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As many of you may recall, Niksdad —once a professional Mechanical Engineer licensed in three different states —has gone back to school for nursing. Not just any ol’ nursing, no sir not for him. He wants to be a pediatric nurse anesthetist.

In spite of the fact that he’s already earned multiple degrees, Niksdad had to re-take some courses in order to qualify for the nursing program he is in. He has been in school for two years now —maintaining a 4.0 average, too, if I may brag for a moment —and has finished all but one of the requirements for his LPN (licensed practical nurse); the final hurdle is this exam.
He takes it tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. (Eastern).

He’s been studying like crazy for the past couple of weeks. I know he’ll do great; he never trusts his own knowledge and brilliance. Please think good thoughts for Niksdad to pass his exam tomorrow. Once he passes that test he can start working as a nurse! (Goodbye, Home Depot!)

Of course, I won’t even start to think about the extra year to complete his RN, the year he has to work after that, the additional Bachelors degree (BSN) he must get, followed by the Masters in Nursing he needs to then enter his chosen field.

There are lots of steps and stops along the way. But this one? It’s a biggie —and I’m so proud of him.

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Time check. 3:30 a.m. Nik’s been awake for an hour —alternately playing and crying in his crib. The kind of cries that let me know he is not in any real distress. Just enough to keep him awake —and me, too. Well, that and the toilet which has chosen tonight to run incessantly. My only secret, sadistic pleasure has been waking Niksdad to fix it. I have already thrust my hands into the tank to fix the valve no less than three attempts in 20 minutes only to crawl back in bed and hear the tank draining and refilling again. I am not sure which of Dante’s circles this is. Crying child, running toilet, and a spouse who can sleep through the arrival of the second coming!

Having been in Nik’s room once in the past hour to comfort and console —and provide a quiet toy to distract him from thoughts of climbing out of the crib —I am waiting this one out. I don’t know if it’s a change in barometric pressure, or what, but his ear is acting up again. Not in an ear-infection-kind-of-way; rather, more of the same indeterminate pressure which causes him to rub and flick at his ear and which brings him some sort of intermittent pain. There is swelling around the lymph glad and, so help me I am not crazy, around the mastoid. It comes and goes and never seems to be present when we are visiting one of the myriad doctors Nik sees. I guess the surgery wasn’t the magic answer we were looking for.

3:40a.m. I listen to my son’s cries escalate to a wail of pain and frustration (is he crying for both of us, I wonder), as I can do nothing to ease his discomfort. The toy has long lost its appeal and Nik is simply tired and in need of that elusive balm of sleep. I cannot even go in to console him and rub his back as I used to do. Now, he wants to stand up and cling to me, begging me to release him from the prison of his crib. I am no longer naïve and hopeful that he wants the comfort and safety of Mama’s embrace. Alas, he has grown wily and I have become jaded. Unless I am prepared to take him downstairs to start our day, I dare not lift him.

Instead, I sit here at my keyboard feeling supremely guilty and more than a little frustrated as I listen to the wailing and thrashing which signals his discomfort, his frustration. His utter exhaustion.

At 4:00 a.m. I cave. When I enter his room, he is happy to see me. I feel guilty for raising the false hope of release. He begins to clap my hands together —one of the ways he requests play time. Instead, I smooth his hair, rumpled from his rolling to and fro in the crib. I whisper gentle soothing words to encourage sleep and relaxation. Failure ensues.

As I leave his room, the wailing and thrashing begins anew, this time with the tenor of extreme frustration. I know that if I wait it out he will eventually fall back to sleep. If only I could do the same.

I look in on my husband. He is sleeping blissfully —ignorant of the drama playing out down the hall. The struggle of maternal instinct versus parental control. Sleep versus play. Damn those ears anyway. Nik’s for causing him such distress and disruption. Mine for being unable to ignore the primitive pleas of my child. My husband’s for being able to sleep through it all. I m not even sure he opened his eyes when he fixed the toilet!

