…I’m humbled by your ability to juggle…
…you’re obviously skilled at finding balance in your life…
…am in awe of your ability to handle so much at once…
These were comments on a recent post. You know- the one with Hillary Clinton. Yes, I’ll keep name-dropping, because it is now years since Hugh Grant smiled at me, and I need to bump up the star quality of this blog.
The last couple of weeks have indeed been just like a circus. But I can’t juggle. When I try to walk the tightrope, it becomes clear there is no balance. You might think otherwise, because you don’t know what happened last week. So I’ll tell you…
Last Saturday, there were two very important meetings that both Spectrummy Daddy and I had to attend. There was nobody to take care of the kids, so I took them into work with me. I’ve done this before, and the kds are usually happy there. I have a TV and DVD player in my office for some reason, so that and playing with office supplies is generally enough to keep them occupied.
We bought some ready meals from the supermarket that we could heat at work for lunch. The kids food was allergy-safe. but mine contained cashew nuts. And because I had so many balls in the air, and my eyes were on those, I didn’t see until too late that Pudding had reached across to my food, scooped a tiny bit of sauce and stuck the finger in her mouth.
It was the first time she’d ever actually consumed cashew nuts. Her allergy readings are from RAST tests. Her face started to go red, and Spectrummy Daddy ran to get the epi-pen. By the time he got back her eyes were swelling closed, and she’d got hives all over her face.
Her breathing was still normal though, and her lips and tongue didn’t seem swollen. I held off on using the epi-pen, but her reaction was fast and serious, so I grabbed her and drove straight to the hospital.
It would be an entirely different post to write about how awful the hospital experience was for an already overloaded child who hadn’t been prepared to go there. I was terrified, and I lost my mind. When asked who her doctor was, I gave them the name of the pediatrician she had in Luxembourg when she was first born. The one who told me that she “loves herself like a kitten” when I tried to question some of Pudding’s puzzling behavior.
The nurse asked if she had any other conditions. I knew they were unlikely to have heard of Asperger’s, so I went straight to Autism. And no, she hadn’t heard of that either. Or ADHD. At this point the doctor from the Consulate called and asked if I needed him to come. Yes, I did.
They quickly administered an anti-histamine injection and oral steroids. Her vitals were all normal, she never developed anaphylaxis…this time. She responded immediately to the medication, and I took a photo to reassure Spectrummy Daddy, only I was shaking so hard I couldn’t manage to actually send it to him.
In fact, 30 minutes later, we were free to go. I was still shaking, but relieved. As we drove back I remembered that I’d missed the meeting, and I’d left Cubby with Spectrummy Daddy.
It wasn’t so much that I felt the balls dropping, as I looked down and realized they were already on the floor.
I’ve had a whole week now, before writing this. Time for things to return to our version of normal. Time to let the guilt ease away, and learn the lessons I need to instead. Like always keeping her environment allergy-free. Like if the circus comes to town again, I’d better fly in some carnies to help out. And by carnies, I mean grandparents (in the nicest possible way)!
Perhaps some mothers can manage this juggling thing better than I can. But in that hospital last week, I knew I was holding on to the most important thing, and I wasn’t going to let her go. Let the other balls fall as they will.