Archive | October 2011

Sandwiched

I’ve been very preoccupied lately with the finances of my mother.  You know how efficient I am with paperwork and all that.  Not.  Anyway, finally did a budget of a sort and it’s apparent that she’s going to run out of my money in a few years if I don’t make some hard decisions.  The present agency charges at least a couple thousand every month or so and I have to find a cheaper alternative.  Or cut back on the hours.  I hate to affect her present companion’s employment as she is very good but I hate the fact that mum is running out of money more.   Also I have to find the time to get someone to clean out her storage locker and physically move stuff into a smaller one.   We went in a few years ago and labelled the keep, donate and throw away items, but have not returned (it’s way out of the way) to actually clear it out.  It will be more efficient to hire one of those come pick up my crap trucks.  Then her storage bill should be cut in half.

Also, I told mum’s hairdresser that I don’t want her hair relaxed or coloured any more.  Number one reason is that it’s extremely difficult for me to bring her out for appointments.  Mum can barely walk and I’m practically carrying her.  She does have a wheelchair but that does not make things any easier as the salon is tiny and frankly I don’t have the time anymore.  I’d rather spend the time visiting with her.  On the weekend, I doublebooked myself with her hair appointment and my BF’s daughter’s  2nd birthday party.  So while hubby and the Precious took the bus, I drove downtown and picked up mum and took her to get her hair cleaned up.  It’s been a mess.  Yes, they wash it at the home, but for some reason this year, it is continually matted, left for days and it looks terrible.  Yes, I’ve bought appropriate hair care items, but they always seem to get lost and short of me going there and doing it myself, it’s not getting done properly.  They don’t have anyone there who knows how to take care of African Canadian hair apparently and I’m sick of explaining it.  My mother (like her daughter) has always been vain about her hair and I know it’s important to her. When we arrived, I opened the door and she was kind of half leaning on me and I was focussing in on trying to get her over the threshold and I didn’t notice her pants had dropped to her ankles.  Lovely, eh?  A lady getting her hair done jumped up and pointed it out to me and she held onto the door and my purse so I could pick up her pants, and finally get her inside to a chair.  I actually told her that I was fine, that I didn’t help, can you believe it?  By the time, she was all finished, I was trying to get her coat back on and it wasn’t going well.  Kinda like trying to get a toddler dressed.  Mum’s face all screwed up and she said, “Don’t boss me!”   She was right.  I apologized sincerely and said, “Never mind, mum, it’s not that cold out anyway” and eventually we made it into the car.  I dropped her off hurriedly back on the first floor and by the time I got to the birthday party, I was wound up feeling guilty for “dumping” my mother off and not arriving with my family to the party earlier.  Now, it didn’t really matter to anyone, my kid barely noticed me as he careened around after a 4 year old girl in a bouncy castle, hubby was enjoying talking to his friends and my mum, well, she’s demented, so I doubt she’ll hold it against me.  But this is what I do and I just stress myself out not asking for help.  Of course, it is problematic when there is no other family member  to help mum out.

I knew this would happen one day, but I’m running out of steam trying TO DO IT ALL BY MYSELF at the expense of myself.  My Precious is teething and tantruming up a storm.  My back is aching.  What happens is that I rush around like a chicken with its heads cut off and I blabber and complain to anyone in earshot.

Kinda like my own mother did.  Yep. Good grief.

Gratitude.  My mother is still with me, I have an amazing child, my hubby still loves me and I have some amazing friends.  And I don’t have to do it all by myself.

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More grey hairs

First of all I just want to say thank you for your support.  When I wrote my last post, it was a pretty darn messy with grammar and punctuation.  I had been trying to write it in bits and pieces and kept getting interrupted.  I appreciate your empathy; it was like a warm internet -y hug.  Why am I not in therapy… oh yeah, spent that money on IVF and adoption.  Hah!

Wanna get some grey hairs and lose sleep, all within 24 hours – have your toddler scramble out of his crib and hit the floor.  Twice. He’s fine, I’m  not.

The Precious  has been acting weird lately.  In that toddler fine one second, crying the next kind of way.  He’s teething, not sleeping well, whining a lot and gets clingy when either one of us tries to leave.  I used to be able to drop him at the childminding when I went to the gym – now he screams and cries like he’s being flayed alive.  When the other mothers come to pick up their kids after a class and I’m not there right away, he starts up again.

He’s waking up at night whinging, crying and when I go in to calm and reassure him, well, he fake sleeps on me and won’t go back to bed choosing to cling to me for dear life.  I give him Advil before bedtime but it doesn’t seem to make a difference.  Not sure why he started doing this, is it nightmares or teething or what?  Then hubby has to go in and bounce him on his knee for 20 minutes.    But we put a stop to that once we realized he was getting used to the nightly cuddle and bottle of milk.  Now we just tell him to go back to bed.  That worked for a bit.  Until yesterday when he woke up unexpectedly early from a nap and thinking he was still hungry, I went in to give him milk.  Then I put him back in the crib and closed the door.  I’ve done this before and it’s never been a problem.  This time, he got hysterical and before I even got two steps away, I hear hysterical crying then a THUD.  I swoop in and scoop him off the hardwood floor, checking for bumps on his head.  He cried for about 30 seconds and then started to play with his fire station.  Apparently he just didn’t want to sleep anymore.

