Friday, August 28, 2009

The Colour of Learning

Another summer is gone. The days are getting shorter. Which means that three things will happen: 1) Merchants will start dousing their stores with Christmas paraphernalia 2) Cold and possibly flu germs will start planning extended visits to our house and 3) The kids will start back to school.

Back to school has been THE topic of choice at our house for weeks. How many weeks until it starts? When can I pack my backpack? Can I wear my new clothes yet? It's been on my mind constantly too. But school and learning colour us each differently.

Daughters 1 and 2 start attending afternoon classes three days a week at a Christian school. Daughter 1 has a few "new school" hesitations but that blinking yellow is going to change to pure green once she gets started. Daughter 2 is purple passion--happy to be out and about with normal hearing kids, looking forward to an adventure. I think this is going to be a good year for her.

Daughter 3 is dead set against going anywhere away from home. Even though she could start kindergarten at this same school she won't. Won't. She's the one with attachment disorder. In her case, she has the more rare form called Anxious Attachment. She is terrorized by the certainty that something bad will happen to her or me and she **much** prefers to be home with me at all times. That's fine. We'll paint her red. We could also paint her black and white since that's how she often sees things. She isn't happy her sisters are leaving home to go to school but I think, ultimately, she's going to be tickled pink to have more one on one time with me.

That leaves us with Daughter 4. Her colour is in the Agent Orange or dioxin poisoning which we are becoming increasingly certain she suffered from before birth. All the pieces fit: cleft lip and palate, hernia, pervasive but scattered developmental delays. She was born to a family who lived on the Mekong River Delta, an area of Vietnam with high Agent Orange exposure. And birth defects certainly remain prevalent in Vietnam despite time passing. I'm knee deep in pages of highly technical medical reports about the effects of dioxin on fetus; it's sobering reading. She and I have a lot of work to do this year which we are going to accomplish via play with a purpose.

And then there's me: a bit blue that I have three daughters facing difficult futures as they work harder than their peers to overcome their disabilities, a bit green with envy of other parents with "normal" kids, but mostly white with fear that I'm not going to "get this right"--that I'll miss something I need to give my girls, particularly Daughter 2 and 4. I have neither a background in education nor early child development. But these kids are golden. I can do a lot wrong and they keep coming back right--not to mention colourful characters.

So think of us Monday morning when we start off our learning kaleidoscope. One thing is for certain: it's never boring and I'm glad I get the pleasure of raising these rainbow girls.


Jean Baardsen said...

That was beautiful. God will lead you in how to do the best for your daughters. What color is "trust"? How about silver?

Recovering Noah said...

This is probably my favorite post ever. I can so relate. LOVE the color illustrations.

Thinking of you as tomorrow rolls around. Tomorrow my red girl starts pre-k and this mama is tickled pink but also a little blue. And racked with whatever color guilt and worry are made of...

And thinking about your little oranage girl, too....

P.S. Did you get my twitter about the gift you sent?

Katie said...

Oh hon, I've been there too. I've worried for years that I'm not doing everything that I can for Ben. Trust your instincts and just do your best. Those girls have a mom who loves them and that will make a huge difference in their lives. If you ever want to talk..whether it be about Seamus & Shortbread's diner, Rhino rides or about kids, crafting or just anything, just drop me a line. I'd still love to get together.