Monday, February 13, 2012

Special needs parenting

In the grand scheme of things, I really have nothing to fear
with these guys protecting me!

Today I had a "special needs parenting" moment. I decided NOT to have Phoenix participate in his theater class' end-of-class performance...and I realized why, for now, I'm content with Phoenix being in a self-contained special ed classroom instead of an inclusion setting. Phoenix had been part of CYT's great inclusion program for the past 8 weeks, but in the end I had to be realistic. If Phoenix had gotten up on that stage tonight he would not have been successful compared to his typical classmates. Likewise, if Phoenix was currently in an inclusion classroom I think that maybe his aide would be successful, not Phoenix! And that is pretty much the struggle I'm in right now- having high expectations for Phoenix but being realistic.

Still, it's so odd that I expect him to be like everyone else. It's strange that I hear "treat him like everyone else" when he is NOT like everyone else. He has an extra chromosome in every single cell of his body, ya know! OF COURSE I know all the positive stuff, that he is more LIKE his peers than NOT, etc, but, RIGHT NOW in my life I think that being realistic about Phoenix's capabilities is going to help him actually meet those high expectations.

In my daily life this struggle exhibits itself in the disciplining. Let me be the first to tell you that I am TERRIBLE at any form of discipline of any type of child!!! Typical or not. I'm unsure, I'm inconsistent, I yell, etc. With Phoenix especially it's hard, AT TIMES, to distinguish between expecting him to behave like a typical 6 1/2 year old and when to be realistic. I know that 9 out of 10 times he should/could behave like his peers but that 1 other time quickly trips me up and puts me in a bad place of second-guessing myself and telling God that HE CHOSE THE WRONG MOM for Phoenix. Ugh, I hate going there! Overall, this ART of parenting is likely the hardest part of parenting any child.

On a side note, we had a good day! A good day in our house means MOM DIDN'T FLIP OUT! I wish I knew what was different today so that I could do it again and again! It could have been the 4pm cup of coffee that gave me an energy boost or the fact that I worked today (teaching adult ESL) finding myself in a role other than "mother" or the undeserving peace of God. Somehow I "did it all" (dinner, homemade cookies, cleaning, hand-written valentines, story time, and bedtime) without losing it FOR ONCE! I long for the day when this is our NORM and not the exception!

1 comment:

tekeal said...

hey there- nice to hear from you!! you know i total, completely, fully and whole-heartedly get the ART of parenting/ accepting our failings and still going on-ness that you're speaking about. as livia says all the time now, " MAN!"- it's not easy.

i've had such deeply painful parenting moments recently in trying to get livia to kindergarten on time, that i've committed to making it a super-fun game to now be on time or even EARLY. seems that my latest horrible if-anybody-saw-me-i-hate-myself-parenting-momentS PLUS my new approach is working. balance of healthy discipline and boundaries, and enough buffer time (when possible) is so important.

wishing you a happy valentine's day from bern... xxxx