I spent last weekend filing documents that have piled up over five years.
Being a parent is a full time job on top of a job.
Being a special needs parent is like having an extra job on top of parenting – managing school and service appointments, taking your child to appointments, keeping track of reports and doing your best to follow up on recommendations.
So much paperwork has piled up from the last five years from school – e.g. IEPs, report cards, T’s lovely work – and medical and community services – e.g. therapy reports, T’s recent diagnosis.
I’m usually organized, but with the pandemic and the added job of managing Ma’s appointments, I’ve had no energy to organize the clutter.
Last Saturday, I hunkered down for an afternoon and sorted through the mess.
And this was the result:
T’s work from preschool and kindergarten were sorted into their own bags and binder. It was a joy seeing his artwork and scribbles/printing – reminding me that progress is steady.
I filed reports from elementary school – IEPs, safety plans, report cards – into one binder, in chronological order, because I’m anal retentive.
His most important documents – adoption papers, our wills, his therapy and diagnosis reports – were sorted into a filing accordion ($3 from the dollar store!) so they’re in one place.
And the most therapeutic part – I ended up with a pile of documents I could put in the shredder!
Celebrate and Remember Every Milestone and Hurdle
It was therapeutic to look back at the things that consumed our thoughts.
This was a goals document we prepared for a meeting with T’s developmental therapist, a service provided before he started pre-school.
It was humbling to see how our use of language has evolved. Our perspective of “bad” has changed into one that recognizes these are challenges.
This was a growth chart his developmental pediatrician provided during his first assessment that resulted in a prognosis of at risk FASD.
It’s funny to think back about how I obsessed over how his height and weight was compared to the average peer. At some point, I stopped worrying.
It’s like how we are now motivated to help T move up his reading levels – but also recognize he will do so at his own pace.
This “FASD: Strategies Not Solutions” booklet was provided during a parenting workshop hosted by the Children’s Aid Society.
I put it on my bedside table as something to re-read over the coming weeks.
The best part of the filing exercise was coming across so many wonderful photos from T’s toddler and preschool years in Montessori.
He was just starting his school experience. He was so small and innocent. Things seemed so much simpler back then.
Then I stumbled across the letter from the administrator of the Montessori telling us that T was not invited to apply for the Fall term – what would’ve been junior kindergarten – because of his challenging behaviour.
I didn’t feel the rage I felt when the incident first happened. I felt peace and gratitude.
His school life continues to have ups and downs – but that incident redirected T to public school and he is all the better because of it.
So I’m sticking my tongue out again at those stupid Montessori administrators. Shame on you.
It was very satisfying to get the filing work done.
That evening, the hubby, T and I enjoyed a long walk. On the way back home, we stopped by the local Vietnamese restaurant and picked up Pho and spring rolls as our weekend treat.