Robbie had his first OT appointment today. It was, well, I don’t know. I spent the first half of the appointment trying to explain problems with Robbie, sometimes unsure of exactly how to answer the question. It was an odd position to be in because I’m usually the one telling people about their children. And, to make matters worse, I was stumbling over words and giving what felt like rambling answers. I oscillated between feeling like I needed to be honest about my child’s behavior and fighting a desperate need to explain that, despite some of the behavior patterns we see, he is a sweet, kind little boy. Besides, I’m extremely self-conscious when someone writes down what I say – you’ve all seen the Far Side cartoon where the shrink writes, “Just plain nuts”, right?
And then it was time for Robbie to perform some tasks. It was difficult watching him. Do I encourage him? Do I sit quietly? Robbie stacked blocks, unsuccessfully made a pyramid, placed small beads in a jar. He traced a line, failed to recreate a drawing of two lines, and cut a paper in half on the line. He folded paper and tried to cut out a circle (which was really just a line when he was done with it). Robbie was supposed to lie on his stomach but spent five minutes pretending to be a spider. And there I sat, unsure of when to intervene, unsure of what it all really meant.
I’m still figuring out what it means. But, we’ll figure it out. Robbie starts OT next Monday and will be going once a week. I’m lucky because his therapist is a friend who can help me process everything, even if it’s outside of our appointments.
I am slowly realizing that everyone has their setbacks. Be it speech or reading or math or mobility or sensory. And we’ll get through this. And Robbie will be OK. And I can still be a good mom. Because perhaps that’s the part that bothers me most: I wonder how much of this reflects on me as a mother. I know that, in all reality, it doesn’t. Robbie is my first child; it would make sense that I would think some behaviors were a stage. But, I can’t help but wonder why I didn’t see it as more than a stage. What could I have done to avoid it?
I know the answers to all of these questions. And I know I’m a good mother. But, that’s what a mother does, right? Constantly question and critique herself, and only more so when it turns out that her perfect baby isn’t so perfect. And then learn to accept it and work to make things right again. I think I can do that – one step at a time.