My earliest memory is being on the phone with my mother as she told me I had a new baby sister. I was so excited! Mom said she would bring the baby home to meet me in time for my 2nd birthday in 3 days.
I would grab a diaper, wipes, or burp cloth with extreme speed and accuracy. Mom could count on me to care for this tiny, often crying, sweet baby sister, who was so helpless. I was a secondary caregiver at 2 years old!
A short 15 months later, it happened again!
My mom was a baby-making machine! She had 4 kids in 5 years!! This time mom brought home a baby brother for me to help take care of. I called him my “chubby bubby” as he was a round little guy with an insatiable appetite. By now, I was an expert babysitter, at least in my 3 ½-year-old brain.
I adored my younger siblings and enjoyed helping mom. I had this cute little doll stroller that worked wonderfully for my babies, so one day, I decided to put my chubby little brother in it and take him for a stroll down the hallway.
Let’s just say things did not go as planned.
His weight was too much for my toy stroller to handle, and the seat quickly split apart, leaving him stuck with his diaper on the ground and feet and arms in the air! I started crying over my beloved stroller being ruined. This was NOT the plan! My plan was to have a peaceful stroll down the long hallway; it definitely did not involve a ripped stroller, screaming baby, and arms and legs flailing wildly, hitting and kicking me as I tried to help him! While all these emotions were swirling, I knew I had to remedy the situation, so I began untangling him from the ripped seat and hoisting him to safety.
Once I freed him, he calmed down and lay there playing with a wheel. I stared at the stroller, trying to decide how best to repair it. I wasn’t old enough to use a sewing machine, so I decided on duct tape. I knew it was in the garage, so I grabbed it and quickly taped it around the bars to make a new seat. It worked wonderfully! Dad was less than impressed with the amount I used, but I wanted to be sure he didn’t break through again! Problem solved.
My entire life, I learned to use what was available to solve a problem and create a solution. Just like the duct tape at 3 1/2 years old, I teach people how to react quickly using whatever is at hand to solve a caregiving problem.
Ever feel like you’re on your own with no help available? I can help you find help! Ever had your loved one punch at you while you’re assisting them? I have, and I have solutions.
My name is Debbie Compton, and I’m a 3x caregiver for parents with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and vascular dementia. I’m a certified caregiving consultant and certified caregiver advocate. Founder of The Purple Vine, keynote speaker, and author of 9 books.
My passion is empowering caregivers with tools to reduce stress and avoid burnout.
My website is www.ThePurpleVine.com
On it, you’ll find information, resources, and a way to join my tribe. Let’s join forces today to make life less stressful and more joyful. Together we can!