A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

Tag Archives: fear

Schooled

Little Man began “preschool” roughly a month ago. It isn’t quite a regular preschool program, but the differences between the two aren’t worth the effort to differentiate. It is a private program, not our original intention. I hoped we would enroll him in our town’s preschool, but considering we drew 109 out of a possible 113 lottery slots, it is more likely pigs will fly and I will lose my taste for chocolate before we will be called from the waitlist.

Image result for grim reaper

(Church of Halloween processed our paperwork.)

In general I prefer public education. Certainly, there are quality private ones, but there isn’t necessarily the same level of accountability and oversight in the private sector as there is in the public. The ease of terrible, weird shit occurring is a topic absent from discussions about charters and privatizing our nation’s education. There is also the issue that our town’s public preschool is a fraction of private school tuition. It’s easy to see the seeds of socioeconomic disparity and academic achievement even at this early stage. Quite crudely, our children will benefit greatly from our means…This shit is expensive.

The school we chose for Little Man is middle of the road in terms of cost. It is also the one a friend in a neighboring town sends her two older children, and probably the younger one when the time comes. An added bonus is that her middle child, a close friend of Mr. Man’s, may very well be in the same class come fall. My friend raved about this school. I also know of another woman in my town who sends her older child. He was somewhat recently diagnosed with a brand of Autism that makes him a challenge to manage behaviorally. Paired with his large frame, it’s been a struggle for the family. I’m not friends with her, only interacting with her a MPOTUS sized handful of times. The last occasion I ran into her was by chance. I’m not sure how the discussion occurred, but she also raved about the school. Our tour was a good experience, but there aren’t so many options for me to be choosey. If we want him enrolled in preschool, this is it. I’m lucky this is the positive option it is.

One day a week Little Man is carted to school for a three-and-a-half hour morning. Hopefully, we can add a second day before school is out for the summer. It’s a play-based program, which was most important to me…A budding preschooler needs play above all else for his education.

I’ve been told my son has strong attachment. He’s never exhibited any type of social anxiety, even a normal level of it. I’m not sure what gives, but Warrior Queen is almost a year-old, and while she is quite feisty, she appears to be chill like her brother in this same regard…We’ll see if she continues on a similar path as her big brother. I knew dropping Little Man to school wouldn’t be an issue. The peanut gallery was noisily fretting because it is quite a long morning for such a small person, but I knew he would be fine. My son struggles with transitions, so we spent a week or so discussing school. He was with us for the tour a few weeks prior. By the time the big day rolled around, he was ready and couldn’t have cared less that I left. He trotted off, and Warrior Queen and I went home. It was a weird feeling stepping into our house…I felt like I was forgetting something important.

I arrived on time to retrieve my big man to the chorus of, “We had a scheduled fire drill this morning.” Yikes, poor kid has trouble with certain, random loud noises. I was told by multiple adults that he was trying to “keep it together” through the process. He managed just fine otherwise. His teachers went to great lengths to tell me how exceptionally well he did for his age on a first day. I heard many comments to the tune of, “Talk about go with the flow…” Sigh, that’s my sweet little man. But, the look of excitement on his face upon seeing me makes all right with the world. For as little as he cares that I leave, he is dichotomously excited I’ve arrived to retrieve him.

Little Man has been attending school for a bit over a month now. In that time I’ve heard him detail exciting play events…a puppet show…sandbox…painting…some kid named James. But, as much as the activities thrill him, most weeks have included some type of horrible loud noise that chipped away at my brave soul’s stubborn grit. The second week was uneventful…the third the fire alarm was mistakenly awakened by workmen…the subsequent week an electric drill frayed my son’s resolve.

In general I try to make a point of not promising things to my children that are out of my control. I never told my son the next school day would be without a fire drill. I would say it probably won’t occur, but it might. So, conversation would focus around discussion of said drill, and what transpires as a result. He seemed okay with the fire drill, but the tool was something else. I hadn’t realized the extent to which he was bothered by this specific noise…or maybe it was a culmination. He chatted about the “regular drill” the entirety of the weekend, but he often focuses on random things…telling stories of specific interest to him. Another item on the top of the list was his excitement to tell one of his teachers he dressed himself in his quiet time pants all by his lonesome.

But, during our morning wake-up routine my son chatted with increasing distress about a random thing. It didn’t take long to realize he was quite freaked about going to school in the event of another rendition of “Workman Drill in Loud Vibrating Sharp.” My poor sweet boy began crying, repeating the phrase, “It was a regular drill, not a fire drill.” The school is in the throws of a never ending construction project; I certainly can’t insist his day will be drill or bothersome noise free, but he was so terribly upset. My little man so cheery and optimistic about adventures was trying his best to persevere, but in the process reluctance and fear oozed from his small stature. Clothed, I pulled my sobbing son on my lap, and we made a plan. I would speak to his teacher about him traveling out of the area in the event he encounters another drill during the day. That was enough. Residual tears continued to leak, but he prattled on about some of the more interesting possibilities he might encounter…interchanged with what we discussed for his drill plan.

