An Incident that haunts me


This might be an icident that will haunt me for life. Last time, I talked about decisions. We make choices each day and each choice leads to different consequences. When my son was about eight months old, he had to go through circumcision suggested by our pediatrician to prevent future infection. Our decision to not go through circumcision when he was born didn’t spare him from not going through the surgery in the end. Conducting the surgery at an older age is actually riskier no matter how small the surgery is. I am not a great mom. I make mistakes all the time. New to parenthood, I was still very self-absorbed. Even now when I have been a mom for over nine years, I am still the same self-absorbed person. That day before the surgery, inside the waiting room, I set my son on the table. The table was more like a file cabinet, with narrow surface. When my son sat on top of it, he was about where my armpits were. The cabinet was in front of me, so I could see my son right in front of me. Instead of paying attention to what he was doing, I turned my head to the right to talk to my husband, who sat at the chair next to the cabinet. There was a space of about a chair's width between the chair and the cabinet. I didn’t realize that I had set my son too close to the edge of the cabinet. In the blink of an eye, he fell to the ground. He fell from a height of approximately four feet. I was really devasted and went to talk to the nurse right away to ask if he needed to be examined for any head injury. The nurse looked at him and told us that since he didn’t vomit, he should be okay. Gas induction of anesthesia was later performed and he was completely out of consciencious when the surgery went on.


Was this the end of the story? I would hope so. When my son was born, our parents came to help taking care of him and to enjoy qualify family life with their first grandson. We did try to transition him to the daycare environment when he was about nine-month-old, but had to pull him out of daycare as he experienced a high degree of stranger and separation anxiety. In the end, we asked my in-laws to extend their stay. My son was in a Chinese immersed environment until he was about eighteen-month-old when we enrolled him in daycare again. Our daycare teachers informed us that my son might have difficulty understanding English and suggested that we spoke to him in English in addition to Mandarin. We thought that learning English at daycare would be sufficient for him since he spent over nine hours each day except Saturdays and Sundays staying in the daycare center. What would be the harm to speak to him strictly in Mandarin for less than 2 hours a day during the weekdays? Anyway, we just ignored the daycare teachers’ suggestion. We still believe that kids get a benefit from bilingualism. When my son was about three years old, the daycare teachers told us that he might have language development issue and suggested that we test him for learning disability. We contacted Early Childhood Education to assess his learning ability. The result indicated that he was somewhat behind but the situation wasn’t severe enough to cause an alarm at that point. A year later, our daycare teachers brought up his language development issue. We contacted Early Childhood Education again to assess his learning ability. This time we asked to test him for Chinese language comprehension as well, since his language development issue seemed to go beyond English language comprehension. The result came back indicating that he lagged far behind in both English and Mandarin compared to kids at his age. He is a kid with great mobility and motor skills. We just thought that he preferred actions rather than words. After the assessment, he started his speech theraphy once a week for about half a year before he started kindergarten. He was enrolled in ESL in elementary school from kindergarten to 1st grade. In our school, ESL is the only special program that deals with speech/language issue. In his class, there is one kid who has stuttering problem. Both his parents are Caucasians. Maybe my son is a late bloomer. His NWEA test scores were about average for the first two years in elementary school. Not until he entered 2nd grade did he shine at math. He scored a high 98 percentile in NWEA Math and is enrolled in the Accelerated Math Program. We believe that he still struggles with communication and comprehension. His NWEA Reading scores weren’t that impressive. Still he managed to score higher than average and achieve a lexile reading level of roughly 800. We are actually pretty satisfied with his achievements since neither of us is a Tiger Mom or a Tiger Dad. We would like to encourage him to spend some time in writing. I can see that the 20-minute reading assignment from school is going to cultivate a lifetime reading habit for him. He has found great interest lately in reading “How to Train Your Dragon” book series and has completed reading four books in a week, each with approximately 240 pages.  


By now, you might be confused with my rambling. What am I trying to convey here? It all began with my husband’s joking remark that the fall might have contributed to my son’s learning disability and affected his neurological development. We have recently received my daughter’s IQ test result and she scored in the top one percent. In addition, both her NWEA Math and Reading scores were at the 99th percentile. She just turned six years old not long ago and is learning 2nd grade math in kindergarten. Her test results did make me wonder if I had somehow caused some damage to my son’s learning ability. We will never know. This is a reason that we pay most of our attention to my son. This will be a secret kept between my husband and I. If he finds out that his mom let him drop to the ground when he was a baby not once but twice, he might have excuses to blame me for things in his life that do not go well. The second fall was more of his fault as he was not sitting still in his high chair and the chair just tipped over to the floor. Actually, this happened to my daughter as well. She fell to the floor when her high chair tipped over. Like I said, I am not a great mom.        


Written by Elisa English

On May 17th, 2012



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