Eleanor is - in general - a rather fussy, clingy baby who vastly prefers to be held and you cannot sit still while you are holding her. It's a no-exceptions kind of rule. Between the busyness and the Chubs, I get practically no time on the computer. I honest-to-goodness had to put her down in our room, close the door, and let her scream in order to send a somewhat short email to Abigail's preschool teacher today.
Anyway, I want to talk about preschool. So Abigail loves it. She's excited to go every morning, she's excited to hold her teacher's hand, and she's eager help her classmates off the bus. And I did well myself on the first day, but it turns out that you have to get past more than just the first week. I'm having a hard time with it emotionally. Abigail's time in preschool is a black hole to me. While I know the activities that the teacher schedules, I don't know exactly when each event happens and I don't know how Abigail does during them. If she eats the snack, if she throws a toy, if she has a dirty diaper. I have no idea. It's very hard for me to handle this black hole because she is very vulnerable, both due to her age and her special needs. As much as I trust her teacher, it is very hard for me to not know every detail about her life anymore.
The other day she was making hand motions that were obviously (to me) from a little nursery rhyme. But I had no idea what the song was. When she tried to teach the hand motions to Eleanor, I burst into tears. I just felt so sad that I couldn't understand what my little girl was thinking in her head.
And then there is her change in behavior. It's a two-prong thing. First, Abigail has also decided to formally quit napping. She doesn't quite have the stamina to make it through the day, though, and so everyday around dinner time she has a meltdown.
Secondly, I think she's having a hard time transitioning to being at home after a stimulating morning in school and it's showing in her bratty behavior. When I first pick her up from school, she's usually in a great mood, but as soon as we get home, she turns into a complete brat. She's angry, throwing herself on the floor, hitting people, and throwing things. She also cries a lot over really little things. I've tried everything I can think of to help: structured play, independent play, cuddle time, story time, snack time, chores, but nothing has worked. I even let her watch music videos on Youtube on our tablet by herself in the rocking chair while I folded laundry and that didn't help her attitude. Finally, finally, I broke through the attitude when I got Eleanor stable and propped up on the couch next to us while I held Abigail and watched a few runs on American Ninja Warrior. I feel so lost and frustrated with Abigail's behavior and with the chaos that has become my schedule since Abigail started preschool and quit napping all in the same week.
I emailed her teacher this afternoon to ask for ideas, but the response included a bit of a surprise. She thinks Abigail would do better in her afternoon class - which is like preschool level 2. You see, the special ed preschool's morning class is where kids start - they spend a year or two in that class, then transition to the afternoon class for another year, then move into Kindergarden (either the special ed or the mainstream class). All of Abigail's therapists predicted that Abigail would be the highest functioning individual in the morning class. I guess they were right. She still needs to run it by the school's bureaucracy (she'll be a three-year-old in a four- and five-year-old's classroom), but yeah. That's where we are. After giving it some thought, I think the afternoon class will be much more conducive to our routine at home. Of course, it doesn't help me deal with my turbulent emotions.
Bleh, bleh, bleh. Okay, second topic of the day. The walk for Down syndrome I posted about the other day! It's not too late to donate, by the way!
Well it turned out that two of the three families who were interested in walking with us bailed on me, BUT, one faithful family did show up to offer Abigail their support.
And it was a lot of fun. I was so worried before the event, because I seem to like to stress about things, but it was actually felt like huge weight off my shoulders. I was kind of giddy afterward from the release.
I never realized how much people stare at us in public until I was at an event full of people who all wear the same sociality-damned physical features of a person with Down syndrome. No one stared at us. No one did double takes. No one got up in my face about how special and happy my daughter is.
My favorite moment is when we were standing in line for the face painting. Abigail smoked another little girl on the head (Ms. N. thinks Abigail hits as a way to initiate cooperative play. Yeah.). "Abigail! Be gentle!" I chastised. The other little girl's mom brushed us off, "Don't worry about it, she's just as mean."
It was wonderfully stress-relieving to be in a place where the shit that goes on in my world is the same shit that goes on in everyone else's world. And no one batted an eye.
Okay, well that felt good. I wish I could blog about a hundred other things. Abigail cut out grilled cheese and Cheerios from her diet and is loosing weight! But we got her to eat four chicken nuggets the other day, which is the first time in two years that she's eaten meat. I went wedding dress shopping with my sister-in-law and I loved it. I'm a mere 10 lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight and Eleanor will be four-months-old tomorrow. I'm not eating another bite of chocolate until I hit that weight, which is a huge motivator for me. The guy upstairs has two little black kittens that look exactly like mini-versions of my black cat and I'm kind of desperately scanning his windows for a peak of his kitties every time I walk outside, which probably makes me a creeper. (But they're so cute!) But I don't even have time to proofread this post, let alone ramble on about all those other topics. So I leave you with these cheeks and those eyelashes.
Yes, the really did make matching onesies for the Ds walk in Eleanor's size.