July 7, 2020

Babysitting (Again) With Chronic Illnesses

I'm finally feeling a little better. The 4th of July really wore me out even though I didn't really do much. I was so tired the last two days and forced to take long naps during the day that did nothing to help the exhaustion. But I woke up around 9am this morning feeling about how I normally do--with enough energy to make my bed and make coffee and browse Facebook without feeling like I should just give up and go back to bed.

And then my daughter comes in at noon and drops her son and a box of toys in my room and is like, "he's all yours now; I have to go to work."

Gee, thanks for the warning. What if I didn't have the energy for that like the last two days? What if I had plans or was busy trying to work on something? Of course, that means nothing to her because I'm a stay-at-home mom/gramma so whatever I have going on isn't as important as their jobs, and I can (and should) just drop everything to babysit. Sigh.

Of course, my grandson was cranky as heck because he was ready for a nap. You'd think that would make babysitting easier, but she and my husband have him trained to only fall asleep if he's being held/cuddled. I made sure all of my kids would fall asleep on their own in their own beds or on the floor, never in my arms (because with five kids, I couldn't just sit for hours with a baby in my arms while the others tore the house apart).

So I ended up stuck with him in my lap because he won't sleep in his crib or on the little bed I made him with blankets. I can't do anything when he's in my lap because I can't really use my left arm. I can't reach the keyboard to type. I can't really play games on my phone with one hand (because one of my many chronic illnesses is Benign Essential Tremor which makes my hands, especially my thumbs, shake really bad). I'm stuck just sitting there doing nothing and it drives me crazy. I can't just do one thing like watch TV. I have to also be on my phone or knitting or browsing the internet. Well, I don't have a TV so I had to put something on the laptop for him to watch (his mother also has him trained to fall asleep while watching something) which leaves me with almost nothing to do for hours.

I probably have ADHD because being forced to sit there like that with nothing to do but watch TV makes me want to pull my hair out. Yet another chronic condition to manage.

He eventually woke up when I had to go to the bathroom and screamed outside the bathroom door then refused to go back to sleep. Around 2:30pm, I took him downstairs for lunch and to wait for my husband to come home because that's about the point during the day when I start to get really sleepy and worn out. I ended up feeding him a slice of pizza that I cut into strips so he could eat while walking around and I didn't have to drag the highchair out.

Eventually, my husband got home from work to take over, but now I'm just exhausted and didn't get to do any of the stuff I wanted to do (brainstorming fanfic ideas mainly).

When my daughter got pregnant in 2018, everyone talked about how convenient it would be with me staying home to take care of the baby. Nobody listened when I said I didn't have the energy for that because even back then I knew things were getting bad with the fatigue. I raised five kids with almost no help (husband working all of the time and no friends/family near by) but I can't even handle babysitting for a couple hours without being exhausted.

In this case, I knew if I absolutely couldn't handle him anymore, I could have woken my youngest daughter (14yo) and she could have taken over with my youngest son's help (10yo). Or he could have helped me by playing with the baby. But the 14yo refuses to change diapers and sleeps until 5pm most days. The 17yo is supposed to be here to babysit but who knows where she is.

Right now my oldest only works part time and the baby spends half the week at his dad's, but I'm sure there will be a time when she's working full time and I'm expected to watch him all day. I don't know what I'll do then because I literally can't take care of myself most days. I definitely can't chase after a toddler anymore.

Written by justanotherjen

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