Tuesday, August 28, 2012

All the Things I've Been Meaning To Write About

I have so much I want to tell you.  I'd like to (finally) finish my post about 10 months of Mia (her 10 month "birthday" passed over a week ago).  I want to tell you how they, both of my girls, blow me away with their love and affection.  Sammie B constantly saying "I love you, Mama" and spontaneously grabbing me for hugs and kisses. Mia, the way she stops playing to crawl over and lay her little head on my lap for a few pats on the back.  Sometimes, I wish I could just sit, and hold them, forever.

I want to tell you that every single day (really!), I have moments where I just can't believe these two little wonderfuls are mine.  That the amount of love I feel for both of them, each of them, overwhelms me in so many ways, so very, very often. 

I want to tell you how lately it just stinks that as Sammie B's fourth birthday approaches, I have to start planning ahead to her IEP.  Why oh why does this journey have to include those meetings?  At birthday time, no less.  Stinks.  I haven't written much about Sammie B's preschool over the last year . . . the thing is, it is fine.  Not perfect, not horrible, but fine.  When B and I decided that the public preschool program was the best option (after considering so many options), we knew it was imperfect.  We knew that the programs that were available to us were ones where (1) Sam would either be the furthest behind her peers physically (indeed, the only "non-ambulatory") kiddo in the class or (2) the furthest ahead cognitively, by far.  We opted for the program where we felt like she'd be challenged cognitively, though she is the only non-ambulatory kiddo in the class (I hate that word).  At times, we've felt like the teacher is "overwhelmed" by Sammie B's physical delays, which has shocked me.  CP is not new.  CP is not rare.  And so, so many kids with CP are cognitively age-appropriate.  We shouldn't be trail-blazing here, but we are.  Anyway, her program is fine, so B and I made the desicion that for now, that was enough.  It's enough that she loves her two hours of preschool 4 days a week, it is enough that she gets the social interaction there and is learning the pre-school curriculum, and we supplement that with private therapies with the therapists we've chosen.  Those amazing individuals we've put on "Team Sammie B."  So, it is working.  We feel like the public preschool program (which is only 9 hours/week) + her private therapies + the invaluable one-on-one she gets with her nanny + swimming and the fun stuff we do = the right set of "stuff" for her right now.  We took the summer off from school and are glad we did -- she had extra time for the zoo and the fair and fun stuff.  But now, school is back, and it is, we think, fine.  Working.   Not without a lot of homework (and sometimes headache) on my part (like when we found out in JUNE that the district's speech therapist hadn't been to see Sammie B at school since FEBRUARY despite the fact that her IEP entitles her to one hour PER week) . . . but these things -- my "homework" -- are all just background.  I have an ongoing dialogue with the District's "compliance" specialists (they make sure the District is in legal compliance with IEPs), and while it is unfortunate that I've had to have that ongoing dialogue, so far, it has worked. 

I want to tell you that I just wish that "September" could just be about her birthday, about celebrating her, and that I didn't have thoughts of IEPs swimming in my head.  The background noise. 

I want to tell you that even though her current program is fine, I'm worried about the next steps.  I'm worried about the programs that will be available to us in the future.  I worry that fine will stop being good enough, particularly when school becomes an all day thing, and we have less time outside of school for therapies and supplementing.  I'm worried that without the supplementing, she won't be getting what she needs, and I do not want to fail her.  I'm worried that "better than fine" may not exist in our public school system past pre-school and that we won't find that place where Sammie B will thrive.  I worry.  I want her to be in a school setting where she's supported physically, challenged cognitively, and never, ever, ever underestimated.  A place where her friends and peers will see her magic, and foster her development in amazing ways.  A place where no one will impose limits on her, but encourage HER to reach for the stars. 

I want to tell you that we are at the beginning of more intense potty training efforts with Sammie B, and I'm worried that we've let her down by not starting sooner.  We've exposed her to the potty for awhile, and have sat her on it in the evenings every night for a long time, but with absolutely no pressure.  We knew that with low-tone, potty training may take a little longer than normal, but as her fourth birthday is fast-approaching, suddenly, I worry that we've let her down.  That we should have done more, sooner. 

