22 hours ago
Thursday, September 16, 2010
The double life I lead as a parent
Tonight, Dave and I went to Open School Night at Sabrina's kindergarten. We met her teachers, got the scoop on what they're teaching, heard about how great Sabrina is doing. It's a whole new world for us. There were no walkers in the hallways, no speech or occupational or physical therapists to confer with. The teacher didn't talk to us about Sabrina's ability to grasp a pencil, say her name out loud, or point to something on a wall. The biggest challenge we discussed: getting Sabrina to eat her veggies at lunch.
It hits me sometimes, that I lead two very different lives as a parent. Like the other night, I went to Target to pick up some birthday presents; Max and Sabrina both have parties they're going to in the next few weeks. First, I looked for a present for Max's friend, a kid in his school. I was thinking of a remote-control car. But the remote controls all had such teeny tiny levers, and I thought of how hard they'd be for a child who has issues with fine-motor control. I briefly considered a fun toy a neighbor has—you stomp on a pedal and shoot a foam rocket skyward—only this child is not completely ambulatory and I didn't know if he'd be able to handle it. Fifteen minutes later, I settled on a pair of walkie talkies. This child's speech is coming along, and I thought they would encourage him.
Then I passed by a Pixos set (these little wads of rolled-up paper you glue together to make shaped creatures) and grabbed it for Sabrina's friend.
Of the two parenting lives that I lead, I wouldn't say the one in Special World is necessarily harder; it's just more complicated. It involves more thinking, planning, plotting, accommodating, everything-ing.
Then again, in Special World I get to experience pleasures other parents don't. There's the burst of bliss I feel when I hear Max trying to talk, when I watch him trotting down our street after a neighbor's puppy with his skinny little legs moving as fast as they can (oh, if those NICU doctors could see him go!), when I observe him struggling to pick up a ball with both hands and finally succeed.
Having a double life keeps me more than busy. But it's also made parenthood richer and more satisfying than I could have ever dreamed.
Posted by Ellen Seidman at 10:45 PM