A Wonderful Visit

This post was drafted in August and I realized I hadn’t posted it yet.  🙂

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Our one and only Fantastic Babysitter (and her mom and baby) came to visit this past week.  She sacrificed a lot to come, and The Boy was so pleased to have her here, as was I.  We spent a long day at the beach, and worked around the baby’s schedule with relatively little problem, able to eat out a few times, and experience the area, thanks to some wonderful weather.

We walked out on the long fishing pier that extends out to the ocean, and Fantastic Babysitter, being afraid of heights, began to get a little nervous, expressing a wish for a hand to hold as she progressed over the beach and then over the waves.  The Boy slipped up behind her and picked up her hand, impressing everyone with his empathy and sensitivity.

Later, he sat on the couch next to me, and we held the baby.  He began to play with her feet, saying softly, “I’ve got your tootsies,” and then “Am I doing it right?” to me.

I watched him as he took every opportunity to sit next to Fantastic Babysitter, sometimes putting his head on her shoulder, recognizing the beautiful relationship they continue to have, even across the miles.

I was so happy to see them together, and was truly sad to see them go.  On their first night here, he began begging to go “back home,” and I realized that we may have to make that a reality before too long.  A visit next summer may be in order, because there are lots of people there he misses, and some I miss, as well.  We have been so happy here, but this visit brought some strong feelings to the surface, especially on his part.  And I don’t want to ignore those.

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Smiling & Winning

TulipsThe gods are smiling, and I am getting a much needed break today.  Fabulous Babysitter has taken over for me, and I get to go to a 12 hour crop, which I probably haven’t done in a whole year.  So no working, no packing and sorting, and no worrying about triggers and meltdowns for me, today.  Just 12 full hours to look back on happy memories, to be creative, to do a little shopping, eating, and more than a little kibitzing with friends.

I hope you get to take a moment for yourself today.  I think Spring is finally here, and there’s just something so hopeful and ready about May.

Cheers,

Annie

PS Rather than choose one winner from our two entries in the book contest, I’ve decided to give them both a copy! So Meg and Holly, contact me with your email addresses, and I will get your ebooks to you ASAP!  Congrats!

Thanks to my Village

Our crisis-of-the-week has apparently averted. Fantastic Babysitter is doing me a huge favor and providing The Boy a place to stay for a night and transportation to meet the ex on the day he requested.  The ex has relented (and apparently forgotten the crazy-making way he treated me/us) and has agreed to pick The Boy up according to the new plan.  How could he say no?

SmileIf left to my own devices, this would not have been possible.  If not for a friend at work who suggested the plan and insisted that I was not “giving in” to the ex if I were able to make it happen, I would have resisted making any concessions, or lifting a finger to aid that man.  If not for Fantastic Babysitter, it wouldn’t even be possible.

And before you raise an eyebrow and think to yourself, “But what if he doesn’t show up?”, we got that covered, too.  Again, thanks to Fantastic Babysitter (Now do you see why I call her that??).

Thanks to my friends who help me whether I know I need it or not.  Thanks to my village, that helps me raise my child and be a better mom (and a better person).  Thanks to them, this will turn out OK.

Testing His Hypothesis

The Boy has a science project: develop and test a hypothesis.  His wonderful ASD teacher suggested hooking him with a subject he likes.  The Boy and I read through the assignment, and one of the suggestions was “Test what food your pet likes…” — we didn’t even finish the sentence, and he started hopping around, saying we should do that with “Gary”.

“Gary” is his imaginary cat.  Or rather, Fantastic Babysitter picked up a tiny little stuffed kitty, and wrote an adoption letter from the shelter (and included a tiny little litter box, food tray, etc.), and The Boy promptly named him “Gary”.  You know, like the snail.  From Spongebob.  Anyway, when we leave the house now, The Boy has to get on his imaginary phone and call the cat sitter to come over to watch Gary…

Gary, chillin' in the bathroom

Anyway, I told him that if we were to do this, we would have to use a real cat.  I contacted Fantastic Babysitter who has a plethora of animals, and asked if we could, you know, borrow one for an experiment…  No, I explained the premise, and she said yes!  The Boy and I will be cooking up some homemade cat treats, and purchasing some store-bought ones as well, to test his hypothesis that the average cat would enjoy homemade treats more than store-bought ones.

