A image has been in my head a lot lately. It's a snapshot from the first few months of the girls' lives. I couldn't get either of them settled and I hadn't slept more than three hours in a row in weeks. My nerves were so raw that I was ready to walk out the door and not look back. I ended up pouring myself a Guinness, grabbing a bar of chocolate, and settling them each on a breast. I sat there tandem feeding them for almost two hours, silently crying most of the time as drank my beer and ate my chocolate.
I remember thinking: this has got to get better.
And of course it has. I regularly sleep seven to eight hours, the girls play for long stretches together, and they are old enough to go to school. I can do things like blog and clip my toenails and shower everyday. But the raw nerves, they're still there.
This week we've been home potty training and by today I could have powered a city block off of my nervous energy. Little did I know that those hard moments when they were babies were going to be the easy ones. I could still meet their needs, do everything for them, shape their world for them. I could imagine their emotions and make them happy with the simplest things.
Now we struggle with each other and I watch the emotions storm across their faces. I know their limitations and I see them fight against them. My heart breaks for Desmonda. I watched the pee puddle around her feet today and her look of surprise. I struggle to control myself when she poops the minute after I let her off the potty. I hold her and reassure her that she will get it, reassure myself that she will.
I never know when to push, when to make allowances. I expect too much but worry about expecting too little.
And in this, I don't know where to turn. I don't have friends close enough here that I can cry over it to. And I haven't kept up the friendships I've made in past cities with all the stress here. I feel out of place in special needs forums because the girls are so close to "normal" that I feel like a fraud. But the standard advice just doesn't work.
So I close the bathroom door and cry out of sight of the girls. I call my husband and my sister in law and ask them to tell me I am doing the right thing. I drink a glass of wine at four and remember that this too will pass. And I hug my daughter and tell her I love her and how proud I am of her.