Wednesday, October 12, 2011

She got less because she needed less

I started this blog because of Elle. When I got pregnant with her I wanted a way to keep my friends and family updated on my pregnancy.  In retrospect I probably vastly overestimated the interest my friends and family would have in my pregnancy.  I think sometimes when you're a woman who's experiencing the agony and the ecstasy of her first pregnancy you think everyone else is going to be as fascinated by every little twitch and twinge as you are.  Of course no one really is but that's ok.  It fun to share.

Over time this blog evolved.  I talk a lot about myself now, about my surrogate pregnancies, about raising the kids, about any little thing that pops into my head.  I post a lot less than I used to but now I think of this blog as more important than I ever did before.  Perhaps it's morbid but sometime around the time I gave birth to Little A I started to think that if something bad were to ever happen to me at least the kids could go back and read my blog.  In that way they could know me and know how much I love them and maybe look back and laugh at some of the good times we shared together.

I had such big plans for what I wanted to share yesterday on this blog.  I wanted to talk about how Elle turned six years old.  I wanted to share her excitement about the whole day and how when I picked her up from school she was nearly vibrating with the pure joy of being six. I wanted to talk about how she used about eight pounds of sprinkles to decorate her birthday cake and how she put such thought into picking out an ice cream flavor she thought everyone would like.  I wanted to talk about how she squealed with delight over every present she opened and how when I put her to bed she told me "I've been waiting my whole life to be six years old!"

All those things happened and they were wonderful but the day, on the whole, was not wonderful.  It was the kind of day, the kind of week really, that had me shaking my head and feeling totally at a loss.

For the past week we have been dealing with Joseph being unable to deal with the fact that it's Elle's birthday.  He's too jealous.  He's too rigid.  He can't deal with the fact that Elle gets something that he's not getting at the EXACT SAME TIME!  We've spent the days now gently reminding him that yes, Elle gets some special stuff but he had a big party on his birthday day and he got to pick out the flavor of ice cream that he wanted.  We've less gently reminded him that yes, Elle gets to open presents on her birthday but that on his birthday we all sat around and watched him open presents too.  We've exasperatedly gone over and over the fact that yes, one time we went to Disneyland for Elle's birthday but that we also went to New York for his.

None of it mattered.  There were tantrums and melt-downs and general terrible behaviors all day long.  As Elle stood in the frozen food section and picked her ice cream flavor Joseph pouted and made rude comments.  When she said she wanted mint ice cream Joseph screamed and gagged.  Elle looked worried and said "I'll pick something else."  I assured her that mint was a fine choice and that she could get that if she wanted.  Joseph screamed "Oh sure, give Elle whatever she wants!  Elle is the most special and I am just boring old Joseph!"  She didn't pick mint ice cream.

When a few people came over for cake and presents Joseph spent a good portion of time in the bathroom wailing because no one was paying attention to him.  Later Jesse had to take Joseph into the laundry room because he was having a melt down over Elle getting such good presents.  We turned on her new toy guitar to drown out the sound of him yelling.

I was so angry yesterday.  And I was just so sad.

From the time Elle has been baby she's always had to give so much.  She's spent hours and hours and hours of her life in waiting rooms while Joseph has had various therapies.  She's had to be pulled out of school early so that I can get both of them to Joseph's appointments across town on time.  She wants to say hi to Joseph when they pass each other in hallway at school but she's learned not to because it upsets him.  She's had countless conversations and playtimes with me cut short because I have to deal with something Joseph needs.

Elle, if you read this someday, I'm sorry.  I'm so sorry that you got less.  Less attention, less time, less understanding, less consideration.  You needed less and so you got less.  I always tried to make it even and to work it out but I know it wasn't fair and I'm sorry.

But also know this - on the day that you were six years and one day old, your mom went out and bought you a carton of mint ice cream for you to eat all on your own.

Two years ago today Elle was four.
Four years ago today the kids were getting older.


Stimey said...

Damn. You made me cry. You know that I know what you mean here. You know that I am sending you all of my love. You know that I completely understand all the complicated emotions that are unstated in this post. And *I* know that nothing I can say can make it better. But I want to tell you that you are such a good mom, to BOTH of those kids.

Happy birthday to Elle. Quinn wishes he could be there to share the mint ice cream because that's his favorite too. And his brothers also hate it.

I'm sending a lot of love to you today.

kate said...

God, that's so hard. I'm sorry. And I don't have a similar situation, but just with having two - a four year old and an infant - I can completely understand how you feel.

You seem like such a good mom.

Swistle said...

I was reading along thinking, "I'm going to get tears in my eyes, I can tell I am---but I'm not going to CRY-cry." But then I DID cry-cry. And then I read the title and got a fresh burst of cry.

This sounds so hard, and it sounds like you're handling it so well. I think it can help A MILLION to have the parents aware of how it is---to acknowledge it.

Barbara said...

She'll understand and you are an awesome mom. It's extremely apparent when she doesn't pick mint because she wants to pick something everyone will like. She's a very sweet caring girl.

I know it doesn't make it any easier.

LibraryGirl62 said...

You are an awesome mom. She is a wonderful child and she knows how loved she is and you know how loving she will be her entire life.

Anonymous said...

She's not getting less as much as she's getting enough.

MommyNamedApril said...

totally crying. you're a great mom and i'm sure she'll appreciate everything you've done for her.

Stacie said...

Aww. Hon, you got some tears from me. You are raising a daughter who has empathy, and that is something we see less and less of these days. Everything I've read from the parents' perspective about Autism/Aspergers has never addressed how the parent sees it affecting their other children, so I give you points for bringing up that insight, one so many people miss.

Mandie Mc said...

You made me cry, too. This is exactly (one of the things) what I've been terrified of. That my sweet, bright, happy baby will be pushed aside and get less, less, so much less because he needs less. Because his brother needs so MUCH. I hope they grow up ok in spite of that.

Mandie Mc said...

Oh! I also want to add, though, that what I try to tell myself again and again (but I'm not entirely sure I always believe) is this quote I read a year or two ago. "'Fair' doesn't mean everyone gets the same. It means everyone gets what they need." I really like that, a lot.