Enough! or Is It Ever?

I sent Bubba back to school this week.  He started second grade. Bubba 2nd Grade

One, how did a teeny tiny little baby start second grade?!  I mean, I KNOW he still sleeps in a crib and eats every two hours.  He’s still a baby, right?  I just had him?  Brought him home just the other day, yes?  Okay, really, the only true thing is he eats every two hours.  Lucky child inherited his father’s metabolism and can eat anything he wants.  Smash-N-Break is three years younger and weighs more than Bubba by one pound.

Two, who else has that mom voice of “enough”?  No, not your Batman voice of “ENOUGH” when your kids are, well, acting feral.  I’m talking about the internal mom voice of measurement.  Did we do enough fun things this summer?  Did I balance his brothers’ therapy appointments with fun time for him enough?  Did he get enough fun time?  Did he get enough one-on-one time?  Did I speak enough of his love language while he was out of school?

Nope, Its Never Enough!

Me, being the ever pessimist with a side of anxiety and depression, says NO.  We only went swimming in a real pool a couple of times.  We got together with friends a couple of times.  We did the library a few times.  We did the zoo, splash pads, and museums a few times.  They saw a couple of movies.  We mixed in doctor appointments, dentist appointments, and football practice to all of that, too.  Plus, we unpacked more of the shop and swam/splashed in our little backyard pool a lot.  We swung on the swing set and went to a couple of parks.

We went on splash walks, and went blueberry picking.  We attempted to do things in the heat, and ended up falling down in front of the fan trying not to die.  We made a few forts.  We did some water balloon fights.  Those always seem to end with me or Plus One using a hose to try to soak the other one.  We went to Six Flags and Gas Monkey Garage.  Yeah, great list, but was it enough?

Well, to me, I should have done more.  I’ve blinked and he’s in second grade.  Cliché?  Absolutely.  Also, absolutely true!  This time is so fleeting, and I want to build that relationship so he knows I’m there, so he knows how much I love him.

Love, Angst, & Therapy

I don’t want him to ever question if I love him, if he matters to me, how awesome he is as a person.  I don’t want him to ever question if there is a ranking to my love (side note:  there’s not – I love them all equally).  I don’t want him to ever think he’s not the (imaginary) favorite, or that anyone IS a favorite.

I know that come the teenage angst-y years, he will probably think that, which is why I want this foundation there.  But, I don’t want to push it, either.  He’s not responsible for my feelings, for my happiness.  He’s responsible for himself.  I don’t want to suffocate him.  (Seeing the fucked-up family dynamics yet?  I’m pretty sure we’re going to be buying our therapists a new car.  I hope it’s shiny.  Maybe it will drive itself, and she can conduct therapy sessions down the highway.)

Bubba Loved It Though

boysTo Bubba, it was a great summer.  If you ask him, he says “YEAH!” We spent more time outside this summer than we did back in Colorado, and it was way hotter down here.

One, we have neighbors but we don’t see into each other’s homes.  There is a sense of privacy.  I’ve noticed that my kids want to go out and play now because they don’t feel like they’re on display or being watched.

Two, we have more than a postage stamp of a yard.  Yes, it’s all dirt and weeds with some leaf cover, but that’s a little boy’s dream!  It’s my nightmare with laundry, but that’s at least a chore that can never truly be done, unless we’re all walking around naked.  I am seriously considering making a sign that says “Welcome!  Be prepared to see a wiener! If that bothers you, don’t knock.”  Think I can make the sign into a wreath? That would be a great Drunk Pinterest video!

How Do You Know Your “Enough”?

So how do I quiet that voice of “enough”?  I don’t think I can.  I haven’t come far enough in my personal growth to even know how to quiet it yet.  Even when I get there, can you quiet it?  Can you know you are enough?  How do you quiet that voice of “enough”?

Are My Kids Really “Special Needs”?

School starts for my kiddos in a week for Bubba, two weeks for Smash-N-Break.  (Insert confetti flying, champagne sipping Q – I love them, but I’m so ready for school to be back in session.)champagne pop Since the “meet the teacher” times are a free-for-all and not scheduled individually, I’m writing letters to the teachers to introduce my kids.  It may come off as “that mom”, but honestly – you’re meeting 20+ kids in 2 hours.  I’m just trying to help let you know about my kid.  I’ve kind of been around them awhile.  I may know what makes them tick.

