Thursday, January 29, 2009

Much happier today

For no particular good reason that I can think of, I'm much happier today than when I wrote that previous post. Indeed, I have every reason to be in an extremely crappy mood. Quinn woke up at 2 am this morning and did not go back to sleep until about 7 am or so. At around 5 am I took him for a drive and got him to sleep, but the transfer back to the crib failed and he woke up again. I managed to sleep a little bit in the morning when he finally slept, but I'm completely sleep deprived. And I had to take him to an ear doctor appointment this morning (it went fine; his left tube is a little encrusted but I got some drops that should take care of it) and then drop him off at school before coming to work.

And the difficult work situation I'm in is still going. But I'm just much happier. Maybe my rant let out a lot of bad energy that needed to get out. Or maybe it was something hormonal. When he woke up at 2 am, I was sleepy and thinking "aw, crap", but it wasn't the crazy feeling of helpless rage that I was having before.

I am thankful, thankful, thankful for my new-found serenity. May it last!

And for the record, I am not now nor have I ever been searching for an actual mistress. Sarah is my one and only :)

Monday, January 26, 2009

The tentacles of obligation

  • Work stuff, which I should be doing now
  • Insurance stuff/Medical bill stuff: where to even begin?
  • Quinn appointment stuff
  • Dust Storm stuff: logistics
  • Dust Storm stuff: publicity
  • Dust Storm stuff: get the show back on its feet
  • Thank you notes from holidays
  • Catch up on sleep
  • Deposit a check
  • Valentine's Day stuff
  • Clean up holiday decorations
  • Bunch o' stuff from to-do lists scattered around my desks
  • Oil change for my car
  • laundry stuff (always)
  • Update Internal Monologue to the new templates
  • Return The Tudors season 2 disc 1 to the video store (too impatient for the NetFlix!)
  • Suff that should be fun but can feel like an obligation anyway (D&D campaign 1, campaign 2, campaign 3, getting my new GPS to work, setting up my laptop as my main computer)
And of course the usual day-to-day, some of which got on that list and some of which did not.

Somehow the balance is out of wack and my time feels like walls are closing in on it all the time. Just recently evening has seemed to become incredibly short. The time between when obligations are filled (or just pushed aside) and when Quinn's schedule demands I go to sleep seems to have collapsed into a barely over an hour strip of time spent in a sleep-deprived daze avoiding things I "ought" to be doing.

Being a father really blows sometimes. I love my family, but it is a snake pit of obligations and duties that are incessant and unfulfilling. And I didn't feel that way before Quinn. I used to love being at home with Sarah. We would cheer everytime we came back home from somewhere, even if it was a vacation, because home was so wonderful, so safe, such a place of renewal and rejuvenation and comfort. No longer. I used to never understand why people avoided their homes by spending so much time at the office. But god, this place, with all its dysfunction, is so much quieter and safer and attuned to my needs.

Everyone who has raised children deserves a fucking medal or three. I feel like race car that's been pressed into service as a dung hauler. I feel like I should go around wearing a sign that reads "NOT OPTIMIZED FOR THE CARE OF OTHERS". But who would read it or be able to heed it? Sarah's as busy as I am, so I can't fairly ask her to do more. And Quinn doesn't give a rat's ass what I'm optimized for or how much sleep I need. I've never had to be around someone so needy for so long. I've always been able to get the hell out of miserable situations before, to close the door to my room and tell the world to go fuck off. Oh, for the ability to do that now!

For an introvert, there is nothing more scary than another person whom you can't get away from, who can take away any quiet moment, interrupt your sleep, demand your attention, and is 100% designed by nature to insist on his own needs being met and to be utterly oblivious to yours. And the kicker is, because of Quinn's Fragile X, I don't know when the fuck it will end, if ever. I suppose we can move him to a group home or something at some point. Or maybe we should move me to a group home.

I used to fantasize about affairs with attractive women who were extremely eager to cater to my sexual proclivities. Now I fantasize about having an affair with a woman who travels extensively and lets me use her very quiet, empty apartment to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea and then sleep uninterrupted for nine and a half hours.

Maybe drugs are the solution: the purpose of pain is to let you know that you should get out of the pain-causing circumstance. But if one cannot do that without shirking one's moral obligations to one's family, doesn't it make sense to use pharmaceuticals to enhance one's mood? A pain signal that has to be ignored is really just distracting noise, and should be eliminated, no?

Or maybe there are other things in my life that are going to have to give way. Work? Play? The energy it takes to pretend I give a fuck about other people? What lamb is next to have its throat slit on the gore-stained altar that is "caring for a special needs child?" The knife is out, the god wants another sacrifice, and his wrath is terrible to behold.

I better get back to work, I have to leave by 3:30 to pick him up from school.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Maybe we're not just whiners

Sometimes we worry we're just whiners, that raising Quinn is no harder than raising any other kid. But in the past week, our whining has been validated.

First, we got told by our Regional Center social worker that we likely qualify for respite care, more than the minimum amount. This determination was based on an email I sent her in which I described some of Quinn's more challenging behaviors, and the email wasn't that long and I took care not to exaggerate.

