Whew. It has been A. Summer.
Probably one of the most stressful of my life. I am under some crazy pressure at work. Like, gun pointing at my head pressure. Like, do X or you will lose your job pressure. It has been incredibly harrowing. I worked like a dog all summer long. Long days, long hours. I came home exhausted and drained, with very little left for wife or boys most days. It wasn’t pretty or fun. But I did it. Now I wait and see if my hard work paid off. (I’m currently wading in the deep end of “Publish or Perish” and hoping to do the former and not the latter.) It has been hard to keep my anxiety in check with such extreme pressure at work.
When I wasn’t drowning in stress at work, I usually came home and wallowed in stress worrying about my precious Lion. When I saw wallow, I do indeed mean wallow. Fixate, obsess, scrutinize, worry, hand-wring, repeat repeat repeat. And my wallowing in worry has little to no correlation to how the Lion is doing. Because truthfully, reader? The Lion is doing AMAZING.
In late May, he had about 100 words and was just barely putting two words together. Just three months later, he has hundreds of words (maybe in the range of 500+, I couldn’t count them all.) He sings whole songs. He recites books along with you. He repeats words back to you. He has many phrases and short sentences. He still struggles with putting words together spontaneously, but he is getting better and better at it, with new combinations and phrases every day.
In an effort to focus on the good, let me tell you two of the adorable things he is doing right now. First? He says: “Thank you welcome” in stead of “Thank you” every time he receives something from you, which is just the cutest ever. And second? To my endless delight, he has become obsessed with Where the Wi.ld Thi.ngs Are. He started earlier in the summer, being able to act out part of the book (“Roar their terrible roars” kind of thing.) Now? He can recite the entire book by heart with minimal prompting. He walks around the house acting it out ALL DAY LONG. It is just the cutest. If those damn Po.ttery Bar.n kids Halloween costumes weren’t eighty freaking bucks, I would totally buy him a Max one for Halloween. In the meantime, we have many a wild rumpus each day around these parts.
Tiny is blossoming. Man is that kid a chatterbox. He talks all. day. long. Recently, he learned about traffic lights and signs. He narrates the entire car ride: “Red light, mommy. Red means Stop. Green light, now. Go.” And on and on. He also learned about pedestrian walk signs, which in our neck of the woods are either an orange hand (for don’t cross) or a white walking person (for cross). To our (slightly unfortunate) glee….he has taken to asking to see the “White Person” while driving around and even calling out with delight: “I see the White Person, Mama!!!” when he sees a walk sign. We’re hoping this behavior will be contained to the car (and our amused ears) and not overheard outside where it will, no doubt, be met with confusion and consternation.
Lion is doing better with social engagement and is really playing with Tiny now. Just this week, they’ve made up several games together that involve various types of chasing and running. It is sweet to see. And earlier this morning, Tiny got hurt and Lion went up to him and patted his head and said: “Tiny sad.” Which was huge for him–to show that empathy. So, progress in all areas.
Lion gets 2 speech therapies a week, plus special instruction and OT. S. is also taking a parent training class to help us learn how to work with him in speech. It is a total of 5 appointment a week and then we are constantly trying to do therapy with him at home. It kind of runs our lives at the moment…but every single therapist who has worked with him has commented on how lighting fast his progress has been. We really hope that we can continue on this road and by kindergarten his delays and deficits will have been overcome. But the uncertainty is hard and I stress about a lot about pre-school (and moving, which we may have to do, depending on what he needs in a year) and whether or not he will catch up “enough” and on and on and on.
As a break from this all-summer stressathon, S. and I went away for 5 days/4 nights recently to celebrate S. getting tenure at work and our 10th wedding anniversary. It was our first real time being away from the boys (each set of grandparents took a 2-night shift at our house, we are lucky to have had them offer to help and for us to feel comfortable accepting their help) and the boys did awesome. We had an amazing time and it was liberating to see that this kind of getaway feels really possible now. We’re not going to be able to travel to as fabulous a location as we just did, but I now feel like weekends away or short trips each year are possible and that is a really good thing. Because we’ve definitely gotten to the point, 2.5 years into this parenting gig, where we recognize the burn-out factor and feel the need to have some time to connect with each other and really recharge.
So that’s us. Starting the new school year off on an exhausted, burnt-out, stressed, yet hopeful note. And continuing to wade through the days, making sure to see the good as well as the worrisome and trying to concentrate on all the wonderful ways in which we are fortunate.