Friday, September 5, 2008

Yes...Sometimes... or Not Yet

I had to complete an evaluation for Drew's preschool today. The "Ages and Stages Questionnaire", or ASQ, devloped by someone at Iowa State University, sets out to determine whether my three-year old is performing well or (as they ominously put it in the scoring section) "may need further evaluation" in Communication, Gross Motor Skills, Fine Motor Skills, Problem-Solving, and Personal-Social Interaction.

So, this morning, with questionnaire in hand, I set out to determine my son's ranking amongst his 3-yr old peers. Drew was delighted with most of the activities I asked him to perform, while I checked each box we completed with a Yes, Sometimes, or Not Yet.

"Drew, point to your nose...your ears... hair... feet... etc."
He looked at me with a goofy smile and complied, pointing to each feature I named.

"O.K., now pick up that couch cushion and place it UNDER the coffee table."

"That's not where it goes, mommy. It goes ON the couch."

"Yes, but I just need you to listen and obey. Place the cushion UNDER the table."

"Mommy, it doesn't fit. I'll put it NEXT TO the table."

(He was probably wondering whether there was a 32-yr old ASQ... "Can your mother give directions that are actually able to be completed by a three-year old. Yes, Somtimes, or Not Yet")

Gross Motor Skills:
I was asked if my child could kick a ball by swinging his leg forward, jump with both feet leaving the floor at the same time or throw a ball overhand. While I could have easily answered these questions without a demonstration, I thought Drew might enjoy showing me how he did each. Gross motor skills have always been my son's strong suit, and I hoped for the opportunity to elaborate on how fast this little guy's fast-pitch really was, or how he has a better batting average than my husband. But, I only had the Yes, Sometimes and Not Yet boxes, so I placed Check Marks in the "Yes" columns and went looking for my son who was demonstrating his jumping abilities from atop the dining room table.

Problem Solving and Personal-Social Skills:
Drew does well in these areas, I realized as I completed each section. At one point, I had to ask him, "Are you a girl or a boy?"

"I'm a boy and you're a girl. Daddy's a boy and Walker's (the dog) a boy. You are the only girl and you have 3 boys."

"O.K., thanks!" At this point I started to feel really good about this kid's developement. I mean, it doesn't really take much for the mommy-pride to kick in, and I was there. Then I turned the page to:

Fine Motor Skills:
I knew I was in for disappointment already. Just last night we were eating at Chili's, where they gave my son a picture of a chili to color for some charitable cause. We donated a few dollars so that Drew's artwork could be hung on the wall of the restaurant. I am embarassed to admit that I considered asking them to just keep his picture tucked away, so as not to scare some of the smaller children.

My little guy is not an artist. He has wonderful talents and passions. They do NOT include artistic ventures. This kid barely uses more than one color on any coloring page and only scribbles in large, sweeping marks. Lines mean nothing to him. Form means nothing to him. He still holds a pencil or crayon in his fist like it's a hammer and is about as gentle as a lumberjack with his chosen artistic medium.

Needless to say, we finally gave some attention to the "Sometimes" and "Not Yet" categories, and the questionnaire was completed.

For the rest of the afternoon, Drew talked about all the "New Tricks" Mommy had asked him to perform. And I have to admit that it was fun for me, too. It's hard to believe how fast these kids grow up, and when asked to quantify the progress, I realized today how much my child has learned in three short years.

So, I asked myself today if I was ready for life with this amazing big boy in preschool. Yes, Sometimes, or Not Yet.... and I checked all three boxes.


Surviving 4 said...

Okay, you had me laughing all the way up until the end...and now I need a box of Kleenex. To cute, though, and VERY creative! If it's any consolation, Ella's 4 and still not coloring in the lines. Sigh... Is coloring required for acceptance at Auburn?

Christy said...

awww we finished that form today too! Don't feel bad - Hannah still holds the crayon in her hand that way too! I honestly need to ask them about that because I don't know how to teach her to do it correctly so that she understands. Does he know how to cut with scissors? We don't even have any kiddie ones for her to try that one so maybe I will just mark not yet? It was hard to mark "not yet", wasn't it, but exciting to see how they are learning and will keep learning!

embugg said...

okay, all the preschool and child development parts of me are coming out... and after reading other mom's comments, I wanted to relieve fears! In our four year old class, we are currently working on holding a pencil correctly and cutting with scissors, so while some threes have it down, you really want them to learn it by four. A child really needs to have strong hand muscles to work scissors and Playdough is wonderful for building those muscles - so have them play with playdough a lot to work out those muscles - I would also strongly recommend a pencil grip to show them how to hold a pencil correctly until they get used to that feeling - until then - let them grab it and color away... also, coloring within the lines is actually considered to limit a child's individuality and creativity, so child development experts normally steer away from any kind of coloring sheets! Isn't that freeing! I hope that I haven't sounded like a complete preschool teacher snob - I just absolutely love what I do and thought that I would share:) Love you so much!

Your sister