Last Friday my daughter and I attended the open house at our local public kindergarten. I think I should have felt nervous and a little sad that she will be attending this class in the fall. Instead I just felt guilty.
Anna loved it. She was so excited about the library, the play kitchen, the computers, the playground, the art area, and of course, the turtle that shared her name. She was so thrilled with the classroom and teacher that she insisted she didn’t want to wait four months. Anna wanted to start right away. And I wished class started the following Monday.
So I feel guilty.
Being the mom to more than one kid is hard work. It requires a delicate balance of time management if you want to make sure your kids are receiving equal amounts of attention. Throw in a child with special needs and time equality is thrown out the window. I am horrid at time management as my typical weekday goes something like this:
Kids wake me up
Morning is spent with therapists or doctors
Gia takes 1-1.5 hour nap while I try and return phone calls and catch up with stuff
Anna is home
Girls play and fight
Hubby and I scramble to find dinner (ok, it’s mostly hubby- I’d starve without him!)
Feed Gia and all of us
Bath for girls or play more
Struggle to get Anna to sleep while listening to screaming Gia who wants me to be with her instead of Daddy
Possibly feed Gia through feeding tube (we are working on stopping this night feed)
A year ago our schedule was even worse and Anna spent most of her time at home watching me feed Gia though her feeding tube, waiting patiently while we held her still afterward to avoid vomiting. Then after Gia was fed, Anna had to wait while I pumped breastmilk. Anna was dragged to doctors’ appointments and even worse she would watch as a parade of therapists with toys entered the house to pay attention to her little sister. So when she started pre-school four days a week for 3 hours, it was great. A few months ago she informed us she was ready to go to school longer and I was thrilled!
Of course I love spending time with Anna. She is the sweetest, most helpful and lovable 5-year-old I know. But I hated how I had turned into a human recording repeating over and over: “I’m sorry, I can’t do that right now. I need to feed Gia.”
School has been wonderful for her and it is her much needed escape from our Gia-focused family. I will miss her terribly while she is at kindergarten, but sad to say, I know she will receive more attention than I can give right now. It’s a step towards independence that I gladly welcome even if I feel a little guilty.