So what has been going on? Two major things, really, that come to a head tomorrow. Firstly, Jeff is still unemployed after being laid off from his teaching job back in June. We've been making it work, but it has obviously been a goal to get him back into the working world. On a random stroke of luck, I ran into a recruiter for Target while at work one day. I talked to her about Jeff and his experience and she gave me her card. I passed on the info to him and he applied. After a on site interview and a phone interview, tomorrow is his final interview for a leadership position at a local store. A salaried management position that could get us back on track. A position he would enjoy doing, be able to pour himself into, but then leave at work when he comes home. We need this so badly for so many reasons; namely his sanity and confidence, but I'd be lying if I didn't say it was financial as well.
Who knows how long after the interview he'll hear anything. All I know is that tomorrow at 4PM is make it or break it time for this opportunity and I'm pulling for "make it" with everything I have.
Now the other thing. It's more complicated and I'm still not sure how to wrap my head around it. Charlie. Charlie, my sweet, brilliant, quiet, quirky boy. When Charlie started preschool a few months ago, we were approached by his teacher a few weeks in. She had....concerns. Not "earth shattering, stop the presses" concerns, as she said, but rather, "keep an eye out" concerns. Alright...
Jeff and I have always wondered if Charlie was brilliant, different, quirky, or all of the above. It's not that we aimed to label him, but as educators and generally worried preemie parents, his development is on our minds quite often. When Charlie learned his alphabet, upper and lower case, at 22 months from a talking toy, we were proud. When he learned the letter's phonetic sounds by 26 months from the same toy, we were impressed. When he started spontaneously writing letters and spelling his name, we were pretty shocked. He's always been this way. He picks things up with very few exposures and blows us away with the things he knows. When he began to forego pretend play and toys that didn't have to do with letters, numbers, etc., we were confused.
When his teacher said she was concerned, I knew exactly what she was concerned about. He lacks imagination, struggles to carry on conversations with peers and adults, doesn't ask or answer "why" questions, still engages in parallel play, at best, and often plays with toys incorrectly (spells letters with train tracks or sorts play food by color, for instance). His peers get frustrated with him because he swats at them for disrupting his organization or when he talks about letters and numbers instead of playing... There's so much more that I can't even put into words at this point. Lately, he's gotten a little better. We encourage pretend play quite a bit at home, but most of the time he just doesn't seem to get it.
People tell me not to worry because he's smart. Yes, he is smart, but there is more to development than "being smart." Is he gifted? Maybe. Could he be bored with such little kid play? Maybe. What of this is normal 4 year old stubbornness? What is normal Charlie? What should we be concerned about, if anything?
Tomorrow at 1PM, Charlie has an evaluation with the Early Intervention program. We've gone this route before for a gross motor delay when he was younger, but not for something like this. I don't know what to expect, I don't know what will happen. My brain and my heart are so tired of worrying. I'm not afraid of a label and I'm not seeking a diagnosis. I would, however, like to know if there are areas he needs to focus on and if there are things we could be doing for or with Charlie to help.
Tomorrow is a big day and the worst part of it is that after it's all done, we won't know much more than we do right now. Once it's done, we'll be waiting. Waiting for a phone call, the next step, next appointment. Only time will tell.