts of things. No matter how much I knew Monkey just takes his own path, at his own pace, I was still worried. He’s behind, he’s always been behind, how would he ever catch up, would he ever catch up?
Well, he may never be top of the class, and to be frank, I really don’t care. All I’ve ever wanted was for him to be the best he could be. For him to feel confident enough in others to let them see his potential, for him to let them in. Expected, yes that’s a huge word. Huge.
So there have been tears, a wave of relief hit me, soaked me and passed over me. I’m sure there will be battles ahead. I’m sure Monkey will always prefer to be running around with a stick in one hand and a digger in the other hand. I’m sure school will probably never be his favourite place. But I feel as if we’ve conquered Everest right now. We’ve won the Lottery, Ferrari have won the World Championship (ok that’s wishful thinking, but you get my point). A weight has been lifted off our shoulders. Perhaps a lot of that weight has been self-inflicted, but it’s gone.
So did we celebrate last night? Hell yes! Pizza and Dough balls is Monkey’s idea of the meal treat to end all meal treats.
Expected – such a massive word. Never take it for granted, celebrate it. Be the best you can be, be happy.