For Sale, One MIL- I’ll Pay YOU!

Right now I am struggling with being charitable and behaving how I think I should (and am eternally expected to) and wanting to just scream with frustration at the woman. Who? My mother-in-law. I know all the jokes about MIL’s and all the stereotypes, but mine? She takes the cake. Everyone who knows her tells me they’re glad she is mine, and no one will trade me, under any conditions.

Before DFM and I married, he told me what to expect, and I just could not believe any woman could be that bad. He is not close to his mother, and has not been for years, and after six and a half years of trying to be patient, look for the good, and like the woman, I give up. She really is that bad.

Some examples:

  • When we got married, she complained the photographer did not take enough pictures of her, while there was not one picture of me with my mother. (she paid for the photographer)
  • She invited herself to stay at our home while we were on our honeymoon, then she was still there and did not leave when we got back.
  • The one time we went to her house to visit her when we moved to the northwest, she entertained us in her bedroom, wearing her underpants. We have not gone back.
  • She makes sideways comments about my parents divorce status, and frequently badmouths her terminally ill husband.
  • She lies about weird things, like her daughter leaving her (Hispanic) husband, how her camera broke at the wedding of her grandson (to an Asian woman), and how the camera also malfunctioned at the wedding of her granddaughter (to a black man), taking only pictures where the groom was absent.
  • When she comes over, she insists on folding my laundry, but she buries things in the layers, like my underpants in with the kids jammies and the dishtowels, so I have to go through the entire basket to find things. It does not matter that I ask her not to fold it.
  • In her house hang framed “glamour shots” of herself, and no pictures of her grandkids.
  • Her voice and mannerisms change based on who is around and how well they know her.
  • Everytime she comes over, she brings groceries, always commenting how she never knows what I will have to eat for the kids. As if I don’t take care of my kids? We have a years’ supply of everything in the basement, duh?
  • She calls me “Girl”, and even Jeffrey has told her not too.
  • If I leave her at our house for any time at all, there is always something laying on my scriptures when I return. A phone, a pencil, a tablet, a towel, a toy, a pillow…
  • She thinks all Mormons are going to hell, and we know she will tell our kids this when given the chance.

I could go on and on, but you get the picture. The very worse thing for me is that you cannot pin her down on anything. Generally I am very straight forward, and if I see or hear something that troubles me, I talk about it, openly. You cannot do that with this woman- ever. She will deny, evade, lie, anything she has to do to avoid confrontation or real honesty. DFM likens dealing with her to ‘nailing jello to the wall”, and wishes me luck.

So what do I do? As my husbands mother and my children’s grandmother, she is entitled to a certain amount of respect, but even that is becoming difficult for me to dish out. All the pretending is making me want to put my head through the drywall. And even though I refuse to pretend around her, and I insist on talking about the elephant in the room, she just continues on her merry way, as though the windshield wipers of her mind wiped everything anyone else says away. AND, she is not crazy or getting dementia- this is all calculated.

In closing, I want to apologize to my dear husband, for doubting him and his assessment of the relationship. She is one wacky woman.

For Sale, Redheaded Boy, Cheap!

We are all sick. Eric woke up this morning with crusty eyeballs that needed a warm washcloth to unglue (ewww!) and Jeffrey started complaining about his ears. Greeeeaat! You know what the means… Pediatrician, here we come.

The doctor only had an opening for one kid, so I figured I would just take both and then beg her to look in Jeffrey’s ears while we were in the room. It worked. Eric has pink eye, and Jeffrey has an ear infection. Whoopee! At least it is now, and not on Saturday.

So I go to the drivethru pharmacy at Walgreens (gotta love that!) and get the antibiotics, and $60 later, head home. Eric takes the eyedrops with only minimal fussing, and then promptly goes to sleep. What a sweet boy! But Jeffrey, well, that’s another story.

Right now, he is up in his room, whimpering and moaning. I am so stinking mad at him, I don’t want to go in there until I cool off, so thus I write. Jeffrey HATES to take medicine, any medicine, all medicine. I told the doctor this, so she gave him a really strong antibiotic that he only has to take for 5 days, thinking that would make it easier. HA! Even after the doctors warnings to him and my pleading, he would not open his mouth. I was stern, I pleaded, I offered mixing it with 7up, I threatened, all to no avail. Finally, out of frustration (and disgust with myself for begging a four-year old to do something that he really HAS to do), I opened his mouth and poured the medicine down his throat. Which he promptly spit out at me, then barfed. Oh, yes, he did. It is a little trick of his, he is able to barf at will- always has been. So the medicine, day one of only 5 days’ worth, is all in my lap. To say that I am now steaming is mild. I want to mop the floor with four-year-old, so for his own well-being and mine, he is in his room until the doctor call us back.

