Eleanor can put on her shoes by herself, she can climb up and down the diaper changing table by herself, she can jump higher and farther and for longer periods of time, she can balance on one foot, she can help get herself dressed and undressed, she can carry heavier objects, she can climb in and out of the car and her carseat and put her arms in and buckle the chest straps on her carseat by herself. She can set small figurines and doll house people down without them falling over, she holds a pencil better, she has memorized more books, she knows when she is poopy, she can follow more complicated directions, she understands vague terms like "soon" and "later," her pronunciation is clearer, she knows more words, her sentences are longer and more varied, she can make connections between two things without prompting.
There are a few areas where Abigail is still ahead, but basically my (slightly advanced) 2-year-old and my special-needs 5-year-old are pretty much at the same level. I know this. I'm not stupid. But it doesn't really bother me, we've been doing this one day at a time for five years. We meet Abigail where she is and Eleanor where she is. It's not complicated and it doesn't bother me. Until the report card comes.
Abigail's report card came in the mail yesterday. It lists various categories and her proficiency on a scale of 1 to 3. It also has a "goal" report that tells me where she is and where they want her to be by the next report card. Lastly, I got a letter from her speech therapist with summer ideas to help her hit those goals.
This shit is depressing. I was sitting next to Abigail on the couch. She was playing an ABC game on the tablet, Eleanor and Theodore were napping, and I'm shaking, tight-lipped with anger. I yanked a pink highlighter out of the pencil cup and set about marking everything that was factually inaccurate and grammatically incorrect. "Abigail makes 2-3 word utterances correctly 95% of the time." What the hell does that mean? 5% of the time, she gets a 2 word sentence wrong? Pink slash. "Able to distinguish between author and illustrator. Grade: 3." Abigail doesn't know what an illustrator is, how did she get a perfect score? What five year old is making this distinction? What preschooler even talks like that? Pink slash. "Speech Therapy Summer Idea's!" Great, the college-educated therapist my daughter is seeing is a complete moron who does't even know how to use apostrophes! Violent pink slash.
I grew angrier and angrier. Take your stupid ass percentages, file them with whatever agency requires it, then keep them the hell at school. No one in this house is benefited by knowing that Abigail is only using 4-6 word sentences correctly 25% of the time. And the Goddamned "Summer Idea's." (I'm not using His name in vein. I really want Him to damn the stupid form to the depths of paperwork hell.) These tips are almost 100% worthless. (See what I did there?) If you're only a halfway decent parent, you're going to be hitting a lot of these. "Play turn-taking games!" "Talk about the world around them! 'There goes a red car!'" And a good chunk of tips are completely idiotic. One time a physical development tip was to have her "carry wet laundry." Yes, really. I scornfully laughed for days. What am I going do, pull the clean laundry out of the washer, hand it to Abigail and make her do laps around the basement? "Abigail can do six laps with wet t-shirts! Next we are going to work on wet jeans!"
The worst part? The part that cuts the deepest? When you think they're wrong and then you realize they are right. That shit fucking hurts.
"How do you get a 2 word sentence wrong? Like, 'house blue' instead of 'blue house?'" And then I pause. Because Abigail does say that. Probably more than 5% of the time, actually. House blue, car red, bike yellow. I don't know if she's just mixing up her noun, adjective order or saying "The house is blue" in an abbreviated way, but either way, it's two words and they're wrong.
So not only is the "evaluation grade" on the "progress report" demeaningly low, but it's right. Now I don't even know where to aim my fire-breathing anger. Mentally cussing out the therapist for repetitive exclamation points and missing periods is not enough. So I light the report card on fire.
I threw it in the sink and watched it burn, taking pictures and breathing in the acrid smoke. Forget the poor grammar and the uncorrected typos in her permanent record. Fuck them for sending this shit home. Fuck them for calculating to what percentage Abigail is failing and sending it to my safe and happy home. I don't know what it will look like when Abigail reaches her potential, but she will, damn it. Whether she holds down a job and lives independently or volunteers a few hours a week to sweep the floors at church, we will discern it and she will achieve it. Worthless report card.