We pulled into the parking lot; my son repeating his special plan on a liquid courage loop, becoming increasingly distressed as we wound our way to his classroom. Interesting, he never refused or tantrumed…always the one to confront his fears. I admire that about him. We arrived a bit early, running into one of his teachers as she exited the room…I told her of his distress as my son stood there trying to keep his cool. But, as I relayed the weekend and morning, and about to launch into my proposed plan; the lead teacher spied us. She probably overheard something, because she announced there would be no drilling…They spoke to the workmen and arranged for such pursuits to remain on hiatus while my little man was in attendance.

My son calmed in progressive intervals before I left the area, but I called an hour into his day just to be sure. Even as I felt confident he was having a grand ol’ time, I needed the reassurance…I received it, and planned a normal pick-up time for a boisterous and excited toddler.

It’s the weekend again, and he still mentions the drill periodically, even if there isn’t the same edge as last weekend. I’m not promising him a wonderful repeat of last Monday. I’ll speak with the teachers in the morning, and hope. But, my son and I resurrected our plan…just in case. He’ll be okay…so will I.

But, here is a pondering concern that nags at my peripheral mind. While I am so very proud of my son’s risk taking…his inclination to be strong in the face of adversity even as such a small child; I worry I am communicating to him that it is a flaw to feel vulnerable…to cry or break down in fear. Certainly, I want both children to be fighters, but I don’t want either to shirk or judge themselves harshly for moments of frailty. I don’t want them to treat themselves they way I treat myself…Perhaps I’m over thinking it. For now my son enjoys school…sans drill. So, in a couple days time I look forward to another drive home filled with tales of a puppet show…sandbox…painting…some kid named James, mingled with broken toddler statements that there was no drill of any kind.

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Strength of My Children

My son is a brave soul at twenty-two months.  I take him to his favorite play establishment, and he unabashedly seeks out random children at any age to join him in a brief stint of play.  It doesn’t seem to register that he still struggles to express himself as other toddlers his age do.  He doesn’t care that a little girl of three tells him, essentially, to shove off in the direct way three-year-olds manage.  He doesn’t give up, even when he is pushed out of an area with a subsequent door slammed in his face.  He doesn’t whimper or seek my comfort, merely teeters on to another group or to find adventure by himself.  When he isn’t having a wailing fit because a big person’s fork wasn’t placed on his tray fast enough, he is smiling and laughing, telling jokes.

Typical for his age, he becomes frustrated easily with tasks requiring more toil than he would like, but he plods until he manages success.  I’ll watch him during times like these and wait for him to sign for help, but he almost never does.  It’s only after his hard earned achievement that he will seek my assistance as a reward for his efforts, and I wonder how he came to be like this.  And, I wonder if this is a prediction of his future.

I have not met my Warrior Queen face-to-face, but I can tell by her assertive movements and gestures that I’ve aptly nicknamed her.  I feel in her presses against my hand that have almost no history of retreat that she is her own pillar of strength.  My daughter wants to be a known presence, and for that she is cultivating courage in spades, and I envision her charging on in the world.  I couldn’t say much more than that about my little girl, but I look forward to this pregnancy ending; eager to see what awaits.

I think of my children when I reflect on the events of the day.  I hoped so ardently, and had such a cruel tease initially that my gestational diabetes would be managed by my diet alone.  It doesn’t matter that my fasting and first meal glucose levels the last two days are hovering just over acceptable.  It doesn’t matter that the rest of the day is perfect.  I will be injecting myself with insulin beginning early next week nonetheless.  I’m embarrassed of my reaction thinking of the near future.  I’m embarrassed that I fell to pieces yesterday having to stick myself seven times before achieving success with my meter, knowing the sticks stopped causing me pain.  I hate that I fear next week in the most core part of me.  My hope is that I can muster my children’s strength and perseverance to carry me through my first injection; maybe then I can stand on my own.

Sugar and Spice, but Not So Nice

I am a lot of things right now, but it’s all such a rush that I can’t place exactly what I’m experiencing.  Maybe the specifics don’t matter because it isn’t good.  I was an idiot for my one-hour glucose screening; perhaps too arrogant.  My appointment was at three, so I wouldn’t be fasting like I did with my son.  I should have opted for a first thing in the morning appointment…coulda, should, woulda…  Without thinking ate three servings of chocolate before heading out to my appointment.  Even though I had a bit of a drive to the hospital and an ultrasound first, both were surprisingly efficient.

