At some point, Gypsy must have realized that he could not do anything about my keeping the children. Had he called the police, they would have told him to go back to court to sort it out. Of course, the courthouse had been telling him for about 2 years at this point to re-submit a lot of paperwork. Had I known at the time, I likely would have filed a Motion for Default and gotten custody of my children since he refused to act in the case and had been lawfully served with papers – but nobody told me and it never occurred to me to ask. Everyone kept telling me that they could not progress the case until Gypsy did his part, which was a huge lie that cost me later.
I had my son registered in the school nearest to my aunt’s house, and my girls stayed home with me. My son attended school with my aunt’s stepdaughter, who thoroughly enjoyed having someone around with whom to play. But I did not realize at the time just how much work I had placed upon myself until I went to get my son (then aged 4, pre-K) onto the school bus.
My son had ridden public transportation with me before, so I didn’t think much on it when he went to get on the bus. But then it hit me: He’s never traveled without someone in his family before, and I couldn’t ride the bus with him.
The moment my son realized this, he started WAILING and tried to get back off the bus, telling me “I-DON’T-WANT-TO GO TO-S-S-S-SCHOOL!!!” with tears welling up in his eyes. I had to tell him, “They’ll bring you right back home when school is over, this is a bus for big boys and girls who go to school! Mommies can’t get on this bus with you unless you’re on a special trip.”
I asked the bus driver if there was a seat with a seat belt, to which he replied, “Yes” and pointed to a seat in the front by the door. I walked onto the bus with my son, sat him in the seat, buckled him up, told him I loved him, kissed him on the forehead – and walked off the bus. I informed the driver on my way off that my son was autistic and was not used to change, and that it would stop once he realized that it was safe and would happen every day. Everything later occurred exactly as I said it would
The next issue I had was that my son – and my then 3 year old daughter – were still not potty trained, nor did they know how to drink from a straw or a real cup. They had never been given solid foods, either. I had to send my son to school with pull ups and a change of clothes in his backpack, and my older daughter was still in DIAPERS of all things. She had never even been introduced to a toilet.
Curt worked at Dick’s Last Resort in Panama City Beach (Sooooo befitting), and usually slept til early afternoon. So, every day, I would get up at 0530, get my cousin and son on the bus, feed the girls, clean the house, and do college work on the computer (trying college again)
At two o’clock I would go to get the kids off the bus and make lunch. – but in between all of this was a series of random girl care.
- Feed the toddler some cereal and milk. Take to bathroom immediately.
- Feed the infant a bottle. Change diaper 5 minutes later
- Toddler wet herself. Place toddler on toilet. Give quick shower. Toddler poops in bathtub. Remove toddler. Wash tub. Put toddler back in tub. Step in pee outside of the tub. Step into the tub, wash feet. Step out, avoiding puddle. Wash toddler. Put toddler in pull up (NO DIAPERS). Carry toddler to play area, avoiding puddle.
- Baby is crying. Pick up baby. Change diaper – EXPLOSION INSIDE THE CLOTHES. Bring baby to shower, forgetting about the puddle. Step in puddle. Swear. Wipe down foot with baby wipe. Grab the baby monitor from the bedroom, move to play area, clip receiver on hip, baby still in arms. Bring baby back to bathroom, set on baby bath, turn on warm water. Begin to wash baby. Monitor screams, “MAH-MEEEEEEEEEEE!”. Rush baby out of shower, wrap in towel. Run in to check on toddler, wet baby in arms. Toddler is okay. Go back to bedroom to dress infant.
- Infant has pooped in the towel. back to the bath. Wash baby again. Return to bedroom quickly, diaper and dress the baby, place in crib. Clean puddle FINALLY.
- Monitor sounds are…odd. Check on toddler.
- Toddler has pooped in her pull up. Return to bathroom. Clean toddler. Put toddler in panties *trying to make it uncomfortable for toddler to mess herself*
- Feed toddler lunch.
- Return to baby in bedroom. She’s rooting. Breastfeed baby til she falls asleep. Place back in crib.
- Send toddler to bathroom to use toilet. SUCCESS!
- Make toddler a warm sippy of milk. NO BOTTLES. Toddler falls asleep on bed. Do homework until aunt comes home.
Two o’clock, get kids off bus. Check folders, help with homework, put son on toilet (facing the wall/backwards) SUCCESS! Son says “Bye, pee-pee!” as he flushes. Wash hands. Time to wake up my daughter. Aunt goes in.
Aunt comes back. Toddler has wet my bed. DAMN IT! Round 1,324,165,743,213,574,965,432,132,410 tomorrow, I guess…