Did I ever mention that my son has speech delay?
Yeah, well, he does.
Matthew is five years old now, and will be turning six in May. It's a miracle he's even around actually, so I guess I shouldn't be complaining about his speech delay or about him being small and underweight.
See, Matthew was born prematurely at 33 weeks, weighing slightly less than 2 pounds. He was an IUGR baby - which means that he wasn't growing in the womb. No one really knows why, the OB/GYN just said there may have been blood clotting the umbilical cord so he wasn't getting food (I was, and I gained so much weight it freaked me out). When he was born, he was so tiny, and the NICU doctor said he had a 50/50 chance of survival. They had to test everything: lungs, heart, brain, blablabla. But he was breathing on his own so the doctor said the chances were good. After 24 hours, they told me he would be fine and just had to catch up on growth. They also told me he would most likely have one or two delays, being premature and all. At the time, I just thought, yeah, whatever, as long as he's alive.
Well, he's definitely alive!
More than alive, he's extremely smart, talented, and he is such a well-behaved little boy. He can be cheeky at times, but hey, he's a five year old kid, it's expected!
When he was three, he was already doing puzzles for six year old kids. He draws better than me (OK, I suck at drawing so that probably doesn't count), and he has photographic memory. He remembers everything! He knows the route from home going to the mall, to my office, to his school - he remembers everything. In fact, I think the only reason he's doing so good in school (spelling tests, etc) is because he memorizes things. He's also so happy all the time. He's always smiling, laughing and the sparkle in his eyes makes me forget about all the bad things that happen in life: a bad day at work, a really nasty customer, sickness, whatever. One look at him and I can literally feel the negativity float away.
And, he's a really good big brother too. He is protective of her and always remembers to get her stuff when just the three of us (me, hubby and him) go to the mall without my daughter. He'd be all "Mama, buy this for Kaela!". It's so sweet it makes me tear up.
The thing is, this year all his friends will be starting 1st grade, and while we'd love for him to go to primary school too, it seems like there aren't a lot of schools out there who can accommodate his needs, and with his language and speech problem, it seems like he may have difficulty going to a normal school.
Over the past few weeks, my husband and I have been in a constant debate (not with each other - just with the options). Do we let him stay back another year and hope he catches up? Will he be OK being the only 7 year old in the class? (around here nowadays, people always go to 1st grade at the age of 6).
If we don't make him stay back, will he be too stressed out in school because he'll have a hard time in class? Will his friends make fun at him in class? Will a school even accept him with his speech problems? A million questions pop through our minds every second, and we can't seem to feel comfortable with ANY answer at this point. It seems like every option has some sort of negative impact so we can't feel like we're one hundred percent sure with what we decide.
Geez, being a parent really sucks sometimes.
So anyway, what we've been doing the past week is just trying to approach the schools one by one, asking if they can accommodate our special boy. We started out with a long list of schools, and I think we've crossed out all but 4 after speaking with them. I'll be calling the 3 schools tomorrow, and the 1 school has already said they can accept him, but it'll cost my husband and I an arm, a leg and a few other body parts, meaning that private school costs the same as 3 years of my college tuition. My husband says inflation, I say rip-off.
The only thing we can do right now is just pray. I guess, if we reach the bottom of the list with zero results, it must mean he's meant to stay back this year. But you know what, I'm hopeful. My boy has beaten the odds before, it's not impossible that he can do it again.
I'm trying to be positive. I'm trying to just stay grateful that he's even alive. I'm trying to keep my focus on the fact that he's such a healthy, wonderful, well-behaved, generous, kind and funny little boy. And that should be enough. Right?