Today was Jelly's last day of her first year of preschool. I wanted to make a big deal of it, help her say good bye to her friends and teachers. But I also had to pick her up a little early, in order to make it to a small end of year celebration in Moe's class. As I walked to Jelly's classroom, I noticed a piece of paper sticking out of her folder, the words "Incident Report," peeking over the top.
I wasn't too concerned. I assumed she got hurt, but since they hadn't called during the day, I knew it couldn't have been too bad. I glanced at the page. "Jelly bit another child..." I had to read it again, thinking that couldn't be right; someone else must have bitten her. Nope. Jelly bit another kid in a skirmish over a toy.
Jelly has been very possessive of toys lately, but she has never once tried to bite someone. I was - still am - shocked. Of course I can't help but wonder if it is my fault. She's been battling control over everything lately. Recently Moe, in a moment of frustration at Home Depot, grabbed Jelly's hair, catching his nail on her nose and scratching her so she bled. Has she started imitating Moe's bad behaviors, even though of course we try to stop those? Is this yet another attention getting behavior?
I know this happens with preschoolers. I have been down this road before with Moe, but of course that was a much different situation. I even said to my mom, "she's supposed to be the easy one."
And that is when it hit me. Parenting--all parenting--is hard. Typical or special needs, all kids need guidance and care and time. All kids need to grow and mature and learn lessons. Little Jelly has been so far ahead in terms of language development that I often forget she is just barely three.
Frankly, we've all been off our game lately. We are sleep deprived and fighting colds and possibly seasonal allergies. There is a new and completely stressful drop-off and pick-up procedure at school that requires me to walk both kids across campus among the swarm of kids at the end of the day. I have been preoccupied (since February!) with Moe's IEP, getting him new services and figuring out this summer. And as the year wraps up, and things are still very much in limbo, I've been an emotional wreck, only made worse by Jelly's frequent 3 am wakings and Moe's exhausting relapse into aggressive and unregulated behavior (though also more attempts at some communication). Did I mention our master bathroom is gutted?
And tomorrow is Moe's last day of school.