Never before have love and resentment balanced on so fine a hair. I am torn between my need for sleep and caffeine. Two roads…which shall I choose? The choice truly can make all the difference in my day.

4:25 now. It sounds like Nik is settling back in. The wailing is reduced to quiet moans and sporadic whimpers. Quiet. Then the sound of music from his toy. Damn. The boy is so tired. I go in to take the toy away so he won’t roll over on it and activate it as he is drifting off to sleep. He sits up and leans his head against the side of the crib. I can see the shadowy outline of his little form begin to droop and slump as he fights the pull of slumber. “Please, God, let him sleep” I pray. I am so weary at this point; I want to climb into the crib myself. Caffeine is looking like the only way I will ever make it through this day.

4:35 —Is he out? Taking a leap of faith, I stagger the few feet down the hall toward my beckoning bed. Whimper. Moan. Wa-ai-ai-ai-il! Followed by more whimpers. Followed by whines. SHIT!

4:45 a.m. —Clutching the monitor in my hand, I stumble down stairs to start the coffee. The faint blue glow of the light on the coffee pot lures me like a siren. Looks like caffeine wins out after all. The monitor is eerily silent so I check the volume. He’s out. Asleep. Joyous reprieve!

Coffee forgotten, I stumble back upstairs and crawl into bed. I awaken briefly an hour later to tell Niksdad that he is to let Nik sleep until he wakes on his own and to wake me…well, never! He gently kisses my forehead as I drift off again. I awaken three hours later to find my son awake, dressed and fed, and fresh coffee in the pot.

I am in love once again.

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In case anyone’s been worrying about my absence over the past few days —all is well in Niksworld. In fact, you could almost say it’s been idyllic. It is kind of amazing —when I let myself remember to do it — that when I put something out to the universe, God, my subconscious —or whatever one believes in— things do have an uncanny way of unfolding.

My recent posts about my brief existential crisis, and the outpouring of support and warmth from so many readers, really helped to crack me open a bit. I don’t think I even realized how guarded I was being —with my time, my energy, and especially with my heart. Perhaps it was simply fatigue, or perhaps it was a phase of a larger, natural cycle which is occurring in my life and I couldn’t see it. Whatever it was, it feels like it’s on the upswing now!

These past few days have been absolutely phenomenal in every single way I could possibly describe; perhaps I should go buy lottery tickets tonight? (Only half kidding…) I’m not even sure where to begin to relate all the things that have happened over the past week; forgive me if I ramble in a somewhat disjointed fashion from topic to topic.

First of all, things with Niksdad have been peaceful and relaxing. We’ve spent some great time together working on some household things both big and small, catching up on a bit of sleep, and simply spending time together both with and without Nik. My sixteen year old niece even volunteered to babysit last night — FOR FREE! Yes, we had a date! An honest to goodness date.

Niksdad shaved and I even wore makeup and did my hair! Not that we don’t do those things on a fairly regular basis —just not always for each other or with such intention. We got tickets to see The Bourne Ultimatum and planned on dinner before hand. Nothing fancy because of the time constraints, but it was out and it was without Nik! I won’t spoil the movie for anyone but I can tell you that we loved it! From the minute it started, we were clutching each other (well, maybe me a little more than him and maybe him for different reasons?) and the adrenaline was pumping. AWESOME. Oh, yeah, Matt Damon is sexy, too! Anyway, it was a wonderful night and it felt “normal.” I don’t mean normal in the sense that our daily lives feel abnormal; I mean “like the rest of the world” kind of normal. As in, “Ho hum, isn’t this so UN-extraordinary that it’s almost boring” kind of normal. We didn’t even talk about Nik!

It’s been sort of like that all week, though; like the spark has been rekindled a bit and the subtler expressions of affection are surfacing more. Even when we are together as a family —which we’ve been a lot this week —the feeling is present. We haven’t made it to the beach but we have gone to the pool several times. Friday we went to the “Can Do” playground before going to the hospital for appointments, and Saturday we went to the peach festival. (Each of the latter two events merits its own post…coming soon!) Niksdad even turned down a chance to work this weekend “Just because;” it felt great to have him put us first again.

