Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bad mom; or life, other plans, blah blah

I am so unsuited to have a child who has adhd.  A child who has adhd needs a mother who is an extrovert, who doesn't feel drained by demands on her time.  He needs a mom who can readily drop a task orientation and smell the (goddamn) roses, because such a child is unable to move from one moment to the next without smelling the (g..d...) roses.  I should be appreciating his outside-the-box world view and his capacity to be charmed by details I wouldn't ordinarily notice.  Instead my first response is impatience, frustration, and to feel just plain harried as we try to move through a day.  I worry a lot that I give Scott way too many "it's-not-ok-to-be-me" messages.  I'm sure he gets lots of such messages, even in the progressive school he attends.

I'm ashamed to say that I welcome school days and tend to dread holidays.  Sick days are like being robbed. Sick days that involve vomiting and diarrhea are just plain unfair.  This child is not docile and compliant when he's sick.  His activity level isn't appreciably diminished. 

Phase one of the Dry Run was completed late Sunday night.  This was to be The Demonstration to the boys of what we hoped the next few years of their lives would look like with Gary and I apart.  The hope is that if we can do it right, their lives won't feel a whole lot different than Gary gone on a business trip and then me gone on a weekend with the girls.  Gary was in Asia for about 10 days and I planned to go stay with Marti for a few days upon his return Sunday night.  Ideally I'd have left Monday night, but out of the goodness of my heart decided to give Gary a chance to get over jet-lag first.  So I decided Wednesday would be the day.  I'd take Scott to school as usual, and Gary would be responsible for pick-up, then all of the childcare until I returned sometime on Saturday.  Then we'd have to get serious about finding another place.

By the way, since we've told the boys that Gary and I will be separating, the atmosphere around here has been largely positive.  The boys have been getting along (knock on wood) pretty well, with Connor much more tolerant of Scott, and Scott openly affectionate with Connor.  He's been much less inclined to do things to deliberately annoy, and Connor's been less ready to be annoyed.  If anything, this seemed improved in Gary's absence.

Friday morning last week I was looking forward to one last day alone in the house before Gary's return.  On the ride to Scott's school I started hearing ominous sounds from the back seat.  Hastily I grabbed the litter bag and thrust it behind at him.  Clearly I couldn't take him to school, and did a big pivot to take him home.

The rest of the day he seemed fine, and I thought maybe the morning episode had been a fluke.  In the afternoon he began having diarrhea.  By evening I started to take it seriously.  At midnight I was awakened to wretching and the glorious dilemma of both ends erupting at once.  This involved a linen change and emergency laundering.  He was up again at 5 a.m. saying he'd "diarrhea-ed" in his boxers.

Then he was fine all day Saturday.  I regretted having called and canceled his piano lesson.  He slept through Saturday night with no incidents.  He kept food down just fine.  Sunday afternoon he began to complain of a sick stomach and Sunday evening began to vomit.  So much for school next day.  He was home Monday and I was fully on duty as Gary slept off his jet lag.  As I've said, illness doesn't diminish Scott's desire for entertainment, and I'd resolved that if he was too sick for school, he was too sick for TV and video games.  And though he returned to school without incident yesterday, last night he was in the bathroom too many times to count and vomited a small amount this morning.  There's no question he's home again today.

Here's the exhausting part:   he goes into the bathroom, diarrhea; he gets up, I remind him (again) to keep his hands away from his face until he’s washed them—sometimes I have to remind him several times and I start to get angry, or at least very irritated because sometimes his hands are going up around his mouth even as I’m reminding him; he wipes, I remind him to not use such huge wads of toilet paper because a clogged toilet and plumber are NOT sweet thoughts…sometimes he stands up and then has to sit back down again, and sometimes he’s up and washing his hands (me reminding him to (1) wet his hands FIRST   (2) apply soap  (3) wash between his fingers  (4) THEN rinse—because his tendency is to put a bunch of soap in his hands but then put it under the running water thus rinsing it away before he has a chance to use it to clean his hands—(5) then dry)—he’ll get all that done and then have to sit down again:  sometimes this will happen 3 or 4 times in just one sitting.  And then the next sitting is within 10 or 15 minutes.

This has called into question The Plan for The Demonstration which was supposed to launch today.  Sure, it might be instructive for Gary to be responsible to care for a child who is running at two openings at once, possibly for several days on end.  Sure I really want a break from parenting in these conditions.

BUT, the purpose of The Demonstration is also to show the boys that their lives aren't going to feel much different.  Throwing Gary to the wolves, so to speak, may not be the wisest thing to do, given that objective.

I'd hoped I'd spend my last week as a stay-at-home-mom in contemplation and writing.  It's been 10 and a half years, so this really marks the end of an era.  I signed the letter accepting the offer of a home health company yesterday.  Orientation day is Wednesday next week.  I'll begin with 24 hours a week and transition to full time with benefits once the summer is done.  I guess it's ironic that I'll spend my last days as an at-home mom, really being an at-home mom.

Coincidentally I had breakfast with some of my former co-workers from nearly 13 years ago.  We'd worked together for at least 10 years.  The company we worked for was sold, sold again, and yet again.  It's owned now by a huge national chain.  Many of my co-workers have retired.  It feels...odd to be reentering a field at an age when many of my contemporaries are retiring.  But that's nothing new.  I did start having my kids at an age when most of my contemporaries were seeing their offspring graduate from college, or even start having grandchildren.


Lavender Luz said...

Oh, I am so sorry you've been dealing with something so un-(g..d..) rose-like. Ick. Both ends totally sucks. We have the handwashing issues here, too.

But. Congratulations on your new job! I hope it's a good fit for you and fills your various needs.

You know, you could drive yourself crazy with The Demonstration, waiting for conditions to be Just Right. I think you've already been more than accommodating with the jetlag, and now the laundry-making sickness. At some point, you might just say "this is it." This is how life is -- messy and not on a schedule.

You don't always have to be the one to Deal.

Quiet Dreams said...

Congrats on your new job. I hope you find it feeds you (at least in some ways).

I imagine that you and Scott are learning from each other.

I agree with LL about not stressing to make the demonstration and transition perfect. There is no perfect.

Sheri said...

Congratulations on your new job and in taking steps towards your new life!

I agree with Luz...there may never be a "perfect" time to hand over the reigns. Your quest will be to know when to move from compassion ("Let me make this easy for all involved, possibly at my expense") to conviction ("This is what needs to happen right now.").

Sorry about having to deal with a sick kid. That can be tough on all involved!

Take care...

Ailey said...

I agree with all of the above comments. You've got some wise friends Ex.

Things will be different for the boys, not as much as they could be, but definitely different from how they are now. And your boys will adjust fine

Get your days in. You deserve and NEED the break.

Lots of Love....