Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Hayden + Nursing Home = What Was I Thinking?

Maybe it wasn't the best idea to take Hayden to a nursing home.

Hayden is

my son who talks very loudly...always has...always does...

my son whose mouth throws up EVERY single thought that flies through his brain.

my son who needs to be prepared, as best I can prepare him, for every new thing.

I couldn't prepare him for what we were about to see at the nursing home.

I guess you could figure this out on your own, but just in case you haven't had enough coffee this morning...I've never really been around the elderly, or old people, or senior citizens...I'm sure there is some pc way of talking about this...be gentle...I'm learning. I've never been around the elderly, so go figure...neither have my sons.

We weren't even inside the nursing home before I thought to myself, "I should have at least TRIED to prepare Hayden for this, or in the least, taped his mouth shut before coming into a nursing home."

As we were approaching the door, we had to walk past two ambulances. As we were approaching, both of the back doors were opening, revealing two elderly ladies on stretchers.

I thought, "Oh Jesus...can I do this? God, can I really do this? Death and sickness freak me out. Oh Lord, please...help me."

My thoughts were interrupted by Hayden pointing and talking, in the only register he has...LOUD...saying, "Look mom...are those people dead?"

In retrospect, I should have turned around RIGHT THEN and gone back to the car, given Hayden a firm talk and asked him NOT TO TALK...AT ALL...NOT AT ALL while we were in the nursing home.

Before I could grab him, he said...again...loudly...and very excitedly..."OH...no...they aren't dead, Mom! They are moving."

We walk inside...I made my way to the welcome counter.

Anson and Ashton were obviously overwhelmed by all the wheel chairs, and people who were hunched over...but these two, when overwhelmed, get close to their mother, and silently take things in. How nice.

Not Hayden.

I was trying to talk to the man at the welcome center, and this is what I hear Hayden saying to his silent brothers...

"Look at all these people in wheel chairs." Then, in the middle of his counting, I guess he got overwhelmed with what he was seeing, and so he started saying, "Look at all these people...they are all paralyzed...they can't walk I bet...they are PARALYZED."

I was trying to listen to the activities director tell me about all the volunteer opportunities...actually, I was trying to LOOK like I was listening. I wasn't. I was listening to my insane, loud son say the most ridiculous things. My ears were listening to Hayden...and my arm was DESPERATELY trying to feel for him behind me...where is he? I hear him behind me, but I can't reach him. I'd have to PEEL my other two children off me...but Hayden...he's nowhere near me. All I wanted, in that moment was to reach his hand...his arm, his shoulder, and pull him to me so I could put my hand over his mouth.

Alas...he was too far from me.

While the activities director was going over all the needs of the nursing home, I was nodding, but also daydreaming about a gadget...a gadget I could put in Hayden's pocket or something that when activated, froze him. Could someone invent one of those...I would use it several times a week.

Finally, the activities director had to go find some papers for me to fill out.

I was able to walk over to Hayden, and whisper in his ear..."Do not speak again until we're in the car."

Hayden responded with a confused, "What?"

He was shocked. He always is. It's one of the hardest things about parenting this child...but one of the funniest things as well. He had no idea that anything he said, in such a loud voice was maybe a little "off."

To his confused face I said, "I'll explain it all to you in the car...okay...in the car...but please, please be quiet right now."

While we were waiting on our volunteer papers, a little elderly lady started talking to us. She was overjoyed to see Hudson. She spoke in absolute gibberish. I did not understand a single word. Anson, Ashton and myself just stood there and nodded...and smiled at the sweet lady. Hayden said...loudly..."What is she saying?" I ignored him...but shot him a look...the look to remind him about only talking in the car...and this was NOT the car.

He stopped talking.

For about one minute.

We continued to let the little lady smile and "talk" to Hudson.

Then Hayden said...loudly...."Oh I know. I think she speaks a different language..."

The activities director handed me my papers to fill out so I can volunteer.

Hopefully we'll get to start reading to the residents, painting fingernails...I'm excited.

I got back in the car, and just sat there for a second. I needed to stop sweating. Hayden makes me sweaty a lot. I needed to process everything...and try to remember the 100 things I need to talk about with Hayden before we go back to the nursing home.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry as I sat there in the parking lot.

I decided to laugh.

