Today 4 yo went to her preschool/playgroup. This is second time she went, and the vibe is very different without her. She loves it there: they have a chores chart, and they picked apples off a neighbor's tree and made a coloring book and learned aleph and she is just very happy. I find all these things nice, but not essential, but for her, they are pure joy.
I was able to get a lot of work done with the boys while she was gone, and 1 yo napped. In fact, we finished everything, including correcting work, by 1:30, which left me in a funny limbo: I cannot take the boys anywhere because 1 yo needs to nap at 2, and 4 yo needs to be picked up at 3. So I spent my time windfall reading parsha, putting away small clothes sizes, browsing through reviews on "The Explosive Child" and finding the supplies to order for the geology class.
Yesterday I took 8 yo to yet another psychologist/counselor. There he admitted to being a perfectionist. The recommendation was to put him on anti-anxiety medication and see if that helps. I should research whether anti-anxiety medication has any side-effects, or long-range effects, but after battling him yesterday, I am reaching the point where I do not really want to know. I want a magic pill, and I want it to work. I want the edge to be taken off.
I am driving past the school where 8 yo is not going every day, and I have a whole new set of emotions rise up. I used to mainly pity the kids stuck inside, and felt that it was a back-up resource for us, if need be. Now I experience more negativity: we went to your dinners, we supported you with tax dollars, and when we needed you, you did not even give us the time of day. (By the way, the social worker yesterday told me flat out that a school cannot tell parents to medicate their child). I do not want to be spiteful, and yet, I find myself drowning in resentment.
I wish there was a respite program for parents like us, a place where kids can go and be surrounded by other adults who do not see badly-behaved and ill-controlled brats, but human beings with different needs. I wish that I could take a break from the reactivity, from battling. I wish not to be treading the minefield.
Here we stand: I have not yet hired an assistant. I am vacillating between getting someone just for the morning academics the four mornings a week that we are home, full-day person so that taekwondo and all afternoon driving is covered, or possibly considering a live-in (I heard that by the time you hit full-time help, it might be cheaper and more efficient). Having a live-in means giving up our basement: guest space, playroom space, Pesach kitchen. The advantages of having someone constantly available, to help in all crazy scenarios that keep cropping up and all childcare that I need (I was scrambling yesterday to find someone to watch the kids while I took 8 yo to the psychologist) sound very tempting. My internal frugal alarm clock is ringing like crazy: you will end up squandering money, you are not good at bossing people around, you do not need someone for so many hours. So I am back to thinking and considering our needs.