Is My Child Ok and Other Such Fears

I feel like I have a list of things that I need to process. They relate to many areas of my life and they all drain me emotionally as my life and/or my deliberate avoidance hits the snooze button on sitting in these feelings. One of the things on my proverbial list of things that require a journal entry and possibly some tears is my continual evolution as a mother. In particular, we're at the tail end of a long process of developmental screening for my 2 year old, Penny. As a caretaker, particularly because I've had the strange fortune of essentially raising my two daughters one at a time (Macy started kindergarten 3 weeks after Penny was born, so I'm getting 5 years of one-on-one time of life preparation with each of them before they launch into full-time school), I am good at adapting to my children. This means that I can accommodate their preferences and personalities and mold our daily patterns around what suits them best and for the most part, I'm happy if they're happy. (This is also what makes me a fabulous world traveler, if we're bragging here). My daughters are really different so it was interesting for me to approach parenting Penny in a new way. It's also been 5 years and she's a second kid, so I've changed a ton as a person as well as a mother.
Penny is a really unique kid. She can be so stinking charming. And she can be incredibly intolerant of anything she does not consent to or like. She wasn't an early talker and was frustrated often by that as well as by life in general for awhile there. Things have opened up for her as she's gotten more comfortable socially and better able communicate with words (she was always communicating but the screams didn't go over as well as her words do now:) That being said, I know how to be a buffer for her in stressful social situations, when she's tired or hungry and when her toddler-esque language requires translating. Macy did not require such a buffer (as much) and was more independent socially. It's amazing what you get used to as a parent as you adjust to your child and whatever life requires of you to be what they need. Just ask a post-partum mother who's up nursing every 2 hours for months on end. It sucks. But you can get used to it. It's wild, really, what becomes normal. And then the phase ends and you back and think "how the hell did I do that?" You just did.
As was out in the world with my charming grouch, I began to see which aspects of Penny's development were "normal" and which aspects might be more atypical. I'm perfectly fine to be raising a non-conformist and don't feel the need to use her behavior to make me look good. Sure, sometimes it's emotionally tiring to deal with moments where your child is behaving in a way that doesn't give you positive attention from strangers, but I don't let that dictate my parenting. I just let that give me permission to increase my self-care on those days (and by "self-care" I mean "chocolate intake"). And so I began the process of developmental screenings. Because ultimately, the mommy buffer must stand down at some point and in the meantime, I'd like professional guidance on how to buffer best. And boy, it's a lot of screening! They check fine motor, gross motor, adaptive, speech, social/emotional and sensory skills. This required me to sit on my couch and watch strangers test my child. So many moments I wanted to jump in and explain, rephrase, or just stop the testing. It is so incredibly vulnerable to have your child's abilities be ascertained and placed on a bell curve. How reductionistic to see this magical person be graphed based on the average of her peers! I felt like I was being tested, that if she couldn't answer a question it was because I hadn't asked it, that her potential to be typical rested in my ability to draw her potential out. (This is a really fun experience for a caretaking perfectionist, by the way. I highly recommend cancelling your next vacation and calling up the early intervention people. You won't be sorry!) And while I knew these things weren't true, that she would be her no matter what hoops I jump though, it was very emotional for me to sit back and allow her to be assessed so thoroughly and by such capable professionals. You can't pull one over on these people! 
And as you can imagine, having the sit down after all the tallying has been done and being presented with reams of information about your child is difficult. How can anyone tell me anything about my child that I don't already know? Who are you to explain my child to me? (The professionals through this process have been incredibly gracious and kind. These are just the big feelings the process unearthed.) And what do they have to tell me? What is possible and maybe impossible for my child's future based on the information within these reams of paper? If I burn them up, is the information still true? I'm not going to get into the details of Penny's results because this blog is about me (also why I haven't written much about my husband's job loss and season of part-time employment) but it all came down to this moment. At the end of her initial assessment, the two professionals asked me, "Ultimately, what are your goals through this process? What do you want to see for Penny?" And I said, "You know what? There are behaviors about living with Penny that have been difficult to parent. There are things we'd like to work on. But really, what I want for my child is to reach her full potential as a person, whatever that is. I believe that she will show me that. And I just want the tools to help her be that person. I want to know if my expectations of her are fair. I want to know when and how to accommodate her and I want to know when and how far to push her. Because the world will not accommodate her once she's on her own. I want to build her up and then I want to send her out as prepared for whatever lies ahead as best as I possibly can. And she will take that and do with it what she will. I want to know how to support her and to be whatever she needs however she needs it." And if that isn't motherhood, I don't know what is.