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The year in review: Energy Girl rocks!

It’s nearing the end of the year, and I’m starting to feel nostalgic. Also, my daughter just turned seven, and somehow that seems very momentous. It occurred to me that I’d like to publicly thank all the people who have helped her this year. It’s been an amazing year for her, full of growth and promise. And I know we wouldn’t have seen nearly the amount of positive change without various people’s help.

The longest-term thanks goes to her pediatrician, who has known her since birth, and more than once has had occasion to use his best line on me: “I want to assure you that this is perfectly normal. It’s on the far end of normal, but it is normal!”

Never once, in all the years of fretting about school, asking him to do tests because of my various suspicions about her health, and asking for referrals to yet another practitioner of yet another science/art, has he ever questioned my motivations or made suggestions that were clearly not consistent with my values. Another doctor would have suggested ADHD drugs long ago, would have said she was right for special education rather than specialized education, or would have written me off as an over-helicoptering parent. Thank you!

Next I want to thank the teachers in her homeschool program, especially Joy, who was probably not sure what to make of her when she became my daughter’s teacher-consultant (the teacher who meets with the child once a month to talk about educational and other issues). We transferred into the district, and the transfer rules state that if your child causes problems at the school, she can be kicked out. No one at her school ever mentioned that. In fact, they went out of their way to figure out how they could accommodate my exceptionally disruptive, sweet, difficult, bright little person.

Sue, the office manager, secretary, librarian, and all-around substitute grandma at her school, has also been hugely important to how well she’s learned to fit in there. Sue arrived at the school the same month we did, and we had no idea that she was new there. She adopted all the kids, including my daughter, with open arms. When my daughter is having trouble in the classroom, Sue is always there with a calming task. And she doesn’t even seem to mind being called “Poo”, though that might just be good manners!

Thanks to my daughter’s real Nana, my mom, who has never been critical of my parenting, though I’m sure there have been many occasions where it would have been warranted! She has had to stretch her repertoire of grandparenting just as far as I’ve had to stretch my parenting, and she’s done it willingly.

Thanks to Vanessa, our homeschool role model, who entered my daughter’s life as her babysitter when she was three and not making it in preschool. Vanessa never lost touch with my daughter, even when she went off to be a full-time teacher. Now that she has a baby, she’s back in our lives again and we are so happy about that. Now I’d call her less of a babysitter and more of a homeschool support person, giving me the time I need to get my own work done.

And thanks to all my homeschooling friends who have been so inclusive: those who invited my daughter to parties and get-togethers when other parents weren’t willing to; those who listened to me gripe at support meetings; those who offered advice and showed me by example; those who accepted her for who she is. You’ve all helped me be a better mom and reluctant homeschooler for my Energy Girl.

And most of all, thanks to Energy Girl: she could teach us all a lot about the value of persistence. When she decides she’s going to do something, she does it. Last spring she announced that she wanted to go to school without me. Now, it doesn’t even occur to me that it’s strange just to drop her off for her school day or art classes.

In case you want to see the arc of our year, here are some snapshots:

Posted in Parenting.

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  1. For me, it was an easy choice, but hard work – Avant Parenting linked to this post on January 19, 2010

    […] that there are children who desperately need medical treatments for real, difficult problems *** Some details of the changes we made in our daughter’s lifestyle, including diet and environment **** My article about James T. Webb and the evolution of knowledge […]

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