eleven – whatever happened to phases?

In the parking lot of Dr. Ivy’s office, I tell David I’m relieved but surprised by the diagnosis/not-diagnosis, and also a little confused.  David reminds me that surprise and confusion have been true for approximately sixty-seven percent of our Parenting experience.  I love that he says “sixty-seven percent” mostly because it’s roughly accurate, and also who says that?  

The next day we call a Family Meeting to tell Dora about her “printer challenge”.  We use the Doctor’s script.  “And that,” I say, patting her arm, “Is why it’s sometimes difficult for you to write a lot of sentences.”

I get that it was probably too much to ask that she respond even a teensy bit like Helen Keller did when Anne Sullivan teaches her the word for “water”, but Dora’s only response is to shrug and ask whether this means she still has to write if she doesn’t want to.  

I manage to request “accommodations” of the school without ever actually using the word “accommodations” because using that word in conjunction with our Dora makes me want to punch something.  It turns out that a requesting an accommodation for a “scribe” has nothing to do with scrimshaw or sign language. It really just means receiving pre-approval from the school for either David or I to write Dora’s spoken homework answers.  

We even take the whole thing one step further by arranging private typing lessons for Dora, because waiting for her to “grow out of it” instead of helping her right this second feels like  something only lazy parents would do.  Yes, private typing lessons for children are a thing, and yes, probably only here in Silicon Valley.  Don’t judge.

In a weird plot twist, Dora’s second grade teacher doesn’t buy Dr. Ivy’s “writing thing” diagnosis. Over the next six weeks she points out several instances where Dora has written pages of sentences without issue, “My observation is that when Dora is interested in the topic, she has no trouble writing fluently.”  We shrug our shoulders, not knowing how to fix that problem. 

Eventually the teacher stops emailing us her concern, and I stop asking, remembering when a friend once asked, “Whatever happened to kids going through phases? Now we have to diagnose everything?”  

Eventually we stop the typing lessons and the teacher stops emailing us and and the whole writing-thing kind of fades into the background. 

Two months later Dora learns how to cartwheel.

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