In a couple of my past posts, I told you about some of the tasks I do to help my mom in the kitchen. Do you know what a task is? It is a trained behavior that I recognize and respond to when given specific cues. These tasks help to mitigate my mom’s disability. Oh no, another new word for you! Mitigate means to make less severe. Or in other words . . . I do a special type of work that helps make it easier for my mom!
I told you about helping my mom with the dishes in my post Doing dishes!. And how I help her with the refrigerator in my post A new refrigerator and learning new ways!. Now I’m going to tell you about another important task I do. Opening and closing the cupboard doors and drawers!
Do you like helping in the kitchen? Our kitchen has lots of drawers and cupboard doors that my mom needs help with. Whenever my mom goes into the kitchen I am right there to do whatever she needs me to do for her. Sometimes it is just to help her with making a cup of coffee. Other times she does things that are a bit more involved where she needs lots more help from me. And even sometimes she needs help from my dad.
As you’ve probably noticed my mom’s wheelchair is kind of big. It maneuvers or moves around fairly easily but takes extra time to get positioned and repositioned to open doors or drawers. And some of our kitchen drawers are heavy so they are hard for my mom to use. Sometimes it is even difficult for her to get close enough so she can reach due to the size of her wheelchair. These could all be obstacles for my mom but with my help, she can be as independent as possible.
With so many ropes to tug in the kitchen, you might wonder how I know which one to grab. If she just told me “tug” while sitting in the middle of the kitchen I wouldn’t know which one she needed me to open. I would have to guess which one and guessing is not something I am very good at doing!
So . . . How do I know which door or drawer my mom needs help with? I go by the position of where her chair is facing. I work on both sides of my mom’s chair. “Heel” on the left side and “side” on the right. If my mom is pulled up to the counter and there are drawers on both sides of her she will tell me which side she wants me on. Then when she says “tug” I know that she wants the drawer opened that is in front of me.
Remember how I told you that I need to practice doing all of my skills so I don’t forget how to do them? “Side” is a good example of one that I don’t use very often. Like I’ve told you before, my mom has limited use of her right hand and arm. So she seldom needs me to work on that side. But every once in a while it is best for me to be there. I will open the drawer for her and she reaches across with her left hand to get what she needs. It is challenging for my mom to do it this way but sometimes it is just the best way at that moment. If I didn’t practice I might not be ready!
As you can see in the video there is a drawer and a shelf in the cupboard that are down low. For the drawer, my mom taught me “down bottom” so I would know when she needed that one opened. She most always just needs me to open the top one but I listen closely so I know which one she wants me to do. For the shelf in the cupboard, she can just tell me “tug” because it is the only one there that she needs me to help with.
I love my job and I am always ready to help my mom with whatever she needs. With the assistance I provide for her she is able to do more things independently. I also help with saving her energy so we can spend more time doing the fun things she enjoys.
I hope you are enjoying my blog as much as I’m enjoying sharing with all of you. Let me know if you have any questions. Or topics of interest that you would like me to write about. Remember to subscribe so you don’t miss any of my posts. And share with your friends so they, too, can learn about me and my mom!
A short video that shows how I open and close a couple of the drawers for my mom. I also show you a low shelf in a cupboard that she needs me to pull out for her. A tight space but I learned how to do it like a pro! See how happy I am when helping my mom!
Thanks Brenda & Buffy! You are such a fun team to watch, so much love & joy.
My name is Robbie & I’ve been helping my Ma for 3+ years as her SuperHero. I get so happy when I get to learn new things & I love the voice my mom uses when she’s telling me how great I’m doing. My Ma may be broken… & IDK what to do: Buffy does your Mom ever have Training slumps? I overheard my Ma telling somebody she’s broken, but I don’t think they meant like when we picked Mom up from hospital; they also mentioned a weird word~ Grief. I hate that word because my life has changed ever since that word. Buffy, do you think there’s a way to fix my Ma? She still has a list of stuffs she wants to teach me & I just KNOW my Ma would use a happy voice, plus I’ve got her tricked into using so many good Treat options. I just want to be happy with my Ma again & I miss Training. TIA for any advice you have Buffy & Brenda
Thanks so very much for your comment and your very kind words. I am so happy to hear that you and your Ma are enjoying my blog. My mom and I sure are having fun doing the blog. Comments and encouraging words like yours touch us deeply!
Yay for you being a SuperHero to your Ma! I am sure you are a great helper and are doing an awesome job. You must feel as important as I do to have such a special job. Hearing them use that exciting voice when we respond and help is such a great feeling… and the treats are pretty good, too!
My mom occasionally gets in training slumps where we don’t practice our skills as much as we should and we also don’t work on new things during a slump. During these times my mom tries to set tiny goals so she doesn’t feel overwhelmed by a big training plan or unrealistic expectations. It can be hard when a person has a disability or is living with a chronic illness because there are definitely days where just getting the simple things done become challenging. I am very fortunate because those days seem very few and far between for my mom but when they do happen it makes me feel sad and helpless. I usually just try to give her extra snuggles and stay close by in case there are ways I can help. From experience I know we will be back to better days soon.
I am sorry to hear that your Ma is feeling broken and experiencing grief. Those sure are difficult things to work through. My mom finds that talking with friends or journaling sometimes helps her feel better. She also will start the day with a tiny list of things she would like to get done but is also kind to herself if she doesn’t accomplish everything. She also told me Grief can be huge and sometimes it is helpful to talk with a professional to work through those feelings.
Thanks again, Robbie, for your comment and for reading my blog! You are doing an awesome job with trying to find ways to help your Ma. Wishing you both the very best…