I often am met with comments implying that it must be difficult to raise this many children, especially those with special needs. And you know what? Sometimes it is hard. But you know what else? Sometimes raising just one, two, or three children had its hard moments as well. It is a part of parenting that really doesn't have anything to do with numbers of children. For the most part, raising this many children isn't really any different than when I was raising one, two, or three. In some ways it's easier. There are more playmates, I have a much better sense of what I'm doing (except when I don't), and I have a much broader view of parenting, in general. Plus, there are more hugs and kisses and laughter. If all I had to do was hang out with these great little people, and do the occasional load of laundry, life would be pretty rosy, indeed.
But I will tell you what is hard. Dealing with the other people and agencies and organizations who help me to keep my children healthy. Now, before I begin, I know full well that we here in the US, have it pretty good, especially those of us living in a large metropolitan area. We have access to a great many doctors and services that much of the world doesn't. We have insurance that pays for a great portion of medical treatment. We don't have to make horrific decisions about whether we raise our children or abandon them somewhere in the hopes that someone else will provide treatment for them. I know what I'm going to kvetch about is a problem only for the blessed few.
As much as I know we are extremely blessed, the frustrations of the system do take a significant portion of my time. Time, I might add, that truly would be better spent interacting with my children instead of shooing them away because I am on yet another interminable phone call trying to get various agencies to communicate together.
My current frustration? Getting R.'s new seizure medicine prescriptions filled. Currently I am annoyed at everyone at the rodeo... pharmacy, insurance, and doctor's office. After days of hearing that the prescription will be filled later, we get the call that it's ready. J. goes and picks it up. He comes home with the emergency medicine for seizures that won't stop, but that's all. When I ask where the others are, he says that's all there was. It's the weekend, of course, so I need to wait until today to call. Here's what I discover: The pharmacy cannot fill the prescription because the insurance won't authorize it. The insurance won't authorize it (it's not on their list and they seem to know better than the doctor what my child needs) because they haven't heard from the doctor. The doctor's office says they have authorized it and it must be something wrong at the pharmacy.
Here we go 'round the mulberry bush.
And we are due to leave in less than 48 hours. I would really like to leave with seizure medicine in hand. Call me crazy, but I seem to think a vacation without seizures sounds more fun than one with. So, now, instead of the laundry and packing that I need to do, I have spent far more time than I have chasing down how to get this medicine. I'm sure it will get resolved, I'm just not sure how much more of my time it will take to get it resolved. If any one of you ever harbored the illusion that I am a patient person, hearing me forty-fine minutes into one of these fun pass the buck games would take care of that.
This is just example A of the innumerable rounds I play of this over the course of a week. This is what is hard about parenting. It's not the parenting.