I posted on facebook earlier today how awesome it is to have respite workers for my boys. Today was our first day with a male respite worker for Matthew, so for right now we have a respite worker for Matthew on Saturday afternoon, a respite worker for David for a little while in the morning on Saturday and a respite worker for Matthew in the afternoon on Sunday.
Trust me, I completely and totally appreciate how amazing this is! We have waited years since the boys were approved for respite for them to both have a worker. Even just for a brief time this weekend, when I had time with David alone, I understood that this much time with respite will allow me some 1:1 time or 1:2 time with the boys, and that is a HUGE gift.
That said, a respite worker means opening your house to often a young person. Frequently an idealistic young person who wants to help a person with special needs. Of course, it is a blessing to have this person because it gives me some time and the child some time away. However, it often leads to me feeling judged and taking life a little too personally. I know that is likely not the intention- there is a huge part of me who knows that- however, it still often feels like I am being judged.
When David's respite worker got home with him today she used the rest room. We had a flood in the bathroom last night and I used all of the towels to soak up the crazy amount of water that was all over the floor- sure, many people would clean the floor, wash the towels, hang new towels. I cleaned the floor, washed the towels and tucked the boys in. I had HUGE intention of hanging new towels, I just forgot. I then did not use the downstairs bathroom today. So, when said respite worker was in the bathroom, it occurred to me that she might not have a towel so I asked Matthew to go get one. Of course, he was not immediately compliant. So I asked him again. At this point she was out of the bathroom and her hands appeared dry, so I assumed all was good and I just worked to get Matthew to follow through. After I asked him again, she piped in that he needed to get the towel because we HAD to have a towel down there.
Ok, what happens if there is no towel? You get wet hands. You dry them on a paper towel. Crisis averted. Now all that has gone through my head is my level of crazy incompetence. I am sorry I didn't rehang the towel. I am sorry I didn't run my ass upstairs to get you a towel, I thought my 12 year old could do it for us both. But did you HAVE to imply that the lack of a towel was some huge housekeeping failure on my part?
I am not one to toot my own horn, if anything I always feel like I am not doing it well enough. That said, I am pretty proud of how much I accomplish raising all 3 of my boys alone. There are babysitters who help, friends who help, and I have my parents who help, but for most of the time it is me and the boys 24/7. If I am not caring for the boys, I am paying someone to care for them in my absence. As a single mom, working in the child care industry, you can imagine for the most part I am caring for them!
I had a garage sale this weekend with all 3 in tow. I went to the grocery store with all 3 in tow. I went to the car dealership with 2 of them. Matthew, David and I shopped at Target. I clean the house, make dinner, do the bedtime routine, all on my own each day.
At times this means I yell because I am tired. At times this means I don't have the patience I wish I had. But for the most part I think I am doing it all ok, or at least as well as most would be able to accomplish. Our good times are great, and our challenging times are challenging, but I hope at the end of it all I can look back and say I was a good mom, and the boys will tell people that their mom was a good mom.
I will work hard to always rehang the towel. I will do my best to say everything with a smile and a song in my voice. However, I also am not Mary Poppins, and I don't have a Mary Poppins who lives in my home!
- I am a single mom of three amazing boys! All three of my sons entered my family through adoption. All three of my boys have developmental disabilities. My oldest son, Matthew has been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Bipolar Disorder. David, my middle son, has a genetic condition, he has a duplication on his 15th chromosome which leads to autism like symptoms, seizures and learning challenges. My youngest son, Jacob has learning disabilities. Each of my children bring unique challengs to our family and also bring their own personality and joys to our everyday life!
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
As we got to the pool tonight, there were so many strikes against us.....
- I had told the boys to each grab their towel and David forgot his and I didn't notice
- As we walked in we didnt see any familiar faces, usually this makes it tough for Jacob to want to go in the water
- David had not only forgotten his towel, he forgot his snack as well, and it was over 99 degrees outside, he needed to get wet, but was definitely in a bad mood, and unlikely to want to go in the water
And then, as I get in the pool, Jacob is asking me to cheer up David and low and behold, there is David's summer school teacher- the nicest, most upbeat male teacher, Mr K....he smiles at David who quickly wipes away his tears.....things are looking up. Mr K engages David in some chatting, and David smiles at him and nods his head to answer his questions. With time, David begins to whisper his answers. Mr K swims around with his daughter and every so often chats with David about the tortoise in their classroom and what they had worked on during the day.
As time went on, Jacob, David and I swam into the deeper part of the shallow pool....David is laughing, giggling, we are splashing. David is loving it! I kick my feet and David belly laughs. He asks me to do it again. He asks me to splash as hard as I can. I am splashing and splashing and he is getting soaked. He floats for a while on my back, pushes me underwater, all the while laughing and giggling. Jacob got hungry and begins to ask for a snack break. Typically David is only too happy to get out of the water....he looks for any excuse to get out and sunbathe. David does not want to get out. He is jumping David style, so it is more of a slide into the pool than a full on jump, but he is going in and out of the water and LOVING IT!
We are in the pool together for over an hour.....I am being splashed, soaked, exhausted from the nonstop water in my face....but I can't stop....David is happy in the pool. David is giggling and laughing and I could stay like this in this moment with him forever. Jacob rejoins us and they both are on my back and we are laughing the 3 of us. Jacob realizes how special this moment is! He too understands that today is special and will be treasured by us forever.
I know that the warm weather likely is what got David into the pool., I notice that the longer he is in the water his body begins to get looser, he never floats, his body is always much tighter than yours or mine, but he allows me to play with him. He plays back and laughs and giggles, and we are 1 step closer to him one day swimming.
I believe, and always have, that children should be taught 2 things...they should learn to ride a bike and to swim. For David these 2 things are still elusive, but if the desire is there, we will make progress. David missed the water play time when he was a baby and a toddler, he hated the water. I figure he is at about the level of a 3 year old right now in the pool. I have faith after today that in the right temperature water he will get there. We will master swimming for the sake of physical safety in a body water if not for the Olympics, and I know we will master bike riding as well!