I finally sacked up and called. The lady was just about to call me (oops) and was super nice. Anyway – she’s in! I’m so relieved. And once again struck by how lucky we are to be in the right place at the right time. Sometimes these folks have a year or longer waiting list but because we called right now when they are just starting to fill up next year’s preschool class, Louisa gets to start this coming school year – at the end of August. So we only have to fill the gap for about six more months. Phew.
Yesterday I took Louisa to be evaluated at a special preschool for spectrum kids. I meant to write about it beforehand but have been living in a crazy house for a few days because of a sick Simon (I am only able to write this now by typing as q u i e t l y as possible because the planets have somehow aligned and both of my children are sleeping at the same time. Shhhh…). I have no idea where he caught this mysterious cold because we don’t really take the kids many places because it’s winter and nobody else in the house is sick. Yes, I know, knock wood because as soon as I say that the rest of us will be feverish and coughing. He either picked it up from the grocery store or from the early intervention lady. But she wasn’t sick when she was here and she didn’t sound sick when I canceled our Monday appointment because I had to take sick Simon to the doctor so that she could tell me it is just a cold (I figured as much but what if I was the mom who didn’t take her kid in only to find out that it was whooping cough or croup?). Just a cold. No big. Except that for sick babies you can’t really do much. By which I mean you can’t dose them with NyQuil and let them sleep for three days. Which is a pity, really, because SICK BABIES DO NOT SLEEP. And thus, neither do their mothers. He finally seems to be on the mend (aside from a horrible lingering cough, poor little dude) and actually slept last night which is good because I think one more sleepless night may have brought on some sort of psychosis on my part.
But anyway. The evaluation. The school. Such a wonderful place. We were there for about two and a half hours, most of which Louisa was in a classroom. Without me. I had thought that I would be scared shitless by that prospect but oddly I wasn’t. And neither was she. No stranger danger from that one. After I talked to the social worker for an hour I got to sit behind a two-way mirror and observe the classroom. Louisa fit right in. I think it was good for me to see other spectrum kids, because I haven’t seen many, and realize that she is not alone. We are not alone. And if anybody can help her, these people can. The teacher to kid ratio is 1:2 in every classroom. Everybody is trained in ABA therapy which is the gold standard for autism therapy. They work with the kids on speech therapy, sensory issues, developing social awareness, food/feeding problems (which Louisa doesn’t have), motor skills (again, not one of her problems), safety awareness (glory hallelujah! Louisa has absolutely NO safety awareness. So glad this issue will be addressed), toileting (meaning helping us parents out with potty training because spectrum kids are notoriously difficult to train), behavioral problems (i.e. the epic effing tantrums) and probably other things that I am forgetting. In other words, rather than us piecemealing a plan together by finding an occupational therapist and a speech therapist, somehow figuring out how to get her potty trained, hoping that we can figure how to teach her that running from us in a crowd or a parking lot is dangerous, and sending her to the Early Intervention preschool for 4 hours per week, hoping that any of it will make a difference, we send her to this place where she will get ALL OF THOSE THINGS, for 27 hours a week. Needless to say i am on pins and needles waiting to hear back from them in the next couple of days.
I am very hopeful that they will decide she is a good fit. She meets all 12 of the DSM diagnostic criteria for autism (not a surprise to me). She fit in well in the classroom and seemed to respond to the staff and their teaching efforts. Plus, they were all in love with her. Every single person we came in contact with gushed about how cute she is, how pretty her eyes are, how magical her golden ringlets are. I know looks aren’t everything, but they can’t hurt, right?
“How are you?”, people keep asking (and by ‘people’ I mean ‘my family’ because I don’t really talk to anyone else). “Uh… fine”, I answer them. Because what else can I say? Let’s see… I’m sad, angry, confused and scared. Not to mention I’m feeling more than a little bit… I don’t know what the word for it is. What’s the word for feeling like everything that is happening to you is total bullshit? That none of it is fair and why is it happening to you and your family instead of somebody else? Whatever that word is, I’m feeling it. Also completely and utterly exhausted because of all of the things. The autism, the 10-month-old kid, the part-time evening job, the lack of sleep, the back pain, being fat, etc.