Like I said, it’s been a full week for us here. Nik, too, has been having his own momentous happenings. The kind of things that parents of “typical” kids might miss because they seem so “normal,” so expected.

We had someone come to the house this week to do an evaluation of Nik’s eligibility for services through the Division for the Visually Impaired now that he has been discharged from the “Deaf-Blind” program. When the woman, Ms. S, arrived Nik was playing by himself in the family room. As soon as Ms. S. walked into the room, Nik’s attention was riveted. He actually stopped playing, scooted over to her and pulled himself to stand using her legs. He looked up at her with a big smile and reached for her hands to play “clap hands” as he does with Nanny. Ms. S was a good sport and played along. I was surprised to see Nik take an active interest in someone besides the little boy in the mirror! What happened next floored me.

Nik, still standing —he is getting a bit steadier with each passing day —reached out to take Ms. S’s hand in his and led her to the sofa to sit down. Such the gracious host! He then proceeded to climb up on the sofa and sit next to her to continue their play. Ms. S did not realize it but she had been given a signal honor! Nik has never done that before.

That same afternoon, when we went to the pool, Nik was very aware of other children nearby as he cruised along the edge of the toddler pool or sat splashing happily in the water. Though he didn’t actively seek them out, he watched and seemed to perk up when one approached him. He even flirted with another mother! I wonder if he could sense her friendly curiosity about this happy-go-lucky child splashing and singing.

She wasn’t simply another mother at the swings; this woman was —is —a kindred spirit. She proudly introduced her beautiful 10 month old son with Down Syndrome and we bonded quickly. We shared an understanding that the path we have been placed upon in mothering our different children is not one easily accepted and understood in our smallish community. We lamented about the school system and some other shared frustrations, but mostly we talked about the special joys of our children and the moments we never want to take for granted. The whole time, Nikolas climbed all over this woman, playing with her sunglasses, her son’s float, her daughter’s goggles. The woman not only did not mind but encouraged him and praised him for being so smart and engaging. It felt like the hand of God had reached down to touch my heart. I didn’t get the woman’s name or phone number and I may never see her again, but I will remember her for a long, long time.

Thursday was a very eventful day. We started the day with a four hour eye appointment —ugh! I had a session with my trainer at the Y so Niksdad took Nik to the eye clinic. It’s not an ideal set up; you have to arrive by a certain time and be prepared to wait with lots of other families. Still, the doctor is wonderful and she’s the same one we would see if we drove an hour each way to her private office. So we trade off the hours in the car for the hours in an office; at least in the office, Nik is able to move around and engage with his environment in a way he cannot in back seat of the car. Anyway, it turns out that Nik did great at the clinic —in spite of having to be restrained to have his eyes dilated. He was very social and incredibly patient!

That afternoon, after the already too long eye appointment and no nap, Nik had OT and PT. I worried that it would be too much and that Nik would simply fall apart. Oh contraire! Nik probably had the best session ever. Ever. As Miss D, the OT, brushed Nik and sang silly songs to distract him, Nik gazed adoringly at her! I was rather jealous, I must confess! Nik was putty in her hands as she did joint compressions and deep pressure. When Miss D put Nik in the ball pit, he not only grinned but he initiated a game of “you hand me the ball and I’ll throw it out of the pit and laugh myself silly” with her. Oh, the stabbing pain in my heart as I watched my son flirt and giggle and interact with Miss D; I don’t know if it was from envy or pride but it ached.

As if that weren’t enough, the entire session was filled with my exclamations of, “Miss D, he’s never done that before!” Even Miss D was surprised at how well Nik did with the swinging, the ball pit, crawling through the tube, pushing the cart, etc. He even let her put him in the big yellow gigaball —TWICE —without complaining. He hates the texture of smooth, sticky, inflatable plastic but he did it for her! He even graced her with a few independent steps. I am not sure if I want to hurt Miss D or adopt her! It was amazing, simply amazing.

