Now We Are Six, by A.A. Milne
When I was one,
I had just begun.
When I was two,
I was nearly new.
When I was three,
I was hardly me.
When I was four,
I was not much more.
When I was five,
I was just alive.
But now I am six,
I’m as clever as clever.
So I think I’ll be six
now and forever.
Mystical magical six.
“When I am six, I will brush my own teeth.”
“Guess what! When I am six, I will buckle myself.”
“When I am six, I will be in the elementary.” (J-code for 1st grade.)
“When I am six, I will button myself.”
“I will read the little books about Mac.”
“I feel like to watch a movie because I am six years old. I will watch the Real Spiderman. I will will watch the Green Goblin. I will try.”
I’m not sure what happened in J’s brain to endow six with such supernatural power, but hearing him voice a desire for independence is a wonder. Mind you, these are tasks he’s probably been able to do, albeit slowly, for awhile now. But being able is only a part of the mysterious equation by which Jonah operates. He has to want it.
I forget how hard some tasks are for him. After his OT session yesterday, his therapist showed me his scores on a visual-motor integration evaluation they completed to track his progress (and prove to our insurance company that he continues to need therapy). His motor coordination—the ability to trace within a confined space (think those labyrinth-like maze books you loved as a kid)—score had improved from .4% to 1%. His visual perception score (the ability to look at a shape and draw it) had improved from 3% to 13%. Those percentages mean that J ranks in the .4% to 13% range for kids his age. Seriously, I had no idea.
My sharing these scores isn’t about comparing Jonah to anyone. That doesn’t do him or me a lick of good. What I’m coming to grips with is that the ability to write (and learn to write) isn’t just difficult for Jonah; it’s an outright impairment. Add to the mix sensory integration and sensory modulation disorders and the word disability comes to mind. I’m starting to think/realize that the hardest part of his struggle will be that his disability may be largely invisible, which presents its own set of difficulties and will probably involve his sense of self. And God, I love that kid’s self. It’s about the brightest thing I’ve ever encountered. Say J’s an atom. Well, his essence is the nucleus with all those crazy electrons spinning around it. But what seems crazy and disordered is really its own order and what holds him together.
I don’t mean to be bleak, throwing around the D-word and all. Because the thing is, what Jonah doesn’t get, I firmly believe he will get. I’m not talking about a cure or a comprehensive change, as if he were to morph into a “New and Improved Jonah!” Like I said, he’s got to want it, and what he doesn’t want he may eventually just need to let go—though letting go may not be so much his issue as mine. For now, I’m perfectly happy with his twiggy-limbed six-year-old self, “clever as clever…now and forever.”