Monday was yet another appointment for yet another speech evaluation for Louisa. Her speech was already evaluated by Early Intervention. But half of the evaluation for autism by the people who are evaluating her for that (honestly you guys, I have looked it up at least 30 times and for some reason I just. cannot. remember. it.) was another speech evaluation. And… her speech is… none…basically. I don’t mean she doesn’t have words because she still has a few and sometimes she will still use them but the words she does have are essentially useless because she doesn’t have any functional language. Like, she doesn’t know any verbs – especially any helpful ones like eat or drink or NO I DO NOT WANT THAT, I WANT THIS, WHICH IS WHY I AM THROWING THE WORST TANTRUM IN THE HISTORY OF TANTRUMS. According to the evaluator her expressive and receptive language, her communication/interactive skills and her social skills are severely deficient. Which, in case you didn’t know, are all of the things that one would expect to be nonexistent in an autistic person. But she can’t diagnose! She’s just evaluating her speech! We’ll have to wait until Thursday to see the psychologist for a diagnosis! She handed me about 20 different packets about autism and/or how to help kids learn to talk and sent me on my way. And PS: Can I just say… taking my 2&1/2-year-old child to a psychologist…I don’t even know. I’m apprehensive about it? I guess?
Let’s just move on. Apparently that’s one of the things I can’t even deal with right now. There are a lot of them. I’m not sleeping. Mostly because of Simon but also because of not being able to. So I’m completely exhausted. And keep forgetting things. And dropping things. And bumping into things. Also I have a permanent eye twitch. And when Louisa has one of those gigantic endless tantrums (which in the autism world are known as meltdowns) I basically have to take deep cleansing breaths and not freak the fuck out because I so want to freak the fuck out. I’m not kidding about how bad they are. It’s almost comforting to know that there is a reason other than she’s just a jerk, you know? Like, my kid isn’t just a gigantic asshole, she’s either A – experiencing some sort of sensory something or other (I don’t even know any of this stuff yet – more reasons to panic) or B – so frustrated by her lack of communication skills that the only thing she can think of to do is shriek/cry/kick/punch/throw herself on the goddamn floor and writhe like she’s possessed. That was how I spent my Saturday. Her throwing basically an hour-long fit, on and off. Part of it was in the parking lot at Target (because brilliantly we thought that maybe getting her out of the house and walking to Target (it’s literally a two-minute walk through the back fence of our parking lot) would help. We were so very wrong, obviously). In the midst of all of it my husband was getting a cart out of the corral and somehow managed to tear his calf muscle. I don’t know how he did it, he doesn’t know how he did it, but he did. And suddenly he can’t walk at all, I’m trying to simultaneously push Simon in his stroller and hold/comfort a SCREAMING-SO-EMBARRASSINGLY-LOUD Louisa and… it pushed me over the edge. I was that lady hissing things at her screaming child. Things like ‘stop it right now! I am so sick of this bullshit!’. It wasn’t good. None of it is good. Have you ever read/heard/seen that quote about how God/The Universe doesn’t give you more than you can handle? Or that this is the life you were meant to have because you totes got this, dawg? Or some variation on that theme? I saw that somewhere the other day and wanted to punch someone in the throat. You guys. I can’t even handle this. The only reason people can handle things that they have to handle is BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO. Like, I don’t really have a choice. I can’t just trade in my life for a different one that’s easier. So yeah. Just so you know – don’t say that to me right now. Or probably anyone else who is having some sort of difficulties.
So. How am I? Um, not good? Terrible? Hovering right on the edge of totally losing my shit?
