Tuesday, August 25, 2009

(almost) Offically Homeschooling

I guess I won't really be officially homeschooling until next September when Esme is old enough to attend public school, but I ordered (or should I say, my mom ordered for me) a Preschool homeschooling curriculum for Esme. Even though Esme will be attending a regular preschool this year (starting in two short weeks!), I will also be homeschooling Esme, with the intent of continuing homeschooling next year (junior kindergarten) as well.
The curriculum is pretty easy going, and we won't we working on any 'school skills' (eg. ABC's, reading, math...) yet. The curriculum focuses on art, handicrafts, purposeful work, and the rhythm of the day.
I will also be using this curriculum to run a small preschool out of my home, 2 mornings per week.
I am really looking forward to starting homeschooling with Esme. It should give a little more structure to our time together at home, and should motivate me to continue finding different ways to engage Esme and get her interested in the world around her (and not just the world in her head, which, to be honest, seems a lot more interesting than the world around her sometimes!).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Special Exposure Wednesday

Popsicles. The best part of summer.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Tonight Esme asked for fries for dinner. She was dancing around my feet as I put them onto the baking sheet, obviously too hungry to wait the obligatory 15 minutes before they would be cooked. In a somewhat desperate attempt to avoid a meltdown, I let her pick up one of the frozen fries and try to eat it, while I told her that they were too cold and needed to be cooked.
She happily picked up the fry, but her face dropped as she realized how cold and hard it was. It barely made it to her mouth before it was declared "Yucky" and thrown back onto the baking pan. I popped the fries into the oven and went back into the living room to try to get Esme interested in a toy while her dinner cooked.
Esme played for 10 minutes or so before running back into the kitchen and crying for her dinner. Suddenly her crying stopped and she ran back into the living room and said to me "I want fries. I want too-hot fries. Okay!"
Luckily when we checked the oven the fries were all done and Esme tucked into a dinner of kidney beans, peas and too-hot fries.

Wishfull thinking

There are many, many times where I totally accept Esme's autism. Where I see it as a blessing, or as just-a-part-of-the-girl-I-love-so-much. There are many times where I enjoy making appointments for Esme, researching treatment / therapy / funding options, where I enjoying calling organizations and seeing what services they provide. I enjoy being able to talk at length about Esme and her struggles and triumphs. There are many times where I love belonging to the 'special needs parents' club, love meeting with other parents of special kids and chatting about all things 'special'.

And then there are times like this.

Where I would like nothing more than for Esme to wake up and start talking.
Where I start panicking, wondering what the future will hold for Esme, if she will ever be able to communicate, go to school, make a friend...
Times like this where I just want to scream "Why aren't any of these treatments working??? Why is she not better yet?? Is there something else I should be doing? Or not doing??"
Times like this where Esme's refusal to eat isn't just Preschool picky-ness, but worsening sensory issues. Where her tantrums aren't just a grumpy, hungry, not feeling well kid, but another regression. A sign of worse-things-to-come.
When I wonder how I will ever have space in my life for another child.
Times like this when I just want to say "Wait, there's been a mistake here. This isn't the life I wanted to have. This isn't what I planned. I should be making cookies and joking and laughing with my daughter. I should be answering 400 questions a day. I should be planning on baby #2, taking to Esme about being a big-sister, looking into private schools for kindergarten." I don't want to be checking all foods for hidden ingredients, force feeding after days of refusing to eat, teaching Esme to ask for an apple and not just cry, feeling sad at the thought of never having another baby, and feeling almost as sad at the thought of another one, wondering how in the world I am ever going to send her off to school.

But that is my life.

Of course, we also do a lot of laughing and playing. We smile at Esme's antics, and make up silly games to play. We marvel at the baby-steps Esme takes. Her first sentence. Learning to point at pictures. Being able to answer the questions "What's that?" and "What's he doing?".

And when I really think about it, Esme is doing so much. She smiles at us, she asks us to play. She tidies up, she says "Thank you". She tries to talk. And she's not even 3 yet.

Usually I am 99% satisfied to be Esme's mom, just the way she is.

Sometimes I just wish things could be easier for my little girl. And for our family.

But that's just wishfull thinking.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Quiet time

It's quiet time around here. After a loud morning. I'm getting back to my daycare roots, watching 3 kids (plus Esme) today. One has headed home already, one will be going home in a couple of hours, and one is here for the long haul and will be headed home sometime this evening!

Esme has done OK with the extra bodies in the house, but she definitely likes it more when there are fewer kids. One friend is fine, for a while. After 4 or 5 hours, she is ready to get back to her normal schedule.

She gets overwhelmed with so many kids here. And frustrated. And some not-so-nice behaviours start coming out.

So far this morning we have had 2 huge meltdowns and 3 head-banging incidents. When its just Esme and I, this is unheard of. But with the added stress of a friend or two in the house, Esme's ability to deal with stress is greatly reduced. And she is reduced to a puddle-of-mad on the floor.

Little things that would be easy to deal with (eg. feeling thirsty, say "I want juice") become impossible to deal with (eg. feeling thirsty, bang head off door as hard as you can while screaming).

In a few minutes everyone will start waking up and we will have snacks and head out to the wading pool. But right now I'm enjoying the silence.

It never lasts long enough!