What brought me here? How did this happen? Why did I not see? When did it start? Am I a failure as a mother? A good mother would have seen it and done something….As I sit here looking out the window with my thoughts and unanswered questions I wait patiently for the door to open. My phone beeps to let me know we have another appointment in 30 minutes with the workshop. The door opens and there she is my little princess, wearing what she calls her “ happy dress” , which is bright yellow with purple flowers and her pink sandals….We arrive at the workshop and an hour later we are headed home. You are probably wondering about why I doubt myself as a mother, understand I am not alone here her father is just as concerned, but as a man sometimes does.. they just accept without question.
This all started 3 months ago, when Abby started first grade. She had been in a school structured environment since she was 3 , private pre-school, then VPK and finally Kindergarten, all of which was the same facility so she was quite comfortable with her surroundings. No one really paid much attention the first few weeks of first grade , friends were being made, there were rules and assigned classroom duties and learning to take on more responsibility for yourself. Abby loved school and even woke up earlier than she needed to make sure she didn’t miss the bus and always brought home papers and books, stating she had lots of “homework” to do.. of course this was due to the fact she had an older brother ( 3 years older) and he always had homework , she wanted to be just like him. She appeared to be a happy well adjusted child , no problems what so ever.
Then one day I received a phone call from the school, her teacher wanted a conference with her father and I, it seemed she had concerns. My husband was out of town on business so I had to go alone. I arrived at the school not having any idea as to why. Her teacher was there with another person who was introduced as the county school psychologist.. Who proceeded to lay out several drawings done by Abby. .not bad for a first grader, I thought, they were in proportion and you could tell the pictures told a story, what could this be ? They started by informing me Abby was very smart and well behaved and appeared very mature for her age. However their concern was her drawings, they were very dark and forboding….excuse me? They stated the choice of colors with the subject matter showed perhaps she was acting out some form of mental anguish towards her family or perhaps her lack of self worth towards herself. My daughter , who always buys the brightest clothes, smiles all the time and is kind towards all animals? They said sometimes parents don’t want to see or admit things that are wrong, so they suggested we have Abby tested to help understand what the problem might be, as they felt “we” caught it in time so it could be fixed. We made the appointment with the child psychologist and also a complete work-up physical to make sure it was not a health issue
Visits every two weeks to a workshop with 5 other children where Abby and the others were observed and questioned by the mediators…nothing regarding Abby was discovered., soon Abby began asking questions regarding why she was having to talk to all these people, she asked me “is there something wrong with me? Am I going to die? ..I thought. .Oh what have we done?
This brings us up to the present…we went to the workshop.. as we sat in the waiting room a young college aged girl started talking with Abby…they were engrossed in conversation about Abby’s favorite subject drawing. It was then that our name was called to go to workshop.
While waiting for the workshop to start I asked Abby about they conversation with the girl in the waiting room… When she was little she had the same problem as me…what was that I asked.
She had to use the dark colored crayons….she what I asked ? Just then the mediators walked in.
We have a guest today they said, her name is Sarah and she is a psychology student who will be helping us today. .Excuse me I said. but Abby mentioned that you had the same problem, when you were little, could I ask what that was? Oh certainly…As you probably know the First grade class is done in alphabetical order for most activities, this helps them to learn the alphabet and how to follow directions.
Abby told me this is how the class chooses from the crayon box…I told her my name was Zuckerman so I was always the last one for everything…she told me her name was Zelznick.
I said we have something in common , both of our last names start with the letter “ Z”…
That’s when I told her I always got to chose from the crayon box last and wasn’t happy that ALL the pretty colors had been picked. .all that was left were the black, brown, gray and dark blue crayons. So ALL my pictures were dark.. even the flowers and the sun..
Needless to say everyone just looked at each other…finally Abby’s teacher said “ why didn’t we discover this sooner?” Abby raised her hand…“Nobody ever asked me “….
simple solution to a simple problem…always ask first before you judge….
Abby’s grown now and in her third year of Medical School, to be a Doctor of Pediatrics and has already received her Doctorate in Child Psychology….and still loves bright colors