I need to somehow find the time/gumption to move Simon into his crib and also convince him to start taking bottles. I only have two more months of nursing, thank God. I am so sick of it I could scream. I love the kid. OH SO MUCH. He is so smiley and cute and wonderful. But I would like my body and my bed back. It’s my fault for co-sleeping and for being a rabid breastfeeder, and I’m still glad I made those decisions, but I’m done now. Also, I maybe need some drugs. All I have to do is find a doctor, make an appointment at some convenient time (read as: never because what do I do, take my screaming toddler and highly mobile soon-to-be toddler with me?), go to that appointment, get a prescription, fill the prescription… you get the point. I sat down to call my insurance company for help finding a doctor today and Louisa started screaming and I couldn’t even deal with it. I hung up. Why does everything have to be overwhelming? This is America, can’t we just get antidepressants in a vending machine or something?
Tomorrow is the first in a whirlwind of appointments (four in the next twelve days) for Louisa which will hopefully result in A- an explanation as to what exactly is going on with her, i.e., a diagnosis and B – a plan as to what exactly we are going to do about it. I am so nervous that I am currently stress-eating sleeves of Ritz crackers because A- I don’t drink (stupid breastfeeding) B – I don’t smoke anymore either, damn it, C – food is my drug of choice when confronted with feelings that I don’t want to feel and D- we don’t have anything else in the house, i.e., pizza and/or brownies and/or something delicious and fattening that is probably going to kill me.
Not much else to say except… A- please say a little prayer for her/me/us?, B – I would totally kill for a cigarette right now (for really realz I am not even kidding) and/or a box of wine (stupid breastfeeding) and C- please send pizza and/or fattening deliciousness asap.
My daughter has my feet. I know this because she likes me to rub her feet so I do it a lot and recently whilst studying them I realized that they are my exact feet (minus some scars and the hairy toes) miniaturized. Today while rubbing her little feet and marveling at how they really are SO EXACTLY LIKE MINE I… burst into tears. Hardly unusual around here lately. I mean… it’s no picnic being a mom to a toddler and an unreasonable 9-month-old baby (who has lately stopped sleeping omgwhy). Add to that the side dish of depression with which I often times struggle (see for example: previous gagillion posts about it shutupAnjeanettealreadygeez) and the fact that the toddler is now most likely probably autistic and… lots of tears. And being angry. And wondering if this is truly my life now. And then feeling guilty for being angry and sad and not positive and upbeat and READY TO ATTACK! GO TEAM GO! LET’S FIGURE THIS OUT! which I probably should be and… I don’t even know. Somehow, today, seeing her feet and realizing that I don’t know what the hell the future holds, for her or for us as a family, is just making me have a hard time right now. I mean, nobody can ever predict the future (hazy, ethereal, card-reading/crystal ball-consulting psychics aside) but with kids there’s a general path which you can assume they’ll follow: walking, talking, potty training, kindergarten, The Horrible Teenage Years of Doom, etc. But with this, with her, what is the future? Hopefully there’s talking and sweet fancy Moses there’d better be potty training and there’s definitely kindergarten because of laws in this country etc, etc, et al, but after that… what? And I can’t help feeling that I have miserably failed her in some fundamental way. I mean, I shouldn’t blame myself but… how can I not? What if this is all the result of me being gone to the hospital and/or me having Simon too soon and/or abruptly moving to Utah, or all of those things within the span of 7 months… or maybe even just My Terrible Parenting? What then? How do I fix it?
This is the conversation I have with myself, basically on a constant loop – day after day, hour after hour – even at night when I should be sleeping. I have no answers. We’re working on answers. And possibly solutions. But still. The future is… anybody’s guess.
So I sort of just realized that I posted about an exciting interstate move, disappeared for five months (give or take) and then dropped the autism bomb. Sorry about that. Sometimes I’m a little too stream of consciousness, methinks. But here I am, updating you on everyone and everything else! So exciting! Not really. Mostly boring. But here goes anyway.
