Parenting Round Two


I have only one child with Bob. I have many stepchildren, grandchildren, and great grandchildren but only one child that we had and raised together. I can say without any doubt that Kyle was the easiest child to raise EVER. No drama. No behavioral issues. No terrible twos or threes or even thirteens. Just a fun, well behaved, enjoyable kid. He was a joy to parent and at 31 he is still a huge blessing in our lives. I only tell you this so that I can explain why I am not doing well in handling what is going on currently in my life. I have no training!


Bob has gotten to a stage where he always needs supervision. It’s been a few years since I stopped leaving him home alone, but it has morphed into my need to be by his side or in the same room. If I do not watch over him like a hawk, then crazy things happen. It’s hard to imagine that he’s my husband. I feel I have another toddler to care for.


Here’s a rundown of the last week:
• Threw his socks and underwear in the trashcan instead of the hamper. Several times throughout the week.
• Spilled large mugs of coffee on himself, his recliner, and the area rug—actually 4 times this week.
• Put meals that he didn’t finish in the pantry. Boy did we have ants from that!
• Wiped dirty plates off with a napkin and put them back in the cupboard.
• Hid a cup of coffee in the cupboard behind the trashcan so that no one would drink it overnight. Of course, it ended up spilling and making a mess.
• Filled the bathroom sink with shaving cream instead of putting it on his head/face to shave.
• Cut the top off several Keurig pods and just dumped the coffee in his cup of coffee to make it taste better. And grittier.
• Emptied the dishwasher and put away the dishes. Would have been nice but the dishes hadn’t been washed yet.
• Heated his coffee in the microwave for 6 minutes instead of 60 seconds so that it boiled over and made a puddle of HOT BOILING coffee in the microwave that nearly burnt him. This is a repeated offense.
• Hid his wallet, handkerchief, and hat so that they wouldn’t get stolen by the imaginary people who are staying here and then in the morning he couldn’t remember where they are hidden and was convinced that they were stolen. This too is an ongoing situation but when he hides the wallet when I’m not watching then we both are hunting for it the next day.
• Moved some furniture in the living room and guest room out of the way to accommodate more imaginary people that needed a place to sleep that night. At least he’s kind and accommodating to these people in his delusions!
And then this morning…
• He cut off his beard with scissors!


While these things happened, I was home but obviously not paying close enough attention to all that he was doing. I was nearby in the shower when he started to cut off his beard but by the time I grabbed a towel and hopped out to stop him, it was too late. There was no turning back. He no longer has a beard.


So, in my defense, I never imagined that I would have to treat my husband like a toddler that needs constant supervision. Due to our well-behaved son, I am ill-prepared for this stage of caregiving to my hubby. This is all new to me!

But I’m learning. I’ve now hidden the scissors. I’ve put childproof locks on bathroom cabinets where there are medicines. I follow him into the bathroom. If he leaves the room, so do I. My neighbors know to tell me if they see him outside. I buckle and unbuckle his seat belt. I taste his food to make sure it not too hot. Like a worn-out mommy, I’m happy he takes naps and sleeps through the night.


I’ve also realized that even though people like helping and babysitting a well-behaved cute toddler, “Bob-sitting” a badly behaved 83-year-old is NOT something they will volunteer to do!


So, THANKS Kyle for making my parenting job an easy and gratifying one. Although I’m not prepared for the task at hand, at least I didn’t have to go through this madness before. Once is plenty.


But for now, I’m off to bed.
Mommy tip #1: Sleep when your baby sleeps.

BEFORE~~~~~~DURING~~~~~~AFTER

The Times They are a-Changing or Should I Stay or Should I Go?!

Our walks became strolls and then our strolls became stroll/sit.  Then they became sit/stroll/sit with the emphasis on sit.  Now our walks are nearly nonexistent.  Bob’s so tired and quite often just refuses to get out of the car.  He’s been using the rolling walker for quite some time, but he doesn’t connect with the reason he needs it.  Instead of realizing that it’s giving him support, he thinks it’s a burden because he has to push it.  He shoves it at me and says, “you push it”!  I think the next step will be to try using the wheelchair.  I think he’ll fight me on that and just prefer to not go anywhere but we shall see.

That will be a story for another day.

I had three times in a one-week period where I decided to leave Bob at home with someone “Bob-sitting”.   I went off on my own. Just me. It was crazy just how guilty I felt to not include him in what I was doing.

On the first outing, I took great granddaughter Aubri (from Texas, visiting family in SD) to SeaWorld.  It’s always been a special place for us three—mainly for her and her great grandpa.  Bob used to ride the rides with her, and I wouldn’t! But I knew that Bob wouldn’t be able to walk or enjoy a long day there, so I went without him.  Aubri and I had a great time but still I felt like I was cheating or sneaking out!

On the second outing, I went to a dear friend’s memorial service at Miramar National Cemetery followed by a luncheon.  Knowing that I really wanted time to visit with my friends and knowing Bob would get restless, anxious, and need my undivided attention, I opted to again get someone to stay with him. I went on my own.  Every time someone asked me how Bob was doing, I choked up a bit and probably had a few tears in my eyes. Guilt Trip.

Lastly, I attended a funeral and a reception. My decision to not take Bob was based mainly on his current social skills. I really didn’t want him yelling or being disruptive in their church or taking out his false teeth at the luncheon.  Call me uptight but that just wasn’t how I wanted to spend the day—being on edge over his behavior.

So, all in all, I had three nice days spending some time on my own. But I also felt thoughtless about not wanting to take him.  It’s hard to take him places and just as hard to leave him behind. Or maybe ALMOST as hard to leave him behind.  I’m still glad that I made the choices to go alone.

So how did he do with me being away?  GREAT!  My sister Christie had the “Bob-sitting” duty for the SeaWorld Trip and for the day that I went to the memorial service/luncheon.  She also did triple duty and did the morning of the day I went to the funeral. She stayed until Bob’s son Steve could get here for the rest of the afternoon.  I’m so very grateful to them both for helping us out and holding down the fort while I was away from home. No sure why I fretted over it as I don’t think it troubled him at all!  Bob did just fine with both of them and except for a few funny stories there is no drama to report on. Whew…

So, the times they are a-changin.  More and more, Bob won’t want to go anywhere, or I will choose to not take him some places. We’ve been attached at the hip for so very long that any separation seems foreign and uncomfortable. I know that I should give myself permission to have a little free time and self-care, but it feels a bit wrong to leave my hubby behind.

This might tell you just how happy (or delirious) I was to be out and about on my own—when I saw my good friend at her mom’s funeral, I told her “There is no place I would rather be”.  What a dumb statement!  It wasn’t at all what I meant, of course.  What I meant was I was happy to be able to be there with her and happy that I didn’t have to bring Bob along with me.  I’m sure she thought I was a bit off my rocker with how I phrased my thoughts! Thankfully she’s a dear kind friend and understood my craziness.

So here we go on a new chapter of our dementia journey.

And the question remains.  Should I stay or should I go now.

Great Granddaughter Aubri and myself~~~~SeaWorld~~~~~June 2021