I call DH who was out walking the dog.   I’m teary, but relieved he’s fine.  We go out that evening with friends who flew in for the weekend.  I get tipsy and have a perfectly lovely evening.  Our friends are seasoned parents and it was really nice to get some supportive chat with the wife.  We think there’s no way he’s going to try that stunt again.   Last night, the Precious starts whinging again at about 1:30am.  Hubby yells at him to go back to sleep.  But this time, the crying ramps up and I hear that hysterical tone again.  I hesitate briefly before I decide that perhaps he needs some Advil for his teeth.  Maybe I should just go in and …. THUD!  –  We both fly in and he’s fine, daddy gives him a stern lecture about not climbing out of his crib (yes, the mattress is on the lowest setting, but the kid is tall and nimble).  I throw a king size pillow and blankets on the floor and proceed to stay up til 4:30 in the morning worrying, unable to sleep at all.  The sleeplessness nights are back.

Tonight, we padded the floor with pillows and a duvet, but tomorrow, we’re converting the crib into a toddler bed.  I’m pretty darn sure that’s going to create another problem, but it’s hubby’s idea.  I don’t think the Precious is quite ready for that, as he will surely just slide out of bed and start wandering around his room or pounding on the door.  It’s worth a try, I guess.  I suppose I could get a net or something to put on top of his crib, but it might freak him out even more.  Oh, boy. More toddler fun. Whee.

 

 

 

Gobble gobble

We just had our Thanksgiving this past weekend.  So I suppose I should be in a more grateful state of mind, but I was quite moody.  We went to the island to spend a couple days with the in-laws.  I was a bit sad, I admit, I had my mum on my mind quite a bit.  As a matter of fact, the second I went to the store to get some flowers for my mother in law, my phone rings and it’s the home and for the umpteenth time they’ve found her on the floor of her room, agitated because she’s soiled herself.  (They call me every single time there’s an “incident”.)    These days, the phone calls are a regular occurrence.  I dread seeing the number on my cell phone.  Is she dead, is he injured, is she in the emergency room?

I’m stating the obvious, but when you have a kid, it really highlights the importance of family.  You know, having a grandma and grandpa to spoil your kid with lots of attention.  My husband has always had a real tight relationship with his parents and we spend as much time with them as possible.  Not that his family tree is perfect or anything, but it certainly underscores my dysfunctional, broken family.  That’s nobody’s fault, it’s just the way it is.   I’ve never had a great relationship with my family, as in actually ENJOYING any length of time socializing with them.  Being able to confide in them.   And now that I can enjoy watching my son interact with his grandparents, well, my mother  is demented and the other members of my family are miles away and unable or unwilling to be a part of my life.  And I get tired of carrying it all around.  I get weary.  I’ve dealt with the caring for my mother for so long and I’m used to it.  Her latest slide downward though is hard to handle.  Hard to believe but I actually miss the days where she would come over for dinner once a week and DH would tease her about  which group Burton Cummings use to sing with  “The Who.” mum says.  “Yeah, mama, that’s what I’m asking  – WHO did he used to sing for?”  “THE WHO?!”  She’d wander around hiding things and dusting the blinds with the Swiffer,  She have a beer and I’d have to lower her down onto the toilet and pull up her pants for her.  Now she sits in her wheelchair and repeats, “Hey” or other phrases over and over again.  She is off any mental health meds, so now I can actually see the vulnerability in her eyes.  I can SEE she’s lost in there somewhere.   Her one front tooth has to be pulled and her dentist wants me to go in and help convince her to let him do it. Good times.  Her hair is breakingoff and I’m going to have to get it cut – which on the surface doesn’t sound like a big deal.  Unless you’re a black woman who has always been vain about her hair.

We went to see her when we got back, DH dropping the kid and I off so he could go pick up some milk.  The Precious has been in a bit of mood lately,so he decides he doesn’t want to be there without his daddy, so now I have him screaming and crying to leave and my mum yelling, “Hey” at me every five seconds.  If I take my focus off of her for two seconds, she gets aggravated and yells out and the kid wants to go to the elevator.  The closer I get to her, the louder the Precious yells and the further away I get, the more my mother yells.  Lovely.  Eventually DH shows up before I lose my mind and he entertains the kid so I can feed my mum her dinner.

