Grandma, Take One
Friday began the parade of Grandma’s coming to visit. My mom arrived Friday evening, and will leave Monday morning (well, her version of morning, which is our version of afternoon, most likely). My mother in law will arrive on Tuesday, and stay for two full weeks. Who doesn’t like a Grandma, right? Well, RR, that’s who. Who knew? Not us.
I’m not sure if it’s the constant handling, or my mom’s foreign shoulder, or rocking motion, or passive-aggressive comments, but we have fought with RR every day since my mom arrived. Fought while feeding her, soothing her, getting her to sleep, getting her to stop screaming, putting her down, picking her up – anytime my mom is in the room, it’s a battle. Our tiny, wonderful bundle of cozy happiness, with her predictable every-three-hour eating/sleeping schedule, and mornings spent cooing at my wife while she sings to her, has turned into a restless demon. Oh sure, it could be her three week growth spurt, or gas, or colic (though this isn’t exclusive to evening), or just her dislike for repetitive conversations that start with, “Oh, guess who died?” but her attitude adjustment just so conveniently coincides with my mom’s three day, four night stay at our house.
Maybe RR can sense our tension. I mean, we do have a history with our visits. We knew it would be hard – it’s always hard. But I didn’t assume it would be transferred to our delicate, sensitive daughter in a way that would mean constant battling with feeding, burping, rocking, and sleeping. You know, her whole world.
The tension is also brought on by having to take care of my mother while she’s here, which is, I think we could all assume, should be the opposite when you’re dealing with two very exhausted, sleep-deprived moms who have only left the house a few times in the past three weeks, at the expense of Little Miss Car Seat Meltdown. Grandma’s are supposed to come help, right? Cook dinner, watch the kid so that you can go out and have some couple-time feed the baby, change the baby… you know, anything but terrorize the baby. But my mom is just about as helpless as RR – she won’t feed herself, much less feed us. In fact, we had to go to the grocery store specifically before her visit to pick up things that she would eat. Then we had to play a game called “hide the narcotics” because she has a history of getting up in the middle of the night and raiding our medicine cabinets for pain medicines or muscle relaxers. There’s a hundred more similar examples, but I’m too tired to list them all. Although (for a brief moment) we entertained the thought of leaving the house without RR, watching my daughter writhe in choking cries while tears pour down from her eyes while my mom held her didn’t leave me with the confidence that we could leave the house.
It’s been a challenging visit… on everyone. Monday she’ll depart, and Tuesday, my wife’s mother will arrive. She offers a whole different kind of crazy, but she can at least be trusted to make coffee and bacon in the morning, lasagna for dinner, and probably a lot of pies in the meantime. She might take more kindly to suggestions of “Maybe hold her this way?” or “Maybe I should take her for a bit?” unlike other Grandma’s we know. My mom will be back for a week (yes, a week) in late August when my wife goes back to work full-time. Maybe RR and she can spend some time reconciling their differences. If not, God help us all.