I failed the test and sentenced to the unpleasant three-hour glucose test.  I’m fairly phobic of needles, but felt optimistic with the nurse who drew the first of four; it was virtually painless.  Just as she wrapped my arm in a fancy way that eliminates bruising like magic, she informed me someone else would be taking my last three blood samples.  I knew this other person; she is terrible.

Over the years I’ve made my peace with undergoing blood tests; I no longer feel as though I will faint.  I must say, though, this individual gives me a run for my money.  Not only is the needle stick painful, but so is the duration of the draw.  I can’t believe I managed the remaining three like a mature adult with blasé, humorous commentary.  Although, if I’m honest, the third one left me a bit green with an aching arm for forty-five minutes.

But, I left hopeful.  I did not have gestational diabetes with my son.  My only risk factors are my age and my father’s diabetes that he manages with his diet.  I eat well and exercise religiously.  I was at a healthy pre pregnancy weight.  My fasting glucose has always been good, and it did not occur to me, or perhaps I didn’t want to consider the fact that things would not continue to move along as they should for the duration of this pregnancy.

It was Friday, and with the blessing of technology, I was able to see my results at eight that evening.  My fasting level was perfect; literally, in the middle of the range.  My one-hour was well within range.  My two-hour was a bit out of range, but falling.  My three-hour shot up to well past any of the other numbers; it was almost 200 actually.

Looking at the screen in an incoherent daze, I needed my husband to translate what was happening.  The next step was calling my father, a physician who manages his glucose effectively.  I relayed my numbers, to which he informed me that with my profile, the last value is impossible.  My father-in-law with the same professional and health resume as my dad said the same.

The weekend passes, but I felt every minute.  Apparently Dr. Google never encountered my issue…that’s comforting…

I call my Ob-Gyn Monday; It’s her day off…lovely…I find waiting exhilarating…  I leave a message for her to call me back; not a nurse.  If my last number is strange, I don’t want to wait by the phone with a vomiting child going through a hierarchical process of repetitive explanations to befuddled listeners.  I love to talk, but at some point the simple thrill of conversation is lost.

Later Monday a nurse calls…so glad communication is so effective at this practice.  She doesn’t tell me my results, rather conveys that they are referring me to the diabetes clinic as though she is offering me a cheese sandwich in such a way that I will find it mildly amusing…I didn’t.  She didn’t know I called and she doesn’t know anything about my specific results…that was the high point of the conversation.  Not only is this individual unaware that a diagnosis of gestational diabetes is not received as good news, she continues to tell me that I will be assessed by the clinic checking my sugar multiple times a day for several days…Apparently, that was the appropriate response to, “Something isn’t right about my fourth glucose value.”  Then she brattles on about all these classes and appointments I will have to attend, but she doesn’t know if I can bring my son with me.  When I attempt to ask for clarification, likely inarticulately advocating some of the challenges, she changes her tone to perfected patronization that this is important for the health of my baby.  Had I been of a better mind at the time I could have said something to the effect of, “Thank you, Captain Obvious, clearly my reaction is because of my intent to peace-out because of this minor inconvenience.”

I like to think that I’m a fairly level individual.  I’ve successfully created and run behavioral schools for adolescents that were mere months from shutting their doors.  I’ve worked with various incarcerated populations.  Suffice it to say I’ve had diverse and colorful employment experiences, and to manage those well I like to consider that I’m not a complete wing-nut, even while preggers.  But, perhaps I’ve been mistaken all these years…

My husband was out of the country, succumbing to whatever ailment of the week  my son contracted as soon as his plane landed.  My son’s stomach bug in conjunction with a snow storm keeping us homebound kept me isolated much of the week.  How many days did I receive unsolicited advice and various inquiries?  These past days were a blur with the finale having my son relapse a bit with his illness and unable to be independent.  I had such lofty plans for my husband’s return; my intent to ensure small things were completed, so he could sigh in relief in stepping through the doors.  Three guesses if any of this happened, and the first two don’t count.

Last night my doctor called with the comment to check-in because of my fear of needles; she was equally confused.  Clarifying my concern about the final glucose value resulted in her confessing that she just looks to see if her patients pass or fail.  It’s been twenty years since her residency, and she just doesn’t remember glucose values.  Should I be pleased that she took my word for it that the fourth was amuck?  Interestingly, when I called the clinic earlier, they did not receive my blood work…an unusual occurrence?  Had I never said anything I would go through the gestational diabetes intervention without anyone looking at my actual glucose results…hmmm…

At the end of the day, I’m taking the three-hour glucose test again tomorrow morning…with the same phlebotomist.  I’m tired, waking up with hip pain every hour for the last two nights that intensified from the other two trimesters.  I’m drained and scared.  I’m many things I can’t identify, but I feel foolish.  I don’t feel particularly hopeful this will relieve my diagnosis, and after this week I don’t know how I will manage the gestational diabetes intervention.  I know I will because I have to, but what am I going to do?

 

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