If his obsession is with pets in general, and cats in particular at the moment, then we shall run with it.  I just hope it is relatively short-lived.  He asked the other day when I would grow out of my cat allergy, and it just about broke my heart…

Me-Time: Free Hour

English: A Glass of Tea. Français : Une tasse ...

English: A Glass of Tea. Français : Une tasse de thé en verre. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a recent post, I lamented that I had not pre-planned how I should spend my time when The Boy was camping with Fantastic Babysitter.  So I’ve been thinking about some ways I could spend a free hour…

  • Take a 15 minute bike ride (weather permitting)
  • Go shopping (or browsing) for girly underwear
  • Take a nap
  • Crank the music up and dance around the house
  • Sort through some toys to donate
  • Go to the bookstore
  • Go to a café, get a drink or a snack, and read
  • Take my camera somewhere and take some pictures

What would you do if you had a free hour to yourself?

Me-Time (Fantastic Babysitters are a Necessity)

Babysitting

Babysitting (Photo credit: Daquella manera)

Today, our babysitter picked up The Boy and took him for the day, leaving me with a whole chunk of Me-Time.

There are plenty of single moms out there who will tell you that they feel guilty leaving their kids with a babysitter so that they can pursue selfish interests.  I would not be one of those single moms.  I also don’t feel guilty being a working mom, because being a career woman is part of my identity.  If I stay too long at home, I go stir-crazy, and so does The Boy.  To him, there IS such a thing as too much vacation (this is where I think he’s a little nuts, but different strokes, right?).

Me-Time is essential to me, for my sanity.  You may think I am using that term loosely, but if you have a kid with special needs, you know that your brain works similarly to that of a battle medic – always alert for a major disaster, and ready to solve problems at a moment’s notice.  Me-Time is a break from that, and it is blissful.  It recharges me, and helps me come back to my child, appreciating him for the amazing kid that he is.

In my Singlemomdom, I am an only child, meaning I do not have siblings ready and willing to provide free babysitting.  And my parents live 900 miles away.  Therefore, I rely heavily on babysitters.  This is not a foolproof system, and there are times when I just can’t do what I’d need or like to do.  I have had to take days off of work, often at inopportune times, but that’s just part of it.  There isn’t any more I can do about it, so stressing about it isn’t going to help anyone.

But how do I find Fantastic Babysitters? It isn’t easy, and I will give you my disclaimer now that, as a teacher, I kind of have an advantage.  I have a bevy of former students whom I know I can trust with my only offspring.  But not even this has always worked out well.

I found our best and most fantastic babysitter on Craigslist (remember when I told you about Craigslist??).  It was shortly after the divorce was final, and I realized that I would need someone pretty regularly, as my job requires me to attend several evening functions every month.  I looked on Craigslist, and narrowed my choices down to three.  I contacted them, asked for resumes and references, and scheduled interviews.  I found excellent questions to ask online, and also asked about their experiences with kids with special needs.  From those interviews, it was a no-brainer which one I would hire, and four years later, she is like one of the family.

There are other resources out there as well, if you just aren’t in a financial place to be able to afford babysitters.  Think about swapping time with a friend who has kids, or contacting your local National Honor Society chapter to see if any of their members need service hours.  College students may also need service hours, or observation hours if they are entering the education or child development fields.  If you have kids who have special needs, contact some of your local special needs groups to see if they offer respite care, or know of any organizations that do.

I think we single moms can fall easily into the martyr role, and truthfully, some of us revel in that.  I work hard, and truthfully, I’m a better mom because I’ve had to do it on my own, but I am also a better mom because I take time for myself.  I have not put my interests and hobbies on the back burner until my son turns 18.  Maybe that’s because unlike moms of neurotypical kids, I may not have an empty nest at that point, and my nest may never be empty, but that’s for another post.  I still need to be me, and I still need alone time to pursue those interests.  If I don’t I will grow to resent this precious boy of mine.  It helps to have a Fantastic Babysitter, so if you don’t have one yet, go get one!  You won’t know what you ever did without him/her!!