Archive for February, 2011
As parents of special kids, we celebrate the strangest things. I’ve always thought we appreciate the milestones more than parents of typical kids because our kids work so much harder to reach them. Or perhaps it’s because we don’t know if they’ll ever reach them, and when they do it’s time to break out the champagne.
Tonight I’m celebrating the success of something so huge I’m surprised I’m taking it so calmly. Really, it’s passed by with hardly a discussion among the adults in the household, but still, it’s amazing, so I must take note.
C is finally using toothpaste.
And once again, like another big moment in our house (see here), we owe it all to Spongebob Squarepants, that goofy little creature who has been responsible for two of the biggest milestones reached at Casa C. While walking through the toothpaste aisle a few weeks ago, C happened to notice the Spongebob toothpaste, and he begged with desperation to buy it. I barely let him get to “Pleeeeaaaaasssseeee,” before I tossed it in the cart. I explained to him that because it had fluoride in it, he would have to work his way up to it with the baby toothpaste that’s safe to swallow. I’ve long had a tube of this baby-safe toothpaste sitting on his bathroom counter; we’ve smelled it, even tasted the most miniscule bit of it, but we’ve never progressed any further. I learned years ago that trying to get C to do something scary – especially something that revolves around his severe oral defensiveness – is next to impossible. I’m not totally crazy; I pick my battles. And since his dentist has been completely fine with him not using toothpaste, I’ve let it slide, knowing that at some point, his motivation would kick in for one reason or another.
Nevermind that I’m unlikely to allow that Spongebob toothpaste ever to pass C’s lips – I’m hoping he’ll outgrow his interest far before he’s ready to use the real stuff. It’s got more unpronounceables in it than a twinkie, and I’m sure it is a ghastly shade of yellow that doesn’t even exist in the natural world. Still, there that toothpaste sits, on the counter, while C hesitantly, but willingly, practices brushing his teeth with the baby toothpaste.
Thanks again, Spongebob. You rock.
This move has not been an easy one. Numerous reasons come to mind; all of them too mundane and detailed to bother with here. But suffice it to say we are all more than just a little homesick for lands west of the Mississippi. We’ve lived in seven cities in almost fourteen years, and while I usually enjoy starting over, I’m over it now. Still, there are great positives, and we know that. I expect in a few short months, we’ll settle in and start to love it. And if not, we’ll suffer through it for a few years until we feel like we can head back to the frontier.
Husband and I aren’t spring chickens anymore, and my own health, while far more stable than it was a year ago (see here), is still presenting challenges. Basically, I’m tired. Not just physically, but emotionally. I keep wondering when life with C will get easier – and there are a great many things with him that are, in fact, easy – but the continuing challenges have taken their toll. I fully recognize that by the time I am done redirecting, correcting, motivating, corralling (is that even a word?), herding, guiding, planning, figuring, and, let us face it downright nagging, there is little left of me to be fun Mom. I tell myself perhaps I expect too much of C, but when I’m spent just getting him out of bed and out the door in the morning, there’s a problem.
On one hand, this delightful child of mine is driving me downright Bat.Poop.Crazy. at the moment, and on the other hand, my tolerance level is low. Very low. Extremely low. You all know me; I don’t complain about my kid. I know raising a child, any child, is difficult. And I know raising a child like mine is beyond difficult, but I’m not a parent who feels short-changed with the child I was given. I feel lucky to have him, blessed to be entrusted with him, and generally feel slightly sorry for parents with typical children because I imagine it must be somewhat boring. Yet at the moment, I’m just spent, and I’m not really sure how to re-engage.
I’m annoyed before I even get C up, because for the first time in his life I actually have to wake him in order to get to school on time, and he is not fun to rouse. I devised a routine where I take Dog into C’s room, plop him on top of C and let Dog lick C awake. Dog is old, really old, and I wonder how long he will be with us. What then? I wonder. And then I get annoyed because C can’t just get up like any other kid. No, I have to get him up happy, or the day is shot. And then this annoys me – all the hoops I have to jump through just to make things happen for C.
Yes, I am a control freak. This I know. But having the child I have has furthered that trait to an obsession of which I am not proud. Yes, I do things to accommodate my child not only for his happiness, but for my own as well. If he’s happy, I’m happy. When he’s not happy, everyone pays, and pays dearly. And that payment is just not worth it to me anymore; I have no well left from which to draw.
It’s a slippery slope here. This I know. But I just can’t seem to get any traction.