We moved. We’re here. In Utah. My homeland. The mothership. The mecca of the Mormons. And… we love it! And by we I actually mean we, not just me. I knew I would love it but I worried that Jason wouldn’t. But he does. It’s so beautiful. We live in a community called Cottonwood Heights which is just a stone’s throw from Big Cottonwood Canyon which means that the Wasatch mountains are basically in our backyard. Which is basically true for much of Utah because daaaaamn they huge, but still. It’s lovely. If ever we have the means and the wherewithal to buy a house I would like to find one in this same area. Also, his music scene is much more happenin’ here. He has managed to find and jam with more than one like-minded person so that’s good. He may have to put things on hold what with all the… stuff… happening lately but at least there are options available.
We were really looking forward to a snowy winter which so far… hasn’t really happened. I think the weather is weird all over this year, but it’s just odd for me. I grew up here, playing in feet of snow and then later driving in feet of snow and so far… not so much. We’ve had one lame ass storm and then one actual Utah snowstorm. Luckily the second one was on Christmas. I really wanted a white Christmas because I haven’t had one in ages. The last white Christmas I experienced was actually a nightmare. It was in Portland and Portland handles the snow like a 19-year-old co-ed at her first frat party holds her liquor, which is to say NOT VERY WELL. Me and my brother, who was my roommate at the time, were trapped in our apartment. We watched Saturday Night Fever on Christmas Eve. It is now a funny and fond memory but at the time was pretty lame. This year I wished and wished and Mother Nature delivered. Louisa had never seen snow before and was enchanted.
We had a great Christmas – the best I’ve had in years. It was so nice to be here with my folks. Plus, my kids are still young enough to not really get into the whole gimme gimme PRESENTS thing and are really happy to just see and open the brightly colored packages without really noticing what’s on the inside. So that was fun. I cooked a big ass dinner and my mom and stepdad came over. We played in the snow and ate too much food – a perfect day.
As for me, I have been working full time since we got here. You may remember that I was ready for a break from the SAHM gig? Yes. So I took one. And Jason got to spend some time with the kids. Lots of time with the kids. It was nice. We’re broke as a bad joke but that’s okay. It was worth it. By the time the Christmas period rolled around and my work started to disappear (as happens that time every year) I was ready to go back to full-time momming and he was ready to go back to work so he scooted down to the local temp agency and BAM got a job. Really. I was surprised how quickly it happened. And it’s a pretty good job too. The place kicks ass – great building with a great view, fridge stocked with free drinks, candy dispensers stocked with free candy (obviously), catered lunches every Wednesday, movie outings once a month… and on and on. Plus he is making more money than he was in Vegas so it’s a win win. We’re really hoping that they hire him for real.
I’ve also managed to hang out with friends. Twice! Once with my BFFs from junior high whom I hadn’t seen in 20 years. It was… surreal, honestly. But also great. I love seeing people from the past. We tried to do it again but it was during the holidays and then the craziness with Louisa so things got canceled but we’ll do it again. And then last weekend I went to breakfast with my cousin and that was awesome too. Once of the things I have missed out on being elsewhere for 13 years is my family. They are some good folks and I am glad to have them back in my life. Look at me, being all social!
And then there’s Simon. You know, Simon, my second kid? The one I sat in a hospital bed for two months for? (which, by the way, was a frickin’ YEAR ago!! how does time just keep flying by?!) Simon is 9 months old now. NINE. Which means he is both delightful and infuriating. Delightful because he’s so cute and cuddly and smiley. Infuriating because he refuses to eat anything other than breast milk and thus is on the lowish end of the percentile charts for height and weight. He will not eat, you guys. And yes, I remember that Louisa wouldn’t either and that she eventually did but at least she was fat and healthy! Geez! Also, his hematocrit is low so I have to force-feed him nasty vitamins which, as you can imagine, is fantastic. But he’s awesome otherwise. He was a little reluctant to sit up on his own but once he did, he decided to meet all of the other milestones immediately. For real. Two days later he was crawling, a week after that he was pulling to stand and within another couple of weeks he was cruising. Which means walking is imminent, Lord help us.
So that’s that. The Carters in a nutshell. Cheers.