Miss D handed Nik off to Miss T, the PT, for their session. It wasn’t quite stellar but Nik did some pretty good stuff. I can tell that he kind of falls apart after about 15 minutes with Miss T. I cant’ tell yet if it’s something about the dynamic with Miss T or if Nik is simply mentally fatigued by then. I think it’s the latter; there’s nothing about Miss T that Nik seems to object to —except for the fact that she’s not Miss D!

In the midst of all this wonderful-ness, I got a call from my husband telling me that my father had been in a car accident; he didn’t know more but was on his way to the scene with my mother. My heart lurched and my heart raced at the idea of my Daddy, Nik’s Granddaddy, in some mangled, broken state. I calmly told Miss T that I might need to go; Niksdad was going to call me with more information as soon as he got there. DAD IS FINE. Whew! To make along story short, he misjudged some distance for a turn and got hit broadside by a truck.

God must not want my Dad yet, because the circumstances of the accident are pretty freakin’ miraculous. The trucker was near his home and knew that it was a bad stretch of road so he wasn’t going very fast (about 40) —the local cops and EMS call the area “Helicopter Corner” because they are always having to Life Flight someone out of there. Amazingly, the point of impact was exactly on the door post behind the driver’s door. Another four to six inches toward the front and it would have been a very different outcome. Dad, we think, must not have seen the truck until just before impact. That is the only way I can explain the fact that he walked away from a totaled car without so much as a single twinge of discomfort. None. He’s been checked over from head to toe by doctors and there is no sign of any injury whatsoever —unless you count the wounded pride. 3 days later and Dad still has NO PAIN. Amazing!

So we’re living life in the fast lane here (ha ha). Big stuff. Good stuff. And it just keeps coming! I feel like I should put up a sign on my blog that says “Watch This Space” as I have more to share! Niksdad is working tomorrow night (yeah, his schedule got changed again) so I’ll have more time to write.

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We’ve been through some things together
With trunks of memories still to come
We found things to do in stormy weather
Long may you run.
~Neal Young

Wow, who knew there were so many of us on this same journey?! Thanks everyone for not only your supportive comments on my existential crisis, but especially the reminders that “this too shall pass” (eventually). I guess I’ve gotten so used to worrying about something that it was inevitable I would turn my radar inward to myself and my marriage. Not a bad thing to do every once in a while, I guess.

Things are looking brighter these past couple of days. Niksdad seems more relaxed —now that he’s embraced the “no work for two weeks” concept. He’s been taking Nik to the park in the mornings after breakfast; giving me a chance to get back into my workout routine which has been interrupted by first Nik’s then my illness. It’s felt really good to get out of the house to do something that makes me feel more vibrant afterward. Sweaty, but vibrant.

We’ve made plans to take care of some projects around the house —big ones, like replacing the yucky carpet in the family room with some sort of wood laminate. The family room is where Nik spends a great deal of time and it takes a real beating. The carpet is ugly and stained and I don’t even want to think about what’s possibly growing underneath! We won’t be able to do the actual work until Nik goes back to school on the 22nd. But, the process of planning and making flooring selections —which of course leads to discussions of other projects —has felt good. It feels reminiscent of the early days in our marriage when we would tackle projects together in our first house —the one in CA, where we lived when Nik was born. We were partners and made a great team.

In fact, we still make a great team; everybody remarks on that and tells us how lucky we are. They are right. We’ve had to shift our focus quite a bit in these past few years but we’ve always worked well together —planning, discussing, researching, strategizing, dreaming together, and inspiring one another. Maybe we took our eyes off the road for a little bit but I think we’re on the right track.

It’s a bit like all the times I’ve been on a car trip by myself (in the olden days before Niksdad came along). I’d be off on an adventure, driving down the highway —not always toward a specific destination. I’d look down and the gas gauge would read near empty and the next exit wouldn’t be for miles and miles. I’d drive along, darting anxious glances at the fuel gauge every few seconds, wondering when I would run out of gas on some lonely stretch of road. Know what? It never happened; I always made it to a gas station in the nick of time.