What do you do with a kid like this? I am at a total loss, let alone that I have to go buy more ridiculously expensive antibiotics now. Anyone have kid with a will of iron and a trick stomach? Any ideas? These are the days that I miss having a paying career- no day at any company I worked for was as crummy or nasty as this!

Confession

(tiny little whisper) I bought something pink yesterday. A little knitted baby bonnet with a tiny little ribbon rosebud on it. It’s soooo tiny and cute and pale pink! Shhhhh…don’t tell anyone!

30 Minute Meals, My @#%&

We watch the Food Network. A lot. In fact, Jeffrey’s favorite show is “Unwrapped” and he comes running when he hears the music. I think it has something to do with all the machines they show in action. But I have a bone to pick with most shows- actually with the hosts of the shows.

Have you ever noticed how often one of them will say, as they are making some fantastic looking dish, that “the kids will love this!” and I look around and wonder “what?” whose kids? Not mine that’s for sure, unless it is chicken fingers, peanut butter toast or french fries, forget it! Homemade ketchup? Are you kidding? Mayonnaise? Unless they say Heinz or Best Foods, no one my house, besides me, will eat it. Parsley and rosemary may taste great to grown ups, but my kids will use tweezers to methodically pick every speck of suspicious green before something enters their mouths. And having a fantastic meal really ready in 30 minutes? Oh puh-leeeze!

So I have a proposal for Rachel Ray, or any other chef at the Food Network. I want a real, honest to goodness “30 minute meals” type show. I want a real mom in the kitchen, with no one helping with prep or clean up. There should be kids all over the place, playing around her feet (nothing too dangerous, but real reality) as she tries to cook a fabulous meal. I want a clock on the wall, and if the baby falls and starts bawling, and the toddler takes off his diapers himself, the cameras can’t cut or edit anything. The phone should ring, her husband should call and be late, the UPS man might show up with a big box, or maybe the dog will eat the food off the counter while she is tending the baby. When things burn because she is distracted, oh well. And when, sweat drenched and covered in spit-up, with a baby on her hip, she finally slams the meal down on the table and the kids all turn their noses up, well then we have a show, folks! And if she doesn’t get the meal done in 30 minutes? Oh well, times up, shows over. See you tomorrow!

That, my friends, is a show I would watch. That is reality TV!

Bennedryl, Anyone?

We played musical beds last night in our home. Various kids awake with various maladies at various times, all night long, a grumpy husband who had to be up before the crack of dawn, and a congested and nauseated mama, trying to smooth everyone’s way. Ah, the joys of sleep-deprivation!

Yesterday afternoon, we got two BIG boxes from my mom and step-dad, delivered by the UPS guy- Jeffreys favorite person this time of year. We went from ‘zero presents under the tree’ to ‘no room for any more’ in the time it takes two boys to tear open a box.

At about 3 a.m., I took a bennedryl, and ended up zonked out in the recliner in the living room. Really zonked out. The first fuzzy sounds came to me, and I realized that the boys were up, in the living room with me, the tree was on, the tv was on, and they were making a lot of noise. I feebly cracked an eyelid, and checked the time- 7:20. (That’s sleeping-in for them, and I have no idea how long they had been up)

It was then I realized what they were doing. There was not one present under the tree anymore. Not one. Mercifully, they had not actually started to open them yet, but all the gifts were sorted into piles for each person- which amazed me after I was done yelling. (The tags were all in my mom’s cursive writing, but somehow, Jeffrey was able to read everyone’s name correctly- don’t underestimate a boy and his desire to get to the loot!) What in the world is going on here?? They innocently looked at me and said that it was Christmas now, and time to open the presents, at which Jeffrey proudly showed me which pile was mine. Eric then evidently thought running and knocking the piles over was a good idea, and I had suddenly to run to the bathroom to be sick. I give up.

I called my mom and told her what her grandsons were doing, and I wish she could see our living room right now. She was already at Kohl’s, shopping, at not-quite 7:30. No one can ever accuse my mother of not doing her part to fight terrorism- those terrorists are never going to win, with all the shopping she does!

My living room is chaos, but only one present got torn open, and the rest are stuffed back under the tree, hodge-podge and higgledy-piggledy. Who cares? They are just going to do it again. And, eventually, they will be right, it will be Christmas, and it will be time to tear into them all. Why fuss about it? I think I will go write instead!

The Trouble with Friends (At Least for Me)

In thinking about my daughter, I have been contemplating why I am so frightened of having what I am sure will be a lovely and delightful, if most likely strong-willed, little girl. My life experiences with women, with very few exceptions, have not been very good. And it started early.