In the next three weeks Louisa has a series of evaluations to determine exactly what is going on with her. As I’ve mentioned before, we’re fairly convinced that she falls somewhere on The Spectrum but we don’t know exactly what she has or how bad it is. Next week she has the second part of an evaluation by Early Intervention where they will check her vision and her hearing, after which we can get started with speech therapy and probably some other stuff. A couple of weeks after that she has two appointments, one which is another speech/hearing evaluation (since it’s a different organization we apparently have to do it again) and one which involves a psychological evaluation and some other stuff, and which will give us an actual diagnosis.
When we first started thinking “hmm… something’s going on here… and it might be Ye Olde Autism” I did what I always do which is go into Extreme Research Mode whereupon I checked out every book the library has (I’ve read books about autism, books about Asperger’s, books about the guy who first coined the term “autism”, books about Temple Grandin, books BY Temple Grandin, books about autism and diet, books about autism and gut bugs, etc etc ET FRICKIN’ CETERA), scoured all of the websites out there and watched all of the documentaries/movies (Sounding the Alarm = helpful, Rain Man = not so helpful) to try to figure out what exactly is going on and what exactly we can do about it. In the midst of all of this, I came across a group of people who are loud and proud about their or their kids’ autism (and really, good for them) and neurodiversity and how we should all accept autism as just a normal variant. I am not sure, right now, how I feel about all of this. While I understand what these people are trying to say and where they are coming from, I want to do everything I can for my sweet daughter and therapy (be it speech therapy, behavioral therapy, occupational therapy or any combination thereof) could mean the difference between her talking and her being completely nonverbal for the rest of her life, the difference between her going to a mainstream school and her being shoved into special education, the difference between her learning to be an independently functioning adult who can take care of herself and her either living with me until I die and then me being panicked about what will happen to her when I’m gone or, worse, her ending up in some gross institution.
So while I get the movement that is all about not giving your kids a label or letting them be defined by a diagnosis, I can’t get any help without that diagnosis. Until we know if Louisa has autism or PDD or anything else spectrumy, and whether she is mild or severe, we can’t really get the services that we need. And that, my friends, is why she has all of these appointments and that is why I’m looking for a label – not so we can throw it around for special treatment or use it as a crutch, but so my baby can learn how to communicate and be the best she can be.
About two and a half weeks ago there was a culmination of a few months of wondering/questioning/worrying on both my and Jason’s parts about Louisa. Trust me, we are both playing the “why didn’t we notice/speak up SOONER?” game but that doesn’t do anybody any good. Sure, maybe we should have figured things out a bit earlier but… we’re first-time parents. And nobody wants to believe that there is anything wrong with their kid.
Louisa has always been a little behind with her speech. Had we realized how actually behind she was (which, by the way, those queries at the pediatric well visits don’t really assess that well) we may have had the oh-my-fuck moment months earlier. She started saying single words a little beyond the latest part of the normal range. She progressed at pretty much that same level. Until around age two. She sort of started saying two-word phrases, but what I didn’t realize until just recently is that even those two-word phrases were not what a normal 30-month-old kid should be saying. Like, those two words (and at this point three and four words) should be tiny sentences like “drink water” or “me hungry”, not “be careful” repeated over and over obsessively as she was running up and down the hall. And then she started losing words until she basically wasn’t talking really at all. And then she started doing other concerning things like lining up her toys and spinning around in circles.
The weekend after Christmas the planets aligned or something and both Jason and I were like “are we worried about her? Yes, we’re worried about her”. And so we decided that the next morning I would contact the pediatrician’s office first thing Monday morning. And then that night as I laid in bed with Simon and Jason hung out on the couch, separately but probably at the very same moment, each of us googled something about autism and felt that giant slap in the face that some folks like to call an epiphany.
Good lord. This all fits. How did we not notice THIS and THIS and THAT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD?!
You know what they say about hind sight.
The pediatrician was just as concerned as us. We didn’t even say “autism”. She did. With as practiced a nonchalance as she could muster, but alas her eyes belied the truth of her urgency, she advised us to contact these people but they will take a while to get you in so in the meantime contact these people who can come to your house next week and get started with Early Intervention. If necessary. Ahem.
