Thursday, April 12, 2007


I think of myself mostly as a tough cookie. I pride myself on being rational in times of chaos. Things happen and I try to let it slide off. Yesterday was NOT one of those days. Aside from an impending migraine I didn't catch in time with my med's(which I hate btw) and cramps (which I hate even more) I get a note in Jenna's backpack from the school.

SIDENOTE: The twins attend junior kindergarten at a school that is specially designed for children and siblings with disabilities. I thought it was a good opportunity for the twins to learn from each other; and about each other. So there is a lot of therapists in-class and such.

The note is from their Occupational Therapist stating that she believes Jenna needs an OT evaluation. I felt like I got kicked in the stomach. It does seems trivial doesn't it? Well a month ago I got another evulation report on Jenna that states she has speech issues, and that she could use some speech therapy. In fact she starts her therapy tomorrow. Now I realize neither service is a big deal... but to me, I internalized it as a failure. I already have one special needs child. I know that Jenna is not; but the point I'm driving at is it would be nice to have only one child that requires all this extra therapy. To give you more appreciation of our situation, Kierra has in-home therapy Mon-Fri from 9am-Noon. She then goes to a special school Mon-Fri from 1pm-3pm. She gets home at 4:00. This kid has a packed schedule. Kierra's in-home team consists of a Child Development Specialist, a Psychologist, Speech Therapist and an Occupational Therapist. She has all of these at school, plus a Physical Therapist. Our life revolves around this. I have people in my house whether I like it or not. Most of the time not.

Getting back to the original point... seeing this note about JENNA upsets me a great deal. Part of me feels that if our family wasn't so centered around Kierra's needs, Jenna wouldn't need interventive therapies. I mean the kid can hardly hold a pencil properly, and she can't really draw anything other than squiggly circles. Frankly, I know this is my fault because I don't spend enough one-on-one time with her developing these skills. But also I'm so sucked dry most of the time; I don't have the drive to spend that time with her. So Jenna falls by the wayside because I'm so hell-bent on improving Kierra. It's a wake up call and I wasn't ready to answer it.

It's a hard thing when you feel your other kids suffer because of your inability to juggle them all. People always tell me I'm doing great. Today I took the girls to lunch at McD's and a woman stopped to tell me how wonderfully behaved my children were; and that it's too bad more kids weren't like that. I REALLY needed to hear that because it gave me some reassurance that I wasn't totally boning motherhood. Yah, yah - I know there is no such thing as a perfect mom. But I wonder sometimes... is there such a thing as being "too imperfect"?


Anonymous said...

You are never given more than you can handle.

I'm sorry that you feel overwhelmed and like a failure. I assure you, you are NOT a failure. I understand how things can get so rushed and busy and some things get pushed in different directions. Take a breath and take things a day at a time. And know that I WUV ya!

Em said...

Oh Elle, I feel your pain on this one! So many times I've felt as if my other kids were less skilled, had less play dates, were less successful, had fewer friends and a million other things, all due to the time and attention and money that is used helping our son with disabilities. I don't think I'm a bad dad at this moment. But some days I do. It is a vicious cycle.

But the truth are a good mom. If not, you would not already be so involved in early interventions, have your kids in mixed-ability kindergarten, and be so concerned about just how you dedicate your time and attention.

Anonymous said...

Please try not to be so hard on yourself.

As a 'retired' teacher of mainstreamed kids...PT/OT/Speech etc. are all benefits for Jenna.

Try not to look at them as failures but as an extra push to help her succeed.

These extras will help her gain more strength in whatever it is she is getting and in return she will strive...

Please don't see it as something bad. Look at it as something that you are lucky enough to find early and get help for...

Lene said...

Wow, Elle, you have so much going on in your life. You are doing a great job being a mom to your girls!

Do not blame yourself for what is going on with Jenna! She will get caught up.

The junior kindergarten is very cool!

I have no profound advice unfortunately, but I am here listening for you. ((HUGS))

Anonymous said...

You are juggling so much, I personally think you're doing a fantastic job. Getting them involved in junior kindergarten is a great idea for both of them.

Let's face it, we can all sit and come up with ways that our parents potentially failed us if we really want to.

Even if she doesn't fully understand why the situation now, she will see the challenges that her sister faces everyday. I think that - as an older child and much more so as an adult - she'll understand why you did what you did and be really grateful that she has you for a mom.

And as moms, we all just have to do the best we know how and hope it's right...

Catwoman said...

You know what, there are two ways to look at this. You could see it as letting Jenna down. But how much will she have learned from having her sister in her life? How much compassion and understanding and thoughfulness is she being taught in the meantime? Skills that are seriously lacking in most kids who grow up these days, who live with parents who are all about the me, me, me.

She will grow up to be more balanced, and generous and thoughtful than 90 percent of the kids who can hold pencils perfectly.

She's not behind in any way, if you ask me. Every child develops differently. And yes, some might think Jenna got a "raw" deal. But I think most people would completely disagree. And she'll probably tell you when she grows up that she wouldn't change anything in the world.

So you take care of those kids of yours the best you can. And try to not feel guilty so much. I only have one baby and I feel guilty all the time too. It comes witht the mom territory. And if you didn't have this as a guilt factor, trust me, you'd have another one! :)

Maria said...

Oh, yes. I know. It is hard NOT to feel responsible, because frankly, we always feel responsible for everything. It is our way.

But, kids are kids and there will be notes. I remember when I tried to send Liv to pre-school when she was 3 and she ended up breaking the school record for crying (two hours). The school administrator called and said, "We have never run into a problem like this until we met your child."

I felt immediately as if this was my fault. It wasn't. It was Liv trying to tell me that she just wasn't ready yet. A year later, she did fine.

It will all come out in the wash. You'll see.

And you are one great kick ass mom.

We all should get medals. Seriously. Do you know any other group of people who try so hard?