Monday, June 1, 2009

Respite -- a welcome break!

John Michael loves his "bap" (as he calls it).

What a ham!
I guess he thinks the red bowl is a top hat like the one Nic wore as the Artful Dodger in Oliver! LOL
At our last IFSP meeting, our regional center offered us 48 hours of respite services per quarter. That equals about 16 hours per month or 4 hours per week. My mind quickly turned to thoughts of "me time" and playing tennis and shopping and running errands kid-free. Mostly, I've used the time for dates with my husband, Doug.

The toughest part was trusting someone to watch my little guy. The first woman I interviewed was nice, mid-50's, but smelled heavily like cigarette smoke. If someone smokes, it's their business, but I don't want my child to smell like smoke when he cuddles with someone. The second woman I interviewed over the phone. Each time I called her, she sounded like she was asleep... in the middle of the day. And had no phone etiquette. OK, next!

Third time's a charm. On our third try, I asked her straight up if she smoked and about her experience. She's worked for respite 5 years and has an adult cousin who has Down syndrome. She takes him bowling and hangs out with him. She's pretty young, early 20's, doesn't smoke. Doug and I tested her out with a 2 hour dinner and art show date. All 4 kids really liked her and Anna said, "Mom, you can't judge a book by its cover," referring to her current make up and fashion style. We've used her several times now and I feel comfortable with her. Most importantly, she takes John Michael for walks and they ate lunch in the backyard and she really focuses on him.

Yesterday, we had another woman come over since #3 was spending the weekend with her cousin who has Ds. I'd interviewed #4 over the phone and she sounded great. She's 35, works in the medical field as her day job, and loves kids. We totally hit it off and she fell in love with John Michael (her words) within minutes. Of course, he sealed the deal when he layed in her arms and fell asleep while we were finishing up details.

So now we have two respite workers that we like and it's such a relief knowing our kids are happy and well-cared for while we're away, taking that much-needed break. Ahhhhhh, thank you to our Regional Center and UCP for your services!

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  1. oh so happy for you! I know the trust thing is so hard. I love, love those photo's of John Michael, they are just too cute and that red bowl! You should really enter your photo's in the I heart faces contests!

  2. That sounds like heaven,( once you hit on the right one) Those photos! He is a heartbreaker!

  3. Bap pictures are priceless - he's too cute! The respite sounds wonderful - I'm jealous!

  4. I love his bap pictures!! Too cute! Also, that's wonderful that you've found a couple of people you can trust. I'm still looking...well, actually, I haven't started looking. Still trying to muster up the courage and allow the idea of trusting someone else with my first and only little guy.

  5. SO glad you've found great options... one of these days we'll consider looking for somebody who's not a family member. Right now, I'm still a first-time mom who can't stomach the idea ;-) I'll get over it soon. And I love that you are using it for date night - something Gary and I are trying to be really good about!

    And, it is amazing just how similar John Michael's red bucket and Nic's hat are!

  6. awesome! so happy you have found 2 good people to care for your kids, especially john michael, so you can have some "date nights" or "me time"... this is something my husband and i keep saying we need to figure out.

    adorable pictures, too!

  7. OH, how nice!

    I still haven't used respite because it sort of turned into a fiasco when I merely ased my EX service coordinator about it. Oooh...I am getting mad even thinking about it.

    Anyway, that is so great that you and Doug have found two people that you like! Woohoo for date nights!

  8. John Michael is adorable!!
    So nice you found someone you like for the respite care.

  9. I'm so glad you have found a couple people you can trust!! And yep, I think I've fallen in love with John Michael too, wish you lived closer I'd love to play with him!!

  10. So glad you have some great respite providers. We have a wonderful girl, but they cut our respite hours from 4 hours a week to 4 hours a MONTH. Ugh. I hate budget cuts.