Along this journey of parenthood and disability, Murray and I haven't had much time off - especially together. We haven't accessed any respite services - mainly because I don't trust anyone else to look after my baby! Also the idea of sending my baby to a respite centre is just unthinkable at this stage.
Well, the Spastic Centre have hit upon a genius respite idea and we are lucky enough to be part of the program. We are receiving respite funding for the next 12 months and the program is designed to be completely flexible and user-friendly for the families. So user friendly in fact that they just give you cash and you can spend it however you wish to access respite. You can use it to pay an agency, or (here is the good bit) you can nominate your friends and family to be the respite workers and you can pay them to look after your kids! You can also use the money to pay for the respite activities themselves. For example we can use the money to pay Aunty Kellie (who the kids LOVE) to mind the children, AND use the money to pay the restaurant bill when Murray and I go out for dinner.
The program goes for 1 year and comprises two payments of $500 - woohoo!
So, the obvious question is "What to do?" I'd love to hear your ideas about what you use as respite. What works for you? So far I am thinking Murray and I will use it to go out just the two of us a couple of times, and we might also try and do a few activities with Emma and Audrey that they would love but would send Ashlea nuts (maybe the Easter Show or a kids concert). I'd love to hear your suggestions and hear what has worked for you and your families.
Totally unrelated to respite, I just had to post this pic of Ashlea - she had her first piggy tales today. She has an unruly mop of hair - the front is always hanging in her face and the back looks like a wild birdnest - so we decided to try pig tales as the solution.
PS You will also notice I am using Murray's real name - he has not read this blog in ages so I figure what he doesn't know won't hurt him ... Actually it will be interesting to see how long it takes for him to realise!