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The summer so far

The summer so far

 Janey started summer school today.  I’d like to tell you how it went, but I really have no idea.  She went off on the bus happily, and came home in a fairly good mood, but the time in-between is one of those black holes we as parents of kids like Janey face.  There was no note in her backpack.  I don’t know who her teacher is.  I know where the school is (it’s not her regular school, as all high school students with special needs go to summer school in one place) but that’s about all.  If I don’t find out more tomorrow, we will make some calls, but it’s a tribute to my general faith in the Boston Public Schools that we are sending her at all, I think.  Of course, we asked Janey about her day, but that has not once in her 13 years going to school yielded any information.

The summer up to this point?  Average, I’d say—not that each day was an average day, but it hasn’t been an especially good or bad summer.  We’ve had some very hot days and some weirdly cool days—the 4th of July featured the same high temperature as last Christmas did—and we’ve had a good deal of rain.  We’ve taken Janey for a lot of car rides, but as so often happens in the summer, I don’t feel like we’ve done enough else.  We’ve played in the driveway a good deal, which mostly means Janey runs around holding her iPhone and listening to YouTube videos.  She has watched “Toy Store 4” probably 100 times.  She’s eaten lots and lots of food, luckily, mostly very healthy food, which is why she is able to eat from dawn until dusk and beyond without severe weight gain.

Sleep has been a problem.  As Janey gets older, it’s one area that is more of a problem than it used to be.  Just tonight, she’s been awake, asleep, awake, asleep and now awake, all since 7 pm, and it’s 11:30 now.  There have been lots of nights without any sleep at all, on a couple occasions, two nights in a row.  To us, it seems impossible.  I truly just don’t know how she can do it, without napping during the days.  Other times, less commonly, she’ll sleep most of the day and most of the night.  Her sleep just doesn’t seem to have the pattern that most everyone else’s sleep has.  And that would be fine, except we really can’t sleep when she isn’t sleeping.  We can catnap, but she wakes us up often and we never sleep deeply, as we really need to keep an eye on her.  We are thankful she’s isn’t in any way an eloper.  Our house has a front and a back hall with doors, so kind of an airlock, but I’d say in all her years she’s only ever gone into the halls even without us once or twice.  So we don’t worry about her escaping, but more about her dumping food around or having toileting issues or tossing bowls onto the ground for fun (a recent new hobby)

Janey did have a filling done under general anesthesia last week, which went very well.  She was happy and cheerful even going to the dentist, which to me spoke to how bored I worry she is at home.  I feel guilty over this boredom, but it is so very hard to get her interested in anything new.  I think I’d go out of my mind watching the same movie over and over, or taking car rides to nowhere for hours, or listening to the same music over and over while running up and down a driveway.  But when I try very hard to introduce a new move, or when we try to take her for walks around the neighborhood, or to play some new driveway game, or just to shake things up a bit, she is not at all interested.  Maybe it’s us, because she certainly seemed to enjoy going to the dentist and to school.  But still, I feel a huge amount of guilt over her limited range of entertainment.  I know I’ve written about this before, but it’s on my mind so much.

Janey will be 17 next month.  That shakes me up.  When I was 17, I left for college.  17 was the start of my adult life.  For Janey, 17 will probably be much like 16, or 15, or 5.  Does that matter to her?  Is there any way I can find out?  Is Janey happy with her life?  Does she think about what her life is, what she wishes it was, what it can or can’t be?  Is it enough that most of the time now, Janey is fairly content, or is there more that we should do?  Does she long for more?  There are so many things I don’t know about Janey, although our lives are intertwined so closely.  How I wish I could ask her so many things—starting with the little things, like how school was today, and leading to the big things.  Until I can, if I ever can, I feel a huge weight of obligation to make the right decisions, to provide the right enrichment, to protect her when needed, give her freedom in the little ways I can, to make her life meaningful.  I hope I can do even in a small part what she deserves.

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