Artwork by Daniel Kabakoff
Hurry Up and Wait
By Yocheved Rosengarten
It was the day after Chanukah vacation. The kids were back in school, and I took the morning off to meet with the pediatrician. I’ve been using her for years and appreciate her insights in all things medical. Surely she will shed light on the disturbing PTA conference. I explain everything.
“I don’t think it’s necessary to put ‘suspected ADHD’ on her file,” the pediatrician says. “It would be such a shame to label her.”
I had thought the pediatrician would be eager to accumulate empirical evidence. But if she didn’t see the problem, then… maybe there wasn’t one? Maybe they’re all wrong. The teacher, the resource room teacher, the rebbi. They must all be wrong. Lightheaded, I rose from my chair, but something niggled at the back of my mind. But… but three teachers, in the space of a few weeks… Three is a chazaka. That’s a hard number to discount.
“The teacher really thinks we should look into it,” I said, hoping the doctor would wave her hand dismissively. Instead, she considered me again. Then she turned back to her computer, searching for letters with one finger as she typed. “Take your daughter for an occupational therapy evaluation,” she said at last. “They can teach her to be more organized. That’s probably all she needs.”
The relief washed over me. Yes, that was it. Organizational skills. If Dassi could be trained to keep her notebooks in order, then all would be well. I took the referral and called for an appointment. The secretary introduced herself as Karen and then promptly put me on hold as she checked their appointment schedule. Three minutes later, Karen was back on the line.
“I’m so sorry, Mrs. Rosengarten, but we’re fully booked. As soon as there’s an opening, we’ll be in touch.” The line went dead.
Ten minutes later, the phone rang. It was the same number.
“Mrs. Rosengarten? Hi, this is Stella from OT Services…We received the forms you faxed in regarding your son Sender…”
Sender! My mind was swimming. “Who…” I sputtered like an idiot.
“This is Mrs. Rosengarten, isn’t it?”
“Yes, yes, I’m sorry; could you say that again?”
The secretary tsked impatiently and repeated her speech.
“So we’d like to invite you to bring Sender in for an evaluation in April. We also recommend taking him to the Developmental Clinic for a full evaluation.”
She’s about to hang up, when I remember…
“I also need an appointment for my eight-year-old daughter. I spoke to Karen this morning…”
“Sorry, I only deal with children aged 6 and younger,” Stella informs me. “Ages 7 and up are a different department.”
The Developmental Clinic had appointments in June, so I booked Sender in. At least then we might get some answers.
By then the kids were coming home from school. My husband called. He was running late and asked me to meet Sender at the bus stop. On the way home, Sender and I stopped at the makolet for milk and bread, something my husband usually did.
“Shalom, Bracha,” Sender says to the shopkeeper. She smiles at him, and I cannot help but smile too.
Artwork by Daniel Kabakoff
“Aizeh yeled matok,” she told me. “What a sweetie-pie, and so friendly! More friendly than a typical boy his age. Mamash chevrati.”
“Mommy, you know Bracha?” Sender asked, anxious to know the answer.
“Of course,” I said. “Wait, Sender, don’t touch!” I pulled him away from one display case but instantly his hands were in the freezer section, groping his way through multicolored popsicles.
“Sender!” I hissed. He let go of the popsicles reluctantly and stood near me as Bracha rang up my two items. Before Bracha could even wink at him, Sender was climbing onto the bottled water display. “Look, I can stand without any hands,” he said, waving them high over his head. I dragged him off, stammering an apology to the shopkeeper.
“B’seder,” she chuckled. “We know Sender already; he’s grown on us.”
We walked home–well, I walked. Sender seemed powered by a motor. He ran ahead and ran back to meet me several times before I reached the corner. And I wondered… could Rabbi Deutsch be on to something? Is this not normal little boy behavior? I suddenly had so many questions, and miles and miles to go before anyone was willing to offer an answer.