Max is sleeping like he usually does: On his side, one hand resting on a shoulder, the other curled beneath a pillow. There is no greater special needs parent therapy for me than watching him at rest.
He looks even younger than he does when he is awake, his cheeks puffed up. The years of Little Max return to me. Watching the kids sleep is the closest I come to going back in time and seeing them once more when they were little.
Asleep, Max's body is relaxed; often when he's awake, his fingers and arms tighten, the cerebral palsy doing its thing. Gently, I'll pick up one his hands and hold it in mine, the warmth infusing me with peacefulness. I'll listen to his breathing, soft and even, and feel grateful he's getting good rest. His body works so hard.
Lately, I've been lying awake in bed in the middle of the night, thanks to pregnancy insomnia. My mind inevitably drifts to Max, and the worries that bubble up by day emerge in full force. He wants to speak so badly and while there have been some articulation improvements, he still struggles with a lot of consonants. The best I could convince his school after that dismal IEP encounter with his speech therapist was to add one articulation goal to his IEP; for the most part, she is focused on language and his speech app. They are the most facile means of communication for his education, she and the district have told me. But then: What about the rest of his life? What about the fact that he wants to express himself by talking?
Max's chewing is not progressing much—he mainly eats soft foods, crunchy or chewy ones aren't feasible because of chewing/oral-motor coordination challenges—and it's looking like I need to add feeding therapy to his repertoire of therapies, and perhaps enlist an advocate to make sure the school is doing its part to prevent him from choking.
I worry about the insurance coverage, as we've hit the proverbial "You only get 30 speech therapy sessions a year through your coverage" wall and now we have to appeal.
I worry about making sure he gets enough attention once the baby arrives. There is only so much of me and Dave to go around.
When Max is sleeping, though, I'm not thinking about any of that. Because he is just a sleeping kid and I am just his mom, focused on the beautiful child in front of my eyes.