Sunday, January 15, 2006

Mother's Helper

My 5 year old DD has become wonderful mothers helper for me...this has become such an enormous help to me , I find I am less stressed, and I am finding it is a positive thing for her too.

For those of you who don't know the background ( if anyone even reads this LOL)we have a unique dynamic in our family.

My husbands' illness ( CFIDS/ME) and his inability to do much in the way of physical parenting with me, leaves me holding the torch. I care of him and the extra needs his disability entails, and I do all of the physical parenting routines with the kids, as well as the housework and most fo the exterior yard work all myself. This can leave me at my whits end on not so good days!

Turns out a mother's Helper was a great idea, but affording one is another story. My daughter and I have made a working deal.

I am so glad we waited the 4 years between children, like we initially planned when we got pregnant with DD ( to give each child in infancy and baby hood as much baby attention as possible without neglecting the other child)

At their age differences the attention they require or desire are so different that it is much easier ( for ME) to parent a 11 month old and a 5 year old then say a 2 year old still much in the baby stage and an under 1 baby as well, like my siblings are doing.

Out of pure exhaustion, and a headache a few weeks ago, I asked DD if she would play with DS in her bedroom on the floor with the large Lego and I'd put the baby gate on the doorway so I could go lay down on the bed in our room, right beside and I could keep an ear out for them if they needed me. I told her she would be like my "mother's helper" and I would pay her a toonie for a half hour, so she would not have to do other chores to earn her Sparks dues and ride money to her meeting the next week. She was very willing and excited to help.

I went in and laid down after they got settled and I actually fell asleep and rested for about 45 minutes! They were quiet and having lots of fun ( mostly parallel playing and some of her guiding him teaching him colors and counting with him. DS just loves his big sister, and when mommy cannot give love and kisses and snuggles, big sister is the next best thing:) and she loves how much he idolizes her LOL. ( even now at this age they have their "leave me alone" moments with each other, but for the most part they get along great!

She has now proclaimed that she wants to be a "professional baby sitter" and this is her beginning training. She says she is going to have 5 babies when she grows up and marries a dump truck/ cement truck driver LOL. Oh and they are all going to be breastfed, slung, cloth diapers, home schooled and born at home in a fishy pool, just like her and DS were, she tells me LOL...but she'll let HER kids eat different things then the rest of the family for dinner if they want to instead of force them to eat HER food like I do to her LOL. ( she is on a "only cheese and crackers" kick right now)

Now, If I am getting stressed and over touched and frazzelled from DS's high need for affection I will ask her if she would mind helping me and playing with DS for a little while. She is usually more then happy to, but if she is not, I accept her answer happily and back pack him or sling him. I always make sure to ask in a question form so she has the opportunity to say no ( I remember not being given the choice as the oldest sibling, when my parents wanted a break, I was just told I was, and it didn't matter what I had planned or was doing at the time.)

Also though, very often she will come to me about 10 minutes after a no and ask if she can play with him up in her baby safe room, and I allow her to do so and thank her for her offer, though on occasion I will turn her offer down JUST in case she is offering because in a 5 year old way she feels guilty.

It has helped a lot, give me a much needed break now and again, and not need to hire a babysitter from outside the family I don't know, and also so I don't have to leave the house to get a break.

Larger age gaps are great :)

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