It also made me pause and think.  Bubba has generalized anxiety disorder, and probable ADD/ADHD.  Smash-N-Break has ADHD and SPD, and “warning signs” of dyslexia.  He’s just too young to test.  Littles has SPD.  His pediatrician and occupational therapist agree he has some moderate risk towards autistic traits (that’s the wrong word, but I’m only one cup of coffee into my day, so sue me), but it could just be the SPD.  He’s too young to test for more than that, yet.  Plus, he is functioning pretty well in everyday situations, so it isn’t warranted yet.  Given his genetic history, he is predisposed to ADHD, so we will see later if the traits I’m seeing of that continue.  But, all of that to say, I’m technically a mom of children with special needs.

Technically Yes, But Really?

This made me pause.  When I think special needs, I didn’t picture my kids.  I picture those moms who are so inspiring to me, and those moms who fight so hard for their kids.  I picture kids with cancer or other illnesses, Trisomy disorders, deaf, blind, seizures, autism (anywhere on the spectrum), kids who can’t walk or talk, etc.  My kids?  They aren’t that severe.  The disorders they have aren’t affecting their daily life.  Or is it, and we’ve just grown accustomed to rolling with the punches?  I feel like I’m insulting true special needs moms by saying my kids have special needs.   They’re fight is so much bigger than mine.  They’re daily life is so much different.  Things I take for granted, they celebrate as major accomplishments.  And they are major accomplishments.  I don’t want to take away from that.

Yes, Really Special Needs

But then I thought a little more.  A special need means just that – there is something that the child has that has a special way to handle it.  My kids have things going on inside of them that need a little bit of extra help.  It’s why going out in public is like preparing for war for me.  I never know how good or bad it’s going to be.  I never know how many times I’m going to be looked at as “that mom” who “can’t control her kids” or “is giving into a tantrum” that is really a sensory meltdown.  Hell, I never know if I’m going to have to abandon the grocery cart before buying everything because of the issues the kids have.

Even something as simple as taking the boys to get their haircut exhausted me.  Littles just hated it.  If he would sit in the chair, he would cry the entire time.  MavHaircutHe sat by himself once.  Generally, he would need me to hold him, and then he would be pinching and clawing me like mad until it was over.  The sound and feel of the clippers, plus being in public and around strangers, overwhelmed him.  The last time I took him to an actual place to get his haircut, he tried to bite the stylist.  That was it for me.  It wasn’t worth doing this to him every other month.**  The boys get buzz cuts.  I’ve learned to do it at home.  He’s better for me at home.  As he gets older and better with his SPD, and if he decides he wants something other than a buzz cut, we can try a barber again.  Until then, I’ll do it on our front step.

Bubba has anxiety.  He knows the difference between a watch and a warning in regards to weather.  Thunderstorms scare the ever-loving daylights out of him, to the point he hides.  So, my telling his teacher that he has this issue is telling her that he may need a little bit of extra help to calm down if a thunderstorm or tornado happens while he is at school, and how he calms down best.  It’s letting Smash-N-Break’s teacher know he has these medical diagnoses, and he will be more challenging as a result.  It’s also letting her know that *I* know it, and won’t be upset if she comes to me with other issues, tips, tricks, what-have-you.

The “T” Word

Yes, my children’s special needs are so very easy to overcome compared to others.  But, to those with “typical” (I’ve learned to hate that word) children, a day in my shoes would be overwhelming to them.

A Mom Of A “Typical Child:

  • who listens well and has a normal amount of energy cannot understand the lack of impulse control hyperactivity tornado that is Smash-N-Break.
  • doesn’t have their child fall to the ground, unable to move, because a wasp is outside.
  • doesn’t sit on the floor of Walmart trying different shoes on the wrong feet of a 2 year old because you need to find a pair he will wear, and he won’t wear them on the correct feet.  He likes the pressure of the shoes when they are on the wrong feet.

So, while my battle everyday is so much smaller than so many special needs moms, I do have special needs kids.  And that’s okay.  My saying my kids have special needs doesn’t make them less than, or take away from their special needs.  It doesn’t make me less than.  There is a person behind every diagnosis.  That’s what matters – the person, not the label.

 

**Don’t worry – I didn’t subject him to years of haircut torture and abuse.  Maybe 6 total before I started doing it.  I don’t have a lot of faith in myself and figured they’d look more like Lloyd from Dumb and Dumber.