And so then I entered a phase of anger. And then one of depression. And then I firmly set up camp in everybody’s favorite, denial. Maybe she is just regressing because of Simon and everything that has happened in the last year? Maybe she has PTSD? Maybe she just has anxiety and/or depression? Maybe something is wrong with her hearing? There was much googling. There was much a lot of other stupid, desperate things. There was a lot of things that I don’t need to go into.
And then yesterday the Early Intervention lady came. Annnnd… Louisa’s problem(s) are so much deeper than even we could fathom. She scored below the first percentile (let me repeat that, BELOW THE FIRST PERCENTILE HOLY CRAP) in both expressive and receptive language (we had been under the impression that her receptive language was fine. She understands us! That’s good! Yeah. No she doesn’t), her social/emotional skills and even her cognitive skills. Essentially the only things that are okay are her motor skills. She can run and jump and climb and fuck shit up with the best of them even though she only has one hand, but what she can’t do is respond to her name (because she doesn’t know that she is Louisa, apparently) or call me Mom or understand that she can’t touch a hot stove or run out in the street. What she can’t do is communicate in any way at all. She does’t even point. When she wants something she grabs your hand and pulls you into the general vicinity of said thing and then hopes that you’ll figure it out.
No wonder she is frustrated and throws fits. Fits that we played off as The Terrible Twos. Sigh.
In the span of 15 minutes I went from thinking that everything was fine, it was a tiny hiccup, nothing that couldn’t be fixed to realizing that we can’t FIX Louisa. We don’t need to fix her. She is fine the way she is and is not broken. What we do need to do, however, and what we can do is help her.
Yesterday was just the first step in the process but luckily our pediatrician is smart and sent us to the right people first. Those other folks, the ones who can give us an actual diagnosis, they will take another four to six weeks before they can even get us in. And then once they give us that diagnosis, they would have sent us to Early Intervention anyway. This way, instead of waiting around for a diagnosis, we will already be helping my sweet little daughter navigate this world with her unique set of tools by the time someone says “autism” or “pervasive developmental disorder” or “scary-sounding disability that I hadn’t even thought of”. Because yeah. She qualified for Early Intervention. She is officially a Special Needs Kid. She has a disability.
I feel like everything suddenly makes sense and that the only thing to do now is to go forward. Whatever her shiny new label will be I love her so much. And so does everybody else in her life.
I was really looking forward to you. I was. See, 2014 was one of my least favorite years thus far. Yep. Your buddy, 2014, really knocked the wind out of me. I was so thankful that it was going to end better than it started what with the birth of a healthy, wonderful boy and moving back to my hometown (and away from everything I hated about seedy Las Vegas). I mean, this was the last week! We, as a family, had a wonderful Christmas and had made it all the way to the end. The bad was over. I was ready to bid adieu the two-month hospital stay, the four-month terror of a complicated pregnancy, the threat of a premature delivery and what that could mean for the future, the relentless medical bills, the abject poverty, the stress of yet another interstate move. I was going to toast, if not at midnight (I haven’t made it to the actual dawn of the New Year since I had babies) then as close as I could get, to auld lang syne along with everyone else celebrating the annual out with the old and in with the new.
But old 2014. He’s a wily one. This last grenade, the one he saved to lob at us so close to the very end, it’s a doozy. I’ve gotta hand it to him, the sly devil. I didn’t see it coming. I mean, I guess I wondered and deep down inside I had inklings but showing up at the pediatrician on Monday and having her, before we had even gotten the questions finished, say “we should have your daughter evaluated for autism”, that was quite a thing.
So I guess, 2015, what I’m asking, nay, begging for, is please be nice to me. I’m this close to my breaking point. I’m okay putting all of my get-skinny, start-exercising, get-back-in-touch-with-old-friends, go-to-the-doctor-and-find-out-if-it-really-is ankylosing-spondylitis-and/or-what-the-hell-that-heart-palpitation-is plans on hold. I’m okay, as a matter of fact, with fitting this new piece into the puzzle of my life. But I’m not sure I can take anything else. So please remember, when you’re dealing the cards this year, that 2014 gave me kind of a crap hand. Thanks in advance.
