Thursday, February 26, 2009

Octuplet Mom and Autistic child and Babysitter adventures or nightmares

This ended up being a combination of two posts …

First off I wanted to ask if you’ve heard the latest about the newest mother of 14. I’m talking about the single, unemployed mom who has given birth to octuplets (3rd in the world) in addition to her other 6 children. I know, trust me, it’s just as hard to write that number as it is to read it. But I’ve just learned that one of her children has autism. Good grief! And as you may already know, the chances of one (or more) of the newest 8 also having autism is higher for her because she already has an autistic child (and same donor); next to the fact that these children could have other issues like PDD or other disabilities that preemies are at risk for.

This mom is in her early 30s, done with having children—We. Can. Only. Hope. And is now going to care for 8 newborns—again, that’s eight babies--all at once! And not including her other 6 young kids—that’s six! Equals 14. And she’s going to do all of this while going back to school for her master’s degree in psychology. HELLO!! And, psychology? now isn’t that ironic? I mean, who in their right mind would ever think about potentially having 14 kids (IVF), with no job, no money, almost no house, and no husband… and don’t forget, one of her kids is autistic. Now that’s a real question! More about her story here.

Good grief. I know, I said that already! Now one could either bow to her and worship the saintly ground that she walks on or call her an unfit mother for being, well—selfish. Selfish for putting her needs and her wants before the welfare of her children… again, ironic.

And what’s on everyone's mind now is an interview with the doctor (Dr. Michael Kamrava ) who implanted the 6 embryos when the single mom already had 6 other children and questionable mental health issues. The state medical board apparently also wants one, too, and is now investigating.

Personally, I could barely handle 2 autistic kids as a stay at home mom--with a house, and a working husband. And as my kids grew to 2 and 3, I was cranky and exhausted and I could only dream of having a babysitter… at least. I guess octuplet-mom is now getting one (or perhaps a crew) and thank goodness for the sake of the children—read here.

Which leads me to tell you about my adventures with babysitters. Funny, sad, pathetic?—you tell me: One day a wonderful (saint) older woman—who was also a family friend— begged to come and baby-sit for me. I was too busy laughing hysterically before realizing that she wasn’t kidding. I, of course, took her up on the offer and was determined to have a good time out—considering that I thought it would be my last…

This wonderful woman drove almost an hour to get to our house. We greeted her at the door with huge smiles and hugs, seated her at a nice spot on the couch--perfectly placed in front of the TV, clicker in hand. We hosted (bribed) her with appetizers and beer—poured before her very eyes into a freshly chilled glass… Now how many people give their sitter a beer? huh? Case in point—we were desperate! We had made sure that she was all set and that our children were freshly washed and in their pjs with books piled up high before them on the couch hoping that they looked, well, busy for a while--or at least until we actually left the front porch …. And ran to our car … burning rubber out the driveway…

But it worked out great and the babysitter actually came back, too.

But then one day we got cheeky and moved. We moved away for the sake of our sanity and our children’s education… (a little inside joke there). We moved to an ocean-side community and to more educational opportunities… and more babysitters, too? Well that was a different story.

We had money from the Arc for a PCA (personal care attendant) and then we received even more funding (DOE Fund) for Meghan through the state (DMR) because of the severity of her disability. This fund is usually given to people whose next option would be residential school. It was a desperate attempt to keep her home… But, the hidden secret to this hopeful promise was that the choices of helpers had become a huge problem in itself, hence…

Babysitter from hell number 1: she was a young 21-year-old pathological liar. Yes, one discovers this sort of thing when one has an almost daily presence in your home. And the stories would keep you entertained for days… and did. Let me humor you with a little taste: Lie #1, she was in college—an almost finished—with her degree in speech therapy. Uh, Nope—lie. Lie # 2, she actually had a car to get to work. Uh, NO. Lie # 3, she broke her arm one day and had to go to a bone specialist—her exact words. The very next day she came back to work with no cast, but a sling, and was using her, um, broken arm on numerous occasions w/o the aide of her “cast-sling-thing”… Then one day, she just never came back. No call, nothing.

Babysitter from hell number 2: a real college student (studying for her OT license)--oh yay, you say? Come to learn very quickly that she had no interest in the field. None. Actually, she had no interest in babysitting either. None. Actually, she was afraid of my kids and wouldn’t go near them unless forced, actually!

Babysitter from hell number 3: She was a culinary arts teacher who got laid off and told me that she really, really, really wanted the job. After about, what--10 minutes-- let’s just say, she was working with Meghan and Nick took a temper tantrum which caused Meghan to cry out and scare babysitter number 3 and bye-bye babysitter number 3, because she grabbed her jacket and ran out of my house … really fast!

And last but not least, babysitter number 4 was really special. She was about 20 and told me a few days after I had hired her that she was pregnant… Oh, joy! So what do you think happened next? Well let’s just say, to an observing eye, it may have appeared that I was working for her… Hard to fire someone who obviously needed a job, now isn’t it? I did get lucky though, because she was confined to bed rest early in her pregnancy and had to stop working … Yahoo! Then she went on welfare.

I was done. Done! Did you hear me, DONE!

Then something wonderful and almost magical happened--my brother--my flesh and blood who would do me no wrong, decided to take the job. Ahhh, and cue that oh so familiar song: Hallelujah….

Oh, and I do hope the best for octuplet-mom and her 14 kids …


Tanya @ Teenautism said...

Ah, the babysitter dilema! I never had much success in this area either. First we tried daycares, and none would take Nigel, so we had to find a babysitter. The first was a high schooler who had special needs siblings, so I figured she would be competent. She sat for us once and said that she was too busy to do it anymore, but she recommended a friend of hers. The friend babysat for about a month until I came home and discovered that she was watching Jerry Springer while Aidan (with his SPD) was sitting in a sopping wet diaper. Then we had an adult male friend agree to watch the boys two afternoons a week. Just about every other week he was either calling to say he was sick or had an injury, or he just didn't show up. But when he DID show up, he was great with the kids and they loved him. So we kept him for several months until my ex moved 700 miles away, and I needed someone 5 afternoons a week. Instead I reduced my work hours so that I could be home at 3:00 every day. I did that for over six years. Gah!

Shea's Mom said...

Glad you brought up the Octo-mom. What a train wreck. I - cant-quite-not-watch. I feel for those kids. And, her parents.

I heard that not only is one of the first six autistic but 2 others have issues too. So, it is not a good situation.

I think they should scrutinize the heck out of that doctor and hang him up by his AMA license.


Well Dear Holly you seem to always make me smile, I feel your pain because i've watched you go thrue these babysitters!! How discouraging, but it was always fun to hear your stories about these dingdongs you made light about these situations and always seem to move foward with a smile. I am encouraged by your strength time and time again. God Bless you my friend!!!!!!

Casdok said...

Yes i would like to hear what Dr. Michael Kamrava has to say.

I also have money for a PA and i employ my best friend and it works really well. Hope your brother is working out :)

babs m said...

The ultimate in irresponsibility. Ultimate. Irresponsible. *shudder*

I'm preparing a post on this one, both from the perspective of a mom with many children, AND from a mom with children with special needs. Also from the point of view of an attorney who represents parents in Child Protective cases. But haven't got there yet.

But I hope she takes that degree in psychology and USES it on herself!