Thursday, October 13, 2005

Going Home

I am back from my adventures in Indiana. I decided to go home for a couple of days with the girls so that I could check up on my mother and give her a chance to spend some time with the kids. I am sure you are probably thinking why I would choose to go on a 5 hour drive one way with two kids when I can't even manage to go to the store with them. Well, driving to Indiana is the easy part. I simply hand my older daughter the personal DVD player (she understands it is for long car rides only--not a trip to Target) and allow her brain to rot by watching five straight hours of Dora and Barney. I don't hear a peep out of her unless she asks for a granola bar or water. The baby is easy to predict. I know I can get to the north side of Indianapolis which is roughly the half-way point before she starts to cry and I need to give her a bottle or feed her.

And so we went. The drive there was uneventful. Since I was getting to LaPorte around the girls' nap time, my friend Lorrie had invited me to use her place so the girls could sleep since no one would be home and I couldn't check into the hotel until after 3PM. PERFECT! We got there and were getting settled in for naps when Lorrie and the kids came home. Baby Girl's head almost exploded with glee as she LOVES her friends Emily and Adam. Alas, no naps for the kids.

After a couple of hours there, I needed to get things packed so that we could stop by my mom's for a short visit. I hauled the pack & play and the blow-up Dora bed up the stairs and to the car. Sweating profusely, I went back in the house to collect my kids. Hmmm, it seems that one of Baby Girl's new red shoes is missing. And I mean missing. We tore the house apart for a half an hour. No shoe. Normally, I would have just gone out to the car and gotten another pair. But guess what? I didn't PACK any other shoes becuase I was trying to be efficient and not overpack. OK, well, she can walk to the car wearing one shoe. Wait, no she can't, it is starting to RAIN!

After our jaunt to the Payless, we stopped by to see Busia (that's Polish for Grandma.) We were only going to stay for a few minutes because trips to my mother's apartment must be carefully orchestrated so that we do not stay too long and tire her out.

I guess I need to explain a few things about my mother. She is almost 65 going on 110. After years of depression, alcoholism, smoking, crankiness and just flat out abuse of her body, she is now a very sick woman. She has taken a severe downturn since my father died nearly 5 years ago. She can only take visits in small doses as they tire her out immensely. She refuses to live with my sister or me. She is a very proud woman who doesn't want to bother anyone. She also vividly remembers the day my father's mother just "showed up" to our house and lived with us for 7 years or so. They were the worst years of her life and she doesn't want history to repeat itself. While I understand that, the difference between that situation and ours is that my husband and I are on the same page concerning her and actually WANT her to live with us. This woman has been so sick throughout the years that she didn't make it to my wedding, my vow renewal, or the births of my children. She has only travelled to see us once in the 14 years we have been together and that was while my father was still alive. Now, she is too sickly to really leave her apartment much, but isn't sick enough for assisted living.

At any rate, we showed up to Busia's apartment. Now, she has known for three weeks that we were coming. While I wasn't expecting a baby-proofed living room, I certainly wasn't expecting piles of bills, HUGE scissors, rubber bands and paper clips on the floor and lit candles within easy reach of both kids. Mind you, her desk is PRISTINE. Before I could say, "Hi Mom!" Baby Girl was holding the scissors like Chucky and Peaches was on her back, gnawing a Chapstick. Then my mother decided that since she had a good day, that she should test the limits by wrestling with Baby Girl. After the wrestling match, I helped my mother up and tucked her in on the couch so she could sleep for the night. It was 4:30.

Later, the girls and I checked in to the Hampton Inn outside of town. The girls were exhausted, so I put Peaches in the hotel-issued Pack & Play, and took Baby Girl and some books and walked to the lobby to wait out the screaming fit. I am sure many of you are thinking that I broke at least five laws by leaving her in the room by herself, but I could hear her quite well (as could the employees and people who were checking in) from the lobby, so I knew she was fine. Later, Baby Girl and I went back in the room and whispered stories and fell asleep at around 8:30. The rest of the night proved much more difficult as Peaches HATED the Pack & Play and screamed out every hour on the hour until I put her in bed with me. Then she screamed out every 2 hours. By 5:30 we were up and ready to Rock & Roll.

Long and boring story short, I decided yesterday afternoon that I needed to drive home then instead of tonight so that the girls and I could get some sleep. When we finally got back to Busia's yesterday (at 11AM since she said she was "tired" from the previous 30 minute visit,) I knew that she wouldn't be able to handle us there for very long and I couldn't bear to go back to the hotel. My mother keeps a small footstool near the couch where she sleeps that houses her glasses, remote control, her ashtray and cigarettes, her coffee cup and some medication. While I was in the bathroom, Peaches managed to get into all of it by dumping the ashtray and the remote control into my mother's coffee cup because my mom was too weak to move her. It was time to go home.

So, if you do the math, we had a 10 hour drive and 2 1/2 hours of visiting. I felt really bad about it--especially when I called her this morning at 10:00 AM and she was still asleep. From yesterday afternoon.

Wait Wait! I forgot. I've had to put Baby Girl in time out 5 times today because she repeatedly said the words, "Shit" and "Dammit" all day long, thanks to Busia's potty mouth. Busia also dropped the F-Bomb a couple of times but I don't think baby Girl heard it!


minimal_free_reign said...

I completely empathize, both the behavior and accompanying attitude are familiar. Can you just kidnap her? Invite her for the holidays and just forget to get her back home?

Mary P. said...

Some things you do just because they're the right thing to do, and the satisfaction you take is just knowing you did it, earning some celestial brownie points, and perhaps giving someone else a bit of pleasure.

Good for you!

I like the above suggestion. It sounds like how I got rid of my eldest's soother, though in reverse - and it worked like a charm!!

Jenette said...

MISFIT! Had to let you know, Restoration Hardware is coming to Ohio! To Cincinnati, to be exact!

And even though your visit wasn't the best, you did the right thing by taking the kiddos to visit your mother.

Misfit Hausfrau said...

Believe me Jenette, I have been monitoring the progress of the Restoration Hardware coming for awhile now. I have a huge list of things to buy as they have the BEST paint to paint rooms with. There is a bunch of other stuff I am waiting to buy!

The June Cleaver Diaries said...

Serenity now! Serenity now!

Don't forget about my brother's discount at Restoration Hardware.