Later that night, DH decides to pick on me about the paperwork I have sitting on the dining room table  as we are preparing to sit and have dinner.  You know, leftover turkey and etc that I’ve cobbled together.  The first time I haven’t made a a turkey and had my mum over for Thanksgiving dinner.  Long story short, I walk out. You heard me.  I WALK OUT.   DH bitching at the whole time.  I’ve crammed my mother’s summary of account papers into a bag (apparently the trustee board want to know why her assets have dwindled so much) and I drive to a nearby Starbucks.  I don’t want anything really, but I have a green tea and pay a couple of her bills and contemplate not going home.  I contemplate why after 15 years, my husband still expects me to answer to the question, “What’s your problem?” or “What’s wrong with you?” if I’m in a bad mood and snap at him.  We’ve had the conversation more times than I care to recall. I go back home and we bicker some more, the kid this time being tucked safely in bed. I don’t want to fight but I’m done hearing his complaining about things that don’t really matter anyway.  DONE.  As in if I start to feel pushed, I will PUSH AWAY FROM WHATEVER IS GIVING ME SHIT.

In the end, he finally finds his compassion  and asks me from his heart what he can do.  And I break down and sob that I miss my mum, that she was one who tried so hard to keep her family together, how she worked hard to make holiday meals a special time.  I pretend that I can handle all of what’s happening but I just can’t do it anymore.  That I want someone else to take over.  That’s not going to happen, of course, but I’m weary.  I suppose a part of it is also that she’s only going to get worse, not better.  And this could go on for years.  And yes, sometimes I secretly contemplate the idea of her just dying in her sleep, if only to end the constant demands of managing her care.  Watching her deteriorate.   I don’t want her to die.  I don’t want her to die.  But I can’t fix her.

I can’t fix her.

When I start to feeling like I’m losing it, I start dropping the balls that I’ve been juggling and I just want to go hide somewhere.  Or run.  Or eat.

How to wage war with a toddler and lose

It took 45 minutes to get out of the house this morning.  Seems the Precious didn’t want to wear clothes and no amount of his mum asking, pleading, demanding, yelling was going to make him change his mind. Yes, I’ve read all about transitions and how difficult they can be for toddlers.  I’ve been practising my modern  mummy techniques for a while now.  On occasion they work.  Oh, I tried the, “if we get dressed we can go outside and play” explanation plus a few more variations on that theme followed by the stern “GET OVER HERE RIGHT NOW AND PUT ON YOUR DIAPER/PULLUP/UNDERWEAR, etc” explanation.  That was met with grins and shrieking and running away.  Apparently this was a game and I was playing my role quite well.  Then I decided that I would just get ready and leave by going downstairs and shutting the door.  Sometimes if I put on my shoes and get ready to go, he decides he wants to come after all.  This  attempt however prompted much foot stomping, yelling and then peeing on the runner in front of the basement door.  So up I came and sopped up the liquid and  no, the Precious did not seem frightened or even teary in the slightest.  He did look chastened however.  I felt horrible as I grabbed him, put him on my lap and put on his pullups while he put up token resistance and then gave in.   Then I directed him to bring me his pants, shirt, etc til we were done.

We had a perfectly lovely walk to the park and enjoyed throwing the ball for the dog and swinging til it was time to go home again.  I bribed him with juice and animal crackers to get out of the swing.

Of course, when hubby and his buddy arrived home after soccer, I told them my tale of woe.  They schooled me on what I SHOULD have done.  Cause apparently when they say PUT ON YOUR SHOES or whatever, they NEVER have a problem, so CLEARLY, I have no idea of what I’m doing.  This whole talking reasonably is a waste of time and I’m not being consistent.  Well, that’s true, I’m not consistent.  I start off being quite reasonable and calm and THEN I try to be ALL SERIOUS BUSINESS.

ARRGGG!

No kid attached

DH and I spent a wonderful day and a half in Whistler.  Kudos to his parents for stepping in to take care of the Precious so that we could have a lovely break.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  In truth, DH is the one who needed the break more than I did.  He hasn’t had a child free night since his last business trip.  The summer had been SO stressful for him at work and now…well, long story short, he’s at home with us until further notice.

I had bought one of those Group.on deals for an ATV ride in the summer and it was going to expire very soon so I booked it and it turned out to be a beautiful day, the ATV ride was a blast and then we had a romantic evening and stayed overnight at a really nice hotel.  Wow.  Yep, you heard me correctly.  Romantic. I’d almost forgotten how – or why for that matter.  The last time we were alone in Whistler was before the kid had come into existence really and we were there with Juju.  Even then DH was overly worried about leaving her alone (in a crate) in the hotel room (in case she started whining or barking) and we had a hurried dinner in the hotel restaurant – and he even went to check on her.  This time around, I was surprised he wasn’t calling his mother every 5 minutes to check on the kid.  (Okay, I called once, so sue me.)  No, he actually focussed on us, we talked, we relaxed, it was so good for us.  It felt like a honest to goodness date.  You know, where you just enjoy the moments, no baggage attached. No kid attached.

Yes, we missed the Boo and we were quite happy to see him when we got home (refreshed by the sleep in) but the kid didn’t seem to miss us at all.  No tears, no fuss with nanny and grandpa.  They were exhausted of course, but they had a great time with him and the Precious was so happy with our return that he woke us up screaming at 6am just for the heck of it.  Ah, good to be home.