October was an eventful month for us. The 4th was our 5th wedding anniversary, as well as the one year anniversary of Teagan’s diagnosis. The 21st was her 2nd birthday, which meant lots of family visiting, lots of friends and lots of fun. Plus we had Teag’s six month assessment, began speech therapy, and life was just all around frantic – which has inspired me to separate this month’s update by The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
Teag’s school district PT, OT, teacher, case worker, and (new addition) speech therapist joined us early in the month to go over her six month goals and set new ones. Overall this was a very good meeting – Teagan had achieved or made great progress in all of her goals. Here they are:
- Feed herself at least half of a meal 2 out of 3 meals per day – check. Next: using utensils (in the couple weeks since her assessment, she’s already done great at this).
- Play with toys involving fine motor skills (place rings on ring stacker, coins in toy treasure chest, push buttons) – check. Next: shapes into shape sorters.
- Get around home and daycare with independent walking skills. BIG CHECK. She is all over the place. Next: jumping, getting up and down stairs on her own without crawling.
- Advance in receptive and expressive skills – definitely a check for receptive – we can say “go ring the bell,” and she will walk across the room to her little scooter and ring the bell that is on the handle. We can also hand her something and say “take this to mom/dad” and she knows exactly what to do. So she isn’t saying a lot, but I am 100% confident her understanding is growing. Next – talking, or at least trying to talk more.
Also in the good category was Teag’s b-day party. Lots of quality time with the grandparents, and fun with friends and halloween costumes.
Teagan and Mia playing with her new kitchen from Grandma and Grandpa!
Trick or treating was fun too – once Daddy convinced her to wear the hat part of her costume.
Daddy modeling the spider hat
Trick or treat!
Given all I’ve written above, I feel a bit ungrateful for having this section. But there are definitely things that are still incredibly frustrating – if you’re a regular reader of my updates, I apologize for being repetitive, but the STUPID SIPPY CUP. AAAHHHHHHH! She just wants nothing to do with it. And she’ll walk around drinking her bottle, tipping it up toward the sky…if only I could make her understand, if she’d just use a sippy cup she’d still be able to see where she is going. I really think she could use a sippy cup, I think she’s just stubborn. She must get that from Joel. Can we just all decide it’s not weird to see a 5 year old with a bottle? 😉
Also, I’m not sure how much progress we are making in speech therapy. It’s been a month…but Melissa, her ST through Children’s told me with the little ones it takes some time to make progress and she isn’t worried about it yet. So I will try to be patient.
My mind has been in a dark place this month. I try not to put on a “poor me” attitude – my life is better because Teagan is in it, and I know how much she loves us, so what do I really have to complain about – but sometimes I get so overwhelmed. Speech therapy (while I’m incredibly glad we’ve started it) just adds another list of exercises we need to do, and there are not enough hours in the day. This pregnancy has been a bit rougher than my first one and I’ve had a lot less energy – so when it comes to Teag’s bedtime and we haven’t done X number of exercises, I feel incredibly guilty, and then I stress out about when we are going to do them that week. There is so much to do and I’m so tired. And it is never going to let up – there will always be another thing to work on…and I don’t mean like “it would be nice if my daughter is good at this skill,” more like “I hope my daughter and I will be able to have a conversation someday.” You know what makes me really sad? Ads for Montessori schools. And I don’t even think I would have sent Teag to one! Every one I see or hear is a reminder to me that I’d love to be doing things to give her an edge, and instead I’m fighting tooth and nail to not let her fall any further behind. A fight that I’m not always winning. Then I see dirty dishes in the sink and it’s almost enough to send me into fits, and if it happens to be a stressful week at work, forget about it.
So how do I attempt to pull myself out of this funk? A checklist of exercises, so I can see how much we do over seven days. Relying on Joel to lead when I feel like I’m on the verge of a mental breakdown. Scheduling things that make me happy – playdates, family holidays, nights with friends for Joel and I. And talking to my friends. Teag’s God-mother Molly recently said to me “All that love you have for Teagan is a lot of pressure.” Damn that girl is smart. I’ve also found a great resource in space’s VP of HR, who has recommended I visit a life coach – no I don’t want to spend an hour a week talking to a therapist about my feelings, but she said she might be helpful in helping me prioritize, be in the moment, and take care of myself. I think I’ll at least have a chat with her – it would be awesome to be at therapy and not stressing about being late to work, or to be at work and not having an anxiety attack about what time dinner will be on the table that night. I’d also like to ease up on the mommy guilt – on top of everything I’ve just described, I feel guilty about being stressed because it’s not good for the baby I’m carrying right now. Oy. I’m sure lots of parents have similar feelings.
I sometimes hear kind comments from people who care, about how strong I am. What I normally say is “I don’t have a choice” – which isn’t true. I do have a choice. The alternative would be to remain in my beat down, defeated state, or to ease up on the work we do with Teagan, which would lead to a lag in her progress. Which is not an option.
I will end with a few therapeutic words from Florence + The Machine. These lyrics are from a song I listened to a lot when I was still very angry about Teagan’s diagnosis, and that still brings a tear to my eye when I scream-sing it on the way to work 🙂
And I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t
So here’s to drinks in the dark at the end of my road
And I’m ready to suffer, I’m ready to hope
It’s a shot in the dark aimed right at my throat
‘Cause looking for heaven found the devil in me
Looking for heaven found the devil in me
Well what the hell I’m gonna let it happen to me, yeah
Shake it out shake it out, shake it out shake it out, ooh whoa
Shake it out shake it out, shake it out shake it out, ooh whoa
And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back so SHAKE HIM OFF! oh whoa
– Shake It Out