Wednesday, 20 May 2009
She's got mail
Yesterday the Littlest Latte got a letter.
"Welcome to your school reception class!" it said. Enclosed was a pack of all the information we need for September - school milk, uniforms, visits, PE kits and lunches. You'd think that this would be simple with a second child - we've been doing this for four years. We already know the ropes.
But I'm not ready. Littlest may be ready, but I'm not.
With a disabled child, everything is focused on the next milestone. It's all about going forward, moving on, through a whirlwind of appointments and targets and instructions. The Eldest Latte's first day at school was a cause for joy, for pride, and for relief. We had made it. There she was, dressed in her little uniform, looking for all the world like a schoolgirl just like all the others. Added to the fact that each morning from now on, two trained Teaching Assistants would take her through the physical therapy that had been wholly our responsibility since her diagnosis. Whether or not they were tired. Whether or not they were just p*ssed off and weary with the whole thing. Whether or not they needed to go to the supermarket.
With the Littlest Latte I thought things would be more relaxed. I had no wish to push her on past each lovely stage. But Littlest is not one for hanging about. Ever since she took her first steps, whilst carrying a tape recorder nearly as big as her body, she has been an independent force to be reckoned with.
Add into this the 18 months of her tiny life I spent struggling to function, and you have a wealth of regret, of missed time, of time wasted. Of time in bed, listening to her play with my mother downstairs, or hearing her come home from exciting days out without me. Of time spent fiddling about on the internet when it should have been spent fiddling about with playdough. Of time not playing with the Playmobil house because of futile attempts to tidy the big house. Of time leaving her to her own devices because I was too tired to do anything else.
An extra few hours a day - she already spends each morning in pre-school - shouldn't be such a big deal. But somehow it is. I have organised my career (such as it is), my relationships, myself around being a mother of young children for the past eight years, and that time seems to be coming to an end. The really, really annoying thing is that I've only just got any good at it. I'm not joking. I've not been a natural. Just in the last few months I've begun to work out what I should be doing. I've found my groove, only to realise I'm just about to be bounced out of it.
Just the thought of it makes me feel as if I am sinking.
There's a big old mope for you. Sorry to put you through that. It happens to most parents - I know there's nothing special or new about this experience. The challenge now is to pull out of this wallowing and make the most of these last months of pre-school time. Suggestions would be very welcome.