Thursday, June 25, 2009


I survived Mom's visit. I'm recovering now. It went okay. She had a great time playing with Bugaboo. Munchkin was whiny and a bit mouthy. It's a stage she is going through, and we're working on it. But it didn't sit well with mom. I felt like a rubber band stretched between doing the "mom" role and correcting Munchkin versus the "cheerleader" wanting to say, "you give it to her. Say all the things I never said," versus the "oh my gosh, she is rocking the boat" versus the "Mom will not see me as a good mother now. Whatever will I do?" versus the "honor munchkin's right to feel like she feels" versus "correcting any disrespect by Munchkin." Needless to say my head hurts from all that boing-ing around. Munchkin thinks my mom has a "mean face." That struck me, because mom doesn't smile a lot. So she does look kind of fierce and stern. Interesting that Munchkin picked up on it.
Mom remarked to me that "munchkin seems to think she is in charge." I don't think it's that - Munchkin is just very bossy lately. My Husband got into a bad habit of doing things for her when our morning routine changed and we needed to get out the door quick. Easier to dress her, brush her teeth, comb her hair, than insist she do it herself. Only now Munchkin is demanding, "you bring me my shoes." At one point she made a very smart-alec remark to Mom and my Mom said, "hey" in a stern voice. Munchkin ran and hid, which is what she does when I say something to her. I let Munchkin have her space, and then went and talked with her about her tone and needing to be respectful. Munchkin just snuggled up and said, "she is mean Mommy. She doesn't like me." She wouldn't elaborate as to why she felt that way. I told her it was fine for her to feel that way, but she did need to not talk back. If she felt something was wrong, she could come talk to me and I would handle it.
If Munchkin had acted the way she did and no one was visiting, she'd have spent the day in her room alone. But I didn't want to do that when Mom visits so infrequently. On the other hand, I don't want her getting away with back-talk. Then too, I think my daughter is confused. When I picked her up yesterday, she was super excited about seeing Grandma. When we pulled in the driveway, she jumped out and ran over, pointing at her fishing pole. Grandma said, "hi, can I have a kiss and hug?" Munchkin just pointed. She wanted Grandma to ask about it. Grandma thought she was being ignored and so ignored her back and came over and focused on Bugaboo. That started things off on the wrong foot.
Munchkin is very protective of Bugaboo. She likes to help out anyway. But when others are around, she really wants to help out. So when Mom tried to feed Bugaboo a bottle, play with him, rock him or anything, Munchkin wanted to do it instead. Mom then said "no I'm having a turn." I know that if I let Munchkin hold him, he fusses about 1 minute later, and she is done. I often let her start helping with the diaper changes or bottle. She gets bored quick and then I can finish up.
Munchkin really likes imagination games. They are not my favorite but I play along sometimes. We went outside and she wanted to play pretend school or house. She wanted to be my baby and have Bugaboo be Grandma's baby. My mom does not engage in imagination games. Mom prefers board games, but does not tolerate cheating. And since my husband thinks it is great fun to cheat and get away with it, teaching Munchkin not to cheat is a lost cause.
Mom wants to talk to me and catch up. Which is great, but Munchkin isn't able to be patient for too too long. She does say "excuse me" and wait a minute. But that's about the extent of it. Husband and I have worked on making her wait a little bit longer - at first we stopped when she said excuse me, then at the end of a sentence, then at the end of a thought. Mom just kept talking and talking. Husband and I have the ability to talk in between playing with Munchkin. Mom isn't used to multi-tasking like that. So Munchkin got impatient and felt ignored.
At night, I was reading with Munchkin and had her read a bit to me. She turned and said "Grandma can't see the picture." Husband said, "why is that?" Mom said, "she's being mean. She's been mean to me all day." I wasn't sure how to take that. Munchkin was being irritable. But who is to say she can't be like that sometimes. I want her to be able to express herself but in a respectful manner. And my own emotions get all entangled where Mom is concerned so I'm not sure where to draw that line.
I was really glad to see Mom go. I was exhausted. Bugaboo took a really long nap yesterday evening. I went to VBS. Did not take mom. She didn't really want to go, and I think she wanted some time with Bugaboo without Munchkin trying to be all in the middle. So Husband stayed home and did some yard work. Mom took Bugaboo in the stroller to the end of the street and back. He fell asleep and slept a long time. So he was up almost all night. I'm exhausted. But the sleep issue is another long post and vent.
When Grandma left, Munchkin ran and got in the car. Our routine is to see who can get in and buckled up faster. It's me and Bugaboo versus her. She looked a bit sad and said "I don't want Grandma to leave." I asked if she wanted to give a hug and she said, "Have grandma come here." So I relayed that to Mom, who walked over. Munchkin was playing at hiding her face. She wanted Mom to tickle her or play back. But Mom took it as rejection. So she said, "you don't have to hug or kiss me, but I'll give you one." All the way to school, Munchkin was saying, "I want Grandma to stay."
I see in Munchkin such a mix of feelings and emotions. I know I have the same mix in me.
So it's recovery mode now. Trying to find that delicate balance between processing thoughts and emotions, but keeping from being overwhelmed versus stuffing them and never dealing with them. It's a very jittery day.


