Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tumbling Blocks

People assume my life is crazy because I have a child with special needs.  I'll admit that once it was out of the ordinary but these days it is a normal multiple child life.  Until she was three, Cate saw 3 specialist (Heart, Lungs, Ears) and 4 therapists (most of which were done at school) in addition to the sick visits to the pediatrician which felt like they were all the time.  Through all of that I work full time and Cate attended daycare.  I was probably even more involved in her daycare because of those facts since I had to make a point to talk to her teacher to tell them about the latest doctor recommendation or this week's change to the therapy schedule.  It never felt crazy because to me it was just life - I don't know any different.  By the time Lucy was born, Cate's health was typical of any 3 year old in daycare - the specialist had done their job and gotten us "to baseline" so we saw two of them for maintenance and even the ENT was only quarterly.  When both kids were in the same daycare, I made the rounds every day and spoke with both of their teachers so I knew about every school event, every project, every friend.  Once Cate started pre-school things seems to get really crazy.  I was incredibly lucky that an acquaintance turned into a friend and my childcare source.  She keep Lucy everyday, and Cate during all school breaks and sick days.  This friend took Lucy to school (a 3 hour church nursery school/pre-K program) and picked her up every day for two years. 

She was the one who talked to the teachers everyday, the one they told the successes and failures too.  I heard everything second hand.  I know this was a survival tactic because of how much I needed to be involved in Cate's schooling.  I really don't believe I would have made it through the last two years sane without her.  Unknowingly I had let my life become a stack of blocks, each balancing on the other.  Things were working great, I had a semblance of control and only noticed Lucy getting the short end of my attention to her education in spurts.  My friend gave me freedom to run to the store alone, leave Lucy late to take Cate to therapy, live with only knowing the basics about what Lucy did all day long.  I would have gone crazy, not having info on Cate's day but with the second child and my need to maintain the balance I let it go with Lucy.  I classic second baby situation I know - a total stereotype.   I'm sure dealing with Cate's special needs has something to do with it as well - she seems to need me more because I had to be involved in each little milestone while Lucy learned pretty much everything on her own.  I let Lucy be independent because she seems so independent but the truth is she is only 3 even if she speaks like a 6 year old.  I should know she has a new best friend or that she got in trouble for throwing sand at a boy at school.  I know that I was doing what I needed to do to keep our lives in a comfortable place and Lucy has not suffered or been neglected at all.  I don't think she is going to be affected by this in the future, actually if anything she got way more attention at the babysitter's house and learned more about getting along with kids of different ages. 

Well last Friday one of my blocks slipped and things started to tilt.  In those hours I realized how much I had given over control of Lucy's life to another person.  A good person, a caring person but still not me.  The funny thing is that the teachers at Cate's school are always telling me what a great mom I am because I'm so involved.  Poor Lucy on the other hand, I've been to her school once all year, she has never even had a play date or been to a birthday party for one of her friends.   Since the moms don't know me they don't have a way to invite her I guess (its a no invites through school place)?  So I went ahead let the blocks all tumble and decided to rebuilding them in a new formation. 

I may wish this day had never happened when school starts in August and pick up times are less flexible.  I figure by then I'll consider myself lucky to make it to Target with one child much less by myself.   But hopefully I will have also increase my involvement with Lucy - the school will call me if she is sick, I'll know that they are having Dr. Seuss week at school or learning about the ocean, and the other parents will recognize me as her mom not mistake her for the babysitter's other child.  I guess it is true that change is necessary and this time I think it will be for best in the end.  I hope, as long as I stay sane that is and don't go running back to my cushy situation!

Please also use this as my excuse for less blog posts in the next week or two, while we are all getting used to our new responsibilities!

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