Thursday, January 6, 2011

Trusting others with your DS child

Living life with a child with Down Syndrome is really truly amazing. Really. Is is. Our Miss Molly is really one sweet little lady.

But she does require more work. Not all DS kids are. But Molly is. She is 4 years old and requires a lot of attention. For the most part, we start each day with "letting her out of her room" by taking down the baby gate that is at her door. In the beginning, it was so she wouldn't fall down the 17 stairs we have. Now it's so she doesn't wander outside (well, the doors ARE locked) or wonder through the house and get into something while we are sleeping and harm herself. Then we progress through the day, letting Maggie and Gavin do what they want, go to the neighbors to play, play outside with the kids and even venture to the park.

But not Molly. We keep a watchful eye on her. For the most part, it is for her own safety but also it's to not burden others. But really, I think it comes down to a trust factor. Letting go. It's something that Mike and I have not yet learned. How do I know this?

Our dreams.

While taking a nap for a night shift, I had, what I considered at the time, a horrible dream. I could not sleep. It kept waking me up. I was dreaming that Molly was sent to the "neighbors" of a family member and I totally freaked out! I didn't know those people (even though the family member thought the world of this older lady that had lots of toys and made cookies and did arts and crafts with her). I was so upset that this family member sent her to this persons house! I was truly terrified. Even though she probably was a fine lady, I didn't trust her.

Without even mentioning this to Mike, he tells me that he couldn't sleep the next night because he was dreaming about Molly being in an assisted living facility and she was playing a board game with another adult with DS and was totally upset that the staff allowed her to "be on her own". He was so upset (in the dream) that no one was "supervising" her and making sure she was safe. He wanted to take her home! Even though he knew that she was safe, he didn't trust the facility.

Interesting that we both dreamed about allowing others to care for Molly and our subconscious minds would NOT allow this to occur or rather upset us so much?

I wonder if it is telling us it's time to let go and trust others to care for Molly? Or is it that we just worry so much more about our child with Down Syndrome?

12 comments:

Cathleen said...

I just had a conversation with my mom about giving my daughter Lilly (who is 4 years old with DS) more independence. My mom recently let Lilly go outside to her trampoline by herself, and jump for 20 minutes (while watching from the window) and said it really built her confidence... meanwhile I would SO have gone out with her and been involved every second! (And we definitely have a gate at Lilly's door as well so she doesn't leave the house at odd hours or get into trouble!) But as far as leaving Lilly with others - we've had to do that since we've always lived far from family and friends and she's been in daycare and with babysitters since she was little - and it's been amazing watching her totally fit in and be part of a group. And it's really amazing watching other kids and adults fall in love with her - especially when we aren't there to intervene and be Lilly's voice - they can truly see who Lilly is. Good luck with everything!

Emily said...

Great blog post... Justin will be 3 this summer. It will be his first summer as a walker, and I am so nervous. It is so horribly hard for me to trust others with him. I know they love him... but he does require a bit more attention. Good luck with it all! I'm right there with ya!

Becca said...

This is a great post, and echos much of what we feel as well. We've gotten better about it, but I'm still very afraid to do it. It helps that Sammi's in two different preschools (one of which is a "typical" preschool, one is Spec. Ed.), and has a caregiver that comes after school every day that we leave her with. My mom occasionally babysits, but I'm still not comfortable leaving Samantha at her house (she comes to us). I have gates on all the stairs and a childproof doorknob inside her room (which we're going back and forth about removing right now...) I love what Cathleen said about the confidence boost Lilly got from a little bit of independence. I'm always too afraid to let go, even though Sammi *also* gets a lot of confidence from independence (ie. using the potty by herself, etc.). There's a happy medium out there somewhere, and I think that as Sammi grows and matures that will all melt away and we'll wonder why we worried so much. :-)

Rachel said...

I have a cousin who is 25 years old. Her name is also Molly, and like your Molly, she is also blessed with an extra chromosome. Molly enjoys working with food--and is a valuable employee at two restaurants--including the Olive Garden--her dream job. A couple years ago, Molly got her own apartment....and now lives by herself--although her parents check in on her. Your Molly has a bright future ahead of her too...but the transition to independence comes one step at a time...she will not be looking for jobs or apartments tomorrow :) Yes it is important to know that those things may be a possibility in the future. As far as letting others take care of Molly...I am not the best person to offer advice being single without small children. However, I enjoy volunteering with our local Down Syndrome Guild. They offer childcare for children with DS and their siblings a few times a month so the parents can attend meetings. This is a great opportunity for the children and their siblings to interact with others--but the parents are down the hall just in case. You might check to see if your local DS support group offers something like this. Ours also offers some activities for kids 7 and up where the parents drop them off for a couple hours and there are crafts and kid-friendly food and lots of teen volunteers who are excited to work with children with Down Syndrome, as well as adults who have lots of experience with children with Down Syndrome.

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Marlee said...

Oh I loved your post! I'm a graduate student getting my Master's in Mental Health Counseling, and ALSO working night shifts at a youth psychiatric hospital! It's so nice to see a parent who cares so much!

www.marleeindebt.blogspot.com

Team Carter Jay said...

Great post! I think that every parent struggles with this regardless of special needs or not.

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Jenna said...

Hi
My name is Jenna and I came across your site. Molly is so cute, adorble, beautiful and has a very pretty smile. She is an inspirational hero. I was born with a rare life threatening disease, and I have developmental delays. I love it when people sign my guestbook. www.miraclechamp.webs.com