When I designed Oliver’s nursery, I chose the theme of “Little Adventurer.” I had no idea what a little adventurer and warrior my son would turn out to need to be. As I look at the art, specifically, I am blown away with the new meaning that each piece has now that I know him better. I’ll try to show examples in my next several Oliver updates.
To be honest, I planned to choose one of the more uplifting ones to begin this series, but I’m not feeling uplifted this week. This week, I’m at the base of a mountain, looking up. I promise not to use this blog just to complain about all of the downsides to raising a special needs child, but I also promised authenticity. There are mountains all around. Sometimes it feels like the damn Himalayas.
To start, both kids have been sick for almost a week. This is always hard, no matter your child’s development. But between Margot’s stomach virus and Oliver’s reflux, we’ve had pretty much half of our house covered in vomit for weeks. But after trying some advice from a gastroenterologist, we think that thickening O’s milk up with rice cereal is helping him keep down his food. Now if we can just keep him improving on taking a bottle at all so that I can deal with leaving him anywhere for more than a couple of hours…
Second, I return to work full-time today. I can’t complain too much on this subject because I do like my job and the people there so generously donated their own PTO to let me stay home as long as I have. But going back is tough. And handing your special needs baby to a stranger and saying, “Please let me know if he’s having seizures. And he’s not fully bottle trained so he might not eat enough. Oh, and he projectile vomits sometimes, too,” is nigh to impossible without feeling like a total traitor to your child. We’ve found a day care for him that specializes in incorporating delayed children into a classroom with normally functioning ones, so we at least feel confident that he will be with compassionate caregivers who aren’t threatened by his disabilities. This is a blessing. But Mommy still feels like no one else can take care of baby as well. I got over this with Margot, I pray I’ll get over it with Oliver.
So on top of the challenge of getting all four of us out the door on time, the kids to two different day care situations, jumping into my busiest time of year at work while fitting in a pumping schedule and figuring out how to fit a future filled with doctor and therapy appointments into it all, Alan is beginning a difficult two-week work event that will keep him out 12 hours each day through it all. I’ll be dropping off and picking up both kids, going to two doctor appointments, doing morning and bedtime routines, and giving up two date nights for it.
And all of this is while praying that I don’t get sick. So today, M is for Mountain.