Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I am pathetic

Seriously.

I was exclusively in the home for 12 years.

For 11 of those years, I had at least one child in the home with me.

I breastfed, I homeschooled, I cordinated complex medical conditions, therapists and appointments. I constantly heard from people that they didn't have any idea how I lived my life.

It used to iritate me so much to hear someone tell me they didn't know how I could do it. It wasn't that big a deal. It was just what I did with my life. It was my choice. I was living my dreams.

Even worse than the statement that others didn't know how I could do it, was the common assertion that I actually couldn't do it. The accusations that life was not what it appeared. I pride myself in being very honest and very transparent. What you see is what you get when it comes to me. I'm as flawed in how I parent in public as I am when I parent behind closed doors. I'm firm but forgiving, strict but hands-on. It never mattered where I was, nor who was looking. This was my life. What mattered to me was not the perception of the world, but the model I presented to my children.

There are four and one half weeks before school starts again for the children. Five and one half weeks before I get to return to school. I am counting every...single...day.

How did I go from living my dreams in the chaos of never leaving my zoo to desperate for school to start again? I'm not really sure. II says I only survived in my cave because I managed to shut all intellectual function off in my own brain. That's not entirely true. My brain certainly did function. But, I submerged myself in parenting, homeschooling, motherhood topics. I didn't let myself look outside the narrow scope of where I lived because a different life wasn't MINE. It wasn't my reality, and when I did look at it, it only provided me with discontent with where I was.

I'm still going to be homeschooling the bulk of the children. I'm still strongly committed to the concept of helping my children build their academic foundation before I allow others to lay down bricks of learning in their hearts and minds. However, the shift from secluded into the world has brought forth dynamics that I find myself unable to stay sane surrounded by now.

For instance, A loves to antagonize Ch. A has a long held history of suppressing his own out of control emotions but projecting what he wants to display onto susceptable siblings. In therapy, his therapist was very clear that this behavior was abusive on his part. Well, its back this summer. Having to behave mature and helpful while he was babysitting, his favorite target is Ch. Ch has no self control, no impulse control and adores anything and everything A throws at him. Ch also has severe Hemophilia. That means despite all of our efforts, the bouncing off the walls Ch has presented with since mid-May has resulted in a body covered in bruises and a target joint that we cannot get the bleeding under control in. I'm actually close to call Ch's doctors for an appointment. First step is to increase his ADHD meds and try an intensive infusion schedule with his medicine for a week to see if we can get it under control.

E is emotionally unstable. If its normal pre-teen angst, I can't tell. She's assualting siblings, threatening to run away, shutting own emotionally, raging daily. In short, she is exhausting me.

C is his usual intensive self, with a new diagnosis to go with his Apraxia...Dyslexia. In typcal C fashion, he wants to digest every detail of this and process and prepare for battle against the disability. Here's hoping his intense efforts to tackle this with understanding is as successful as his fight against the Apraxia.

R has decided that she must rage, tantrum and attack people daily now. She has remained emotionally stunted since she suffered Lyme's Disease at age 3. In addition, she is the primary target of E's instability. The extreme behavioral issues are understandable but exhausting.

M is still outright mad that his summer routine does not include school. Rage, poop, attack, rage, poop, smear. Rinse and repeat. Oh hey, I believe from the sound of it, he's gearing for another round even as I type! Add to that his complete refusal to eat after battling his school all spring and his plunge to 5% in wieght and we have now added thrice daily boluses of high calorie elemental formula via his g-tube. Just for good measure, his Cystic doctor last week bumped him from "occasonaly" laxatives to daily. I understand his rationale. M's Autism is too severe to make M a reliable report if another bowel obstruction were to occur. The one last fall presented within 24 hours, so its correct to assume that our best observations outside his body could still cost him precious intestines. The doctor undderstood my wariness less so. Laxatives, short gut and malabsorption is an Autistic minefield...poop galore--especially since I now have to increase his caloric consumption to compensate for the increased passage through his body yet again. He was alreay failing to gain weight at 2300cal/day. How much material will now provide reinforcement to his socially disturbing hobby?

L is 3. That by itself ought to sum up life. But, if you super-impose that developmental age to everything above, you can start to comprehend that I struggle to relate to her with patience and grace these days. She seems to have decided that the way to not get lost in the chaos is to be loud and physically aggressive--just the two behaviors most likely to make my skin crawl. I'm working presistently with her on indoor voices and clothing now. I have high hopes before she is 5 I will see progress.

J has entered extreme seperation anxiety combine with teething his eye teeth. I'm sure the anxiety is sparked by last month's insane school schedule. It still means I haven't worn a bra since I got out of class nor slept a full night either. It also means he screams a lot. Desperate for sleep, when he began to scream 2 nights ago, I simply firmly said, "Go night-night, J." Oddly, he's flopped back on his pillow everytime I've instructed him to do this since then, huffs as he grabs his blanket but no more screaming. It won't last. It never does around here.

Finding myself desperate to hold onto me in this torture chamber currently, I yanked up my computer. Huddled in the corner of the room as the children pretended to clean it, I began to assembly my thoughts for a research project. There is a topic that I am interested in studying. Additionally, since I spent 12 years absent from my own education, I have little to show when I attempt to enter graduate school next year. I have concluded a Senior Research Project would be both interesting and beneficial for my attempts to show I did not lose myself but merely shelved my abilities in the years I focused on my children. Had I completed my original Bachelors, I would have completed a Senior Research Project for my Honors requirement. This University also requires such a requirement for the Honors program. However, their Honors program is structured so that I cannot recover that pursuit. I believe I can salvage my chance to attempt research. And, I hope that doing so will provide me with several things I will require as I attempt to enter a PhD program.

Whatever it may or may not provide for my future, merely focusing on the idea has pulled me out of the fog and frustration of my zoo today. Thus why I am pathetic. For 12 years all of my pursuits and contentment was found within this sphere I am submerged in now. Yet, I cannot handle it as I once did. I find I desperately need something to excite and stimulate my mind now. I think this was why I taught myself midwifery, lactation consultant knowleddge, adoption and attachment issues and many other subjects pertaning to the life I used to live. I was seeking ways to engage my own mind, and not merely my young children. But,I want something more than mothering now. I want knowledge outsidde of that realm too. It keeps me sharp and keeps me sane. At least for today.

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