Look what the cat granddaughter dragged in!
Hello, blog. How are you? What? Those bags under my eyes? No, ten years haven’t passed. I’m just really tired. Mom tired. Recently-nighttime-potty-trained tired. You get the picture. Not a picture of me until my next haircut, though. I need bangs to distract from the bags.
So, Stella wears bifocals now. I think they are making a real difference. She had a growth spurt and the stress of that seemed to bring out some crossing at near, even with glasses. The bifocals keep her eyes straight, and as a result I see renewed interest in painting, drawing, and writing. When it comes to art projects at school, Stella is a severe minimalist–we’ll see if that changes.
She also took the Wachs Analysis of Cognitive Structures Test (WACS). The point was to find out how Stella’s vision affects her development–and it showed delays in visual motor and visual information processing. I’m not even going to get into the particulars right now. There are a lot of them and I’m still mulling it over. I’ll just note that Stella’s pretty darn amazing. What did Darwin say? Something about how it’s the ability to adapt that determines who survives and thrives. Stella’s brain figures out ways to do things that should be almost impossible. Which is kind of why I’m throwing my hands up at this point.
Yes, Stella gets frustrated sometimes. Very, very frustrated. (It’s partly why I had the testing done.) But so do I. Someday after ripping off her shirt buttons in frustration, she’s going to look at me and say, “You, all right? I learned it by watching you!” The test results claim that everyday tasks are harder for Stella and that her frustration is partly due to intelligence–she is aware that things are harder than they should be and she wonders why she can’t do things more easily. So I take that into consideration. I’ve been presented with an option for working on this. The thing is, she can do so darn much. And she’s only four, and newly so. She’s already done a year of vision therapy and patching.
Stella joyfully participates in yoga, creative dance, and gymnastics. She swims regularly–without floaties now, too. She enjoys going to preschool three times a week. She loves puzzles, workbooks, books, playgrounds, watercolors, and pretend play involving silly bumblebees that bump into walls and make popcorn, and two dogs who have a cat for a granddaughter. If you trip, Stella will ask if you are okay. She remembers book after book. She is sweet in quoting them, like when she says to me, “I’ll eat you up I love you so!” and then pretends to chomp on my arm. Every night before she goes to bed, we all sing the alphabet backwards, then I tell her, “I love you always, and I love you lots.” She sometimes says, “I love you always, and I love you SEEEEEEBS.” Just to be silly, to make us laugh.
While day-to-day things can feel harder for us at times, I’ve always secretly chalked it up to the fact that she is sensitive like me. For example, you know all those instances when a little kid innocently answers a question, and everyone in the room laughs heartily because the child’s reply, tone, or all-around cuteness is just so cute? Stella f’ing hates that. Actually, she seems truly wounded by it. Sometimes her response is anger, but more often in such moments I see her face fall dramatically, her breathing deepen, and tears well up slowly and steadily–the kind of tears that are raw and unmasked by anger, pushed up from way down inside because it’s a real hurt. I figure she’s smart and she doesn’t like being laughed at when she’s not trying to be funny. I mean, do adults like that? Not so much.
Social situations can be tricky for us, sure. When Stella doesn’t want to talk to you, she really doesn’t want to talk to you. But is that the sign of a problem? The fact that she doesn’t do things just to please other people? Just because an adult is asking something of her? It can be awkward when Stella doesn’t respond to people in the way they want or expect. She buried her head in my shirt to avoid looking at or talking to her pediatrician at her 4-year check-up (he’s a man–I think it’s time to find a woman to replace him). But I see Stella’s social side, too. She has friends. She loves her classmates, teachers, and family. She comes around, when she’s ready. I do think her vision affects her. I also think she’s simply her own person.
We continue to monitor her vision and look for ways to support her. But mostly we admire and enjoy Stella, just for being Stella.