This morning Elijah had his first IEP meeting for his speech to see if he will receive extended services after age 3.
The waiting room is quieter than most with children in it. A boy with bent legs curled up silent, face in his mama’s chest, her arms wrapped all the way around. Two parents next to me, holding a tiny pair of dirty, pink leg braces, checking and checking around the corner. Another mom rushes in, silent, holding two little hands, a wide eyed boy with a limped gate as they silently take a seat.
“Mommy, look at that cute baby!” Finley bursts out.
“She is cute, isn’t she?” I reply.
“Yeah, and she has funny hair!”
Mother… “Sorry,” I say to the mom across the grey carpet.
“Oh that’s alright, I think it’s funny, too. You’re kids speak their mind, that’s good.”
“Sometimes…” I smile, thankful for her graciousness.
A woman with a white heart and a wheel chair on her shirt sweeps in, “There’s my star student!” she exclaims as a mommy unhooks her grasp, the boy, wide eyes grips her eye contact with his, she nods, not smiling, but it was enough for him as he offers a smile to his teacher who is talking to him energetically.
A screaming baby is handed back to her mama, “Oh, she only just started, she did amazing! She is growing so much!”
A toddler given to the parents holding the leg braces, the father holding her up close in his arms, rests his forehead on her chest, his eyes closed, as the mom talks to the teacher.
“Sorry to keep you waiting!” our turn.
“Just this way, how are you guys?”
“We’re doing great!” as I hold Finley’s hand, who hold’s Elijah, who hold his stuffed puppy.
We sit with all the papers, and the boy are unleashed on the toys they have waiting.
I hear about where his speech is emerging, his use of grammar, sentence structure, vocalization, vocabulary, receptive speech, use of present progressive… I nod along, agreeing.
“He’s doing SO WELL!” she tells me. It was true. I wonder if he will qualify for preschool intervention, I am not sure what I am hoping for most, is she building me up to break up with me? I feel ok with it.
The boys are getting rowdy, “I had that one! Don’t take it!”
“Talk to him, tell him how you feel,” half hearted over my shoulder. I eyed the stack of papers left, we were getting closer.
We leafed through the rest, I scribbled my signature with the finesse of a third grader, tried to re-remember the date each time, and we did it!
“Ok, well Mike is just going to read this back to us once I make a copy,”
“Sure,” I say as I see Finley needing a time-out.
I scoop him up and it’s like trying to wrangle a belligerent drunk. It’s all arms and legs and screaming. I plop him in the corner and return to play with Elijah 10 feet away as we await our copies.
Finley is flipping, he is screaming. Women working behind foldable, carpeted walls with metal handles peer around to see his red face. The young teacher returns, and poor Mike has to start reading aloud.
Poor Mike has to raise his voice. When he does, while I am looking at the ground to avoid it, I burst out laughing. The type like when you are in school, and you are trying not to, which only makes the burst a little louder and sillier, when you are trying to be semi-professional, while you deal with very professionally belligerent toddlers.
Poor Mike finishes and Finley, red faced is still huffing and puffing, Elijah looking like the shining star. Poor Mike tells me I am patient, and that he has two twin boys, 2 1/2, “So I know how it is.”
“Yes,” I laugh as I grab the papers, the calmer boys and we leave.
On the way out, “Mama, I was really sad,” Finley tells me quietly.
“Yeah, you were,” I still have inappropriate giggles, “Everyone heard that!”
Elijah will qualify for speech twice a week in a preschool setting at Maria’s school for an hour a day.
“Oh, school?” he verifies.
“Yep!” I tell him.
And they both took an early nap.
He should be fully caught up before he starts Kindergarten. Which to me, is incredible.