When I was in fourth grade (nine years old?) the group of five girlfriends that I had had since 2nd grade, turned on me. One day at lunch, they gathered around me out in the far reaches of the playground, and collectively told me that they no longer wanted to be my friend, and that I was no longer allowed to play with them, ever. Then they ran away from me. The next several months were miserable for me, as I became incredibly solitary and quiet. The sight of people you thought were friends running away from you is not something I would wish on any child.

The next time it happened, I was in seventh grade (did anyone have a good experience in the purgatory called junior high?) and was part of a very popular clique (guess I didn’t learn in 4th grade). One day, all the girls in my social group collectively turned my picture around in their lockers, and pretended that I didn’t exist. Especially cruel, they did not take the picture down, but turned my face over, and left me there as a reminder of me being invisible. Not one person would even look at me, they walked by me, looked the other way, or better yet, right through me. Another year of misery and loneliness and a lot of crying. The lesson was better learned this time, and I became very careful about people, extremely mistrustful, and tried very hard not to offend anyone, about anything.

You might think these were just girlhood traumas, but I carry them deep with me. Friendships have been something I don’t really trust because of these two incidences, and thus have been neurotically careful about opening up to people, always afraid that there was something inherently wrong with me, that once new friends saw, they would leave too. This has carried over into my adult life, and I have very few, but very dear, close friends. So when it happened again, I thought I was going to die.

The year DFM and I got married, I worked for a company in Palo Alto, California, that I had been involved with from start-up. As the VP, I was able to travel to Europe on fabulous business trips, and oversaw the creative division of the company. It was a marvelous job that I loved, and the company was almost entirely run by women. It was there that I found a friend the likes of which I had never had. This was someone that was everything I ever wanted in a friend, and who, over the period of three years, I can to trust very deeply and implicitly. She was divorced and had two kids, but we had a lot in common aside from that- I really loved her. She was the matron-of-honor at my wedding, standing beside DFM and I as we took our vows. About three weeks after DFM and I returned from our honeymoon, I got a letter from her, telling me, in no uncertain terms, that she could not have me in her life anymore. No explanation, no way for me to ask why or what happened, just cut-off. Gone.

Looking back, there might have been things for me to notice had I not been so happy about finally marrying DFM, but they were subtle and I didn’t see it coming. The pain and sadness from this was astounding, and now, seven years later, it still is a tender and sore place inside. From this person, I did learn a lot about how to be a friend, and aside from the bizarre and astoundingly hurtful ending, I do have good memories of her.

So, ya think I’ve got some trust issues? Other than my husband, (the only person I completely trust), I have two friends. Both of them have been in my life, vis-a-vis family connections, since our youth. One lives in Colorado, and the other in California. The only other people I am free and open with are my family. Notice anything? Since they are family, they are tied to me with blood, and they cannot leave me, even if they want to.

So what will I do to help my daughter when some crappy “friend” crushed her little heart? I am not sure I have the self-control to be mature, and I know my heart will wither and die a little when it happens. The desire to crush the little snots will be strong! Boys don’t pull that kind of garbage- at least no boy I ever knew.

This is one of the things I fear for my daughter.

Brotherly Love

My ultrasound was this morning. Most of my family wants this baby to be a girl, and Jeffrey is adamant he is having a sister from the moment I told him I was pregnant. This morning I sat down with him and carefully tried to explain that this baby might be another brother, and if it is, we will love him very much, to which he replied that he would only love a sister, and I could love a brother. And I know that my mom, although she would never admit it, felt the same way. It makes me oddly protective of the baby, because the only thing I truly care about is that it is healthy and whole.

To be really clear, there has not been a girl born in our family, including cousins and grandchildren, in almost 18 years. The odds are so stacked against this being a girl, it is unreal.

Everthing looks just fine, developementally. And, as carefully as I can put it, it does not appear that this baby has a penis. When the tech said that, I told her to listen very carefully, and told her about my family, then asked her to please re-check. Again, she said it did not appear that there was a penis anywhere on the baby. I made her take four different shots from four different angles, and I still am not convinced. Four crotch-shots are sitting here on my desk of my darling little baby, and I am still doubting it. Maybe when the baby comes out, and I can see for myself…

Personally, I am freaked out. I know boys, I have boys figured out, and I love having boys. A girl? What will I do with a girl? If it is in fact a girl. The whole mother/daughter thing kinda terrifies me. I don’t even like pink- actually, I despise pink- what kind of mother will I be to a girl?? Egad! What am I going to do?? – what do you do with girls? My dad said that she better be one tough cookie- which I think I could deal with, but what if she is a poofy-purple-maribou-girly-girl? Then there are all the things that go with girls- hormones, clothes, emotions, proms, boyfriends, weddings… I’m just not good at that stuff, and I don’t want to mess her up! Oh, man, I need to go barf.

Someone help me~! Advice, anyone?