Academically Speaking

It is so hard to describe the wonder that is my boy, Micah. It's difficult to make someone understand that while I'm convinced he's brilliant, at the age of 5 he can't recognize his name in print. I don't think this is just me being his mom with a biased opinion. And while brilliant may be a slight exaggeration, smart is not so much. How else does one account for the fact that he can work anything electronic? And that he knows exactly how to manipulate mom and dad to get his own way? The boy has some mad thinking skillz going on inside that little toddler brain of his; of this there is no denying. Anyone that has ever met him concurs.

And yet the boy will not prove to the world that he can understand or do much of anything, academically. He will not point to pictures in a book when asked. He will not show me which is Becky on the family picture. He will not choose the correct color crayon when given a choice of only two. He does not understand what it means to draw a line from the tractor to the barn. And his interest in sitting down to attend to these tasks is equal to that of a kindergartener sitting in an advanced physics class. It just isn't on his priority list, it seems to be above his level of understanding, and he has no desire to even try to understand.

As his mother, this is difficult for me. I know he's smart. It does not matter to me if others believe that or not. Really. But every mother wants the best for her hcildren. I've had to readjust my idea of best when Micah was born. Harvard and rocket science are a bit of a stretch, but nothing is impossible. (Shoot, Harvard and rocket science are probably a stretch for all of my children. And half of yours, if you're being honest.) And while I don't want to cut him short, I need to be realistic, too. I know that Micah will get through school. I know that someday he'll take an interest in academics and learn to read and write and decipher arithmetic. I don't know to what extent he'll take these skills, but I know my boy - and if he takes an interest in something he will excel. It's that simple. But will he take an interest, or be forced to go through the motions for years to come?

Today he became interested, and made me cry tears of pride. Today at speech therapy he matched cards. To you this may not be such a big deal, but to me the angels broke out in the Hallelujah chorus. The therapist laid six cards with pictures on the table in front of him. She then held up a card with a matching picture, one at a time, and he chose the right card to match hers. He did it quickly, excitedly, and with 100% accuracy. Every time. SIX CARDS. If you could have seen it you would have cried too.

How can I tell you what 5 years of wondering about his mental capacity is like? How can I explain the fears that he may never take an interest in academics? What would his world be like if he had all sorts of common sense and refused to learn to even write his name? I cannot convey the degree of stubbornness that is my child. The boy who would rather sit in a chair for an hour than pick up a crayon. The boy who cries like you're breaking his hand when you force him to pick up a pencil. The boy who wants nothing to do with papers and writing utensils. The boy who thinks cards with numbers, letter, shapes, colors, and pictures are fun to throw up in the air and watch twirl to the ground.

Today Micah proved to me that he can understand simple directions. Today he gave me hope that academics are not just in the one-day future. Today he matched pictures.

And today I realized that there are no words to tell you what this means to me.

30 comments:

Flea said...

See? Micah takes after you, with no words to describe things! Karen, I'm so happy for you!

Reading through this, I'm thinking, "Well, he is only five." I don't know about your other boys, but my youngest - who has a huge vocabulary - didn't read and write till he was nearly nine. I know Micah's very different, but he has time to take interest in these things. Really.

I just remember the years of frustration and my own moment, when letters became words with Little Guy, of joy. Yours can only be exponentially so much more! Congratulations. :)

JennyH said...

Love that cute picture!

Great job for Micah!! He so knows what he is doing. It would be hard that he shows no interest in writing but that is a pretty common thing with Ds. Max has always liked writing and fine motor things so he usually goes along with it. Is he the best 1st grade writer- no. Although, in Kindergarten his OT told me that Max wrote better than most kindergartners!! Which after looking at other students writing- I would agree.

I know one boy that when he was in K and it was writing time and went to the bathroom everyday. After awhile the teachers caught on to him and realized he was just hanging out in there to get out of writing. Smart little boy!

I'm sure Micah will some day pick up on it. matching cards is huge. Maybe he would like playing Memory.

Trannyhead said...

