Tony had a week's vacation, starting on the 4th of July. He goes back to work tomorrow. I am feeling dread at the thought. It's been so good having him home. Taking care of Janey is a two person job, often, because no one person can do it for long alone. When she doesn't sleep, whoever stays up with her desperately needs to sleep the next day. When she screams for hours, we need to tag team, because if one person alone cares for her, it becomes overwhelming in the extreme. Even when she is happy and cheerful, she needs two sets of eyes, because if one person needs to do something like go to the bathroom or fix lunch, the other person needs to be watching Janey to make sure she doesn't try to get out the door, or try to eat some non-food item, or try to bite herself or her brothers or the cats or whatever. Of course, sometimes we do have to care for Janey one on one, and we do it, because we have to. But after having 10 days in a row of Tony home, I'm dreading the solo shift.
Luckily, Janey is going to summer school, so if she doesn't sleep, I can catch a nap once she goes to school. Summer school got off to a very good start last week in most ways. Janey cheered up to an amazing extent after her first day Monday. She likes going to school---she needs that routine, that structure. She stayed cheery and enthusiastic all week, until, like clockwork, Friday afternoon. Then she started the screaming and biting again.
My dread is mixed with frustration at myself. I feel like every year, I have less energy and drive. I've been worn down. As Janey gets older and tougher to handle, I get more easily discouraged. Yesterday was a good example. I was taking Freddy to a friend's house, with Janey in the car, and I tried to get myself to take her to a nearby splash park. I just couldn't do it. I couldn't make myself do it. The last time we went there, Janey was stared at constantly. She was much bigger than the other kids, she was talking to herself, and occasionally she took a notion to go sit on the lap of another mother that caught her eye. At one point, a little boy, after trying to engage her in play, used the "r" word about her. Janey didn't hear, or if she did, didn't understand, but I did. I told myself yesterday to ignore all that, to be tougher, to just make myself go anyway. But then my mind started thinking about if Janey screamed there, if she tried to bite another child, if she ran away from me, and I just couldn't do it.
Lest I sound like a sad sack, there have been some nice moments with Janey lately, to be sure. Yesterday she said "You want to read a book!" meaning she wanted me to read her a book. She wasn't holding a particular book---she just wanted to be read to. That made me very, very happy. She is enjoying being read to so much more than ever before. The smile on her face each day she got off the bus last week was a beautiful thing. On Thursday, Tony and I went alone to a zoo we like, and had William get Janey off the bus, and his report on how she did was overwhelmingly positive. When she is happy, everyone's happy. When she's not happy, ain't nobody happy, as the saying goes. So we continue our quest without end to figure out how to keep her happy.