We all did.


thoughtsbyryan said...

Oh dang... don't put anything past that kid. This made me laugh a lot.

Connie said...

I wrote and re-wrote my comment to the previous post but decided to not comment just in case your visit was sweet and moving.

What I was going to say was..What in the world? 4 kids and you (who is not on the up and up with the elderly) just hall off and go to the nursing home! My, oh, my I can't WAIT to hear what happens.

I have been several times. Just be glad the lady speaking jibberish did not speak cuss-ish really LOUD.

I'd think about that fingernail painting before you dive in.

They LOVE to hear kids sing. It can be a really rewarding experience both ways but no doubt you will come away with some stories.

This can only lead to more great posts.

Judy said...

I usually don't have time to read blogs, much less comment....but THIS IS HILARIOUS!! I lost it when you were trying reach for Hayden while the man was talking to you. Sadie was looking at me funny as I laughed through my tears at the computer screen. Love that Hayden!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I sooo enjoyed this post! My job currently has me going to see our patients in the nursing home, and at first I didn't think I'd like it. Now, I can't imagine ever not doing this! It is so rewarding to visit with these sweet people, and I think after you overcome your "culture shock" you and the kids will enjoy it, too.

The patients really do love kids. Alicia goes with me sometimes and she always has a blast chatting with people. I've even taken Sam on a couple of adventures, but he's a bit like Hayden, so I tend to keep those visits short. I think it is an awesome idea to take your bunch to visit.

I'm not sure what home you went to, but if you need some specific names of patients that are in need of some loving, please contact me. Soooo many of these people are forgotten by their families and would cherish a relationship with another.

Cathy T

Kathryn, Michael and Alex said...

A few months ago Alex got the 20th anniversary of Shark Week...needless to say for a week we watched a lot of shark week.

Then one day when we went to the nursing home, the boys were walking with me and there were two people sitting out front on the porch in wheel chairs, one of them was missing a leg.

Alex saw him andwithout hesitating said..."shark bite".

So funny what they will say.

Bob & Judy said...

Hayden is EXACTLY right for nursing homes.

He's not afraid of people who look or sound or smell different.

He's curious about people. (Can you imagine how long it has been since someone asked them anything besides "how are we feeling today?")

He doesn't think twice about getting involved.

All the boys will be fine.

Take dominoes. And somebody who'll walk around saying, "Anybody wanna play dominoes?"

D.O. said...

I'm so glad you chose to laugh about that. Also, I'm so glad you share things like that with people who have Internet access.

Brooke said...

this was absolutely hilarious. i wish i could take him with me on a day in thailand.... i can't help but laugh just thinking about it!

Molly said...

HILARIOUS! I love it Heather. I love every part of it. I so wish I knew your kids and their personalities, but you give the best descriptions of each of them. I am wondering where Hudson was, maybe hooked to you via a carrier which would make this all funnier.

I am with all the others...just this visit alone was most likely the highlight for the residents who rarely see children. Sadie went last week with my MIL and evidently was a hit!

Thanks for sharing and I have got to go see that movie.

the lewisi female said...

I am laughing so hard I am crying!

The Hargrove Family said...

Oh my gosh, I love that kid! This is so funny...i'm emailing all my friends with little boys right now and telling them to go read this! BTW, I'm proud of you for going to the nursing home, kids or no kids!

Josh Hargrove said...

Awesome. Wish I coulda been there!

Personally, I think you should just let him go to town in there. A nursing home could use the vitality of an unencumbered, candid kid like Heydon.

Ya know, liven the place up a bit!! That's what I think anyway. Then again, I would have been laughing in the nursing home and wouldn't have waited until I got to the car.

Karen said...

That dominoes idea is excellent!! My grandmother, on her 90th birthday needed to tell me she had played "42" the day before.
(By that time she was always in a wheel chair or the bed, and could only move one hand, and was incapable of feeding herself.
Her body was in horrible shape, but her mind was still with all of us.
Truly OLD people love young people who will sit and smile while they tell some memory (and not tell them they have already heard it.)

Lerin said...

"Hayden makes me sweaty lot."

Oh Heather... I can't breathe... laughing too hard...

Have you ever thought of investing in a shock collar?

Hahahahaha... thank you SO much for sharing him with me.