Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Life Swapping

Didja ever meet one of those parents that just have to have their children do EVERYTHING? Be involved in ALL activities? Push them to get the GREAT grades? Try for the BEST schools? Don'tja just LOVE to hate them (Nah, just kidding!)? I remember a scene in the movies Baby Boom where Diane Keaton, the driven career woman from the 80's sitting in the park with her newly 'acquired' child, when she overhears some women. "He didn't get into Preschool Academy! If he doesn't get in the right preschool, he won't get into the right kindergarten, so he won't get into the right primary school, then no good prep schools, which will RUIN any chances to get into an Ivy League school."

Not that I've ever been that way with my kids, before or after autism. But I would love to trade places with them for one day. For me, it would be a somewhat relaxing day where all I need worry about are the standard horrors of everyday life. Car payments, getting kids to and from activities, sitting down for a quiet conversation and cuddle at the end of the day with my kids. For the other end of the 'parent swap' it would be a different story.

To wake up...let's say it's a good day, at 5:30. Not bad, pretty normal. Now you have to get your almost 5 year old ready for summer preschool. A little extra work from a 'normal' 5 year old since you have to do most of the dressing brushing and feeding for her, but still, not bad. Once you get one off, it's on to the 3 year old, same routine, same little bit of extra work, but still a cake walk.

The other three, I'll give them a free ride on, since they could be like any other 12, 10 and 7 year olds. Except that when it comes time for soccer, dance, baseball, or any other activity they'd like to do or you'd like them to do; because once the other two get out of school, it's time for therapy sessions. Going from occupational to speech to play therapy take most of the afternoon, not leaving much time for recreational activities. Oh I suppose you could network with other parents to shuffle them around, but you see, you don't run with the 'normal' crowd. Your crowd is more the ABA-don't-go-to-the-market-since-the-tantrum type crowd. They don't exactly have the time either for 'extracurricular' activities. Not that there's an money left for activities after spending a good portion of you salary on therapies. Home at last late in the afternoon, you feed up, wash up, clean up and get them off to bed.

I guess it don't sound THAT bad, except when you think about what your goals are. My restful day with my 'new' kids consists of worrying about pee wee soccer, planning outings, and the all important social groups for my children. My counterpart must worry about pee wee OT, feeding, clothing, and the all important working on the ability for them to communicate.

I suppose I am taking the pessimist's viewpoint of all this; that I should be counting my blessings and cherishing what I have; and I do. But sometimes I'd like to be able to share good news about my kids with the outside world that they do not look at with puzzlement and pity. I'd like to have a day out, heck, how 'bout a weekend with the family without worrying about how we'll manage. I'd like to have a conversation about my kids that doesn't involve some type of therapeutic jargon. I'd like to have laurels to rest on, the one's we get are much too small and fleeting. Just for a day, I'd like to have a life without therapy balls and PECS books and diapers and meltdowns and night wakings. A day with gluten and casein and conversations and running free in the park and pointing out the tiniest of flowers, the biggest of clouds and the vastness of the world.

I'm just being impatient, I know. I'll get there, it won't be the same as I'd envisioned; but it will be better than I imagined...

Friday, July 06, 2007

Finally Feeling Human Again

We made it through my 'official' vacation last week, this week is a mini vacation (July 4th through the 8th). The cat situation has calmed down to no hissing, friends being made, alliances formed; a feline family of four! We feel like we are actually making traction against the tide of life. We're knocking off dirty rooms one by one; leaving wonderfully clean rooms in their wake. The mountains of laundry are being reduced to molehills, finally finishing off the winter clothes and getting them up in the attic! I've attacked and defeated most of the poison ivy in the backyard and have continued to clear land.

On the autism front, both girls are settling into a summer routine and while we don't like the 6:00 wake up call to get Liv out the door at 7:15, they are adjusting very well. The 'filler camp' last week worked like a charm for Liv and she came home tired and very happy. Other therapies continue unabated by the heat, but without everyone else in school, it is a much less hectic schedule. We may even get to sleep in the WHOLE weekend this weekend!

Activities for all the kids begin in a couple of weeks so we'll pick up steam then. We'll need another vacation when I take another week off in August. WOW, what a gloriously dull post, but I have not been this relaxed in MONTHS. I may just take out my Taylor 555 and work out 'Over the Hills and Far Away' tonight.

Don't sound like much of a vacation, but to me, it's HEAVEN!

Summertime and the livin's easy for sure...