Honestly, I imagine there are much more exhausting things in life, like terminal illnesses or trying to survive lost in the wilderness, but since parenting is the only "utterly exhausting" thing I've really experienced so far, I'll just go ahead and say "yup, I spend a lot of my time just trying to not fall down."
I mean, you do expect exhaustion with parenthood. When they're super little, there's that whole not sleeping for more than a few hours at a time. And then they get bigger, and more active, and heavier. Also, children generally do not believe in sleeping late--unless you consider sunrise late.
I've heard of the exhausting things yet to come, but since I haven't experienced them yet, I'm not going to comment on them.
What I can comment on, however, is what I did not expect to be exhausted by. I'm typing here, drained, because of "delays." Language delays, social delays, who knows what the fuck else delays. We had our first meeting at a developmental pediatrician's today (Tuesday)--a position I didn't know existed until a few months ago.
Because both the pediatrician and ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) said we should. Just because the kid is making progress apparently doesn't mean enough. He's obviously not making enough progress.
And of course I start to wonder if it's my fault. I've had a hard time this semester, trying to balance everything, so I feel like I haven't worked with my son enough. Yes, I incorporate what fits into our daily lives, but I long ago stopped taking specific times of the day to sit down with him and really work--like I did before the semester started. He made a LOT of progress from the time we started to the time school began . . . and then he seemed to start stagnating. Maybe stagnating isn't accurate; he's still progressing, but not at the rate I saw then. Of course, THEN I had more time, more energy to devote to him. THEN was before I had to tell them I couldn't deal with twice a week visits every other week. THEN was when I didn't have students with 24 hour e-mail access to me. THEN was before I was responsible for ensuring my students get the research and writing capabilities they'll need for the rest of their college careers--and the rest of their lives for the writing part.
This semester was pretty much a failure waiting to happen--no matter what I did, something was going to get the short end of the stick . . . and apparently it was my son.
Yes, I'm racked with guilt. And perhaps it is this guilt that led me to yet another professional's office, answering the same set of questions about his behavior, scheduling yet another play-time evaluation, and probably culminating in a lot of suggestions to do the same damn things that we're doing.
I honestly don't believe there's anything new this doctor will be able to tell us. It's very apparent to me that we KNOW what's going on with him. He has delays, TA DA! Lots of kids have delays and NOTHING ELSE! We also already know what to do and what to work on, we just (or at least I) haven't been able to work on those things like we should.
But there's that horrid little voice in my head that says, "what if?" What if there is something this doctor can offer us? Something new? Something better?
I sound like one of those parents with a horrifically ill child, desperately going from specialist to specialist. And that is still the kicker, I don't honestly think there's really anything wrong with him. I get that a delay isn't something "wrong," but it's sure as hell treated as something that needs to be fixed, to be remedied. Screw letting the kid do things in his own time, he needs to talk NOW.
And then I have these pictures in my head of him needing special classes or somehow else being singled out because these delays weren't addressed. I don't want to be the reason my child is made to feel different (and if you think kids that are in special classes aren't made to feel different in some manner, you're fooling yourself). My future parenting mistakes will have enough effect on him as is; I can't bear the thought of adding this.