Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Herding Cats

Another blogging mom mentioned a while back that getting her three kids ready to get out the house was like herding cats. I feel like that every time we have to get Matt to a therapy session. Unlike visiting friends where it is acceptable to be 10 minutes late, one really can't afford to be late for a therapy session. So this adds pressure to the preparation process . I often chuckle at the chaos that needs to be brought under control in order to get both boys out the door and into the car. Herding cats is a brilliant metaphor.

Today was no different. Matt's session was due to start at 1pm. We had to leave at 12.45 to make it in time.

11.50 Matt is dressed ready to go and Nic is woken from his nap so that both boys can have enough time to eat lunch.

12.00 Nic's nappy is changed and dressed ready to go.

12.05 Both boys are eating lunch. Mom smiles contently - all is going according to plan. We can have a leisurely lunch as all we need to do after lunch is wipe faces, and a quick toilet visit for Matt, and then out the door. The travel bag is already packed with extra change of clothes for both boys, nappies, wipes, snacks and entertainment for Nic.

12.25 Lunch finished. Mom very chuffed - we are on target.

12.26 Nic's sippy cup is not screwed on properly so most of his juice pours out whilst he drinks. Change of clothes required.

12.28 Mom races with Nic upstairs to put on new clothes. This job should never be undertaken by one person alone as Nic despises dressing and is an excellent escape artist. But what can you do when you are alone - so Mom get focussed on maximum entertainment to distract him whilst changing his clothes. A mildly successful tactic, which means we take 8 minutes instead of 10 minutes to complete the task.

12.30 Whilst Mom and Nic are upstairs Matt decides to undress too and starts playing drums with his drumsticks on the laundry bucket.

12.36 Mom returns downstairs to find she now needs to dress Matt again, only Matt wants to play the drums.

12.37 Mom tries to dress Matt, Matt continues to play drums. Nic also wants to play drums.

12.39 Matt almost plays drums on Nic's head, Mom grabs Matt's arm to prevent damage to Nic's skull. Matt angry with Mom's restraint and tries to bite mom.

12.40 Mom yanks arm away in self defence whilst yelling at Matt, losing a bit of control. Matt starts crying.

12.41 Mom tries to calm Matt and finish dressing him whilst keeping Nic at arm's length. All the while explaining that hitting Nic and biting Mom is not acceptable behaviour.

12.43 Matt is dressed.

12.44 Mom helps Matt go to the toilet. Mom is a little concerned that Nic is being so quiet.

12.45 Toilet business finished. Mom sees Nic playing nicely in the lounge. Relieved.

12.46 Matt wants to take his drumsticks in the car. Fine, Mom agrees.
Matt wants to take the very large laundry basket into car too. Not fine, Mom disagrees.
Negotiation takes place.

12.47 Matt agrees to taking a small tin along in place of the large laundry basket - it can also be used as a drum. Nic has now disappeared.

12.48 Mom finds Nic - he is eating our pets' food in the kitchen. Mom picks up Nic removing the pellets from his mouth.

12.49 Mom ushers Matt outside the front door whilst holding Nic.

12.55 The cats have been successfully been herded into their car seats. Whew! Ok 5 minutes to get there, dang we are gonna be late.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My face is all better now...

It was less than a month since my swing broke. Now I'm all better.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A drag??

What is it about independence that makes most of us crave it and chase after it?

What is it about dependence that freaks us out and that most of us want to avoid at all costs?

Much of society is built upon this. Retirement policies - so that you don't have to rely on your children to look after you when you are old. Disability policies - so that you don't become a burden to your family members should you lose you become disabled. You hear people say "I really don't want to impose!" using this as an excuse to not ask for help. It is considered a compliment if someone says "that woman is strong and independent" - in fact many strive to become this; looking down on those who cannot stand on their own two feet. These don't sound that bad really - what is this blog post all about I hear you asking?

I had a conversation last week that really jolted me. I was visiting a professional person regarding an organisation that I am involved with - nothing to do with Matt. I had Matt with me, and he was happily playing on the floor of this man's office. We got to talking about Matt - this man was very interested and had lots of questions. He told me how he had grown up next to a family who had a boy with Down Syndrome who, because of his mother's dedication to his learning, grew up to be able to live by himself. He made some comment about how great it was that this boy "wasn't a drag on someone" as if this had to be avoided at all costs.

Is it really the worst thing to have to care for someone else? Is it really the worst thing if you can't do every thing yourself? Is it?

For me sometimes the opposite can be worse - being so independent that you never need anyone, that you feel in control and impenetrable that you don't let anyone see your inner being. That you live behind a wall of strength that never allows others to touch your heart. Alone, independent, but alone.

And aren't we as humans designed in such a way that we feel most alive when we are loving someone, when we are caring for someone, when we feel needed and feel thay we are making a difference in someone elses life. Ironically our society puts independence on such a pedistal, and yet it is our very interdependence that gives our life meaning.

Personally I can't ever imagine feeling that caring for Matt will be a drag. Call me naive, but I love Matt and that is how I feel. Don't get me wrong, I am not holding back on teaching him all that I can - I really do want to him to reach his potential. But this isn't because I want him to be independent so that people won't look down on him. So that people won't think he is a failure or a drag. Rather I want him to reach his potential because then he will be most fulfilled and find his meaning in life.

There have been times during the past 5 years, when Matt's needs have been too big for me to manage on my own. I had to examine my own attitude to independence and 'having it all together'; and the fears I had around asking for help. When I did rely on others - I found three amazing things happen. First, a lot more got achieved than I could possibly have done on my own. Second, my friendship with the person who helped me out deepened in a beautiful way as they saw they were meeting my need. Third, I watched in awe as the person helping me started to shine as they used their gifts, time and talents to bless me. It really didn't seem like a drag at all.