I would like to tell you that being a mom to kids with “special needs” is no big deal, not different at all than having five typical children... but then I would be lying. Not just lying to make a point (like a good politician might do) but outright plain old lying, which is what I do to myself on this particular subject most of the time.
It is different, and lots of the time it is a big deal. Take this morning for example... it was just about 7 a.m. with the bus scheduled to arrive at 7:20. Masha was eating breakfast and letting me braid her hair. Autumn was sitting next to us enjoying her sliced banana. Suddenly I smelled a terrible fart that had made a silent entrance. I knew Masha was the culprit. I asked her if she had to go poop, and she adamantly insisted, “No, babygirl toot.”
99% of the time, Masha goes on the potty. She is very good about Number Two and has only had a couple “can’t get her pants off fast enough” poopcidents, so I let it go... because if I force her to sit on the potty when she really doesn’t have to go, it is just a 10 minute crying ordeal that would likely lead to missing the bus.
At 7:16, I piled three kids into the front seat of the van and drove them down the driveway to wait for the bus. I did the face inspections, wiping away crumbs or toothpaste... and there it was again... a real silent stinker. Now we all know that there are different kinds of gas... and this kind is usually a harbinger of belly ache poo. I firmly ask, “Masha, do you have to poop?” She gets very upset, stiffening up for a fight, “No, nooooo.” Then she proceeds to blame it on her brother.
A regular mom, a typical mom, an ordinary mom would just explain to her five year old that she can go poop and then mommy can drive her to school... and then her child would admit the urge or put mommy’s mind at ease with a convincing, “I really don’t have to go.” But no so in my case. Now the stakes are higher... the bus is down at the dead end turning around... seconds away from taking them for the day, and I have to decide what to do. Do I hold her back, literally kicking and screaming, force her onto the potty and wait out her tears until she gives in and poops (if in fact she really has to)? Or do I send her to school and risk an accident there?
My stomach is churning as I give over her backpack and let her run up the bus steps. If this were Jade last year I would have been like, “Oh well, I hope it doesn’t happen but if it does, c’est la vie in Kindergarten.” But this is MASHA, and if MASHA craps her pants in class that will be a whole different story... that will be a reason to say “she is not ready for Gen Ed.” That would be a reason to say she FAILED the probationary period and has to go to the special classroom where they think pooping in your pants is par for the course.
And so as a “special needs mom”, I get to spend the day worrying about her... Wondering if she really did have to go, and if she will be able to tell them and get her pants off quick enough in a new bathroom. Yeah, for me—the SNM, a simple fart changes everything.
After school update: Masha came home in the same clothes she left in and with no note in her backpack, so I am assuming she had no potty issues today :-)
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