I had such a "pinch me" moment last week. The latter past of last school year and the final week of our school holidays was spent in a flurry of testing and analysis by various doctors and specialists etal. to see just what was underlying my son's erratic and at times poor school performance. He was generally co-operative, although, at one point he did state rather loudly to one of many receptionists that the cost of the 5 minute visit to the specialist in which they'd told him nothing new was more than the cost of a 2.5 hour show he'd been to see the night previously. And to me he kept on saying "mom, you're wasting your money" and I kept on saying "if we can find something that will help you, I'll spend the last penny I have". And so we ticked off box after box in what some of my friends have been known to refer to as "the great psychological industrial machine". There were the scares, like an elevated white blood count - which turned out to be nothing but an impending sore throat a few days later. And the dares "I tell you, if this is all for nothing you should just give me all that money so I can buy an EZ-Robot"
So finally we have a report, which says some speech and language (S&L) difficulties, recommending that he continues with learning support for another year, and another report, which goes into details of the S&L issues and recommends more learning support and specific language intervention (English language that is). And then I meet up with learning support, and they show me all this first month testing they've been doing, and the report back from his (new) teacher and say that he's at or above average for everything except spelling, and reading comprehension and well, spelling isn't such a huge thing, and he's just marginally behind on the comprehension, so they don't see a need for learning support.
I know, I know, I should have been elated. But I just sat there with a mouth full of teeth, and started blabbering on about the fact that I'd just parked him into Chinese with the idea that he'd be out of Chinese and back into learning support within the month based on all these assessments and tests. This may sound strange, but I've had it with him and chinese. It's not his language, it's not his culture and it may never be. I'll say "may" since one never knows. But 2 years and buckets of tears and frustration and wasted hours of afternoons and weekends on homework later, he's still in the BOTTOM group in Chinese in a non-Chinese emphasis school (so think basic - really really basic). "You've got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away and know when to run. " and my running shoes are on. So I just put him there since he has to do a language some time, but he can't do French until next year and I'm not f***ing up his mind further by giving him a year of Spanish and then switching to French.... so please excuse my french.
What can I say? Ms. Gweipo bilingualism. Is saying NO! At least for one of my off-spring. We have progress, we have lift-off. I'm growing up I guess. Oh mummies with "tiger mum" book in one hand and any or all of the latest research into the benefits of multiple languages in the other heed my cry ....
It's really weird. Much of our lives in the last few years, us as a family, the interplay of personalities and life and days and effort and everything have been defined by having one in our midst with learning difficulties. Is this a strange thing to say, but we have to move to a new reality? I'm not shouting eureka "cure", but definitely there has been substantial progress in the last year. Very substantial progress. And hopefully with the current 2x weekly interventions on S&L there will be further progress. We need to adjust. We need to shed. Assumptions, actions, ways of being and thinking.
In the next few days I'll write a little about the journey. And what I think we did right - either intentionally or by accident. I think I've spilt enough ink in the last years about what we did wrong and for how long.
I want rejoice, but actually, it left me feeling a little flat. Like someone had pierced this huge protective bubble around me and was letting all the air spill out, saying "you don't need all of this, it's surplus".