We made it through the speech evaluation yesterday. It was all fairly effortless, and T. had a great time, actually--and I did, too, in a way. She looked at scores of pictures and identified them all, listened to some stories and recounted them, and got to assemble a Mr. Potato Head, all the while delighting the evaluator with her chirpy narrative. I realized long ago that watching evaluations doesn't have to be all doom and dread and angst. I actually watch my kids interacting with the evaluator and feel a sense of pride welling up inside at me. Sometimes it's easy to focus only on the reasons your child is there, and not see his or her strengths at that moment. I try hard not to let the "issues" override my pride and joy in watching my kids shine--it's hard, but worth it. And if you're facing a speech and language evaluation in the future--it's a piece of cake, really. As it turns out, T. does needs intensive speech and language therapy once a week, though, as we thought she might. Developmentally, at age 4-1/2, she should have outgrown many of her "speech quirks" and her misuse of pronouns. But she's always marched to her own drummer, development-wise, and she is always keeping us on our toes--unconventional and surprising girl that she is.
It poured rain all day long yesterday and, of course, if you juggle kids and backpacks and raincoats and umbrellas, you never end up staying dry for long. When the kids and I had finally dragged our bedraggled, wet selves home, after the appointment and homework and bad weather traffic, it was 4:00. I decided, on a whim--because I like to make life more crazy than it already is--to make soup and muffins AND hot chocolate for the kids, because T. is programmed to clamor for hot chocolate and marshmallows as soon as the temperature dips even the slightest. I dug out our Frosty the Snowman mugs and mixed two chocolatey cups for the kids, while simultaneously throwing the carrots and onions into a pot for the soup. I was mentally crafting a warm and happy column for this site, about lentil soup on a cold and rainy day, when I left T. with firm instructions to finish her cocoa at the counter and ducked into the bathroom for all of two minutes.
There are few sounds as ominous to a parent (except maybe the absence of all sound) as the sound of little feet slipping, a crashing noise, a splattering noise, and the words "I okay! It was an accident!"
"Don't worry, Mama," L. called from the family room. "Willa is licking it all up!"
"Licking what up?" I asked tentatively from the bathroom, hoping against hope that T. had miraculously managed to keep the cup steady despite the slip and fall.
"All the hot chocolate and marshmallows," he replied.
And then that alter-ego mom--the one who lurks in the background on bad, tired, overworked days just waiting for the chance to put in an appearance--she stepped in. She fussed and mopped and scolded and threw the dog (who was only trying to be helpful) out onto the screened-in porch. Honestly, though, in defense of that other mom, spilled hot chocolate and marshmallows is no fun to clean up.
So I didn't end up writing the cozy column on lentil soup I had wanted to write yesterday. It seemed hypocritical to write one when I spent 15 minutes cleaning up hot chocolate and fussing at my kids, who were propelled into a similar mood by all my ranting and raving about being careful and listening. On days like yesterday I can almost see it coming: that grouchy alter-mom elbowing her way in on me, waiting to take over because I took on too much. But in the end, order was restored and I apologized to the kids for my ranting outburst, explaining that I was way too tired, and I was sick of being rained on, and I hate cleaning up hot chocolate--feeble excuses, but true all the same.
"It okay," T. told me, patting me on my arm.
And it was, and we had the soup later--big steaming bowls of it, with Indian bread and cheese, and maybe I will write that post for Friday after all--barring any more appearances from that other mom.