The day-to-day happenings of my daily schedule may change slightly but for the most part, they are consistent. I am in a constant state of stagnant. That’s possibly the hardest part for me…..the flat, tedious horizon that is possibly my biggest source of pure emotional weariness. For how can I be encouraged to expand in my mothering skills, in my daily quest for why I am even here….if nothing ever changes.
The mother of a neurotypical child constantly has to adapt as that child grows older and more independent. She learns how he plays, how he prefers to eat, how his daily activities influence the eb and flow of the household. When for one minute her child was completely stationary, a “houseplant baby”, if you will, the next minute he is crawling across the room, and in the next he is running around the corner and getting into that pile of papers she neglected to put away.
For me, I have no motivation for anything. I don’t get that instant reward of a delighted child, a beautiful baby laugh, the incessant grabbing of curious hands, and later the climbing and exploring of a toddler. Smiles, although still present and willingly given, seem to be rarer, now. I can’t get that smile out of him for simple words or funny faces anymore. But it’s endlessly frustrating because I do not know what he wants. He cannot communicate with me the way a 19 month old should be able to.
When he cries, I do not understand why. Most of the time it seems like he is tired of me. I am boring. I don’t know what to do with him, because he doesn’t challenge me. Maybe that’s a heavy burden to put on any child. Probably. I don’t know if he is bored, hot, tired, or just doesn’t want to be near me. Most of the time the crying stops as soon as I prop him on the couch away from me, so I assume that it is usually the latter. It’s hard for me to understand. I have yet to hear the words “mama” or any variation thereof from him. Maybe it is cruel for me to expect that as a form of reward for me. I most likely haven’t deserved it. I get no feedback besides blank stares, crying, and the odd shy smile anyway. I have yet to hear a true laugh from him as well. Sometimes by exhausting myself by throwing him in the air (which I’m sure his PT would not approve of), I can get a “Heh….heh” from him, a sort of chuckle. Occasionally something close to a high pitched giggle. Perhaps I am trying to validate my mothering skills through my child’s reactions to me.
But I do know that it hurts me to see the way he reacts to his father, when it shouldn’t. There are always more smiles, more almost-laughs, more happiness. My theory is that it is because Caleb doesn’t see him as much as I do, but maybe Noah just sees something better in him than he sees in me.
My housekeeping skills are null. I can admit that. This house overwhelms me. We have such a tiny space and so many things to fill it. I feel claustrophobic, the weight of keeping a clean house seemingly squarely on my shoulders. At this point I feel like it is just dragging me down even lower. I am embarrassed and ashamed but yet I can’t just *snap* out of it and suddenly clean everything like I used to be able to. It’s bad. I need help but I have no idea where to get it from. It’s like I need a week and a team of people to help me organize everything. I constantly lose things because I put them in a pile of papers for safe keeping and then forget which pile they are in.
I started this post with the intention of outlining an actual daily schedule….apparently I had more on my mind than I thought.
Bringing it back a little. My daily life truly is a struggle. A treadmill. Someone fighting to stay afloat, struggling to breathe. Whatever your analogy of choice happens to be. I recently found a graphic outlining the 7 stages of grief. I move between the first 6 stages, depending on the day, but I have yet to reach acceptance, the final stage. Today was a “depression” day. We live in a condo, and in our complex there are 3 other children around Noah’s age within the same stretch of lawn. Today the other children were playing on my neighbor’s play structure (slides and the structure itself). The other neighbor made a comment to Noah, to the effect of “would you like to run around and play?”. The way she phrased it made me think that she thought he was sitting in my lap because I refused to let him play. All I did was half smile and not say anything. I was wearing sunglasses so I don’t think anyone noticed the tears in my eyes.
It breaks my heart every single day that Noah can’t play on that structure too. It’s amazing to me, watching the children climb up and down and slide, their gross motor skills far, far exceeding Noah’s highest potential. I don’t see it often, so it’s enthralling for me to see the way their bodies move, all of the teeny little things that happen with their muscles, all things that most people don’t notice and take for granted…..all equaling the simplest motions that a human can do. Stepping, climbing, reaching, turning their bodies, and reacting to stimuli. It’s almost funny, only because if Noah was NT….it would just be children playing on a play structure. It would be like breathing or blinking, nothing to get excited about. But imagining Noah doing the same things as those children is so far beyond my frame of reference, now. It’s something that I literally dream about, something that I obsess about, something that I’m coming closer to accepting the fact that will never happen for us. I can hope, wish, cry, all I want. The fact is that the likelihood of Noah ever taking a step on his own is very, very slim. Sure, you hear stories of children who learn to walk at 5…..but they are very few and far between.
That’s very difficult to come to terms with….but I’m working on it.