Velma felt like a girl again, not that awful word that the children from town often called her — spinster. She had screwed up her courage and asked about being a library volunteer. To her relief the library head was grateful and delighted; they could keep her as busy as she’d like. It was the first brush of fall; a few brown leaves swirled in outdoor corners and the clouds had changed indescribably. But the nip in the air was fleeting and the leaves were not yet ablaze. As patronage at the library picked up, Velma bought herself a few new fall wardrobe pieces to cover the new butterflies in her stomach. The very next day she politely declined a ride in Vesta’s old Model A and marched with great purpose to the library with as much spring in her step as that first day of college.
Dear Velma’s new fall hat is available here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/81109723/womens-hat-golden-with-gold-pink-and
I am queen of the helicopter parents. But there are enough of us that we are becoming a social problem. Here’s my story.
Thing 1 was coming, they couldn’t stop him, it was only 24 weeks and 3 days. Someone asked: should we try to save him? Well, yes. Yes! Ten days later, a team of doctors closed the door behind us to explain brain bleeds, sepsis, meningitis. Shall we pull the plug? Well, no. No!
Babydaddy laid hands on him every day, massaged him when he was ready. For the three months he was in intensive care, and the three weeks at an intermediate hospital, I would get up in the night and pump breast milk, thinking about my baby across town. Babydaddy delivered it every morning, earning the name “milkman.” It was funny.
We had every therapy going for as long as possible: early intervention, the intermediate unit, private therapies. Terms multiplied: sensory processing dysfunction, sensory integration problems, orally defensive, auditory sensitivities, comprehensive developmental delay, cognitive function impairment, retinopathy of prematurity. He did occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, play therapy; we consulted with a neurologist, school psychologist, wraparound service provider, developmental specialist. He worked with an occupational therapist for a year and a half to tolerate teeth and hair brushing.
Not surprisingly, parenting didn’t feel natural. I learned to read to my baby watching Phyllis, our physical therapist. Voices, commentary, labeling colors, counting… she was very good! Merging professional research skills with my genetic propensity for silliness (mom was class clown, dad’s distantly related to Lucille Ball), my mothering style came together. Eventually. But I still channel Phyllis on occasion.
Thing 2 was full term. They are complete opposites; she is a sensory seeker with a wild sense of adventure and an inventive sense of fashion. Keeping them both busy and happy is an exasperating and sweet challenge. I still believe that every day can be fun and educational while reinforcing kids' boundaries. I’m on a mission to save us helicopter parents from ourselves. No more bubble wrapped kids and guilty parents. Let’s teach them coping skills. Let’s get fun.
Very sweet – I’m glad our Velma’s picking herself up 🙂
Oh Rotem, you are a dear! Yes, I’ve grown attached to Velma, I really have! Thank you for your constant support, hon!