I have this trapped feeling much of the time.
It's awful. It's mostly attitude. I think I can't take the three kids somewhere because it will be too hard. And don't get me wrong, it is hard. Jasen said last week something about how if Lilli could help with Josh, that would make all the difference in the world. But Lilli needs as much help as Josh. Actually, she needs more help. So when I wonder why other moms can take their three kids somewhere and not have a mental breakdown, I have to remind myself that another eight year old without special needs might – might – be a big help to the mom. Unfortunately Lilli's needs make it feel like I have toddler twins sometimes. And do moms of toddler twins and a five year old go out very much? I wonder.
Today Chloe begged me for several hours to go to the playground. I kept saying no. Then I said "Maybe when Daddy gets home." But Daddy gets home too late to go to the playground most nights. Chloe is five, but already she is beginning to "get" me as a mom. She says things like, "Don't worry, I'll help you, momma," and "'I'll watch Joshie and Lilli so you can have some 'alone time,' Momma!" Today she said that as I pulled the vacuum out of the closet. I think she thinks I like to vacuum. "Alone." She's funny.
Chloe started to bargain with me. "I'll help you, Momma, I will! I'll help watch Joshie at the park and I'll help you."
OK. I had to psyche myself up to take them to the playground by myself. I thought, well, we will have to drive there, no big deal. We can walk there. It is not even a block away. But it is down a huge hill, and I knew I would struggle to get Josh and Lilli to listen to me and walk with me up and down that big hill next to the road when every neighbor is driving home from work.
So I put them all in the car to drive a block. Because they were strapped into their seats and I feel like I have control when they are strapped in. As soon as we got there, Josh got a mischievous look on his face and started to run towards the road.
Half an hour, we can do this, I thought. Just a half hour.
I put Lilli on a swing and gave her a push. What a wonderful thing, that she can sit on a swing by herself. There is no handicapped swing at our tiny playground. Lilli outgrew the baby bucket seat swing a long time ago. So we were forced to teach her to sit on a swing and hold onto the chains herself. Many times situations like this make us accommodate and grow. I wonder if we would have taught her to swing by herself if we did have a handicapped swing at our playground. It took a long time, as in, a few years. But now she can hold on and we push her gently. It's awesome.
After about five minutes, I was feeling confident. No problem. I can handle this after all! As I pushed Lilli, I looked over just in time to see Josh try to "slide" down the climbing wall on his bottom. Yeah. He cried. He probably won't do that again.
I looked at Lilli, who was silently swinging. "Oh Lilli," I said to her. "You are so quiet, thinking deep, important thoughts right now, huh?"
"Are you listening to those birds, trying to identify their calls? I know you probably can since we have that wonderful bird clock at home," I joked. She smiled again.
Lilli takes it all in. I know she is thinking hundreds of thoughts that she just cannot verbalize. I try to include her in the conversation as much as I can. It is a challenge. But I know she appreciates it. I often try to imagine what I would feel like if I suddenly lost my voice and had no easy way to communicate. A few weeks ago, I took the kids somewhere. I can't remember where we went, but I do remember that I was stressed, and that Lilli typed something to me. She typed, "You think you can't but you can."
Yes Lilli, you are so observant. People think you aren't looking at them. But you see more than most people see.
The trip to the park was uneventful. No one got hurt or ran into the road. No one had a meltdown. I can do it. Sometimes. I think maybe I need a mini cheerleader to tell me that I can do stuff.
No, nevermind. I have Lilli and Chloe.
|These pictures are from previous trips to the playground. And I had Morgan with me to help. I can't take pictures when I'm by myself with the three of them. Josh is too fast.|
|Love this. A dream come true with Lilli holding on by herself. We have to push her because she can't "pump" her legs to swing, but still. It's good.|
|Lilli and Josh|
|Wanted to show the climbing wall that Josh slid down like a slide today. Ouch. Also, pretty cool picture of Morgan helping Lilli climb it!|
|Sisters on the swings. Chloe does all the talking. Lilli does all the listening.|