I want to tell you that sometimes (often) I feel like I'm failing one of my little girls or the other.  I feel like because Mia is oh-so-mobile and into everything (in a way that is just blowing our minds), we limit what toys Sammie B can play with when Mia is around.  The other night Sammie B wanted to play with play dough, but Mia kept eating it, so we put it away.  Sammie B asked to play in her bedroom ("with Mama") all weekend, and we had so little time.  I worry that I'm not playing enough with Sammie B.  Not giving her the one-on-one time she needs, the time she deserves to get to sit and play with her big girl toys.  I feel sad that because she needs physical support from us that she can't play as independently as her peers might be able to, and that this often means she doesn't get to play with the toys or games she wants to play with because they aren't safe with Mia.  I feel bad that I don't have the one-on-one time for Mia either.  I constantly feel split, and like I'm not giving either one of them enough. 

I want to tell you that lately, Mia is extra cuddly and clingy and everywhere I go, she crawls after me, pulling at my legs, whining to be held, and that I pick her up and love her as often as I can, but there are times when I'm doing other things, like getting ready for work, or making dinner, when I don't pick her up, and in those moments, I feel so guilty. I feel like I should be holding her more.  Like I'm not giving her enough. 

I want to tell you that lately, work is kicking my ass.  This is an important year for me, and I'm determined to make up for lost time, career-wise, from the bed rest and maternity leaves, but work is kicking my ass.  It just is.  And, my answer to "balancing" work and life is so often that I cut out of work at a "normal" time (5:30ish) so I can come home and play with the girls and do bath time and bed time and then turn back to work.  I'm glad that I'm at a firm where I have that flexibility.  I recently got some killer compliments from a notoriously hard-to-please partner, but I'm afraid to pat myself on the back too hard.  I want to tell you that lately, work has been so, so fulfilling and challenging and fun, but that dammit, I'm tired, and all too often, I feel like I'm not giving work enough either.

I want to tell you that at night, while I sit at my computer and work and the rest of my family sleeps, I check our video monitor over and over, just watching them sleep.  And that at night, before I go to bed myself, I sneak into each of their rooms, just to hear them breathe.  Just to marvel at them. 

Sammie B reading in bed. 
I want to tell you that Mia is growing up so quickly.  That she's so quickly changing from baby to toddler (a toddler!) and that she's going to take off walking any second now and that it is all blowing me away.  I look at her and wonder if she's my last baby . . . I honestly don't know.  I know that I apparently suck at gestating (see bed rest posts, friends!) . . . and that I already feel split in 8 million directions and like I'm not enough and that I can't do all this . . . and I wonder if we're done.  And, I don't know.  (I know we are done for awhile, though!). 

I want to tell you that before Mia arrived, I had no idea how I could possibly love another little person as much as I loved Sammie B.  That I worried that I wouldn't have enough love to give.  I want to tell you that even though I so often feel like I'm not giving them "enough" of whatever . . . cudddles, play, attention . . . that I never doubt that there's enough love.  For my heart grew 8 zillion times each time I gave birth, and there is, no question, no shortage of love in my house.  For I have two little wonderfuls and my heart could just burst with love for them.  Both of them.  Each of them. 

I want to tell you that the other morning, Sammie B laid in her bed and watched me as I went through her closet to find something for her to wear to school, and she said, "How about a princess dress?" and I said, "I'm not sure you have any princess dresses clean," and she said, "Maybe a party dress then."  The girl's got style. 

I want to tell you that the other day, Sammie B looked at me and said, "Mama, you are a princess," and I knew, in that moment, that there was no way any other moment in my day could top that.  That for the rest of the day, even as work continued to kick my ass, I'd feel like a princess. 

I hope they both always love me this much.  I hope that in their eyes, I can always be a princess, even on my most imperfect days, for they are most certainly princesses in my eyes.  I hope that to them, I am always enough, even in the moments that I feel like I'm not. 

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