Unacceptable, I know. But I’m not giving up on this blogging thing, I tell ya! Reading back through the last few posts, it is painfully clear that I have a LOT of catching up to do. And doesn’t it figure, the last few months have been among the most eventful of Sylvie’s little life! But I’m here to chronicle her wonderful, crazy, chaotic life, and I’ll do my best…
Summer came, and with it came Sylvie’s new lightweight therapy schedule. In June, we had her first IEP meeting, where the Early Childhood Special Ed Department informed us that she qualified for services (shocker.) I knew she’d qualify, and I knew she’d probably qualify for full-day services, but when they told us that was their recommendation for her, it still hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s like I’m *still* waiting for someone to say, “You know what? Never mind that whole autism diagnosis thing-a-ma-jig… Sylvie’s all good!” I know that’s not the case, and 99.9% of the time, I don’t even think that way, but that .01% sneaks up on me every now and again when I least expect it, and it snuck up on me at the meeting… I fought with every ounce of strength in me to not burst into tears, even though I fully expected to hear everything I was hearing. Funny how your head and heart can betray you at the most inopportune times.
Anyway, we agreed to the full-time placement in the town’s integrated preschool program, with speech, OT, and PT services as well. She also qualified for extended year services over the summer, which is great. The IEP was hammered out to the satisfaction of all parties involved and was signed, sealed and delivered. I had the rest of the summer to relax. And wait. And think. And worry. And freak out. See where this is going, anyone?
By the time September rolled around, I was in a complete state of anxiety. The thought of Sylvie leaving me for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, was truly more than I could bear. Add to that Amelia’s 5-day pre-K schedule, and I found myself in the throes of a mid-life crisis the likes of which are usually reserved for guys with receding hairlines and Mazda Miatas. What’s a stay-at-home mom without kids at home?! What in God’s name would I do with myself?
Long story short? Much ado about nothing (from Sylie’s end, anyway). Sylvie took to school like a fish to water. She connected with her teachers almost immediately, and not long after that, she began making connections with classmates. We did quickly discover that the full-day schedule was simply too much for her, so we now pull her out early 3 days per week. I love the teachers, the therapists, everyone… They not only made the transition for Sylvie smooth, they made the transition for me smooth, and I’m so grateful to them for that.
It took me a little while to get used to my new “freedom”, but I quickly found a new rhythm… Once the dust of back-to-school madness settled, it became very clear to me that the transition from summer to fall, coupled with my lack of really dealing with Sylvie’s diagnosis the previous summer was having a pretty profound impact on my mental state. Anxiety and stress took up residence in my brain and showed no sight of leaving- this was a feeling I was neither used to nor interested in keeping around. I found a therapist who speciliazed in working with autism families and began visiting her weekly. Turns out I’m all kinds of fucked up! Just kidding… but we’re touching on lots of things in my life that may be playing a role in how I cope with Sylvie’s challenges today. It can be heavy at times, but I feel like I’m finding my center again, slowly but surely. I’m also back to exercising regularly, which has done wonders for my mental well-being (and doesn’t hurt the well-being of my butt, either). I’m also volunteering at both girls’ schools, too. Still haven’t mastered keeping the house clean, but that’s okay. I’m pretty sure they don’t give out medals in Heaven for spotless kitchens. 🙂
Just wrapping up the Thanksgiving holiday tonight, and I’m reminded yet again of how grateful I am to have my family, my daughters and my life. Hell, you could even say I’m thankful for autism. It’s made me a better mom, and allowed me to experience the thrill of celebrating the tiniest little milestones, the ones most families typically don’t even notice, but ones Sylvie has to work so hard for. It’s taught me to not take anything for granted, and to not judge others. I’m thankful for it all.