Shoving? What kind of mom is entitled to shove her sons every day? To be honest, I’ve done my share of shoving, pushing, pulling, lifting one leg then the other, grabbing an arm here and there, and rolling bodies back and forth over the past 36 years.
Less shoving and pulling today? Yep, a lot less because the weather has taken a turn and is warmer this morning. I’ve been waiting for this day for the past several months. No long-sleeved shirts and jackets to deal with. Whew, that day is today!
This might be difficult for you to understand but dressing some of my sons can become a physical workout for me. Each is a bit different but I still have to shove, pull and roll regardless of no need for jackets. The ones with cerebral palsy can be challenging, even when they are small. But these grown men are much heavier than they were years ago and I must use almost every muscle in my body to get them dressed.
So, when I try to put an arm through a sleeve, instead of pushing a hand through the armhole as you and I do, I must bunch up the sleeve, try to bend my son’s elbow, put my hand in and pull my son’s arms through. Needless to say, when I am trying to pull, their muscles usually are telling them to do the opposite! When dressing, it’s wise to start with the arm that is most affected (the one that won’t bend more easily). I normally don’t talk while I am dressing my sons because I feel it can be distracting and make them more difficult to dress. I have no idea if this is true but it’s the way I accomplish this task in record time!
Some are easier to put shirts on while on their beds and others do better if they are in their wheelchairs. Stretchy shirts are much easier but who wants to wear stretchy shirts every day? And…most are a bit less spastic when the weather becomes warmer. The weather forecast for all week is to be warm and I look forward to spending about five to eight minutes less in the morning dressing each son.
After you get the hang of what to do and what works best for the physically challenged individual, things tend to become routine. But you must remember to flatten pockets or they’ll be sitting on a bunched up ball of material all day. Same goes with tags in the neck of the shirts – it’s probably wise to remove them but I tend not to do so. Maybe tomorrow I should go through all the shirts and cut out the tags?
Socks can be another concern, especially for those who are spastic and push their feet in their shoes. I always try to make certain the seam on the sock toe is not rubbing. This has become a big problem for Ben and his toes became very sore and even infected one year. Now he wears open-toed sandals with socks and I make certain I pull the socks loose at the toes.
I still have to shove and roll quite a bit to do underwear and pants. Then of course deal with zippers and buttons or be lazy and use pants with elastic waistbands. However, that can make it more difficult to take them to the bathroom throughout the day.
Continue pulling and shoving – yep! I’ll continue but a little less for the next couple of months and my sons will just have to bear with me.