The second group of appointments for Philip’s autism screening takes place tomorrow. A week ago at this time, I was writing about the worries gnawing at my stomach. Earlier that evening, my parents had stopped by to drop off parking passes, coupons and some mail. This evening, just my mom stopped by bearing leftovers and a heart-shaped cookie for Philip. And a treat for Roscoe. It’s deja vu all over again.
While she was here, my mom remarked how tomorrow is Groundhog Day. I had completely forgotten. It’s not like I observe any special traditions or even pay attention to whether the groundhog sees its shadow or not. I can never keep straight what the shadow or lack thereof portends.
But finding out tomorrow is Groundhog Day reminds me of the movie by that name. In the film, Bill Murray’s character keeps awaking on Groundhog Day. He relives the day until he gets it right.
I’m feeling like tomorrow is a bit of a do-over for us. Before she departed this evening, my mom asked if I was feeling a little less anxious. Once she asked, I realized that my stomach hasn’t constantly ached. The anxiety is certainly less intense this week. But I have had a few queasy moments thinking ahead to tomorrow.
First of all, even though we have been to the facility once already, the drive there and back was stressful. The written directions provided by the center omitted a step. We ended up driving many miles out of our way in an area neither of us were familiar with, during rush hour on roads pelted by freezing rain. We arrived almost an hour late. Then, when we left the center, we struck out in a completely different direction and ended up spending almost forty-five minutes looking for access to the interstate. It was not pleasant.
Today, I printed out a different set of directions. I made sure that Peter looked at them so he wouldn’t be caught off guard like last week. I feel these directions will be more reliable, but we will still be driving the route for the first time. Also, the pediatrician wrote orders for some blood work, so we may have to find our way from the center to the main campus for the lab work. And I distinctly remember the last time Philip had blood drawn. He has a hard enough time with regular doctor’s offices. I know that it will be difficult to restrain him to have blood taken. So all of these thoughts are on my mind the night before Groundhog Day.
To ease my anxieties, I’ve prepared as much as I could this evening, just as I did last week. I’ve packed Philip’s bag with diapers, wipes, snacks, toys and a change of clothes. I’ve laid out his clothes and mine. I have milk and juice waiting in the refrigerator to grab on the way out the door in the morning.
Last week at this time, I worried about how Philip would be during the car ride. It turned out that was not an issue. The only time he cried was when there was some yelling about where in the world we were. Otherwise, Philip was content to look at the windows and took a nap on the drive home. But that was last week. It is hard to predict how Philip will behave on Groundhog Day. If he gets fussy, I’ll just have to try to distract him with the toys I’ve packed or see if a snack will satisfy him.
Last week, when I was writing on the night before the appointments, I was worried about sleep. First, I worried about what time Philip would fall asleep and then whether he would stay asleep. It turned out that he went to bed at his “usual” time and stayed there until I woke him in the morning. I even managed to fall asleep not long after putting Philip to bed. Peter had gone to bed before the both of us. And that turned out to be a good thing. He woke up after 1:00 am and never fell back asleep. I tossed and turned after he got out of bed, worried about Peter, Philip and the appointments.
Tonight, on the night before Groundhog Day, I’m pretty sure that I could fall asleep with no problem. The reason is that Philip, after having some difficulty settling down to sleep last night, awoke just before 3 am. And then he stayed awake until around 5:30 am. That meant I was awake, too.
So, as I sit here the night before Philip’s speech evaluation and play-based assessment, I’m worried about whether Philip will have trouble settling down to sleep. I’m worried about whether Peter will be able to stay asleep. About the only thing I’m not worried about is the weather.
Kind of ironic, since that’s what Groundhog Day is all about.
I’m linking this post from the archives to the yeah write #146 weekend moonshine grid. Last weekend I shared the post from two years earlier that I wrote before our first trip to the autism center. I thought it was fitting to share more of the story.