I just wanted to announce a new blog I’ve created: Raising Smart Girls. The Growing In Peace blog is designed for the day to day happenings in our household. My new blog is mostly for journaling purposes as I figure out what my future will hold. Leaving the laboratory was one of the best things I’ve done for my family and one of the hardest things I’ve done for myself. I’m using that blog to work through to a new vision for the future for myself.
Some day in the near future I see a return to the workforce, or for pursuing a graduate degree. If things I suspect in my highly sensitive 4.5 year old come true, I may be pursuing a line of study that includes the biological basis of selective mutism.
For any of you interested, selective mutism in a nutshell is considered an extreme social anxiety and that it acts as a protective mechanism in certain social situations. Usually this doesn’t appear until preschool or kindergarten.
My bright, creative, sensitive 4 year old – the one who likes the placemat of the presidents, and the one who can identify Saturn, Jupiter, Earth, and Pluto, the little nature girl of the previous post, the one who can sing songs about anything under the sun, including a little ditty about being out of toilet paper, who’ll be a chatterbox all day long at home – will not utter a word at school. This goes beyond simple shyness. It’s normal for reticence within the first month of school for kids to be unusually quiet as they adjust to their new environment. It’s not normal when they are six months into school and still haven’t spoken a word. It’s not normal when she has lost the ability to speak in front of her own grandmother, even when said grandmother spends a little time with her and takes her for ice cream.
Yet, the same child can tell me EVERY. SINGLE. DETAIL. about the day’s events – like the “woman at the grocery store field trip who’s name was Mrs. Tigger”, and she “remembers that because Mrs. Tigger had Tiggers all over her shirt”, and that they “got to go into the refrigerator and it was like winter in there”, and “Ms Tigger showed us her pet lomster (lobster) named Fred”, and how they “touched meat” (what kind of meat? “I don’t know, it was a cow, mom”). She’s one of the only children who seems to report back to their moms about what goes on in preschool. For two of my daughter’s classmates, their moms told me for them, it’s like that Vegas commercial – what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
The same child will not sing or dance at school with the other children, yet she will sing the songs at home. I know she’s learned them anyway without practice, because there are songs she’s sung at home I know for a fact I’ve never taught them to her at home.
I’m puzzled and in awe of my daughter right now. We are going to get her evaluated privately by a psychologist who has experience with childhood anxiety disorders and SM and hopefully be able to get some therapy so that we can help her thrive in school.
I don’t know what will come of things, but it will certainly be a very interesting ride.