Tuesday, September 28, 2010

She Just Can't Leave Me Out Of It

As I've mentioned plenty in the past, my daughter is very mature for 7 (soon to be 8) and talking to her is like talking to an adult.  She gets it, she's ultra aware of everything and she is very capable of making the proper assumptions and capturing the underlying emotions in people's comments.

So, when I found out my daughter went out to dinner, alone, with my mom, I knew I'd be dealing with all kinds of bullshit when I got home.

I couldn't have been more correct.  They went to my aunt's apartment before dinner, to drop something off, and, while there, a conversation between my aunt, cousin and mother was had.  The topic, my nephew's palate expander.  He's the son of my younger sister, the one that seems to always be the cause of some issue or other. 

Anyway, my daughter listened to the discussion about the palate expander and then, during dinner, she asked my mother about it.  She asked if he got it today and my mother said "no, he went to have some other work done today, getting him ready for the palate expander"

My daughter said something to the effect of "oh" and went back to eating.

My mom then added "and he didn't cry at the dentist."

My daughter said "he's going to be 9, he shouldn't cry at the dentist.  or the doctor or when he doesn't get what he wants."

My mother, apparently, agreed with her. 

Then my daughter asked when he was going to get the palate expander and my mother's response was mind boggling.

"It's very hard for your Aunt Edna (not her real name)"

My daughter told me that she didn't know what to say or why her grandmother said this so she said nothing.

"Your Aunt is separated from your Uncle.  Do you know what that means?" was my mother's next brilliant line of conversation.

My daughter said something like "really?" to which my mother responded with "yes, they live in separate apartments, he lives with a friend and she lives where she always did, with the kids."

My daughter asked if they were getting divorced and my mother said she didn't know.  Then my daughter changed the subject because, she said, she was uncomfortable talking about it. 

Now, here's the fucking kicker to this all.  As previously blogged, my sister was spending every weekend (and a few extra week days) at my parents' house.  She would go there with or without her kids but her husband was never there as he was banned from the house by my parents.  So, all summer long, we tried to avoid being around this crazy shit, tried our best to not expose our kids to the lunacy that is my parents and my sister (and her family).  It was, at times, unavoidable and we wound up answering questions about why Uncle Shithead (his real name, go figure) wasn't there, why they spend weekends apart, why they don't want to be with their father, be a family, on weekends etc.  It was brutal, primarily because my kids see their cousins all the time and anything I tell my kids might be repeated and, if I say something that hasn't been spoken of to their cousins, I could create all kinds of added drama. 

In other words, I was basically forced to lie to my kids to protect hers.  So, I retreated, as often as possible, and when I was there, I told my kids to ask their aunt about those things, not me.

It worked.  She told my kids all kinds of bullshit about how he had to work, see his parents, had a friend in town etc.  Then, at the very end of the summer, even though she told me, and my older sister, they were working things out, he was asked to move out, take time to get his shit together and then, in 6 months, they'd see where they stood.  I was told it's now public.  Her kids know, they're doing ok, and, since they know, it's ok to discuss this with my kids.

My response:
I'd rather not discuss this with my kids.  I don't want them exposed to marital strife.  In their eyes, those two never fought and if they separated without fighting, what the fuck will they think when my wife and I have an argument or a fight?  The last thing I need is to be pissed off at my wife for whatever and have my kids crying because they think we're getting a divorce.

The summer ended, the jewish holidays came and went and my forced contact with that nuthouse was reduced to nil.  I was clean and clear until next spring.  This meant my kids wouldn't be exposed to crazy for months and, by then, my sister and her spouse would either be divorcing or back together. 

I specifically had this conversation with my mother, specifically her because she's a fucking moron when it comes to talking to people about shit like this and I wanted her to know that I was unhappy with my kids involvement in this kind of drama.

And what does she do?  She manages to segue from "when is he getting his palate expander?" to "your aunt lives a difficult life and she's separated."

So, now I am forced to enforce a rule I thought was reserved only for violent people, pedophiles and the mentally and physically infirm.
My mother can only visit my child when there is adult supervision around and, no, she does not qualify as an adult supervisor because, apparently, she's dumber than my son.


Julie Lamar said...

Possible reinforcement messages - if inquired.

- all healthy relationships have arguments, no matter what kind of relationship; sibs, couples, friends.
- that you and your wife won't ever get a divorce, so there's nothing to worry about.
- and (only if prompted directly), if their cousins are happy without their dad at home, maybe he wasn't always very nice when no one else was around to see.

answering those types are questions and assuaging children's fears aren't a picnic, but i can attest that it's easier to give the answer on the outside looking in than the inside looking out.

Floogin McNoogin said...

Agreed and that's the route I'll take when it comes up again.

Side note, I did mention to my dad that I was appalled with my mom for bringing it up and, shocker, it seems that it's my fault. See, they're pissed at me for not talking about more and my mother, apparently, has nobody to talk to about it, presumably because she talks about enough that her need for sympathy seems more the reason than anything else.

Trenton said...

So, lemme get this straight... Because they're pissed at you, and can't figure shit out for themselves, they bring your DAUGHTER into this?!?!?! WTF?

No offense to your daughter man, but since when is this shit her problem? She shouldn't have to deal with that nonsense at such a young age.

Now, I must admit that she sounds intelligent enough to be able to offer some sage advice that the "adults" should listen to. Maybe her talking to them about it wouldn't be such a bad deal after all?!!?! LOL! Just kidding!

Trent :-)