So you know when you were a little kid and the last week of school was the longest of all eternities and it would NEVER END? Or, even worse, the countdown to Christmas that went ONANDONANDONNNNNN, each day dragging and every morning waking up and realizing it still wasn’t here yet and how was that even possible? Yeah. That’s what’s going on around here right now with the whole we’re-moving-to-Utah-but-not-yet thing. I can’t even express how much I just want to be the hell out of here now that the cat is out of the bag. Each day is like a tiny little forever that I am forced to get through and I’m so tired and anxious that it’s just… well… I’m super glad my kids won’t remember these few weeks. It’s so HOT that we can’t really go outside and sometimes I’m just too tired to try to keep Louisa out of all of the things she wants to be into because I’m carrying Simon around because he is so tired that he’ll cry if I put him down but he’s not tired enough to sleep and OMG just watch Elmo for the love of all that is holy! So yeah. Lots of Elmo going on around here. And there is so much to do before we go, and so much to do after we get there, that I have worked myself into an anxious froth about it but at the same time I can’t really do anything about it yet because there is no time. My day begins at 6 am, I take care of two kids for 9 hours then bolt down dinner when my husband gets home at 5:20 so that I can start work at 5:30. I finish work at 9:30 or 10:00 and sure, I guess I could get something done then but are you kidding me? I’m a zombie by then. Sooo… tiredddd… must… sleeeeep. Oh wait. The baby is hungry. And awake. Sigh. And every Saturday for the past six weeks I have either been working or we have had people here (or BOTH for cripes) so by Sunday I can barely muster the strength to sit on the couch, you know? And this Saturday is no exception because it’s Louisa’s birthday so again, people will be here. Which, whatever. That’s cool. It’s her birthday (by the way, how the hell is she two years old? I could waste an entire other post about how fast THAT time went by) so of course I gotta make Elmo cupcakes and blow up a bunch of balloons because birthdays are special. And because despite the fact that I can see the deep end, that I’m about to go off, right over there (picture me pointing a shaking, exhausted finger), I love her cute little voice when she says “Elbmow” and I want to see her face when she opens all her little presents.
A couple of days ago I texted my husband “maybe when we get there you should just be a full-time dad for a while and I can work full time”. At the time I thought it was just a really good idea. We could all have breakfast together, people could work out, we could take the kids to the park or to do other fun things and then after lunch when the kids are napping I could start work. I could break for dinner and bedtime and then finish my shift. Brilliant! Perfect! We agreed to try it out while he looks for work and if it works out…cool. Yesterday while Louisa was sleeping I was begging Simon to go to sleep. As if reasoning with a three-month-old that “pleeeease… Mommy is soooo tired” is logical. Then I caught Louisa digging in the cat box again (with the scooper, people, not like with her hands but still, I know, so disgusting) and I could barely keep myself from losing my shit. She takes the thirty-second opportunities when I am up to my elbows in baby poop or baby spit-up or baby crying to do all the things that she knows we don’t want her to do. Two-year-olds! And then today while I was feeding Simon he pooped. So I went to change him. And he did his famous projectile-spit-up-all-over-the-bed trick. This kid. I don’t even know. Does he have a pyloric stenosis? Gastroesophageal reflux? The hell? Louisa spit up way more often than him but it was just a tiny amount at a time. This dude only spits up like every two weeks but when he does it’s as if he is rejecting everything he has eaten for 72 hours. So gross. As I was putting the sheets in the dryer, him crying in the background and Louisa whining for a cracker I realized – the text to my husband? A thinly-veiled cry for help. I pretty much can’t handle this anymore. The children have won and I am at my breaking point. I love these kids like nothing else but I need a king-sized break. We are leaving three weeks today. Hopefully I can make it that long.