I bet the stinker was just holding out until he found a medium that he wanted to use! Good for him for finding something he's interested in that excites him! Congrats, mama.

Trannyhead said...

PS - Harvard sucks. Duke is way hawter.

Flea said...

I know none of mine will go to Harvard. Just praying they get into community college at this point.

And who cleaned the leather couch after that picture? ;)

My boys are Army Brats said...

AWWWWW!!! I'm so excited!

I cry tears of joy over simple milestones in our house too. Other people are like "big deal he hugged someone" but I'm over the moon about it because it's never happened before and I knew in my heart it would someday!

Yay Micah!! I'm excited to see what happens next!!

Melissa said...

And yet, you found the words to share with us. :)

May this be the first step of many on Micah's road to learning!

WTG, Micah!

Debbie in CA : ) said...

Today I chose to spend time in prayer for each one of my readers. You and your precious family filled many prayerful moments throughout the day. When I read your post today I felt that God had soothed my aching knees in a BIG way! Yippee for Micah!!

p.s.
I spoke with a friend yesterday who has a DS granddaughter. Little miss Hazel is 6 and finally using words. She has been "talking" in her own fashion for some time, telling elaborate stories with hand motions and all, but is finally using words her family can understand. I'd say it's far too early to affix any "labels" regarding Micah's development. I guess he proved that again today.

My prayers continue! : )

AZ Chapman said...

congrats miach love the pic in the end

Kellan said...

This was indeed - a GREAT DAY!!! Could he be any more adorable - REALLY??

My Little Billy, worried me and worried me and worried me. He did okay, but just seemed to "not care" "not get things" that we felt he should have been getting. Then ... one day - the light bulb lit up and from that moment on he not only "got stuff" but excelled! I worried about the light bulb and while I believed it would light up one day - I honestly did not know. He is now in 6th grade and in all honors classes - something I NEVER saw happening for him or expected. They are AMAZING and your Micah makes me smile!!

Take care, Karen - see you soon - Kellan

The Sports Mama said...

Oh Karen.... my heart is just bursting for you right now. It really, really is.

And.... if half of my kids have no shot at Harvard....that would mean I still have a shot with one of them, right?

Bummer for Harvard, then, that their football team (do they even have one????) is not on the list of teams my boys MUST be on. :)

Vic said...

You know how smart Micah is, and in you he has the biggest champion he'll ever need. Kids often won't perform on demand, and maybe that's just what he's doing. Eventually he'll come round totally, and then he'll knock the world out with just how smart he is!
x

Becoming Mommy said...

Congrats to Micah on another little milestone!
And if he understands all things mechanical, I can’t tell you how much brilliance there is in the mechanically-minded. That is such a wonderful thing to be born with and a way of thinking you just can’t teach. But there’s sooooo much you can do to encourage growth in that area it’s wonderful. I agree with the PP who said maybe it just takes the right medium, one that speaks to him, for him to take interest to show what it is he knows?
Again, congratulations! Its such wonderful news.

the planet of janet said...

way to go, micah!!

and way to hang in there, mom. this is a special day indeed!

Trisha said...

What a super day! Micah will surprise us all!

Caution Flag said...

Micah rocks!!

I really believe that the "traditional" approach to learning (sitting upright, bright lights, holding the pencil properly) is probably not the greatest approach for most kids. There has to be a more exciting way to learn. Take whatever clicked with Micah that day and bottle it fast :)

Madame Queen said...

Yay for Micah!!! And for you too because I know how much it means to you.

I wonder if he will/would respond more to this type of challenge if you're not present? Do you sit with him while he's tested? Because I don't know about you, but my children are much better behaved and will do just about whatever anyone asks them to....as long as I'm not around. If mommy's in the room, forget about it! Plus, we know all about Micah's sneaky drinking straw tricks!! :)

Colleen said...

That sounds like great news! Do you have the Memory game (the card-matching)? Maybe he'll play that with you guys--even if it's not the standard style of playing...just matching up the cards and such.

Marmarbug said...

