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.

Posted on July 18, 2010, in da family. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Children have heightened sixth senses (or so I like to think) to compensate for their helplessness. Perhaps she’s sensing danger, like dogs and burglars. Or…she just has good taste? 😉

  2. for this very reason, i did not invite my mother to visit at all. in fact, i declined. this did not sit well with her, but i figured she would make the situation worse. not better.

    that first week that TL went back to work was hard, but at the same time, having mom around would have been harder.

    TL’s mom came to visit. she mainly sat around watching golf and eating what i cooked as i bent over the stove post c-section. awesome. some help.

  3. We’re kinda hoping our little Noah has the “scream bloody murder” reaction to Ching’s sister – she deserves it. But, with our luck, she’ll be his favorite person. Sigh.

    We’re trying to stave off unhelpful relatives, we’ll see how that goes, thankfully there’s only a couple of them.

  4. I’m guessing that little RR knows exaclty what Grandma is up to. She can feel it and she knows its not good. RR is looking our for her mommies. =)

    I hope that the next Grandma stay goes much better. You guys need someone around who is going to help out not make everything 10 x worse.

  5. Since my mother made her feelings clear about my decision to use a sperm donor, she has not been allowed to set foot in my home. That was March of 2008. Her snide comments grate on my nerves on the rare occasion I do have to spend time with her. When we finish our visits, I always treat my kids (and me!) to something special to make up for having to spend time with her, lol!

    Best of luck navigating the grandma minefield! I agree with the PP, babies sense their moms’ tension, and it makes them cranky. Which of course, leads to more snide comments from grandma, which makes mom more tense, and on and on it goes.

  6. D, you’re probably right– she can probably sense your tension. Or, she can sense something up with Grandma, maybe… It’s amazing how babies can react when things are just these slightest bit off or loud– they’re like tiny little souffles that way.

  7. wow. i think that ,with this post, you have defined the word misery. also, teaberry, comparing babies to souffles is prolly the awesomest thing ill come across today. so sweet!

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