austin said...

this woman has no understanding of children and no ability to step outside of herself. no insight what so ever. her blindness baffles me.

austin said...

me again.....

borderline parents add to the difficulty of knowing how to manage a situation. they're often toxic and offer hidden threats. if you do this you'll hear about it or have some sort of consequence. there will be some sort of price to pay for not being their duplicate.

i'm not sure how much you know about being the child of a borderline parent. if you are able do extensive reading on it. stuff you might think is crazy for you to think you'll find is quite normal for being the child of a borderline parent.

i wonder how often pedophiles seek out borderline parents and if they know specifically what to look for.


Casey said...

I can sense your tiredness....all the way from there to here. It sounds like you had some difficulties...but you handled things well.

You actually have given me a little insight. My own mom was very loving...with her own kids. For the longest time, I was the only one with children and I didn't live close. My mom was fine with interacting with them, but she became very frustrated when they became what I viewed as "typically" obnoxious. I remember thinking, that I raised my own kids so much differently than I was raised. We did not dare talk back to any adult. My kids were little during the era where we finally realized that littles have a right to feelings...and that when they said something it needed to be validated and trusted. You know what I mean. So..I thought my mom's lack of real closeness with my kids was a combo of not really knowing them, and not liking the child rearing methods utilized.

I guess I often find myself in the same boat now. My grandsons are wonderful, but they are extremely demaning. My Jennifer...has been of the mindset of "everything all day" is for the kids. She is a wonderful loving mother. She runs a home business, so she is there all the time, and can do her business work at night. Her day is spent doing any and all that the children want. I don't have a problem with that. However...its hard when I am with them. Old instincts take over...and I don't want to be cranky. But I will bet my grandsons thought I had a mean face...or 2 or 3 where I was there to visit.

Cripe...I feel like crap now. I am a couple thousand miles away from them, so when I see them I want to make the best of it. I had lots and lots of cuddles when there though. One thing today that gives me hope...the oldest was invited to a birthday party the day before I was to come home. He went to his mom and told her he didn't feel right about going, that he wanted to spend the time with me. I was touched...very touched, and talked with him. Told him to go and enjoy the party...and he and nanna would visit when he came home. He did...and we did.

Thank you Enola...your post today is very important to me.


Kahless said...

Enola, I love it that you listen to your kids feelings.

Austin - what do you mean by borderline parents?

Marj aka Thriver said...

Hearing about everything you've been through lately just makes my head spin. Yes, take care of yourself and take all the time you need to "recover." (((((((Enola))))))

prochaskas said...

I don't have a high tolerance for much direct interaction with other people's kids. Even at home with my own I need to take some breaks and have some parallel or independent time. But I am working on being gracious about it -- and it's not that I expect a kid to act more mature than they are, it's just that I realize that I do better when I get some time apart.

I know I'm not your mother, and don't know her, so I'm not saying she's definitely like me in this regard.

lawyerchik said...

Wow! It sounds like you had an exhausting time!! Sometimes, all you can do is do the best you can and trust that God will cover any flubs with His grace.... I hope you get a chance to rest, Enola! It sounds like you need it - especially with VBS and Mom visiting, on top of two little ones at very "interesting" ages....


bdreamer said...

Your mother sounds very immature, as if she feels the need to compete with your kids for your time and attention.

I think you handled things very well. It is important for your daughter to learn not to be disrespectful, but you allowed her to express how she felt. That's something all kids need, the freedom to be honest. I never had that and, after reading this post, I'm pretty certain you didn't either.