Then, on inauguration day, we attended a wonderful breakfast at our church with Quinn and Zac's mother. Quinn had three loving adults looking after him, but we all had to work pretty hard to keep the tantrums at bay and prevent mishaps with, well, everything, from hot cups of coffee to furniture-turned-jungle-gym to other people's belongings. And we had plenty of books and toys for him, but nothing was sufficiently calming or engrossing, so the three of us took turns walking him around in the stroller (missing parts of the ceremony) or letting him play in the entrance area of the church, where there is a fountain he attempts to hurl himself into, an activity he enjoys enormously. Meanwhile, many other children, both younger and older than Quinn, sat quietly in their parents' laps watching the ceremony, or occasionally needed some walking around the room, but in a relatively quiet, safe, and organized fashion.

None of this is to say that Quinn is not delighful, magical, and the apple of our eye. We love him like crazy. But he is indeed a lot of work.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It almost doesn't seem real

By 9 am (PT), he will be our president! It's been a loooong 8 years!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Going Away Present

I am beginning to think that Quinn has a brilliant plan for the unveiling of new feats. This afternoon as I was driving Quinn home from school, I was feeling a little guilty about the work trip I am taking tomorrow. When we got home, I took Quinn out of the car, and he usually clings to me like a little monkey until I carry him inside. But today, he wriggled out of my arms and started walking down the sidewalk at a rather quick pace, in just his socks! I told him we should come back in the house and put some shoes on. I think he understood me (!!) because he didn't put up too much of a fight, and once his shoes were on, he was standing at the front door, bouncing in place, like Tigger.

We started back down the sidewalk, and at first I thought he just wanted to visit the little girl next door, but he amazed me by continuing towards the shopping plaza near our house. He has made this journey once before, but walking down sidewalks, in an organized fashion, is still very new to us. Many times when we want Quinn to walk down a sidewalk, he has a mini-tantrum until we put him in the stroller. So I was astounded when he started leading me down the sidewalk.

And he had a destination in mind! He pulled me into Petco to visit the parakeets and fishies, something we do almost every day because he loves them so much. When he sees the animals, he flaps his arms, bounces, and says "Ahhhh". It's quite a sight.

This was such a magical experience, it completely alleviated my angst. I had no choice but to be in the present, enjoying my sweet little angel.

And he made sure we had lots of time for cuddling the night before my trip, too. He refused to walk home, and I didn't have the stroller, so I carried him (all 35 lbs of him) all the way home.

Clever little fellow.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Quinn can climb

So, Zac was away this weekend playing dungeons and dragons with some pals, and of course, Quinn decided this was the weekend (when I was all alone) to start to climb out of his crib. My heart nearly stopped when I went in to check on him in the crib, while trying to get him to nap, and I saw his little foot on top of the rail. The rest of the day involved panic, no naps, and a sleepless night for me as I stayed awake wondering if he'd fall out of the crib.

I really don't think Quinn is ready for a big boy bed. I read somewhere that a child needs to have some understanding of the "invisible boundaries" of a bed, i.e. that the bed is a place, that you can be in bed or out of bed, etc. I'm not sure Quinn is there yet. So the next day I bought a crib tent and assembled it all by myself while Quinn tried to impale himself on the poles. It seems to do the job, at least for now. At first the tent seemed to alternately amuse and frustrate him, but I think he's getting used to it. Sadly, I know it's just a stop-gap measure until Big Boy Bed Day comes.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Catching Up and Random Bits and Pieces

Our posting has been slowed down this week as we've returned to work, etc. Things have been good, just busy. I got and accepted a great new job, and am making plans to transition from my current one. I'm going to New Orleans next weekend for a work conference, so I've also been preparing for that. It will be excellent to see many of my old pals from Haviland Hall and other colleagues.

Quinn woke up at 4 am today. Yep, it's 6, and I've already been up for two hours.

As March is quickly approaching, which is the last IFSP review before Quinn turns 3, we are starting to think about which school district we'd like Quinn to be in. We are hoping to move in the spring, so where we live is open. In my work on transition-age youth (young people ages 16-21), I'd read and written about institutional transitions, which are transitions guided by bureaucratic system demands, rather than client needs. I have to say, now that such a transition is upon us, I have a new perspective on them. We feel like we're just getting to know our early intervention providers, and have settled into a routine. So being forced to make a change just because Quinn will be 3 is frustrating.

Zac is off to play d&d this weekend with some buddies. Quinn and I will be going to our monthly East Bay parents of kids with special needs group, which currently meets at SadieDey's Cafe (formerly Tumble and Tea). If you're in the SF Bay Area, feel free to join us. We also have plans to hang out with other friends we haven't been seeing enough of. It should be a fun weekend. If Quinn will sleep past 4 am.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A very long two hours

I picked Quinn up at 4 pm at school today. It's now 6 pm and he is already in bed. He was a tantrum-y mess, crying, pulling my hair, throwing his red little face back in anguish over the slightest frustration.

The very sweet little girl next door who Quinn adores was at our house during most of this display, and while Quinn cried, she barraged me with questions and requests: "Can I have some water?" "Can you put my Mama Mia cd on the cd player?" "Will you play tic tac toe with me with Quinn's bath crayons?" "Can I put my feet in Quinn's bath?"

Then she made a comment so hilarious, I'm laughing as I remember it, now that she has gone home and Quinn is in bed:

"Your eyes have kinda dark circles underneath."

Um, yeah...