Being a Carer is a Full Time job, only longer hours, fewer holidays and much less pay. Not that any carer does it for the money, they do it because they care. As a parent who is a Carer for my daughter Isabella it wasn’t role I chose, but it is a role I wouldn’t change, but it obviously goes without saying that if I could choose for Isabella to be without her disabilities I would.
When I say the job is Full – Time, it is 24/7 around the clock. Now any parent would argue that it is the same for them, I wouldn’t argue it isn’t. A child like Isabella who is unable to do anything for herself needs constant care and attention like a baby does. Now a baby without developmental delay will develop and make the transition to a toddler where they begin to do things for themselves. A toddler can hold his sippy cup and take a drink when he wants, a toddler can say he is hungry and be given a snack and feed himself (obviously under supervision I am not advocating that toddlers be left to their own devices) but they are able to take ownership of what they are doing.
Isabella on the other hand needs to be given a drink as she cannot hold a cup, she needs to be fed a snack, as she cannot hold objects let alone put them in her mouth and this is where the role of Carer comes into play as Isabella needs help doing the things that Toddlers can do on their own.
Like any Mum will know there are never enough hours in the day and we are always getting ready to go somewhere – the park, swimming, Music Classes, taking the dog for a walk, shopping (not a favourite of Isabella’s and hospital appointments. Now the timing of going places has to be based around Isabella’s snack and meal times. We need to ensure that we either have a snack/meal before we go or that we arrive at our destination in time for her snack/meal. The reason is if we are travelling by car I am obviously driving and unable to feed Isabella and she can get quite grumpy when she is hungry (as I can I!)
When it comes to entertaining Isabella she needs help with this too, as she cannot sit unaided or hold any toys. Now the toddler I mentioned before can happily play with his toys ( in a safe area) while his Mum hangs out the washing or prepares lunch. For me to do any quick odd jobs means leaving Isabella in her cot or in her chair. I can leave her in her chair with toys on her tray but they usually end up on the floor very quickly. She has mobiles and activities in her cot to amuse her, but they only amuse her for a short length of time. So what every I am doing needs to be done quickly or not at all and saved for later.
So time is of the essence and where possible I will do things or not do things as the case may be to save time. This got me to thinking of the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, running around with his big pocket watch singing;
I’m late, I’m late for A very important date.
No time to say hello, good-bye, I’m late, I’m late, I’m late I’m late
and when I wave, I lose the time I save,
my fuzzy ears and whiskers ,
took me too much time to shave
I run and then I hop, hop, hop, I
wish that I could fly.
There’s danger if I dare to Stop and here’s a reason why:
I’m over-due, I’m in a rabbit stew.
Can’t even say good-bye, hello, I’m late, I’m late, I’m late.
Like the white rabbit said shaving takes too much time (not that I have whiskers to shave – not yet anyway!) but all I will say is that trousers for women were a marvellous invention! As Isabella likes to pull my hair (she doesn’t mean to) I will just shove it in a pony tail and as for Make – Up I rarely bother! But then these are not bad things, as I really enjoy when I do get the chance to get dolled up and pamper myself for a night out.
Now I am not saying we are always late by any means, but there are times when it feels like just stopping and having a conversation however brief will make us late! I very often want to stop and talk and I am usually very mindful of the time, thinking of where I need to be next and what I need to do. Then if I have managed to avoid getting into a long conversation (it’s me I don’t know when to stop, just ask my husband!) I then make the faux pas of ‘popping’ into Tesco and end up in the slowest queue in the world, with the cashier who looks like it’s his first day, or I try to manoeuvre the buggy around a crowded street full of ‘bimblers’ (seriously how do people like that get anything done!) and then once in the car you can bet your bottom dollar I get stuck behind a granny who doesn’t know how to get out of first gear!
Like White Rabbit I too wish we could fly sometimes and by-pass all the traffic we seem to get stuck in when go to our hospital appointments in Oxford. Then the traffic jams throw out all our timings and in some cases we are then late! Even if we have allowed time for traffic!
But late or not we get to where we need to be and continue with our busy day. I think in the future I may just invest in a big pocket watch and stick on a pair of bunny ears and start singing ‘I’m Late’..