Sunday, February 23, 2014

such great heights

Back in November, the weekly community playgroup where I sometimes take the boys was offering ages and stages developmental screenings so I went ahead and filled them out. There were a few minor not-quite-red-flags on Nico's that I pretty much knew would be there, things that on paper point to gross motor, fine motor, and social delays but that I suspected were just signs of Nico's Nico-ness. For instance, I truly don't think that he can't climb the ladder of a playground slide - it's just that most of the slides he encounters have stairs instead and he chooses not to play on slides despite my encouragement. Likewise, I was 100% certain he could feed himself with a spoon, he just wouldn't. He was still a few months away from his fourth birthday, so I kept the screening paperwork but refused to worry much. Then, in January, his preschool teacher filled out similar developmental screenings for the kids and brought the results to our parent-teacher conferences. Two weeks past Nico's fourth birthday, those possibly reddish colored flags were still there. His teacher (who is truly wonderful and a fantastic cheerleader for Nico) and I talked over the shared concern we felt over some of the things, and then I asked his pediatrician about them. I figured if he did need to be formally evaluated, better sooner than later. His doctor (who is a huge Nico fan and looked at me like I was a little nuts for even asking) didn't feel I should be concerned at all, and lamented the tendency to try to fit every kid into a predetermined box of abilities. I wasn't ready to dismiss the possibility that Nico has some mild sensory processing issues, but I felt comfortable waiting and seeing what he'd do in his own time.

Turns out I didn't need to wait too long - Nico's been checking off flags and concerns left and right the past few weeks. He drank from an open cup at school (a feat celebrated by excited texts from his teacher as it was happening). He started feeding himself his morning yogurt without protest (except for the hard-to-get last couple of bites). After refusing for over two years to let me teach him the correct way to hold scissors, he spent half an hour cutting a piece of construction paper into minuscule pieces while I was getting the house ready for Elliott's birthday party on Saturday. I was so happy that I wasn't even cranky about the mess. And today at a classmate's birthday party, I heard him ask another child, "Hey, do you want to play with me?" and he played well and appropriately with the other children for almost two hours.

There are still definitely things he doesn't do that the surveys and checklists say he should. He still has some catching up to do when it comes to things like hopping on one foot and catching a ball. But on his own schedule, to his own beat, he's blossoming, and I couldn't be prouder.

"I love you as high as I can jump! Mommy, I'm practicing my jumping. Jumping is like dancing!"


  1. YES. I think those developmental checklists are nice for some things (like, I guess I do want to know if my 6-year-old should have been able to do something at age 4 and still can't do it), but I also think it's super-common for kids to just do things in a different ORDER. Like, maybe a particular child is way behind on stair-stepping but way ahead on puzzle-solving, or on communication, or on fine motor. And some kids don't WANT to do things, and that seems super-common TOO.

  2. I pretty much agree with everything swistle has to say (isn't that normal?) Those checklists are great for basic timelines, but they don't take into account a child's personal needs and preferences.