I need to remember that more often when I get antsy about my life —especially my marriage. The frustration, though, of not being able to have consistent time alone together gets tough. Unfortunately, we aren’t exactly in a position to shell out bucks for specialty care givers —which are VERY hard to find around here. In fact, there’s such a demand that no one with the right qualifications wants to work the small number of hours we need. The respite system in our area is the pits for us right now. Medicaid doesn’t recognize the need for couples to go out once in a while as legitimate. If I worked or were in school, then they would consider our eligibility. The only drop-off respite we’ve been able to find doesn’t’ work with our schedule and our needs. So, we limp along with the help of my folks for now. During the school year I think (I hope) it will be a bit easier; some of the Para’s also do childcare/respite once in a while and I know lots of them!

Meanwhile, though, we’ve been making plans to do some things together as a family; things like a return trip to the beach, a trip to the zoo, a local peach festival this weekend, the pool at my parent’s country club in the afternoons (weather permitting), and a trip to a new “Can Do” playground which opened up about an hour north of here, near the hospital where Nik sees all his specialists. We might even try XBos again!

It feels like a time of renewal somehow. Maybe not quite what I had envisioned —you know, candle light and romance —but perhaps better, more important as we, Niksdad and I, learn to make the most of the precious time we do have together. Time that must include our son right now.

Long before Niksdad and I got married, I wrote a vision for myself of what I wanted our marriage to be:

Niksdad and I have a loving marriage and raise healthy children in a warm,
loving, creative, and stable home. Our relationship touches the lives of
many as we open our hearts and home to many children. Our love helps heal
others.

Deep, huh? It may not look quite the way I had envisioned it all those years ago, but perhaps we haven’t lost our way after all. Maybe I just need to check the map every once in a while to realize that the wrong turns or missed exits will still get us to our destination —wherever that may be. And if I let myself, I just might enjoy the ride.

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You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes, well you might find
You get what you need.

Mick Jagger/Keith Richards

I love my husband very, very much and I would be the first to complain that we don’t get nearly enough time together. Between his going back to school to become a nurse anesthetist (we still have a few more years to go) and working part time, Nik’s school schedule, Nik’s doctors’ appointments, and the general stuff that needs to get done around the house…well, let’s just say there’s never enough energy to go around for both of us at the same time. When he’s up, I’m down and vice versa.

With some of Nik’s special needs —most glaringly, his feeding tube and the fear it seems to invoke in any non-parental caregivers —it’s quite challenging to find a babysitter very often. My parents are pretty good sports though and do come over once in a while after we’ve put Nik to bed, giving us a chance to slip out for a movie once a month or so. Still, it never seems like enough.

Just the other night, I told Niksdad that I really missed “us.” Now I look back on all those times we used to take for granted when we could hop on the back of his Harley and ride off to a vineyard for the day, go for a drive in the mountains, a weekend in the country, a late dinner and a movie followed by an even later (decaf) coffee. Sigh…those days are gone. Long. Gone. Forever.

I cried on his shoulder last night about how we never have time to even just touch anymore. I’m not talking sex (don’t even go there!), but the affectionate embraces we used to share as we made dinner together or sat on the sofa watching a movie. All the subtle cues that remind a person they are loved and cherished. Now, our lives are so full we barely even have time to do things together that aren’t some sort of task on a to-do list. If it can’t be “divided and conquered” we don’t bother to tackle it anymore. Sad, but true.

Now, lest anyone think the love is gone, the flame has died, etc, I think I should note here that we have a tremendous amount of love, respect, trust, and affection for one another. We just seem to be sadly lacking in any modicum of mental, physical, or emotional energy left to do more than kiss one another and assure each other that “I love you, Darling,” or “I love you, too, Honey. G’night” before we pass out at the end of each day. Only to wake up six hours later to repeat some variation of the same theme the next morning.

