A steaming cup of tea, a good book and a sunny window are the best of pleasures. Vesta cradled her cup and settled into the overstuffed chair in the shared den of the rooming house. She loved George Eliot and sat to reread Daniel Deronda. Again.
She’d gotten her gorgeous teal hard-covered art deco copy on a return visit to Paris. Jean had slipped away from his busy life to spend a couple of languid afternoons with Vesta. Her mind revisited those days while Daniel Deronda waited. She skipped ahead some decades to her recent racy letter from Jean; he had asked for a photograph. Was he getting sentimental? A week had passed and she had not written. She formed an imagined reply, then another and another. Hmmph. Perhaps a photograph was in order, and he could make of it what he would, without any accompanying letter at all.
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.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized
and tagged beautiful book
, daniel deronda
, George Eliot
, overstuffed chair
, rooming house
, sunny window
, vintage book
, women's history
. Bookmark the permalink