Friday, June 11, 2010

When to push

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.


  1. They WILL get it. And by being gentle, you're empowering them to do it. You're doing a good job.-@monsterchew

  2. I haven't had a good cry in a while, I think it's long overdue. Those first few months are still raw in my brain, even though it's been a year since I last thought Alexa was going to die just because she was out of sight. The stresses are so different now, and she's started to throw tantrums. They should really warn you about the whole "growing their own personality" thing. Sure, babies are hard, but when a little person finally has opinions it's still so hard in a completely different way!

  3. Coming from a mother of 8... trust me, they will get there. No need to wreck itself over it... (I have a set if twins too... easier than my singletons any day of the week.)

  4. Love you and we are all still here -- supporting you there!