Today the Hatchling had her mandatory pre-K screening at a local school in our neighborhood. You know, where they test your hearing and vision, observe you interacting with other kids and adults, check your developmental skills, and so on. It’s a way to catch certain developmental disorders and learning issues before kids are in the school system, and – in Minneapolis, anyway – it’s a time where school reps can reach out to local parents with information on all kinds of resources for their families. Great public service, totally one of the reasons I never complain about paying taxes, just generally A Good Thing.
So why, you may be wondering, was I feeling increasingly anxious and tense in my stomachular regions as the appointment loomed ever closer? Well, the short answer to that question is: BECAUSE I AM INSANE. Which is true. But also: I was kind of scared about this appointment. See, the Hatchling, while she is an amazing, joyful, imaginative, artistic, funny, lovable kid, also is, uh, not the clearest speaker in the known universe. She’s always been a babbler, but it took her longer than a lot of her friends to emerge from that awesome pre-verbal “talk” into actual words, and it’s really only in the last 6 months that she’s started speaking clearly enough that even non-family and friends can understand her. Part of the problem is that many of the kids we hang out with are preternaturally verbal, so it’s hard to know if the Hatchling is actually behind or just normal. And then, you know, sometimes when you talk to her or ask her questions it seems like she doesn’t understand you, but it’s hard to know if that’s real lack of understanding or just being three and paying attention to other (often imaginary) things. And then I read my friend Christopher’s post and thought, god, I’d *love* to have a super verbal, into-words and reading kind of kid, because *I’m* super verbal and into words and I’d know how to navigate that! And of course the Hatchling may very well end up that way, but that’s not how she is now and so I worry.
Except of course she did just great at the screening. “We’re gonna go get some screems,” she announced to her father as we left. “See ya later.” And she was awesome. Walked right off holding the hand of the screener and came back 1/2 hour later trailing clouds of glory. NO language problems; she’s right on track. Average or above average at all the verbal and math stuff. Good social adjustment, good motor skills – she’s good! Also: 45 inches tall and 56 pounds. So good and BIG. Which, as the supervisor noted, makes it tough sometimes to remember that she’s only almost four. And for an only almost four-year-old, she’s right where she should be. And what I have to remember is, while it’s good to know she’s on track, even if she weren’t, she would still be A (damn) Good Thing.