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Feels half pointless to say so when I haven't exactly been blogging as much as I used to, but I almsot certainly won't in the next couple of weeks. We're headed to Orlando as of Wednesday for a family trip/visit (We'l;l be seeing my in-laws, including Colin's sister, again). At the time the trip was planned, it was assumed we would have maybe seen my M-i-L in November and nobody else since summer or longer, not that the loss of a family member would cause them all to visit in December.

Mostly we're planning the expected touristy things - some of the more toddler friendly with JoJo, some with just Colin and I (or with his sister as well) while JoJo stays at the resort with the grandparents.

Travelling while fairly heavily pregnant is something I'm not entirely looking forward to, but we are all planning carefully around, and I suspect the result will be the same increase in physical activity I've been wanting anyhow. And I have the sense to monitor my need for down time.
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Joseph saw the doctor for a check-up, just because he hasn't been since he was around 18 months and needed his last vaccination until he's 5. And the Doctor strongly suggested, just from his behaviour in the office, that we have someone from Child Development Clinic look at him. Because some of it struck him as very abnormal for Joseph's age. He was, I admit, being especially bad at the doctor's office, being bored and restless, and thus even less responsive than usual, but not so far outside his normal range that I could shrug it off as just a bad day.

I can see it. Joseph is bright, and physically active, and displays high intelligence. Yet he often doesn't pay attention. He's got excellent memory and a good vocabulary but still doesn't always do dialogue or respond. He's missing some social skills and social cues, and even his lack of fear or shyness around strangers, which I consider a plus in most cases, could be symptomatic.

One oddity that has stood out for me for a while is, he knows Mommy -- especially, but also Grandmas and Daddy -- give him kisses. But he has never, or at best extremely rarely, tried to reciprocate. He's always been bad at imitation games, at copying things other people do. Usually because he stops watching them, not because he can't understand when he does look and think about it.

I would not be surprised if any look at him determines he falls inside the range of neurotypical, even if he has a few outlier traits (That's where I am, after all, especially re the outliers). I would be not at all surprised to learn it's mostly ADD, with the social skills mostly a matter of distraction -- a result rather than a symptom. (His uncle has, and one grandmother almost certainly has, ADD). I would be a bit more surprised, but consider it well within the realm of possibility, that there's a bit more going on and that some of those are symptoms of something in the range of low-grade autism or Asberger's. (He pretty definitely doesn't, at least at his age, have any sign of Colin's family's depression and anxiety disorders.)

I would be HUGELY surprised, and deeply skeptical, if anyone thought it was something serious enough to require medication.

I can say that there's nothing serious enough that he couldn't have learned to cope in a time period where forcing kids to cope or fail was the norm. I consider it plausible that, in these days of more awareness and accommodation, there are ways me might be happier and more able to learn if a diagnosis can be made.

And yet I fret. Is he having these problems because of times I didn't pay him enough close attention? I love him dearly, I try to express it daily, I try to give him social time. I also try to give him time to learn to play alone, while I work on other things (lunch, or a puzzle, or a book of my own.) He's seemed to be good at coming up and asking for attention or for a specific thing he needs while I'm doing this, but did I overdo the "mommy is doing other stuff" moments and underdo the rest? I don't think so, I think I struck a fair balance between over-hovering and under-attending, and one that doesn't seem too different from most other parents I've seen -- except apparently in my deep anxieties.

And yes, I know the "refrigerator mom" theory has been pretty heavily debunked (unless you're talking levels of isolation and non-socialization that would be visibly abusive), and that that's pretty much what the anxieties are pressing.

But I'm not a perfect mom. I get horribly frustrated when he does the things he knows are wrong and that we've said no to for the fifteenth time in 2 days. I get frustrated he doesn't do things I think he should know how to do by now, because he's been shown dozens or more times (especially when there are other things, things that play to his strengths, that he has learned how to do in a snap.) I get frustrated, period. I fret about not getting to do my own thing, when frankly, I DO, a fair bit (And a number of times when I don't, it's self-inflicted.) I fret about doing too little for him. I fret about doing too much for him. I fret about paying less attention to him while we have guests over (Even though the guests often also help with him, or pay attention to him that's new and different.) I fret about him not spending enough time with his Daddy as caregiver. I fret about asking Colin to do too much when he's tired from work and I don't have a solid reason. I fret I don't clean enough (I'm right about that one).

All of which means, of course, that if something is wrong that will be an issue for his whole life, not just a brief hitch in his early years, my brain has ample fodder for ways to blame me.

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