Child Schools Parent

Here’s a story:

Yesterday was one of those days. For a tedious insurance reason, our normally awesome physical therapist was having to do the dirty deed of stressing all the ways in which Fiona is delayed:

The fact that her delays don’t just cause slower development but atypical compensation.

The fact that they aren’t just “delays” but manifestations of a serious condition.

The fact that her delays are “significant,” the PT said, which she emphasized by spreading her hands far apart, indicating just how far Fiona is from a usual 20 month old. In width, about a foot. In months, I know that’s about a year.

I nodded. Yes I knew this, and I agreed with the PT, and I understood why the insurance company needed to hear it.

But this was tough stuff amidst some rough feeding days. I spend upwards of five hours a day feeding Fiona — holding her bottle, offering her spoonfuls of this and that — which is fine when she actually consumes enough to sustain a toy poodle, but deflating when she fights me for mysterious reasons and refuses most of it. She’s been refusing most of it for two days straight, knocking down even the most basic of achievements off my mothering to-do list. Girl sure knows how to hand it to her “must-always-get-A’s” momma. In the subject of Caloric Intake, my daughter and I have been getting D’s at best.

So flash forward a few hours, when Justin arrives home and we all sit on the couch together and I take up my usual coping mechanism after mildly shitty days: I vent. I vent like a steam train barreling down the track. Which goes something like this, “And I’m upset about this, and I’m upset about that, and this, and that, and she won’t even hold her own bottle, and….”

At which time Fiona lunged her body from Justin’s lap, held out her hand, and grabbed at mine. She brought my hand toward her. She held it firmly. This is not something she does normally, and it was enough to stop me mid-steam-train. She looked at me and cocked her head. In those sapphire eyes of hers I got a message.

You might expect that the message was, “It’s okay, Mom. Everything will be alright. You are great.”

But that wasn’t quite it. Instead, the message I got was: “Woman, get over yourself. You’re forgetting what’s awesome. Like me. And this. Now shut your trap, and let’s hurl ourselves into the sofa cushions.”

At which time I shut up, and teared up, and my daughter lunged her lean, wobbly body toward the back of the sofa cushion, where she buried her face into the plush gray upholstery and giggled.