I've been neglecting this blog lately. Most of that is the whole pandemic related every day feeling the same bit. It feels like nothing changes, like we are all just in a big holding pattern. But thinking about it yesterday, I realized actually lots has been happening. Being with Janey 24/7, we are every day learning more things about her and figuring out more ways to engage her, and understanding more how her mind works. I've had a lot of thoughts I'd like to share, but I kept feeling like I had to wait to write until I tied them all together and had some perfectly worded way to sum them up. When thinking about this last night, I realized I just need to write, to get back in the habit. So bear with me as I start my week of blogs---a little each day!
I'll start with---how are we doing? Okay. We're doing, well, okay. Like everyone else, we are tired of this whole bit, but hopeful that maybe a light at the end of the tunnel is starting to be visible. Janey hasn't been in school in person since March, not a day. At one point she was offered a hybrid model, which would have resulted in the end in her having about 4 days total in school before it shut down again. I sensed that the renewed shutdown was coming, and I just didn't think it was worth the risk to send her. I'm glad I didn't. Now only a very, very few kids in Boston are going to school, and Janey is not one of them.
Remote learning---well, that' s not easy with Janey. Her teachers and therapists have been trying hard. Janey now pretty much tolerates the morning meeting, which lasts about 10 minutes, starting at 8 o'clock. She will sometimes watch recorded lessons, with varying amounts of interest. I can get her now and then to do a little bit of work on paper, circling things or listening to short stories. But it all adds up to vastly, vastly less school than actual school, probably about 1/100th as much. And no real social contact, no special things like swimming or dance, no time away from her family. When I think about her being 16, and how limited her life is----well, it's not great.
And from the perspective of Tony and me---that's tough too. We have absolutely no time at all without fully caring for Janey. School always gave us a bit of time to breath, to nap if necessary, to regroup. Caring for Janey is a lot like caring for a toddler in an adult's body, day and night and day and night. We are tired. Janey's sleep hasn't been great, to say the least. About once a week, she doesn't sleep at all, and maybe two more nights of the week, she sleeps very little. We can kind of catnap while she's awake, but not fully sleep (and I must give a shoutout to Tony, who does the vast majority of the night caring) and Janey wakes us up often to get help with videos, ask for food, ask for car rides, all that. We are hugely worn out.
But it all could be a lot worse. None of us have gotten sick, thank goodness. Janey will wear a mask to go to the grocery store, the one place we go, and Tony takes her there almost every day. Except for when we were trying hard to recreate school at home, which caused a huge pushback from Janey and some very tough behaviors, she has been mostly cheerful, and often a very lot of fun to be with. We are getting by.
I'll write a lot more in the week, about Janey's speech, about remote learning, about things I've discovered about how she learns, about music and car rides and siblings and so. For now, I'm just sending out love to all of you, and hoping you are coping. Let me know, so we can all support each other!