This time my folly lies in my inability to separate my ego from my children. I tend to believe that any flaw found in my children is a personal attack on my parenting abilities. I like to think that I'm not the only mother who is guilty of this particular folly, though I know the children of the world would be much better off if we could rid ourselves of it.
For any of my four readers not intimately connected with my family, let me introduce you to Erika. Erika is my three (almost 4)year old little girl. Those of you who have read "Kate's Treasures" will know that she is very funny, definitely the clown in the family. She is incredibly smart, she has a way of putting ideas together and coming to conclusions that amaze me; for example:One day she wanted a treat for keeping her bed dry, I told her she could have some lemonade. She explained that because everything we drink turns to pee, lemonade could not be a dry bed treat and I would have to think of something else. Erika is also cute as a button, she has a hundred different smiles ranging from shy to huge to mischief. It is impossible to know Erika and not love her. These are the facts that I associate with Erika. There are also a couple of other facts that go with Erika: when she was two and a half she was diagnosed with cataracts and was discovered to be blind in her right eye. After my initial devastation (okay, devastation followed indignation, "How dare they think that I could produce a blind child!"), we dug in and got the problem treated. She had corrective surgery, she got her little bi-focal glasses, and she wears an eye patch to strengthen the eye. She also has some quirky speech issues. I call them issues because they are not officially problems. Even the experts are ranging in opinion from saying she is right on course for a child her age to saying she is harder to understand than a child half her age.
I write the above to explain the struggle I find within myself. When I look at my Erika, what I see is that smart and funny and beautiful little girl that I know so well. What I fear that others see when they look at Erika are the bi-focal glasses and the girl with the quirky speech. Because of my determination to give her the best possible start that I can, I have been fighting to get her into speech therapy. When I finally peeled back the first few layers of red tape within the district and got to the people that I needed to talk to, I nearly hung up on the nice lady on the other end of the phone when she told me that they were the ones that handled children with special needs. How dare she! My child doesn't have special needs! She just has a quirky way of speaking. How many weeks had I been fighting this fight? How many phone calls had I made? And I had finally reached the person who was going to get me an appointment with the right people, and I was going to hang up because I didn't want my child to have special needs. When I went to the appointment (which was a total fiasco far too long to detail in this already long blog entry) one of the nice ladies asked about her eyes. I had given them a detailed history of her eye issues in their paperwork. The woman said they would like to have a copy of her eye reports when I get them from Erika's Dr. to keep them informed of her progress in that area as well. She said that they would like to keep informed so that they could provide Erika with any extra assistance she might need throughout school, such as front seats in the classroom. How dare they! I am taking care of Erika's eyes. I will not have my child defined by her little bi-focal lenses. I smiled, Thanked her for her assistance, and made a mental note to get them as much information from Erika's eye Dr as I can.
I realized that day that, although I am fighting a lot of battles telling people that I don't want Erika to be held back by her glasses or her speech, the only person allowing her to be held back is me. I am letting Labels and my own ego interfere with what everyone is trying to help me do, and that is doing what is best for my Twinkling Little Star!