Wednesday, July 23

So, it's still summer...

By Ajike Akande

I don’t know if I have any loyal readers, but just on the off chance that you stop by every Wednesday to read my rants and whines, I feel that I owe you a few updates. 

1.  Less than a week into summer break, I wrote some early reflections on my increased time with the lovely young children that call me mommy.  You can read those early reflections here.  I regret to tell you that my children have done nothing to make me reconsider my theory that any school break longer than a standard weekend, is just too damn long.  My children think this extended break from school is a good thing because young children are not self-reflective.  They don’t see themselves coming completely undone.  They don’t realize how much happier they are with order and routine and a reasonable bedtime.  Don’t all of you message me with suggestions about creating structure in our home and establishing routines because all children crave routine, and autistic-y children and anxious children desperately need it.  I know this but first of all, FIVE little kids and second of all (and most significant), we be tired!  Damn, I need a break.  And not one of those, go for a walk and grab a cup of tea breaks.  I need a restorative break so I can sleep, do something I enjoy and plan how we’re going to manage the chaos that is our life.  Wife and I are teachers, and we can assure you that teachers need prep and planning time, and professional development so that we can meet the needs of our students.  Well you know that whole, “parents are children’s first teachers” slogan?  Where the heck is my prep time?

2.  Remember how I said here that I started walking every day because I really need some exercise.  Yeah well, that’s not happening.  But it’s going to happen again.  Maybe.  I’ll let you know. 

3.  We came home from our “vacation” visiting Wife’s family, earlier than we had planned.  The kids had an amazing time.  They love, love, love their grandparents, but Silverman-Akande love is loud and short on sleep and sometimes looks and feels like a tornado.  Wife and I were starting to lose steam and were feeling more defeated and less hopeful about parenting in general so we started discussing the great escape – with the kids, of course.  No leaving them behind.  We were feeling defeated, not irrational!  Anyway, we went from discussing to actually packing when G-Dog and F-Jammie got into such an intense physical fight in the elevator that they accidently pushed the emergency call button.  We had spent the whole week teaching The Littles not to touch the call button and then one crazy shove and it was pushed.  When we got down to the lobby, Wife explained to the concierge that there was actually no emergency.  He said, “I know.  I saw what happened on the video camera.”  After I ran through my mind, trying to recall if I had ever picked my nose while in the elevator, unintentionally letting the concierge know that I am, in fact, gross and still five, I told Wife that we had to go home.  The nice people at the Riviera Condo complex had endured the Silverman-Akande family for long enough!  If you’re going to move through the world with five kids under seven, you have to know when you are wearing out your welcome!  

So, those are my updates.  I just didn’t want to leave you wondering.  

In all seriousness though, Wife and I, have committed to focusing any energy not used up getting through the day to day this summer, on coming up with workable strategies to support The Middles.  Miss O and G-Dog are struggling and need some good lovin’ and attention.  We have things to sort out.  There are amazing community resources available, and we are certainly taking advantage of all that is out there.  We are lucky the girls are healthy and (mostly) happy and adored by many.  It could be very different.  It could be so, so, so much worse.  It’s funny, though, because even though we can take a step back and see all the blessings we have and yes, compare our situation to others who are much less fortunate in any number of ways, the feelings of frustration and disappointment, are just as real and big.  I am overwhelmed by the task of caring for our brood in general and with the needs of The Middles in the mix, I just want to run away some days. 

In the most challenging moments with the girls, and there are many, I remember what is probably the single most important thing one of the nurses said to us during Miss O’s assessment for autism.  She said, “She is not doing this (behaving in challenging ways) on purpose.”  Yes, there it is; the gem. We heard something similar when we sought support for G-Dog. 

She is not doing this on purpose.  Stop yelling.  She is not doing this on purpose.  Take a deep breath.  She’s not doing this on purpose.  Hold her.  Squeeze her. She's not doing this on purpose. Wait with her for her feelings to settle.  She’s not doing this on purpose.  

We have so much work to do with The Middles, and we are stupid tired, but we’re doin’ this.  We’ve got this.  As Glennon Melton of Momastery* says, “We can do hard things.  Carry on, Warrior.” 
What’s your hard thing?  What are you giving time and attention to these days?  Whatever it is, just remember, “We can do hard things”.

XO Ajike


No comments: