Grandparents — 5 Minutes for Special Needs



Sorry I disappeared for a couple of posts there. We were traveling on the days that I was supposed to post, and although I had great intentions of writing something ahead of time…well, you understand.

We took care of my mother-in-law for a couple of weeks. It was easier in some ways, and harder in others. I see her declining ever so slightly. The good news is she is too confused to fight with us as much as she used to. The bad news is, she is very confused. First she was visiting at our house and she kept thinking that her things were missing because her brain was spending some portion of time telling her she was at her house. One suitcase full of clothes was not satisfying her idea of how much stuff she should have. Then when we took her back home and spent several days there she kept making reference to our house and “When were we taking her home?” I am grateful for the (more) pleasant time we had with her. I want my children to have good memories of her. These care-giving weeks just deplete my energy that much further.

Summer is hard anyway. The child is reverting to some very tough behaviors and I keep slipping in my attempts to address them, which doesn’t help. She is tired of being with her siblings, and in general missing the structure that school provides and I can’t. School is only a month away which seems both close and oh, so, far away.

The one highlight so far is that our family went to Legoland for a bit of a respite during our visit with Grandma. It was our first trip to a major theme park, and I admit I was nervous. I was particularly concerned that our boy might wander off and get lost. We practiced three skills related to that before we left. Every time we were out in public I had the kids practice “staying together” which was perhaps the most important thing. We also practiced standing still and calling to our family using our last name (‘cuz there are lots of mommies at Legoland). Lastly I had them practice asking for help from a safe person – an employee or mommy. The actual visit went really well. No one got lost, though there was plenty of opportunity, so I was glad for our skill practice. There were only a couple of long waits and only one of those was what I would call frustrating. I liked the fact that most of the rides there require the rider to actively participate – pedaling, pulling ropes, turning knobs, pumping, steering, etc. Most exciting was that one of the longer waiting areas had a Lego play area in the middle where the kids could go build things while someone stood in line to hold their place. The child was initially hesitant to go in, but when she did she actually “made friends” with a couple of the girls that were in there. They worked together to build a huge tower of Legos, and then knock it down. The girls she met were a little younger than she is, but I was so encouraged that her social skills were up to connecting with strangers and playing cooperatively. Those are the moments that really keep me going.

I hope your Summer is filling up with good memories. What’s your favorite memory so far?

a Lego model of the Millenium Falcon

The Millenium Falcon in Legos…and now I suppose I must introduce my children to Star Wars. They had no idea what this was all about.


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Nope. Not a typo. I know it is the Fourth of July. Happy Independence Day, everyone, and special thanks to our troops and veterans!

Grandma (my dear Mother-In-Law) is coming to visit us today, which means we’ll soon be having fireworks of our own. Everyone aged four to eighty-four in our house will be claiming “independence.”

I can do it myself! I don’t need your help! I’m in charge!

fireworks over a bright cityscape

fireworks by bayasaa via flickr

I think I’m starting to see that this isn’t really true for any of us, however. Even the most strong-willed and able-bodied among us need a little help now and then.

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Road Trip with Grandma

This will be short and sweet. I am sneaking this in while everyone else in the family is still sleeping, but who knows how long that will last. We are visiting my mother-in-law for a few days at her house. Today is the day we pack our little brood, and Grandma, and drive back home where she will visit with us for a week and a half. Last time we did this it was way better than I expected it to be. This time, I don’t know.

In case you have missed earlier posts, the brief version: Grandma evidently had a stroke at some point.

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Weddings (and other such events)

Tomorrow my brother is getting married.

In a quiet, small gathering.

On a boat.

At Disney World.


Now, while most people think this sounds romantic and lovely, I am a nervous wreck. My brother loves my son no matter what; however, if he decides to melt down or scream or narrate the entire event, I fear he’ll never speak to me again!

So, to make myself feel better, I tried to think of all the ‘What If’ moments that could happen, so that when something minor happens, I won’t freak out. It doesn’t make any sense to anyone but me, but that is OK.

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What a Difference

I’ve had emotional whiplash all week. Grandma is visiting us this week. In case you don’t know the significance of those words you can read the worst part of it here. I’ve written about our struggles with her before. Turns out she does not have Alzheimers or dementia, per se, but the neurological damage she does have has basically the same markers and symptoms. One Doctor even called it “false dementia” which is so sad it’s almost funny. There isn’t anything “false” feeling about it. Previously when we have gone to visit her (all five of us) it has been hard to help her because she gets so angry at everything we do…help her haul things to good will, clean out her pantry, get her bookkeeping caught up, walk the dog…it is all viewed as taking over her life.

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My buddy and me~~

Ok, maybe it dates me that I can remember that tune that played out on television…”My buddy, my BUDdy, My buddy and me can climb up a tree, my buddy and me are the best friends we can be~~ My buddy and me”

Meet our Buddy "Toodles" yes named after Mickey Mouse clubhouse O'Toodles

I wish I could turn the picture for you…but editing isn’t letting me.  Anyway, this is Toodles.  A few posts ago I mentioned that we were considering purchasing a buddy for our son.  I had a cocker spaniel picked out…went to adopt and she was already spoken for that was Saturday. 
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Old school still stings…

I don’t have to tell anyone, I don’t think, about how HOT it’s been this week.  As I said before I’m a facebooker too, and sometimes my saturday posts get away from me, sorry.  Some days blend into the next, but I digress.

My father’s family has all kind of “drifted” apart (not saying that anybody is innocent on reasons why, it’s just drifted apart).  I have tried several times to put out the bridge to those that are willing to talk to me.  Because I was a teenager when the drifting happened.  I’ve sent things to my grandparents telling them of my high school graduation, wedding,  Christmas cards and things through out the years. 

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Grandma’s House

We’re back at my dear mother-in-law’s house for another week, awaiting the results of her evaluation from a wonderful program that is helping us get a handle on what is affecting her. Things are going much better than our last visit, but still challenging. I spent most of the day yesterday cleaning out her pantry. Several food items had been infested by some kind of weevil or beetle. Some things were just too ancient for words. It was almost as scary what the weevils left alone as what they had gotten into. Then later in the evening we got a tongue-lashing for “ruining her life.” Uh…you’re welcome.

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The ThiRd Rail

I’m still trying to figure out twitter. Can’t decide if it’s really useful for me or not. I’m trying out HootSuite which makes it more accessible, but still kind of overwhelming. Anyway last night as I was scrolling through the most recent tweets two words jumped out at me. Perhaps they would have jumped out at you, too, if like me you are raising a child with special needs and helping take care of an elderly parent.

The tweet said: “I take back that last tweet. It’s insulting to retarded old people with Alzheimer’s. No one should ever be compared to the Mets.”*

I stared at it for a while trying to decide if I needed to reply.

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Love Can Build a Bridge Between Your Heart and Mine

What is it about the wheelchair that attracts people?  Some times it’s the looks but other times there are full blown conversations with people the randomly say things (not all bad!) 

My first outing with my son and his wheelchair was to a restuarant.  I was meeting a friend for breakfast.  We were eating and talking.  My son is quite well behaved if there’s not too many people too many noises he has to try and figure out.  but as we were sitting there….an elderly gentleman was seated near us.  he was more interested in his newspaper than looking at where he was being seated. 

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