Monday, April 26, 2010

Reclaiming Adult Space

Julia is an artist extraordinaire. She is constantly working on her 'projects' in her play area, cutting and taping, and drawing and glittering, and wrapping... She brings projects home from school every day. She makes projects at home every day. Our small Brooklyn apartment is overrun with art, notes, pictures, and projects. AND, she wants to post these projects all over our home. She gets out her tape and tapes them up in the living room, her playroom, the kitchen, her bedroom, our bedroom, even the bathroom has displayed an occasional piece of her art.

This weekend Dave and I made a small effort to reclaim a little space of our own, moving some display shelves from her play area to the dining area of our living room (yup, no dining room, no living room, this is NYC we are talking about, where real estate is a premium), and putting up an art gallery wall in her play area. She insisted on having it written in German (a nod to our bilingual household) so it says "Cates-Addison Art Gallery" on the wall.

Compromise achieved. Our dining area now looks like a dining area, free of the 30 pieces of paper scotch taped to the wall, and her play area has a designated space for us to oohhh and ahhhh over all of her masterpieces...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Early Intervention...

Yesterday was Oliver's 11 month birthday. And he isn't eating. He will take a couple of crumbs of bagel, a couple of dried blueberries and that's all she wrote. For all intents and purposes, he isn't eating. He is still getting about 99% of his calories from nursing. After the swallow assessment and the endoscopy last month, we were directed to NYC's Early Intervention program to see if he would qualify for behavioral feeding therapy services. In order to qualify, he had to have a delay in at least one other area, so we have had a troupe of therapists parading through our home in the last two weeks. We've been assigned a case worker, and he's been assessed by a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, a speech and language therapist, and a teacher has done a general assessment and parent interview.

So here's where we freak out. Not only has he qualified for the feeding therapy, but it turns out he is delayed on ALL fronts - gross and fine motor skills, receptive and expressive language AND feeding, and he is also being recommended for play therapy. His final assessment took place yesterday - the most important one, the feeding assessment - and now we just hurry up and wait. Our big meeting with the Department of Health and Hygiene (yes, that's what the department is called... how could I make this stuff up?) happens May 20th, but time is of the essence. I go back to work in 4 1/2 months now, and each day that he doesn't eat is another day closer to the day I return to the classroom... and take the food source with me.

All sorts of irrational thoughts are flooding my brain and making me crazy. Have I failed him in some way? What have I done / not done with Oliver that I did / didn't do for Julia? Could I have prevented these delays in some way? What can we do differently now? What is causing these delays? Will he always be delayed, or will he at some point catch up and be on par with his peers? What's the long term prognosis here?

Of course there are the logistical questions too - seriously, FIVE therapists? What is our life going to look like? How will I parent Julia in any kind of an enriching way when our entire life is taken over by Oliver's therapy schedule? And by the same token, is Oliver's entire life going to be therapy? What about tumbling, and music, and swimming and all the fun things Julia got to do when she was a toddler, or just a trip to the playground? What about downtime? While we can't afford for me NOT to go back to work in the fall, how CAN we afford for me to go back to work? Clearly our son needs his Mama to be home?

I look at my boy and know he is a beautiful, happy little boy. I know he is bright and curious because I see the sparkle in his eyes. However, I an consumed by worry... what is going on in his little head and in his little body? And what can I do? Once again, I remind myself to breeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaattttttthhhhhheeeeeee, and take this one step at a time. But then the crazy seeps back in, the panic starts to rise in my chest, and I leap ahead 53 steps...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Eve of 38

So, it's the eve of my 38th birthday... hard to believe. There are so many moments where that Talking Heads song runs through my head - you know the one... Once in a lifetime... truly... how DID I get here? How am I 38 years-old racing towards 40? Where did those crow's feet around my eyes come from? How have I been married almost 12 years? How do I have a child who is entering kindergarten in the fall? How is my baby almost a year old? How am I responsible for two other people?

I feel I spend so much time watching the clock, watching the calendar, making plans, looking towards the future. I can't wait for nap time so I can have a moment of down time. I can't wait until 7 PM until the relief shift comes home. GOD LET THIS HORRIBLE NIGHT OF TORTURED SLEEP BE OVER. I can't wait until the cold weather is over. Can't wait until summer. Can't wait until the beach. Can't wait until the heat is over. Can't wait until Christmas. Can't wait until my glass of wine after the kids go to bed. Can't wait to go for a run later... Can't wait, can't wait, can't wait...

I forget I am living in the present, that the little moments here and now are my LIFE. They are guaranteed, not the ones 6 months from now, or even 6 minutes from now. It's so hard to appreciate the little moments, to live in the moment, to enjoy the NOW, when you are constantly looking forward, looking forward, looking forward, and essentially wishing your life away.

The end of my maternity leave is in sight... As I look at my huge girl, my almost real-deal school girl, and my little boy who is very quickly losing his baby look and racing toward 'little boy,' I just want to slow down this crazy ride. I know I only have a few more months at home with my littles, and I want to appreciate those crazy moments, good, bad, and ugly. And try to remember to live for the NOW, not the THEN. Easier said than done, but no time like this beautiful 80 degree springtime day to give it a go.