The end of this week has been a whirlwind of sorts, so so busy these days. Even at work it’s the like the transplant Gods have gone crazy and I am being slammed with new requests and new patients to assess. I don’t mind the busyness, but if we could keep it to one or two areas of my life at a time that would be nice.
Yesterday I went to the special needs care center that I am considering for Nate- it is called the Cisco Center. I have mentioned it before with regard to Jack and the little soccer camp he attended last summer. I will be honest, my goal, when I decided to work from home, was that I would never have to put my children in a daycare center, that I would keep their care in the home. I had several reasons for choosing this option- more individualized care, fewer germs, easier breastfeeding, and close proximity for hugs throughout the day. Another biggie was that I was terrified of daycare- especially when the boys were infants. I mean, how would they tell me if someone was mistreating them? And of course, this aspect has unfortunately not changed with Mr. Natey. He can’t tell me- so that is a big concern.
Right now, Nate is in school daily from 8:30 until about noon. On Mondays my mom has agreed to come to our house so that the home visits with Miss Gwen can continue. So that leaves Tuesday through Friday afternoons. Luckily, this center is flexible and willing to do odd days, and half days. Huge blessing there. And the bus is willing to drop him at home on Mondays and at the center the rest of the week. I call this facility a daycare because right now that is the purpose it will be serving for our family. But it is much much more, and Nate will have the opportunity to take advantage of some of the other benefits that come with going to this center. It is run by a retired special education teacher and his wife who is a speech pathologist. She does speech therapy sessions there, they have a social skills group, they have a picky eaters group (huge issue for kids with autism), they are setting up an OT room with a zip line and swings. They also do life skills type things like cooking, and they are a certified pre-K as well and teach different subjects each week. During the summer they have a variety of camps, which the boys would be able to participate in if they are there for daycare at the time.
Did I mention this place is a mile from our home? After agonizing about this for the last 4 months (since the sitter told me she was moving), I have come to this conclusion. The benefits of sending Nathan here far outweigh the risks. The center has an excellent reputation, heck even Nate’s bus driver seemed excited to hear he would be going there. Nate’s current teacher is coming to the center to observe some of her students with behavioral issues- b/c they don’t have issues when they are at the center. Two of Nathan’s classmates will be with him every afternoon. He may not notice this yet, but I am hopeful that he will in time.
Letting go of the time I get to spend with Nate during the work day is going to be extremely difficult. It has always made me feel a bit better about having to work, and been reassuring to know what is going on in my boys’ days. But the time has come for me to sacrifice this time. Because Nathan is going to benefit tremendously from being in this setting- and right now that is just more important for him. And he will still see me before school, after work and on the weekends. I know that many kids are in this situation from the time they are 6 weeks old. I am lucky that I have had this time with them. And I am lucky that they will still be close by.
There is another aspect that I need to mention. For the past 6 years, I have had at least one child, a full-time job, and very part-time daycare. I have become an expert juggler. I am not trying to toot my own horn, it is simply true. I can do my work rapid fire, I can sit on conference calls while folding laundry, I can mute my kids screaming while having a discussion with the medical director. I can find the time to go here and there and everywhere in the midst of my work day and still feel at the end of the day as though I have given my job my all. Many moms feel torn between work and home life, but this experience has been a pretty extreme case. The amount of stress I am under on a day to day basis- the feeling that I am splitting myself in two (and sometimes three and four) is very real. Plus, being the parent nearest the boys during the day, pretty much all of the appointments and meetings fall on me. And we are talking 3 days a week most of the time. I can’t even fathom what it will be like to be in my home office and have no other responsibilities except my job. Right now, my daycare is there from 12:30 to 2:30 each day. That’s it. And of course Nate is in school in the morning. But I work from that point on until 5pm with one kid until 4pm and then both boys until 5pm. If I pay for a half day at the center for Nate, I can pick him up at 5:15. I don’t think I will go this late every day, but the point is, if I am having a crazy day at work, I can do that. I won’t have to wait until the kids go to bed to put in more cases if the day is busy. I can just do my job. Wow. I am thinking that this might allow me to be more “present” with the boys when we do spend time together in the evenings. Still, the thought of packing my three year old a lunch makes me a bit sad.