Drew is now four. We had a “Cars 2” birthday party for him on Saturday in our backyard, and the best part is still up for debate: the guacamole, bounce house, or the hilarious way Drew said YIGHTNING MCQUEEN.
HEY MOMMY, YOOK! says Drew. IT’S YIGHTING! YIGHTNING MCQUEEN!
We tried to get Drew to dress up in his Halloween costume early and really vamp the party theme, but he only put it on long enough to snap this picture and then decided he had more important ways to spend his time. What’s funny is how he and his costume are making the same expression:
For a long time the bounce house was too intimidating to any of the 4-year-olds, so somebody stuck Madeline inside to see how she would react. This picture pretty much sums it up. Reminds me of a baby gorilla in a zoo habitat, minus the throwing of excrement. She didn’t last long; there was a gaggle of grandparents waiting to schlep her from hip to hip in a figure eight pattern that spanned the backyard.
I’ve written before about my obsessiveness at parties, but this time around I was much more laid back. It was a much smaller to-do than last year. I didn’t invite as many kids, and of the kids I invited, only a handful were able to come. Three didn’t even RSVP, which made me want to go stand on their lawn and midnight and sing “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” in full operatic voice.
I was extra sensitive about the poor turnout, probably because I have been on high-alert ever since Drew started getting time outs at preschool. I began having sneaking suspicions that other things might be broken about him, that we could add “social outcast” to his list of afflictions. Give it to me straight, world. I’m listening and I’ve got the big girl panties on. (But first please RSVP if it’s not too much trouble.)
At his four-year checkup last week, I bulldozed his pediatrician with questions and concerns: Drew’s listening problems, his anxiety, his refusal to poop in the potty, his stuttering. I felt sure the doctor would send me away with a list of specialists and maybe a few for myself. I was also hoping for a mild sedative I could carry around in my purse or even a small, versatile mallet. To my surprise, the only thing Dr. W was really very concerned about was the stuttering. I left with a prescription for a particular woman named Micah.
It turns out Michah, Valerie, Mary, and probably the next speech therapist on my list are all too busy to take Drew. After hearing about his particular situation, they’ve all agreed that he “needs to see someone soon,” just that they can’t be the ones to do it. I’ve got a call in to the school district and another speech center to see if anyone has an open spot.
Is this how parenting goes? The doctor finally gives me permission to worry about something yet I can’t find one person with a degree in speech therapy and a free hour.
But little encouragements trickle my way, and I’m beginning to think this is how parenting really goes — mountains of worry broken by little rivulets of gold.
On Friday when I picked Drew up, Miss D walked him to the car and told me he had “listened better that day.” On Monday, Drew had a “Super!” sticker stuck to his shirt because he helped pick up the toys so nicely. On Tuesday he was playing his guitar for me, which really means singing two lines of “Jesus Loves Me” then two lines of “Cotton- Eyed Joe” like they are a single song with a very confusing story arc. He never stutters when he sings. He finished his last note and said, “Thanks for having me!” like he had just finished a set at the Lizard Lounge.
But for some sweet reason, maybe angels presiding, I heard, “Thanks for having me, Mommy. For giving birth.”
Then he stuck the guitar way up underneath his armpit and marched out of the room like Johnny Cash leaving Folsom prison. Madeline was clapping.
“Anytime,” I said.
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