Tuesday, August 24, 2010

She's Got Skillz! - Part 3

The first part of this series can be found here. In case you care to read the full story of our foray into the world of pre-school. . .

So. I'm sure you are getting the picture by now that the decision to put Li’l Empress into the local E@ster Se@ls pre-school program was not made lightly. Or quickly. In fact, her therapists have been gently nudging and suggesting and leading into conversations about it for almost the whole time that Li'l Empress has been in the Early Intervention circuit. I heard them. I thought about it. I talked with The Boss about what I was learning. I prayed about it. I read information when and where I could find it. I questioned other BTDT moms who have children with varying levels of hearing loss. I went back and questioned them again. I asked The Boss what he was thinking. I prayed. I thought. I prayed some more.

By the time we got to the tour of the building and the "meet the teacher" appointment, I was settled. I knew that this was right for her. The Boss? Not so much.  He panicked. The visual of a real classroom and his little princess sitting in that classroom was too much for him. He kinda shut down.

A little bit of background for you all:  in our family, I am the information gather-er. I am the researcher. I am the knowledge geek. If I hear about a topic or an issue that interests me, affects my family, or makes me stop and think, I go about educating myself.  In the process, in my enthusiasm, my family (whether they like it or not!) learns some of the information with me. I can’t help it. It spills out of me. I wish I had been this enthusiastic about learning when I was in school. Or when I was in college. You know, when I was actually PAYING MONEY for this same effort and focus.  But I digress. . .

As the information-gather-er, The Boss has been able to (most of the time!) trust that I have thought and studied the stuff that I’m talking about.  This has come into play much more heavily since Li’l Empress came home to us than ever before in our years together. He is in a high-demand position at work and I have the full-time job of Mom. This kind of thing falls under my job description. We’re both good with that. Most of the time.

When we entered the pre-school building, peeked into the shiny playground equipment and smiled at the mini cubbies for “pakpaks” on the day of our tour, The Boss realized this wasn't just a topic of conversation anymore. We walked and talked, and he listened to everything that the director and I discussed from my mental list of questions.  I say, “the director and I” because the more she talked and walked, the quieter he got. I could feel him shutting out the noise of her voice, her spiel, her intentions and her plans.  She was speaking to us as if attending pre-school for a child with unilateral hearing loss is a foregone conclusion.  Before we entered the building that day, he and I had come to a pretty close to definitive decision that Li’l Empress would indeed benefit from pre-school.

But like I said, seeing the classroom, being in the classroom, observing the other kids interacting with the aides and teachers:  it all became too real for The Boss.  The director was just chatting full steam ahead without the benefit of knowing The Boss’s facial expressions and thought-process; and that’s always a hard way to get true, accurate reactions out of him. High-energy, fast-talkers drain him quickly. And she was. Both.

(Heh. Don’t even go there, I know. I know. Can you believe we’re coming up on our 20th anniversary?! I’ve learned a lot about communicating with an internal processor over these 20 years, I tell ya! And I blog when I have more words than he needs to hear... J ‘Nuff said.)

In fact, he asked a couple questions that really put me off my mental track.  As if he had never heard the information contained in her answer before. I immediately took offense (I know, I'm so mature that way. Ugh.). But when I got off my high-horse and put away the “I told you all that before, weren’t you listening to me?!” huff and puff, I eventually (much later in the day, I am chagrined to admit!) realized that hearing us talk about it at home, while Li’l E was “safe” and under our coverage is one thing. Picturing her in a classroom 10 minutes from home, away from Daddy’s reach, is quite another.

I was reacting quite oppositely, now that I think about it. Seeing the newly painted playground equipment and hearing the songs that the kids were singing – all of that got me a little excited for the new adventure that would be facing Li’l Empress.  I had arrived at the conclusion that this was right for her sooner than he had, and without the need to process the difference between thinking about it and actually being there in person weeks before.  The Boss was playing catch up.

Looking back, I should have anticipated it better. Really, the same thing happened back when Li’l E needed to have her ABR and CT scan done shortly after coming home to us. It happened a time or two in China, as we were working through the early stages of attaching to our baby girl and helping her attach to us.

He’s definitely an “I have to see it” kind of thinker and I see now that I could have anticipated it more before we entered the preLi'l E's particulars first. Sitting to talk with them about Li'l E's needs later, or even at another appointment, would have even been more productive for The Boss. I think I re-learned some good relationship skills while I was thinking through this part of the process and trying to work through it with The Boss.

Stay tuned. I think I might have one more post brewing in my head about this whole adventure. The connections to attachment and separation anxiety cannot be ignored . . .


heidi @ ggip said...

I can relate to the idea of deciding something in the abstract and then having to re-do it again later. I think it depends on what kind of decision it is.

Very interesting series!

Aus said...

I can relate to the Boss - we are much the same I think....and maybe married to much the same woman too! We've managed 27 years now - you'll do fine....but I assure you that the 20 years you have together is as much about mutual commitment to each other as it is about learning communication! ;)

hugs to all - aus and co.