That is FANTASTIC! Go Micah!
I understand where you are coming from. You KNOW they are smart and you know what? That is all that matters.
Such a cutie!

HalfAsstic.com said...

That is so awesome! And thrilling! I think children like Micah are fascinating. You may remember me telling you in the past about my cousin who has down syndrome. One of the stranger things about her case is that she could whip out a rubic's cube puzzle in no time flat. I mean a thoroughly mixed up one, anytime, anywhere. She has been doing them since she was 11 years old and had an immediate understanding of them. She is 43 years old and has an IQ of 70. How bizarre is that?
But, Karen, my question remains... does Micah like chocolate? heh heh heh Like, A LOT, huh?
Oh! I am tagging you for a meme! Now don't whine and PLEASE get on over to my site and see all about it and see all about it! It will be painless! Well, almost...

imbeingheldhostage said...

look at that face!! He's the cutest, Karen.
He is smart-- smart enough to know there's been some pressure to perform lately for these "testers". This is the boy who wants to run nekked in the field with the freedom to roam... now if your passions were all based on those standards, would YOU do anything these people wanted you to do? He's clever and determined and likes his own terms. oh and he's wrapped me (and everyone else out here) around his finger :-)

mommaof4wife2r said...

i am sooo happy for you and for micah...what a great accomplishment. i even am almost ready to shed a tear of my own. although i have spent countless hours worrying through years of OT and ST and PT, i can't even begin to understand your frustration...and you know, girl, you deserve a big hug and a nice pat on the back for sticking strong and being a great momma...the perfect momma for micah! yeah for you!

Pam said...

Oh Karen! This is fabulous. It will come- when he is ready and the time is right, it will all come.

Michelle said...

Oh Karen! I'm so happy for you ... I even mostly managed to not cry. Here's hoping that today was only better for you. Yay yay yay!

Leanne said...

Fantastic. Um, and yeah, mine aren't going to Harvard either. I'm VERY happy for you and Micah too.

Karen Deborah said...

PLEASE do yourself a huge favor and read this book," Successful Homeschooling by Raymond Moore". I know you don't want to homeschool. That's not why I am recommending it. I probably learned more about child growth and development from this one book than any other, including college classes. Children especially BOY'S do not really have an apptitude for cognitive academics until they are eight. YES, Micah is smart. I haven't met him but I see the brightness in his pictures.

There is also the "eggplant" phenomen. Ask Debbie CA about this. These children have almost a sixth sense of what people think about and EXPECT of them. If some one had low expectaions of Andrew he shut down and performed accordingly; just like an eggplant. Debbie would come home in tears. It is interesting to me that the one he is responding too is the speach therapist. She is the one that tested the speaking box. I would bet big money he remembers that experience AND has hope! LOOK at him. that smile those bright eyes, I'm not just being buttery here, I am saying what I SEE. Yes he'smart, he's got the whole family wrapped around those little grubby mitts. He is a beautiful brilliant child I have no trouble with your assessment of him. Mothers know these things. Andrew really was a brilliant boy. I learned how he communicated and we had talks together, I listened to him communicate with his laughs and emotions, learned what he liked, what he thought was funny. He comprehended a great deal. We couldn't prove it to doctors who rely heavily on technology; but that did not make it any less true or any less real.

caramama said...

Yeah for Micah!!! Karen, I'm so happy for you and him that he reached this milestone. He is, of course, a supergenius and we all know it!

And who needs Harvard? The Pumpkin is going to Oxford. I want to visit England! ;-)

Andrea said...

Yeah Micah!! He has all sorts of information tucked up in that head of his and he just doens't want to let any one know it. I am so happy for you and for Micah!!

Debbie Yost said...

You don't need to tell me, I know exactly how you feel! The other day I watched Peanut play with another little girl on our street. The other girl is 1 week younger than Peanut, but typically developing. They played in the leaves, threw them in the air and her friend layed on the ground and called Peanut to help her get up! Peanut ran over and played right along. To many, this seem like nothing, but I know you understand how I felt watching that.

Michelle said...

Great job Micah! You keep on proving what you know!