Mind the Gap

Excuse me if I seem a little ashen-faced and shaky -- I just survived the world's longest preschooler spring break in the history of ever. TWO SCHOOLS, I send my kid to, and thanks to non-concurrent break times and extra administrative days and other slightly weird scheduling hiccups, it was a full TWO WEEKS before my kid actually had a day where he attended both of them.

And oh, it showed.


And not just in the "he's bored and missing his friends and messing up my schedule" sort of way. After just a few extra days off, he genuinely seemed to struggle with behaviors and tics we thought were things of the past.

I'm aware, as a special-needs parent, that I often make it sound like I'm parenting a plastic sailboat bobbing in the bathtub -- the slightest splash or ripple can capsize it, much like the slightest change in Noah's routine or a little Red 40/Yellow 5 in a juice box can send him into a behavioral meltdown. I'm aware I sound like (at best) I'm grasping at straws or (at worst) making excuses.

But it's a pattern we've seen, over and over and over again. Noah THRIVES in therapy, be it speech or OT, group or individual, camp or school or in our living room with the Nice Lady Who Brings All The Toys. He responds and improves and soaks it all up like a sponge.

But then take him away from therapy and it all just sort of ... sucks. Again. Some more. Speech skills and self-regulation crater. Rigid thinking and sensory issues skyrocket.

It's this pattern that led to our premature graduation from Early Intervention and his disastrous experience in a mainstream preschool. And this year it's been the reason that every extended school break or string of snow days or long weekend have been hard on all of us.

And I feel guilty, because, oh my lands, do I love this kid. I love listening to him talk and watching him play and we're very much a family that loves being together and going places together and nothing lights up my husband more than finding an activity or event that he knows Noah will enjoy. So it's not ... the togetherness, per se. I guess what's hard is the realization that for all we do and read and learn and talk about with Noah's teachers and therapists and all the sensory obstacle courses and activities we do at home ... we aren't enough. Yet.

It makes me recalibrate my expectations, every time. I want to dream of the day when he won't need services and therapy and accommodations anymore. When I can look back on this chapter of our lives confident that we did enough and it was all worth it and (most importantly) behind us. And I really, really, REALLY do believe that day will come.

But instead, for now, I'm just dreaming of the day when we can make it through spring break okay.

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