I know all of us pretty much feel this way at one time or another. Who wouldn’t want a few extra hours in the day to cram everything we’d like to do, or we’d like to plan to do?
I’m a pretty busy person by nature. I don’t like sitting at home doing nothing all day. I’m one of “those” stay-at-home moms who actually does much, much better if I am not actually *in* my home. Too much directionless time leads to squabbling children who turn on each other like bored, caged animals. It a habit that drives me crazy, and an easy way to avoid it is to keep a structured routine that involves leaving the house every day. It’s worked for us for a long time.
But I am starting to feel strangled by our therapy and medical appointments. There are nine therapy appointments weekly for three of the kids. Then there are all the cardiology appointments and medical appointments for Nora. And now that I am pregnant, there seem to be five million appointments that are always cropping up for myself. A few months ago I counted all the appointments we had in the course of the month and it was 72. SEVENTY-TWO. Just seeing the number pop out at me made me want to take a nap. And it explains why I have been hesitant to add one. more. thing. on our “must do” list.
I have a lot of conflicting feelings. I know Elijah and Nora would love to get back into playing soccer or doing a tumbling class. They all loved the music time when we were able to make it consistently. There are so many *fun*, carefree childhood activities that seem like they’re getting strangled out of the equation for one more O.T. session, one more echocardiogram, one more day at the speech therapist’s office.
I’m loathe to throw that all to the wind. I’ve seen how wonderfully the kids have progressed thanks to therapy, and obviously the medical appointments are non-negotiable. But even so, for the first time since starting down this road five years ago, I am feeling like we all need a break; a chance to add a little more balance to our lives. Would it irreversably damage my children for life if we drop an O.T. session so we have extra time to visit the Zoo? Would I be a horribly remiss parent if we take a few months break from formal P.T. so we can see our homeschooling friends and have a chance to socialize and play?
There is so much guilt in the world of parenting in general, and in parenting special needs children in specific. When it is o.k. to say “enough is enough”? Where is the line between giving kids a chance to have a semblance of a childhood that isn’t always focused on the relentless pursuit of “making them better”, and “giving up”? I don’t know. I wish there were a giant “The Answer Book” sitting on my bookshelf that could give me these kind of answers. It would make knowing what to do this upcoming year a whole lot easier, that’s for sure.
P.S. I did throw my parenting morals to the wind to convince Nora to use the potty. And I’m happy to report that she has been more than happy to oblige me at the cost of lollipops and pieces of chocolate chip cookies. We’re going on four days accident free….all for sugar. So, further down the line when I should happen to mention the many of evils of sugar and horrors of bribery you can either pretend this post never happened, or remind me of the very large loop hole that seems to exist for the purpose of getting children out of diapers.
That’s right. What better way to start off a brand new blog than with a discussion of poop. No introductions or metaphysical musings— just right down to the nitty gritty, unattractive-yet-necessary functions of every day life.
I have accepted that in the grand scheme of creating the universe, God decided that pooping needed to be part of “The Plan”. That’s cool. I concede His wisdom is a lot greater than mine and so I go with it. But I have to admit that after five years of changing poopy behinds, I’m getting a little tired of dealing with poop. O.k., A LOT tired of dealing with poop. And because I always seem to have more than one child in diapers at a time, I also deal with a lot of poop.
Right now, it’s Sevano and Nora who I have to chase around all day long and wrestle into new diapers. And while I have supposedly heard of toddler children who are down to a once-a-day habit, not these two. Nope. Both of them are a good, go three-to-four times a day, each. That’s six to eight poopy diapers a day for *me* to have to deal with. Maybe I’m feeding them too much fruit, or maybe this is their way of delighting in subtly torturing me.
The worst, absolute worst time in my parenting life was having three in diapers. And because Elijah didn’t potty train until a little after three and Clare not until 6 1/2, it was a looooooooooong time with three in diapers. I felt like all I did was deal in poop. I smelled like poop. My house smelled like poop. I had nightmares about poop when I went to bed at night. And once Elijah finally, gloriously potty trained I told myself that I could marginally deal with two in diapers, but never again would I revisit the horrors of three. Never.
And now the horror that I swore I would never revist is looming fast on the horizon. Approximately 16-ish weeks away to be exact. Each day it gets closer to becoming reality yet again and I practically break out into a cold sweat. Obviously, I can’t do anything about a newborn in a diaper. He or she gets a free pass for at least two to three years. Sevano’s cerebral palsy makes toilet training that much harder and it is very clear he is nowhere near ready.
But Nora is an entirely different story. Nora has had the intellectual capacity to be toilet trained for almost a year now. She knows when she needs to go. She pleasantly tells me “Mommy, I’m going to poop now!” On a whim, she will pleasantly take herself to the bathroom and go with absolutely no prompting. The problem is the “on the whim” part. She also has no problem telling me “I don’t feel like using the potty now, I want to use my diaper.” And I have been patiently encouraging, patiently waiting and biding time until the day she will feel truly “ready.”
But, little does she know the ticking clock that has begun and the large bulls-eye that I see practically pasted on her forehead. Because my poor unsuspecting nearly three year old is my one shot at avoiding That-Which-Must-Be-Avoided-At-All-Costs.
16 weeks and counting. The measures are about to get drastic folks. The plan isn’t fully formulated yet but it’s most likely going to include a whole host of manipulation and bribery that I had up to this point disavowed as against all my ethical and moral principals as a mother. And I’m willing to throw them all to the wind over poop.
And now I need to go change Sevano’s second poopy diaper of the morning. How I wish I could be making that up. Good thing I never expected parenting to be a dignified endeavor.