Monday, August 26, 2013

Dreams and Detours

For nine months, I waited in delighted expectation for the arrival of our last baby. Like any mom, I had hopes and dreams for this little one. We didn't know by ultrasound but something in me thought the life inside of me was a girl. My instinct was right! I also figured I'd do everything the same for her as I did with the other three kids. Why would anything be different?

When Sarah reached all her milestones late, I really thought nothing of it. Why should she crawl when she had three doting siblings to answer her every beck and call? The tiniest whimper would have her loved ones rushing to aid her. Same thing for walking. Crawling worked fine and she was so little that we all enjoyed carting her around. The fact that she didn't walk till almost 19 months didn't really concern me at the time.

In my ideal world, my baby was going to eat wholesome, nutritious food. I cooked, pureed and froze oodles of ice cube sized portions of the best stuff. And she would have none of it. Despite my best laid plans, my baby was not going to eat vegetables or meat. End. Of. Discussion. I tried and I still do but her diet is rich in carbs, high in {some} fruits and she receives her protein through peanut butter sandwiches. Sometimes she'll eat a hot dog if she's in the mood. I do wonder what people must think of me when I end up explaining her diet. But I can't force chicken or beef into her. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.

Cheerios are still a favorite.
Of course she LOVES cake!

In the summer of 2011, I thought Sarah was on the road to being potty trained. Because in my ideal world, my kids are toilet trained between the ages of 2 & 3. Why should this last one be any different. I had bought the potties, I bought panties and treats. I thought I was on a roll. And she was until she got sick. She came down with a flu, I ended up going back to diapers for what I had thought would be a temporary thing and all my efforts were... flushed away. Now the mere mention of using it brings her to tears and she is terrified of washrooms.

Like any other parent out there, I had dreams of blissfully sleeping through the night by the time my baby was... 6 months or even a year. I hadn't had a good 'sleeper' till this point but there's always a hope right? I hoped and hoped and hoped. For months which has now turned into years. At one point Sarah was sleeping through the night, in her own bed right beside Arianna. She'd eagerly wake up for a few chocolate chips as a reward and I thought I hit the motherlode. I had successfully taught all four of my children to sleep through the night! And then the same flu bug that kiboshed my potty training efforts also affected her sleep. And to date, I'm sure she has only slept through the night, in her own bed a handful of times. I am not a cry it out parent and Doug and I have always responded to our kids when they cry in the night... even the big ones if they have bad dreams. I don't know what her "issue" is but she can't {or won't} sleep through the night any more. She can start in her own bed with Arianna but will end up beside me at some point. She needs to feel me close and be close to me. Believe me, I have tried.

I wanted to write this post because so often I feel like I have failed a parenting course. I have a diapered, not-sleeping-through-the-night, carbaolic child. Seldom do I think "oh yes, this is the road I had planned", but rather am frequently reminded that it's not MY plan. I have to remind myself of this time and time again. Yes, Sarah is parented differently than the other kids, but she's a different kid. Entirely. I also have to remember that I am doing the best for her that I can. And at the end of the day when her long wispy lashes graze her cheeks, I am so overwhelmed with love for her. Do I wish she was a better eater? Sure. Do I think it would be nice to be done with diapers? Absolutely. Would I love to consistently sleep uninterrupted? Of course! But this is not the course for now. I'm on a detour. And it's taking me to a whole new wonderful world. Something I've been saying to myself (sometimes out loud) is that I need to focus on the journey and not worry about the destination. I am thankful for financial assistance we receive for the diapers. I am grateful that she's still tiny and that we have a king sized bed. Also that Doug sleeps deep enough that she doesn't bother his sleep unless she's dreaming of kick boxing.

I still have a constant fear of being judged. That people will look at me and quietly say to themselves "she really doesn't deserve financial help" or "Sarah is so easy going, why does she need respite" or even "she home schools, that can't be good for her kids".  I'll admit, I resisted the help for quite a while. For almost a year, I was given 4 hours a month for respite services and didn't use any of them. Not one hour. That's changed but it took time for me to relax and enjoy myself while someone else watched her. I've been blessed by two people who love her and care for her on a regular basis during the month ... just enough time for me to do some cleaning, laundry or running around without worrying about where she is or if she's getting into something. I had idealistic dreams, God sent me on a detour that has taught me more in 5 years than I have learned in my life. I'm focusing on our journey... the destination isn't important.

Thanks for listening to me today. This blog post has been in my 'drafts' folder for quite a while I finally gained the courage to share my thoughts.

I am SO blessed! What an amazing little girlie I have!


  1. Oh my! You and I think exactly alike in our parenting style and our fear of being judged. I guess that comes with the special needs territory!

    1. I am so thankful for other moms who get it. What a wonderful support system I have found!

  2. As the mom of a 17yo with moderate cerebral palsy, I so understand the fear of being judged by others. We are under a microscope every single day by countless teachers, therapists, and specialists not to mention family, friends, and even strangers! Keep being the mom you want to be for your kids and focus on that journey! (PS Found you on the Link Up on "Love That Max!")

    1. Thanks Kerith. Sometimes we feel like we are alone in this world and I'm encouraged when I find someone else who understands!

  3. Oh, I can definitely relate to a lot of what you've written here! There are so many things I never would've expected would be parts of my life every single day, and I've definitely been through a mourning/acceptance process around all of that. Thank you for sharing your story; sharing our truth is such an important part of parenting...and life, in my opinion.

    And thanks also for linking up at Friday Favorites!



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