sandwich generation — 5 Minutes for Special Needs

sandwich generation


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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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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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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Reports from Inside the Sandwich

It’s hard to say when, exactly, we became members of the “sandwich generation.” If I had to guess I would say it started around the time that my husband flew to his mother’s home in order to drive her back to our home so that she could meet our twins. This was about six months after they were born, and just a few days after we had received an official ASD diagnosis for our oldest daughter. As newly enrolled members of the parents of multiples and special needs parenting clubs, too, I don’t think we recognized it at the time. Things have been steadily changing ever since then.
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