We got to the library and Cohen played with toys until it was time for the singing and story time. I kept thinking how wonderful it was going to be for him to get out and be around other kids, and for me to get to be around other moms. And then the story started. The other kids sat nicely with their parents listening and participating. Meanwhile, Cohen was determined to destroy the tape recorder sitting on the table behind the lady with the book. When that didn't work he spotted a flag in the corner and proceeded to point and yell "Oh!" every 5 seconds. Unsure of the etiquette for story time and not wanting to get any dirty looks, I took him to the back where there was a few toys out and let him play thinking maybe he would get his play time in and then be ready to sit for a few minutes.
I have to admit, I was disheartened by the whole thing. I so badly wanted to be able to sit and enjoy a "normal" thing with Cohen and it just wasn't happening. The other parents made it look so easy and here I was struggling to stop my toddler from squirming away, opening doors, throwing toys, yelling, and not paying any attention to the story. I know my perceptions were probably a little off, but Cohen was literally the only baby of various ages not either sitting on a parent's lap listening or sitting on the floor in the circle listening.
As parents, we can find a lot of things to blame ourselves for, and this was one I chose to feel guilty about. Had I not had Cohen around other kids enough? Do I not make him behave well enough? Have I done him a disservice by keeping him out of activities with other babies?
I know not all of those children are perfect and well behaved all of the time and I know that some of Cohen's issues are sensory related, but it was hard. Having Cohen out and around other kids seemed to point out that he was different. And I had a hard time with that. I want to be able to take him out places without him being overstimulated or unable to participate in activities I know he would like. I don't want him to be seen as naughty or misbehaving. I feel guilty for not necessarily knowing how to help him in situations like that, or even at home.
We finally just left out the back door and played on our own in the kids section of the library for awhile. I drowned my sorrows in french fries on the way home as he sat happily contained in his car seat. I know Cohen's residual preemie problems are minor compared to some. I am reminded of that often when I read other blogs or stories and I definitely don't take it for granted. But every parent wants their child to be the best they can and to be able to help them get there. That day, I just felt so lost and like I just didn't know how to be a parent.
And then later that evening, I was reminded of this video. I watched it again and cried the whole way through. Cohen has come so far. Things could have turned out so differently. I am thankful for the good days and the frustrating days because they mean he is here with us.