Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Creative thinking

To the casual observer, this may not look like a very interesting picture. To me though, it signifies the difference a year can make. A year ago, we were struggling with what felt like all bad news coming from Jack's preschool teachers. Basically they felt like he was not age-appropriate in a lot of areas (sociallly, creatively, fine motor skills, etc). Which brought up the internal battle in us... is Jack normal? Is he just quirky, or is it something more? Is there something developmentally WRONG with him? It was an awful time. One thing his teachers pointed out was how literal he was... for instance, if he made a tower of blocks, and you asked him, "Jack, what you are you building?" His answer was, "a big tower of blocks." He didn't think outside the box... the uses of different objects were all very literal (it wasn't a skyscraper, it was a tower of blocks). Now we knew he was more creative than that, but this was the only side his teachers saw. Their concerns left me awake at night with worry. They ultimately prompted us to schedule a developmental evaluation for him at Children's Hospital.

A year later it feels like we've turned a 180. First, he did show improvement in his preschool class last year and his teachers' concerns subsided, but never went away, and I was always plagued with the "what if" feelings. What if something really IS wrong? We went forward with the eval at Children's... and the doctor we met with basically told us that yes, while a little quirky at times, Jack seemed perfectly normal and age appropriate by all standards she was measuring against. Sigh of relief. Then there's his preschool class this year. He is like the star of the class. His teachers love him. He has friends. He's thriving. He raises is hand to answer and ask questions, tell stories, share, etc. He loves school. He gets raving reviews from his teachers and I'm told he's more than ready for kindergarten (last year his teachers weren't sure he would be).

It's hard to say the true cause for the 180 from last year to this year. Was it just a set of teachers biased against him? I did always feel like they just wanted to find something wrong with him, and never really connected with him... whereas this year his classroom environment is so much more positive and he's connected with his teachers and classmates and they definitely bring out the best in him. Is the change a result of simply a year's worth of growth and development? I'm sure there is that... a year more mature... physically, emotionally, socially, developmentally.

In any case... a year ago a stack of blocks was a stack of blocks. Today the blocks came out for the first time in months. Jack's creative juices were flowing in a way I rarely witness. He was building and creating and narrarating everything he was doing. I was blown away. The picture above is the last thing he built before moving on to other things. On the left his a ferry boat carrying a car across some water. The right is the road that leads up to the dock where the cars drive onto the boat. It's a small boat that can only carry one car at a time. He was so proud of this creation. I had to document it. The feelings from a year ago are as real to me today as they were then, and I definitely still have spots that are raw from that experience. But I can't help but feel blessed with how far we have come, for whatever reason we've come to this place.

Tomorrow is Jack's 5-year check up, and for once I am going into the appointment with zero concerns. :)

And on a COMPLETELY unrelated note... my brother and his wife are in the hospital right now, on their way to welcoming their first born into the world! It seems Pam's water may have broken (slow leak) earlier in the week, but they didn't realize that was what happened. They had a doctor appointment today (she's 39 weeks) and were directed from there to the hospital... where they are supposed to be starting her on pitocin to get things rolling since it hasn't happened on its own yet (with the broken water). Hopefully I will have a new nephew by morning! I am giddy with excitement! Bet you can't guess what tomorrow's picture will be!!! :)


Rochelle said...

That was a fantastic post Danielle. A picture really can be worth a 1,000 words. And congratulations on the addition to your family <3

Amber said...

what a beautiful post! um, I'm not sure my kids know what a ferry boat is and I'm pretty sure they've never laid the blocks down (nor have I) to make anything so who can't think outside of the box...that would be us. so please go ahead and rest easy at night and maybe someday soon jack can teach brandon a thing or twenty. haha!

Danielle said...

Thanks guys! It's certainly been a heck of a journey! :)

Shawn said...

D, that was a fantastic, creative post. I love how documented all your feelings. Great job!