Dear Amy, My husband and I have a teenage son with special needs. After more than a year on the waiting list, we finally have an in-home therapist.
“Darla” comes three mornings a week to wake him up and help him get dressed and ready for school.
This gives me rare and much-needed breaks.
My husband, who works from home, lets Darla into our house. I usually stay in my room and sleep in or just enjoy the quiet until it’s time to take my son to school.
Darla doesn’t see everything I do when she’s not around.
I’ve gotten hints that she thinks I’m lazy and that my poor husband is being teased. (He doesn’t feel that way.)
She also seems to have a crush on my husband and finds excuses to have a chat with him. She drives him crazy, because she’s trying to work.
I sent Darla a text asking her not to bother him unless she absolutely had to.
She didn’t reply to the text, but she stopped interrupting him so much.
Recently, after I let her in one morning, she told my son that he was slacking off because his mother got up before him.
I didn’t say anything to this backhanded comment, but I’m furious!
Darla is good to my son, and if I fire her, it would take me months to find a replacement.
How can I keep her, but get her attitude under control?
– Curious Mom
Dear Mom, Your concerns are related to boundaries and communication. “Darla” could have come to her home after working with other clients who have a different lifestyle and communication style.
If she’s good with her son, then that positive dynamic should be her main concern. It’s important to keep this in mind as you course correct and adjust for each other.
First, you commented to your son that he was “slacking off” because you got up before him. To me, this seems like a light-hearted comment that, based on his son’s dynamics and abilities, could easily be seen as a playful nudge, establishing a relationship with him.
You should examine if you have taken it completely badly, caused by your other discomforts. However, if this type of comment makes her child feel bad or anxious, then Darla should be corrected on issues related to tone.
You and your husband should sit with her. Start with positive comments about the work that needs to be done. Review some basics about home.
Your husband should make it clear that his workday has already started when she arrives in the morning: “So after I let you in, I have to go straight to work. It’s better if I don’t get interrupted, unless it’s important.
And does it give clues that you are lazy? Unless these are openly expressed, I sincerely suggest that you stop worrying.
Dear Amy, I wonder what to say to an elderly relative who is so high on her pain medication that she slurred her words, but still wants to hold my baby.
It is unclear if they know how intoxicated they are, however they often admit (after the fact) how they “overdo it” on their medication so they can see family; otherwise their grief will prevent them from leaving the house to see family.
My question is, how do we politely say “no” to holding the baby, or do we just have to be very close while the baby is held until the baby grows out of the holding stage?
There is another option?
– no hurt feelings
Dear No Hurt: Your elderly relative has already admitted that she “overdid” her painkillers to get out of the house. This is concerning, and my suggestion is that any family member who has the closest care relationship with this relative should be informed and encouraged to review medication and dosage options with the doctor.
In the moment, you can respond, “You seem unsteady today and the baby might get fussy, so I’m going to sit next to you and hold the baby myself.”
Dear Amy: “Underrated” wrote about his grandfather’s favoritism toward his accomplished, athletic cousins, one of whom attended an Ivy League school “on a football scholarship.”
Ivy League schools do not offer athletic scholarships.
– Alert reader
Dear Reader: Many readers noticed this. Although this error was not central to the issue presented by “Underappreciated”, I thank you all for the correction.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @asking either Facebook.)