Well, we did it. Caelan and I finally went to a playgroup!
Not only any playgroup - a French one in Casselman!!
It's a series of five organized sessions that are running at the Early Years Centre being organized by one of Caelan's case workers. So, we'll be back the next four Thursdays before I return to work. (ugh!)
Caelan loved it! He was in awe of all the children running about, drawn towards the brightly coloured playmats, and simply didn't know where to go explore first! We started finger painting with the supposedly (as per the label) washable blue paint that wasn't - Caelan had "Avatar" hands for the rest of the day. We played with blocks, blew bubbles, read stories and enjoyed circle time. It was great!
We arrived late to this morning's session. Caelan chose this morning to sleep in after his hectic day yesterday. (We had two therapy sessions at OCTC and then went to do all our lab work for Nephrology - blood tests and urine samples. We were both exhausted when we got home over 6 hours later!!) Anyway, that's my excuse for not talking to many other Moms. We were late. Introductions had already been made. It's a weak excuse. Really weak, I know, but I'm just not that comfortable in a room of strangers. It's surprising given how much I can blab that I'm not better at chatting up new people. Quite honestly though, Caelan didn't really stay still long enough to allow for any conversation. At the same time, I realized that although I can understand everything spoken in French it takes my brain a lot longer to process my vocabulary and spit out whatever I want to say. I feel like I'm on pause while the wheels are turning with my eyes like a deer in headlights before I can figure out what I want to say.
The other big issue is probably part of what has kept me from playgroups for this long. I don't want to have to repeatedly explain Caelan's issues. (in French?!?!? hadn't even thought of that - omg!) Caelan's differences are there for everyone to see, therefore I expect people to ask. Sometimes that gets tiring. When kids notice or ask, I love it. I actually enjoy taking the opportunity to explain why and how, because in general, kids think it's pretty cool and are accepting. I don't like the sad eyes you get from adults, or the "poor thing"... Are you kidding me? Look at how happy this kid is! Don't go making sad eyes at him!!
What could I possibly have in common with any of these mothers? I realize I'm making assumptions. I know better than to believe that just because a child looks "normal" that there aren't underlying differences. There are many things that you can't see that can be just as difficult to deal with, if not more so. But frankly, if your child looks healthy and is running around as most two years old are, I can't help but be a little ... something. Bitter, resentful, jealous... I don't like any of those words and I don't like to think I am any of those things ... Wistful, contemplative, reflective? I can't help but think of all we've gone through.
I wouldn't change a thing. Caelan is who he is because of all he's been through and although I dream of the day that we can be rid of that trach, this journey has taught us so much.