Thursday, June 08, 2006

Strees, Stress, Stress

I feel like such an awful parent. Two nights ago, I came home from a work event, and the pillows from the couch were standing in the kitchen, reeking of urine. So, even though it was late, I scrubbed them down, all the while pissed off that Erik hadn’t been vigilant enough to get Owen to the toilet. The next morning, I kept asking Owen if he had to go potty, and he kept saying no. Then, he stood there, and I could see him pushing out the pee as he peed in his underwear all over the floor. Then he proceeded to slide around in it. It took me a few seconds to register (which is why he had time to play in it), before I started yelling, “Damn it, why can’t you just go to the bathroom?” And then it got worse. Then I started saying, “No wonder you can’t learn anything, because you have Down Syndrome,” and other awful, awful things like that. To a three year old. Yes, I said that to a three year old, who of course has no idea what I was actually saying, ,but knew enough that I was mad as hell that he would not look at me and ran to my husband, crying. He knew I was mad at him, and of course I was, but then I just felt extremely guilty for being so mean. Because of course, he doesn’t understand what I said, does he?

So all day, I felt so guilty, and mean, and just plain sad. Because I want so much for my child, and this whole IEP thing is really wearing on my nerves. I just want it to be over with. So, the fact that Owen is now deliberately peeing in his pants could be because: a.) both Erik and I are stressed and he feels that, b.) we are selling the house and keep moving all his toys into the garage so he has nothing to play with (he probably is thinking, what, I don’t live here anymore?), c.) he has a new baby sister who is not going away and is constantly on his mom’s breast eating, d.) mom then decides to go back to work, e.) and she stops letting me take naps, which she used to lay down and cuddle with me, and f.) change is constant in our house. So, any reason that he shouldn’t be crying out for attention??

So then I get all the reports from the LAUSD, and as I am reading them, I am trying not to cry. It’s one thing to know that your child has a disability, it’s quite another thing to see it on paper: “the child is mentally retarded and therefore qualifies for school assistance.” I was so devastated by the black and white terms they used to describe my child, and how he performed. But, like my husband said, they didn’t do anything other than describe how Owen is. I just feel that for three years we have been blessed with people who truly cared about Owen and they all thought he was doing well. Now, it’s as if we have been unleashed into the real world and people are mean. You forget how mean people can be sometimes. And maybe it’s not that they are mean, but that they are just being truthful…and we all know that truth hurts.

Last night was our support group meeting, and when I walked in there were only two other moms there: one with a 5-year old with Down Syndrome and one with a 1–year old (and she’s a LAUSD teacher). They asked me how I was doing, and I just couldn’t keep the tears back. I had been trying so hard not to cry all day, and suddenly, I just had to cry. I was telling them about the reports and how hard it was to hear the bitter truth from these people. I could see one of them tearing up, and I felt so bad for not being strong, because I have always been the mom who is the most strong, the most upbeat. But I just couldn’t do it that day. After I talked to them for a while, I felt so much better, and in a way, I’m glad I got that out before some of the others got there, because it really was just something I needed to let go of so I could enjoy the night. I feel like every time we meet, it’s such a great night. I really look forward to these meetings, because I feel as if it’s like a monthly party with women I would totally want to hang out with, except that we all have a child with Down Syndrome in common. But, what amazing women! I am always struck by how much alike we all are, and yet in the same sense, how different we all are. Turns out, three of us are from Michigan, go figure.

So tomorrow is our IEP, and I must get some sleep so I am well-rested. Thank God, Tess sleeps through the night, oh, and did I mention that Owen just woke up a few minutes ago to go pee, and then went back to sleep? What a love...


Blogger Naomi said...

Good luck with the IEP.

I always get upset at the evaluations and the terms they use, I can see why they need to stick to the bare facts but dammit he's my child, he's a person.

1:57 PM  
Blogger field-of-vision said...

i love your blog.i can understand.i have a child with retardation and i dont have a vent.i just am blank,staring at the future and i have no emotional support and this comes out in different ways.i just want to live for my daughter.i am dying with pain in my heart

7:35 AM  

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