I'm just a ball of mixed emotions these days. Every so often someone will approach me in a store and tell me to savor these times, that their children are grown and gone and he or she would do anything to get them back just for a single day. I try to take that to heart. but then... I'd say I'm at the end of my rope, but I'm sure you all understand what it's like to LIVE at the end of your rope. My boys have always been very different. Bug is hypotonic, Brownie is hypertonic; Bug is sensory seeking, Brownie is sensory avoiding, etc. All of this has just made homeschooling HELL. Brownie wants to be around other kids, but refuses to participate in anything where he'll have to take direction from an adult--he wants nonstop playdates. Bug, on the other hand, loves to take classes but is too high-maintenance for what the homeschool community--or even your average afterschool class--requires, he needs too much 1:1 time, is always talking, dominating the conversation, etc...there's also just a general misunderstanding of special needs. We were attempting one class and during a phone conversation the instructor flat-out told me that it was time for us to change our parenting style. I gave her a copy of The Explosive Child from the library--which she still hasn't returned. Bug has a really hard time on playdates, it takes him a long time to settle, he wanders, asks for thing after thing, tries to rummage through cabinets/the refrigerator...we had one standing playdate on Thursdays until Bug peed on their front path during one visit and cursed during another. The mom made one excuse after another--and when I heard from one of the other moms that the playdate was still happening, I knew we had been purposely excluded. This is just the most recent incident. I'm sad and angry about it all. I just want my lovely boys to have what they need & want. We do have difficult child friends, but most of them go to school so we only see them on weekends/school breaks. We soldier on. Today we go to an indoor playground run by the city, mainly for preschoolers and toddlers, but my kids are on the small side so I figure we'll be OK. We walk in. Dennis sees a couple of older boys and he's off and running. Bug runs to various people screaming that he's too old for this place, he's six and this place is for BABIES. Meanwhile, Bug is about the size of a four-year-old. I finally get him distracted and having fun. I have to shadow him because the other kids are so small, and because I'm trying to fly under the radar here--we have so few options left and I don't want to get kicked out and then our only social outlet will be the McDonald's Playplace. There are a couple of incidents--like Bug collapsing on the floor wailing because a two-year-old shrugged at him and Bug took that as an insult, or Bug and Brownie getting into a fight over a bag of chips, and Brownie running across the gym screaming, trailing chips behind him. But all in all, it was a success. After, they wanted to get lunch at the luncheonette across the street. We needed to use the ATM at the store next door, so we went over there. Bug fired off nonstop demands for various things, usually candy--grab NO grab NO grab NO--and then left the store with a bag of M&Ms, which we quickly returned. Then Brownie kicked my bag when I told him he couldn't have a gumball after lunch--we were going to get some Chiclets--so I say, no way, forget it, no kicking, you know the rules, and of course HE FLIPS OUT, true hysterics, tears, shuddering, hyperventilation, etc...I prompt him, "what's something you could say to make it better?" "I HATE YOU!" I try so very hard to not give my energy to their storms, to keep calm, to be the strong and sturdy oak--but dammit, you know, could we just cross the street WITHOUT a meltdown? Is that too much to ask? I know they're children, I know they have disabilities, I know it's not their fault, but all that doesn't stop me from feeling like I have the most thankless job on the planet. I feel like I have giant toddlers.