Monday, November 16, 2009

Lowering Expectations

I'm still sorting out what our reality is, but I am trying to make peace with what it is not. We aren't a whole and functioning family. There's Calliope over here, and we can't disturb her or make demands on her time or ask her to participate in the family without a high risk of her yelling/screaming/tantruming. Over here we have the little kids; Cooper is very physical and takes lots of supervision, Clio is a new walker and wants to love everyone. I would love to bring them all together to do family stuff, but, if it works, it's only for a short moment.

The last outing for the whole family I remember was just to a hardware store and lunch after, and the nasty words coming from Calliope just bring me down, wear me out, drain my energy and emotion. Of course there were moments where the kids were all doing their thing and being fine, just moments. But it isn't anything like what I expect from MY kids.

Mothers are promised that if we bring up our children with love, patience, and kind words, they will grow into loving, patient, and kind people. That is what Calliope should have grown into. I did the work, and I've been denied my reward. Where is my loving child?

So, I'm lowering expectations. Instead of love and hugs and kisses, and girl time, I'll take no hitting, no name calling, no screaming, and no property damage.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Grandparents in Town

For typical families, grandparents in town would be great news, great fun, and a relief for parents. For us, it's added work, added stress. My parents, especially my mom, are in the 'you just need to' school of thought. We just need to do this, do that, stop doing this other thing, whatever! So, they don't understand, and they don't want to be around our family. They think we are bad parents.

They stopped in on the first afternoon in town, stayed less than an hour, but it was a nice visit. It was a good opportunity to see the damage Calliope has done to the house, and the lists on the wall relating to desired behaviors and personal hygiene that we pay for. Yes, we pay Calliope to shower and not hit people; I don't like it either. Cooper got to show off his room and his costume. Clio showed off her walking skills and general cuteness. It was a few days before we heard from them again.

For the week and a half they were here, we had two dinners out, one dinner at our home, one hour at the park with the little ones while Calliope and I were at a Dr. appointment, one late morning/lunch, and they did accept Calliope's request to have a sleepover at the campground with the grandparents. She was not invited; she had to ask. It could be that my parents just want the vacation here, not a visit, and that is why they made little effort to spend time with us; I did the great majority of calling, inviting, planning. Maybe it's really uncomfortable for them to see the decline in Calliope's attitude, outlook, behavior, while she is in this young woman's body. I know it's hard for me to see.

Whatever the reason, my mom has made it clear that she won't babysit, and that I need to do everything differently, do it her way. But, they left today, and they are traveling again. So, there will be one less set of judgmental people looking at us.