When WordPress published its Weekly Writing Challenge on Monday, I was inspired. After only reading the title of the post, I immediately started playing around with the phrase in my head.
Mind the Gap.
“Mind the gap”—I began thinking of the gaps in Philip’s skills. I thought about the need to be aware of what Philip can and cannot do. Minding the gap could mean taking where Philip is now and breaking down the intermediary tasks into their component parts so that I can lead him on to greater learning and self-sufficiency.
“Mind the gap” could refer to the almost tangible space left by Philip’s non-verbal communication. “Language barrier” is not the right phrase to describe it. I know he’s trying to tell me things, but there is a delay between Philip’s actions and my brain’s interpretation of them.
On the negative side, I could use “mind the gap” as a springboard to reflect on Philip’s delays. I could grow discouraged by comparing him to his neurotypical peers. I dismissed this idea because it is certainly not worth anyone’s time or energy to worry about what other kids are doing. Philip is on his own schedule, and I need to respect that.
My focus on how the phrase relates to Philip isn’t surprising. We had a home visit scheduled with Philip’s preschool teacher on Tuesday morning, so of course my brain went straight to thoughts of a new school year. While I’ve been celebrating Philip’s many successes over the summer, I anticipated that Philip’s delays would be a topic of discussion during the visit. Together with Philip’s teacher, I knew we would “mind the gap.”
Those of you who subscribe to the Daily Post and took the time to read the entire Weekly Writing Challenge post (not just the title), might be shaking your heads. Sure, I’ve seen the phrase “Mind the Gap” posted in tube stations in London. I know its origin, but I didn’t make the connection. Yes, I know the Olympics just ended. It’s not that I’m oblivious, but rather that we don’t watch live (or even tape-delayed international sporting events on) television. When I finally took the time to read the whole post, I realized my error.
The WordPress staff was challenging writers to blog about the just-ended London Olympics. “Mind the Gap.” Get it? Okay, so you got it before I did. You don’t need to rub it in.
Anyway, having watched less than forty minutes of Olympic coverage, I am thoroughly unqualified to write about the event, let alone to espouse views on the role of social media. Oh, well. I guess I’ll have to write about Philip.
And that’s just fine, because Tuesday morning’s home visit with Mrs. P, his preschool teacher, and Mrs. W, her aide, was not about gaps. Okay, we talked about some of the challenges that we still face, but the visit was great because Mrs. P and Mrs. W haven’t seen Philip in three months. They were so excited to observe the changes. And Peter and I were excited to talk about the changes from the last three months, too.
- He’s grown a few inches. I haven’t tried to measure him lately, so I don’t have his exact height. I can say that I finally had to sort through his pants and remove all of the 24 months and 2T-sized clothes.
- Mrs. P remarked that he is losing his baby face. (*sob*) The shape of his face is more prominent since I’ve been cutting his hair shorter. I had the chance to brag about the improvements on that front.
- He is vocalizing up a storm. Some of his babbling is stimming, repeating sounds for the pleasure of making and hearing them. Yet, Mrs. W noticed that some of the babbling seemed to be imitative. I think that he has been copying my oft-repeated question, “What’s that?” That’s the latest addition to his repertoire of oh no, uh-oh, one-two, one no and wow.
- Philip showed off his ability to write the letter P. He climbed into my lap, borrowed Mrs. P’s pen, and wrote a P on the paperwork we were discussing. For good measure, he even threw in an “h.”
- In addition to writing his first initial, Philip demonstrated his new smiley-face drawing skill. He drew it right over the picture of the dog that Mrs. W made for him.
- Peter and I told them about his success using a straw and the other benefits of the sensory class. I forgot to tell her about his mastery of taking off and putting away his shoes.
- When we gave Mrs. P the box of supplies that my mom bought for her classroom, we told her about how Philip has become a great helping by pushing the shopping cart in stores
Mrs. P and Mrs. W stayed for about forty-five minutes, which was not nearly enough time to describe all of the successes from this summer. (It also wasn’t enough time for me to remember to get the camera and take a picture during their visit). Of course, telling them would not be as effective as letting them observe the changes themselves.
Do I mind the gap? Sometimes, but I didn’t yesterday.