I know my husband loves me and he is working damn hard to create a new life for us —not to mention a fulfilling career for himself. And I know that what I do as a mother to our son is irreplaceable. Niksdad and I did a rough estimate a couple of years ago and determined that, in order for me to work full time outside the home, I would need to make nearly $200k a year to cover it the additional costs incurred for childcare and nursing care. Niksdad likes to remind me of that once in a while; I guess maybe that’s his way of letting me know that he appreciates everything I do.

Still, I really miss our time together as a couple. I don’t know what it’s going to look like as we get further and further into Niksdad’s nursing training —longer class hours and clinicals on top of that, plus the study time —and I worry that we will drift apart. Not for lack of love and commitment but for lack of energy and creativity. For lack of something in common anymore that isn’t our son. My fear is that, as Niksdad grows and changes into his new career, I have nothing to show in my life besides being Niksmom.

Have you been there? How did you weather it, what did you do to keep things alive in the face of utter exhaustion and shared concern over your child/ren? How did you get out of what I call “the roommate rut?”
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I wrote all that the other night and didn’t have the cajones to post it; it somehow felt too personal and maybe would make someone (besides me) uncomfortable. I am my own worst censor —always worrying about someone else’s needs first, even when I write sometimes. Sigh…

Niksdad headed off to work this afternoon. About 40 minutes later he came strolling through the front door looking baffled. Seems his work schedule was changed and no one thought to tell him. He works part time at Home Depot as he is going to school. We have been fortunate enough to be able to take some equity out of the house so his income isn’t mission critical. Well, it is in the sense that it will help us make the money stretch farther, but it isn’t in that we can certainly afford to pay our monthly expenses without it.

So, now Niksdad is completely off of work for the next two weeks. Hmm…I sure hope my lamenting about not having time together didn’t misfire in the universe… The old adage “Be careful what you wish for” sure applies here!

So here I’ve been grousing about not enough time together and all of a sudden —WHAM! Now what do I do? I mean, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, right? How do I strike a balance between quality time with my husband and us wanting to kill each other from being together 24/7?

Yeah, I know…I’m never satisfied. (Laugh) (Um, file that under one of the ways in which Nik and I are alike?)

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“And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust.”
— Queen

More good news today! After the IEP meeting this morning, we had to take Nik to an appointment with the geneticist, Dr. B. All Nik’s tests look wonderful —no identifiable anomalies, syndromes, etc. Dr. B talked to us a bit about future likelihood of disability or prematurity for another pregnancy and told us we were doing an amazing job. He was impressed with how well we handle everything Nik’s been through. Niksdad and I laughed. I guess our teamwork really does pay off. We’ve gotten much better at finding release valves in our daily lives to ease the pressures.

Dr. B said, unless something comes up with Nik that we want to have him investigate from a genetics perspective, he really doesn’t need to see Nik again for another two years. I could kiss the man I am so happy to hear those words! One less doctor in our very large medical cadre —Sweet!

Let’s see, that leaves the cardiologist, the pulmonologist, the ophthalmologist, the neurologist (2), the gastroenterologist, the behavioral psychologist, the nutritionist, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker…

I can go to bed happy tonight…and EARLY!

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I keep trying to write something today but my mind is whirling in so many different directions that I end up editing and censoring and losing my train of thought until I can’t even remember what I wanted to say.

Must be too many nights of interrupted sleep? Nik’s fighting another infection —a mild ear infection this time —and it makes him so uncomfortable. Combine that with the “normal” testing of limits and boundaries and, well, the picture really says it all. (Note: read the shirt.)
I am worn through and through lately and I don’t see an end in sight. Nik starts “summer vacation” in just a couple of weeks and I am trying to line up some independent therapy (which he needs regardless of the summer break) as well as keeping on top of the various medical threads we’ve got going. Let’s see, last week we had three appointments, this week it’s four, and next week we have another couple. Eleven in all this month…UGH!

