Over the past month Jacob has been tested thoroughly by school. He is coming upon his 7th birthday at which time the school must officially "label" him. His previous label was DD or developmentally delayed which Mark and I have disagreed with due to his incredible ability to verbally express his emotions. We have 5 other children that truly fit the DD label and none of them are as capable of expressing themselves as he is. Frankly, I don't think I'm as in touch with my emotions as he is. Not even sure I want to be.
The official label is now SLD - specific learning disability. This is determined by a gap between his intellectual level and performance in school. Was no surprise to me, but it is new to me. Although Conor likely would have received a similar label, we were homeschoolers at the time and did not have him formally tested. So, it is our first foray into the LD world of school.
Last week Mark and Jacob spent the day at the zoo. Mark was a little skeptical of taking him as the last visit ended poorly as Mark had to carry Jacob out from the bowels of the zoo to the parking lot with Jacob kicking, hitting and screaming at him the whole way. Ella was along and humiliated as well as angry that their zoo time was cut short. However, this trip was a great father son time and Mark thoroughly enjoyed it. When they walked in the door the first words out of Jacob's mouth were - "I was bad" - which was said at the same time Mark was raving about what a great time they had. Since they were talking at the same time Mark didn't even hear Jacob and I chose to ignore it and praise him for all the fun they had. This is one of the parenting hurdles with RAD - reactive attachment disorder - kids. We seem to be constantly trying to reassure him that he is lovable and awesome even when he is acting most unlovable and unawesome.
Mark told me later that he asked Jacob what animal he would most like to be. "A turtle," he said, "Why a turtle." "Because I could go into my shell for protection." Whew - he is so very transparent, which is helpful, but also makes me so very sad. How do you convince a wonderful child that he really is wonderful - warts and all? All I know to do is to keep reassuring him with the same kisses good night we always have - Mama loves you, Daddy loves you, but most of all - Jesus loves you. How very grateful I am that that is true and hopefully Jacob will some day believe it to the very depths of his soul.