Tag Archives: School

Different difficulties.

I know. You thought it was going to be all fun and games and enemas around here, but I’ve been thinking about things.

There are a lot of things that are difficult about having a child with special needs, and some of them are probably more obvious than others. I expect some things that are difficult for me are not necessarily difficult for other parents with children with special needs and vice versa. If there’s one fact I know about all of this, it’s there is no formula, no handbook, and no template to tell you how you are going to feel about the various challenges confronting your child and family. 

After writing about Big Boy’s school, it occurred to me that I may have painted a harsh portrait of the place and the parents there. No desserts! Red late passes! Mothers that are lawyers! People that like kale! 

I imagine you understand that his school is sometimes those things, but it is others as well. It offers a rich and stimulating education to my oldest child, a child that is often frightening in his brightness and sometimes exhausting in his incessant curiosity about how the work works. Big Boy LOVES this school. 99% of any issues I have with it are about me.

And, if I’m being honest, they are about me, in part, as James’ mom.

 

In life, in emotion, in love, and in loyalty, I like to go all out. Go big or go home. Be all in. “Clear eyes, full hearts. . . ,” you know the rest.

I can’t be all in with this school. James can never go to this school. It’s no one’s fault, it is simply the way things are, but I can’t help but feel a distance from the other families that bring their two, three, and sometimes four children to the carpool line. Many of the other parents choose to spend a great deal of time volunteering or socializing with the other parents, and I know this is a case of you get out what you put in. But I just can’t put anything else in.

It is taking all the courage I have just to put on the first available clothes and shoes in the morning and drive my brilliant, gorgeous, precocious son to a school filled with brilliant, gorgeous, precocious children. That is all I can put in right now. I know it is the right thing for him to be there. I love that he loves being there. But I don’t love being there. Not being able to have all my children happily ensconced in the same preschool is not the biggest difficulty or greatest sadness in our life, but it is difficult, for me.

Ironically, and perhaps unfairly to Big Boy, I’ve given my heart to another school. A school where James can go and develop to his fullest potential, whatever that may be. Big Boy and Baby Girl can’t go to this school. James has only been going to school for about a month. But somehow, it feels like the heart of our family is already inextricably knitted into the fabric of this school and its community.  We are going on this journey with them and our entire family is invited, and I can’t express what that means to me. 

Clear eyes, full hearts, Frankie Lemmon. 

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Working Girl

Okay, cue the 80s career gal movie montage of flying money. (Baby Boom? Anyone?)

It’s time to talk about being a working mother mom who works outside the home.Image .  

There is so much to say here. Many more posts to come. Let’s just start with what happened last night. 

Big Boy goes to a Montessori school where they don’t really do a typical birthday party with cake. They do a ceremony where the child “goes around the sun” and the parents share photos while the child walks slowly around a lit candle. It’s all vaguely pagan. (This is a school where they celebrate the winter solstice, y’all). 

Because the parents are not supposed to bring cake (too messy and unhealthy), and because Big Boy’s birthday was a couple of weeks ago, I hadn’t thought much about his ceremony this morning. Last night, however, he asked me what treat we were bringing for the class. And to be clear, by treat, his school usually means carob squares with spinach hidden inside, or some other similar “dessert.” 

At 8 pm last night, I made a quick survey of the pantry and realized that the cupboard was pretty bare. I offered to go to the store in the morning and get stuff to make brownies, but Big Boy told me they were “too messy” for his class. I offered to make cupcakes, but these were “too unhealthy.” Then I offered to make rice crispie treats, but these were “too sticky.” Basically, no normal baked goods are acceptable for this kind of celebration. 

Big Boy then sighed and said, “Mom, just go to Whole Foods.” Yep. He saw straight through my denial into my true self, which is apparently a mom that brings store-bought baked goods to school for her son’s birthday. 

I never thought I would be that kind of mom. One of my favorite books (and a middling movie starring the winsome Sarah Jessica Parker) is I Don’t Know How She Does It, by Allison Pearson. It features a great scene in which the titular “she”– a working mother– “distresses” store-bought baked goods in the middle of the night so she can take them to her children’s school the next day and everyone will think she made them. 

I used to work at a law firm. The entire time I worked there, I took great pride in baking ridiculous things from scratch. Organic, whole wheat carrot cake! You can smell the virtuous motherhood reeking from those words. 

But throw in a third kid? Forget it. I’m going to Whole Foods, and my kids know it. The bakery jig is up. 

Thus, I found myself purchasing $35 worth of chocolate chip cookie icing sandwiches this morning and brought them to school in a pleasing brown paper box. Husband took one look at them and said “I thought this was more of a bran muffin kind of thing.”

Guess what? If I’m going to be the store-bought booked goods mom, I’m at least going to be the delicious store-bought baked goods mom. Life is too short for bran muffins on your birthday. No, let’s try that again. Life is too short for bran muffins. 

 

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