My mom and grandma came for a little visit this past weekend. They arrived on Saturday, left on Sunday, and in that short span of 48 hours, managed to drive me insane, get my 7 month old hopped up on sugar from ice cream, and reinforced every decision I’ve made thus far as a parent (my philosophy is to do the exact opposite of what my mom would do). I’ve still got the mother of all headaches, pun intended.
A little background: my mother is crazy. For many, many reasons, most of which are too deep to get into in this post. We aren’t particularly close; in fact, this weekend was only the third time in Dylan’s entire little life that she’s even seen her. And she lives 2 hours away. The only time I saw her when I was pregnant was when I was 2 months pregnant. She didn’t even come to my baby shower. Like I said, not close. But apparently she’s made some kind of life change, and wants to start over and be a part of Dylan’s life, yada yada yada. So she’s been to visit twice in the last couple of months, which for me, is almost 2 times too many. And this time, she brought along my equally crazy grandma. The entire weekend was filled with stories of my childhood, which I’ve heard and do not believe for a second, and stories of my mother’s childhood, which if true would have resulted in the death and/or dismemberment of my mother and her siblings on several occasions. And these women want to spend a lot of time with me and my child. Help.
My mother is the kind of woman who has memories that differ in almost every way from reality. What she remembers, and what actually happened, are not even close. For example, she claims that me and my siblings were all talking by 6 months of age. Or walking by 8 months. Eating meat and potatoes in infancy. Reading by a year. All of her memories of us as babies and kids are designed (by her) to make her seem like the most successful mother of all time. I used to halfheartedly believe her, if only because talking at 6 months of age makes me seem like some kind of genius. But now that I have a baby, I can say with 100% certainty that all of her stories, as amazing as they make me look, are a load of shit. 99% of babies can’t sit up on their own at 4 months old, alone climb out of their crib. But somehow both me and my brother did? Uh huh. Couple of savants, is we.
She is also fond of telling stories about raising us that should have gotten her investigated by Child Services. I know, it was a different time back then (my sister was born in 1978, I was born in 1981, and my brother came along in 1984). But even 30 years ago, I’m pretty sure keeping loaded guns lying around, or allowing your children to run amok unsupervised in the neighborhood for 12 hours a day, was frowned upon. It’s a damn miracle that my siblings and I made it out alive. We never even had to go to the hospital. But I’d sooner set myself on fire than leave Dylan in her care; I was nervous if I left her alone while I went to the bathroom. It doesn’t take long to run outside to let Dylan play in traffic.
As her daughter, it was inevitable that I would inherit a fraction of her insanity. Luckily for my children, present and future, the fraction I inherited doesn’t have anything to do with child rearing. I got my temper from her, my love of Cher, and my dislike of organized religion. Any parenting skills I have, I got from books and sisters. Thank God for books and sisters. Without them, I might be letting my infant daughter suck on chicken bones or freaking out because at 8 months old she isn’t reading her own bedtime stories. Needless to say, my mother thinks baby books are stupid. She’s never read a baby book, and her kids turned out fine. But for the grace of God.
On a positive note, I suppose I should thank my grandma for feeding Dylan ice cream while I was in the bathroom at dinner. I was waiting until she was a year old, like all doctors and experts advise you to do, but apparently my grandma knows something we don’t, and deemed 8 months the perfect age to start dairy. She digested it perfectly fine, so it looks like we may have dodged the lactose intolerance bullet common among people of Asian descent (Tom is Japanese, don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned that). Good to know. So, thanks grandma, for putting our fears to rest. It almost makes up for having to peel my baby off the ceiling from her first sugar high. Almost.