Monday, April 4, 2011

Paying a Visit

As I had posted before, Sammi's previous in-home aide, N., had to leave unexpectedly due to some ongoing and escalating health issues.  This was pretty tough on all of us, as she had been watching and teaching Samantha for more than a year, and we knew that it would be next to impossible to find someone else that shared such mutual love with Samantha and who worked to teach her new things instead of just babysitting.  In the last 2 months since she left, we've had a revolving door of people coming in to care for Sammi.  Completely counter-productive, I think.  We worried that Sammi would grow attached to one of them and then some sort of roadblock would crop up to make it impossible for them to work with us.  Uh, like having to take a 2 hour bus ride to get to our house (a 10 min. drive ordinarily), or like deciding that the 10 mile drive was too far and demanding that the agency boss pay her mileage (we escorted her out the door quickly on her first day, as Sammi had already begun to form an attachment), and  like being allergic to our cats.  Yep, that happened, too.  But it was okay, because it was obvious that Sammi never actually really warmed up to that one, even after more than a month.  One real test for us is how much Samantha talks about someone when they're not there, or how Samantha acts with us when we're home and the aide is there.  For example, when I would get home Sammi would completely attach herself to my hip instead of staying with whatever game the two of them were playing.  Finally, after much trial and error, we have someone with us that Sammi really seems to like and click with.  Nevemind that she doesn't speak a word of English, but at least she's teaching Sammi some more Spanish.  I got home from work the other day (grateful that I could change my clothes in peace and get the child's supper ready) and Sammi and her aide were upstairs playing in her room.  Calling from the top of the stairs, obviously barracaded by the closed gate, Sammi yelled, "Abre!"  Woohoo, my kid just asked, in Spanish, for the gate to open. 

Anyway, I digress.  

On Sunday we went to visit N. at her house.  Usually causing a fuss any time we have to get ready to leave our house, Sammi was absolutely thrilled that we were going to see her.  She'd spoken to her a few times on the phone, after which she would proceed to say something about N. going to the doctor, getting all better, and coming back to play with her.  Ugh, what to do? what to do?  I have to remind her frequently that N. won't be able to come back, but that we can go to visit her.  When we got to N.'s house, Samantha couldn't stop hugging her and telling her she loved her.  I think that visit was just what she needed.  After we returned home, Sammi kept saying that she had fun with N. at her house, but hasn't yet gone on about her coming back.  So many times people just disappear from the lives of children.  Parents don't think too much about it because we do it all the time in our own lives, but I think it affects children so much more.  We had planned on having a little going-away party for N. on her last day with us, so Samantha could feel like she had a part in seeing her off, but N. had to cancel that day because of her illness (this from a woman who had called off sick only once in an entire year!).  Closure is important, and the fact that this visit was not necessarily closure, but an opening of a door into a different relationship with N., helps Samantha feel more in control, more secure.  I could be reading more into it than there is, but young minds are funny things.  Can't assume anything, can't take anything for granted.     

I leave you now with a couple of shots of my girl from Saturday morning. 


tekeal said...

sounds like the visit was a great thing to do with samantha. I also think transitions are important to support in whatever feels right for you. hope things go really well with your new aide!

Cathleen said...

More than anything I can totally understand! Lilly has had to say hi and goodbye to so many people with all our moves and transitions - so so hard. And I think it's such a hard thing finding a compatable person in your home to really mesh well with your child - we had someone who was a "special ed teacher" who came into our house for a month while Lilly was in between schools and she was such a horrible match for Lilly - Lilly literally ran away from her and started getting so upset every time we saw her. Finally I told her to stop coming, even though we had no alternate child care at that time.

By the way - Sammi is beautiful as always! And so are the pictures you take, I need a good camera before this summer!

Rochelle said...

Glad you found someone that is working out. Spanish! Awesome Sammi!!! Great point about the closure and people come and go in our kids lives, many therapists etc. Hadn't stopped to really think on that one, thanks will definitely have to think on this as Alayna will be leaving her EI classroom where she has been since 3 months in the fall and going on to the school district.

Anna said...

Im glad things seem to be working out. The pictures of your daughter are just amazing. She is beautiful.

mama to j and bean said...

It's so nice that you found an aide that is working out and you are so right on about transitions. Great post and beautiful pictures!

Lacey said...

One day my peanuts hair will be that long!!
How great that you were able to pay her a visit. I can't even imagine how hard it is to find someone good. And especially trust them when you don't know whats going on when your not home!