Friday, December 17, 2010

Noting the Good During a Bad Week

During times like these when we are feeling discouraged about our son’s progress, I think it is important to step back and take note of the good things that are happening.

Just this week, I had the opportunity to attend several of my son’s after-school activities and saw some really positive developments.

At karate class, his sensei now regularly hands Kai a microphone at the end of the pre-class warmup session so that he can announce to the class that it is time to clean up as class is about to begin.  As I easily recall the days when my son hardly spoke, it gives me a big kick when I hear him speak so well in front of everybody.

At his swim lesson this week, Kai walked right in and I did not have to carry him in like I did before, or drag him kicking and screaming into the health club like Mom had to just last week.  I was even more impressed at how far he had come in just the seven weeks since I’d last seen him swim.  He was putting his face in the pool with ease and was starting to swim without the use of a kickboard.  It was great to see that he was obviously learning well.

Perhaps the most interesting experience was when I went with Kai for his latest semi-annual dental checkup.  His first visit to the dentist when he was three years old remains one of the most unforgettable ordeals I’ve endured as a father.  Kai screamed and fought to keep the dentist from looking into his mouth.  My wife and I struggled mightily to hold down various parts of his body in an attempt to keep him as still as possible.  Meanwhile, the dental assistant attempted to stick a couple of those “popsicle sticks” into his mouth to try to pry it open so that the dentist could examine his teeth.  When the assistant was finally able to keep Kai’s mouth open for more than a couple seconds, the dentist stuck his mirror in and took a quick look around.  After about five seconds, he pronounced that Kai had no cavities and that we were free to go.  I wasn’t sure how much he could actually see during that time, but I was not about to argue with him to extend the suffering (mine, not Kai’s).

This visit, however, went totally differently.  For one thing, the place we went to this time is a pediatric dental office so the hygienist was a real pro at working with kids. She playfully squirted water with Kai and let him be her assistant.  She also kept talking with him, but what I loved was that he answered her back.  It’s a miracle whenever he answers Mom or me so I was thrilled to see him be so conversational with Jackie.  She counted his teeth – counting is always a good thing with him – and we found out that he now has 22 teeth.  And, she let him pick out his preferred flavor of tooth polish – who knew that there was cookie dough flavored polish?  I kept waiting for him to explode and protest, but it never happened.  Kai cooperated beautifully as I marveled at how much he had changed in three years. 

And so, just this week, we had a lot of good along with some of the bad.  And that serves as a reminder to stay steady, and not get overly discouraged when things don’t seem to be going well.  So here’s to keeping it real.  Just please remind me of this the next time the rollercoaster takes a plunge. 

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