I have been lurking on many blogs the past few days and finding myself alternately inspired and envious. Inspired by news of amazing progress of our children (here, here, here, here, here, and here), envious at the idea of taking any time to find my “long-lost mojo“, or travel to other locations for a vacation (like Kristen, Gretchen, Susan, and Jennifer). Then, I’ve been plain old emotional over things that really are quite gut-wrenching, and humbled by the way some writers can share. In short, I’m just not loving my own life this week. I’m feeling a little ragged around the edges. ANYBODY WANT TO TRADE FOR A LITTLE BIT??

So, the irony here is that nothing is actually wrong. In fact, Nik is continuing to make wonderful progress in some areas and not-so-wonderful progress in others. Welcome to parenting, right?

It’s just this freaking IEP and possible placement in a new school that has me so unraveled. The case manager from school called today to tell me the autism evaluator is ready to schedule the family meeting/IEP. I feel like the rug is getting ready to be yanked out from under me and I feel completely unprepared for an IEP meeting within the next ten days! Somehow I deluded myself into thinking we would wait until September. Shit, this feels like when Nik was born…we planned for February but he came in December. We weren’t ready yet. I’m still not ready yet!
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Niksdad was off from work this week, courtesy of a scheduling SNAFU, so we took advantage of the time and did some projects we’ve been putting off. Catching up on finances, landscaping the front yard, getting our heating and A/C system replaced. We also spent some “quality” time together —as a couple and as a family.

My parents babysat on Friday night so Niksdad and I could *finally* go out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary (yes, that was last month). It was heaven and strange all at the same time. I cannot recall the last time we were out without Nik. Worse, I can count on ONE HAND the number of times that has happened since Nik was born. We made a vow to each other that we will try to get out at least once a month for “couple” time. It’s so challenging though with Niksdad’s work and school schedule along with Nik’s schedule of appointments and the timing of his feedings. It has been a real struggle for us to find both the time AND energy to do anything beyond collapse into bed with a book at night! Sigh…

We did get to take Nik to the water park at one of the state park areas yesterday. It was fabulous and scary. It reminded me a bit of Susan’s post (here) about the zoo. Expectations can be so funny. And they sneak up on one so quickly as they did me when we took Nik to the beach in June.

Nik did really well. He didn’t seem to mind the noise. For me, it felt like we were at a really loud cocktail party with kids running around in the background. My own “crowd anxiety” came up a bit but I didn’t let it stop me from having fun. Nik splashed and cruised around the kiddie pool and even went down the slides a few times (with assistance).

I was appalled at the rudeness of some of the kids. One little girl deliberately cut in front of us as we waited in line for the slide. We’re talking a kiddie slide with a line of maybe half a dozen kids; it wasn’t as if she had to wait hours for her turn. I got so angry that I actually said something. Usually, I would be quiet and seethe with indignation; that’s usually my M.O. if it is something that affects only me. But you don’t mess with my little guy! Oh, no, no, no!

I told her that she was a terribly rude little girl and should learn to wait her turn. She just glared at me and motioned for her friends/siblings to join her. At that point, I wedged my size 16 butt in front of the other kids (she was already at the head of the line) and told them that they would just have to wait their turn like everyone else…it was HIS (Nik’s) turn right now. I felt like the bitchiest thing on earth but I didn’t care! I mean, it’s one thing if a kid can fend for him/herself or at least speak up but Nik can do neither so I did it for him.

One of the kids actually tried this maneuver a couple more times and I finally grabbed a hold of his arm and told him he needed to just cool it, it wasn’t his turn. Where the hell are the parents of these kids? Who is teaching them anything about taking turns and sharing?? Is this the kind of generation of “typical” kids our society is raising?

OK, end of rant. Anyway, Nik had a wonderful time and was oblivious to the whole turn-taking thing. Was I too sensitive? Did I do something I shouldn’t have done? My instinct says no, but my conscience isn’t so sure.

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