Besides the minor sibling annoyances that are bound to happen when family visits each other, and getting lost in Chicago and having to walk 10 blocks in the rain to find a bus to take us back to the Field Museum from the Navy Pier... the visit with John's brother and family has been very nice.
Except when the MIL is involved. Yes- I am about to talk about HER again... but only because she insists on general MIL-ness and insanity. Daddy Forever has a neighbor named The Butthead, I may have to steal this from him. ;)
Before I delve into the recent insanity, let me just say that I have been very distracted about blogging recently. I have been having trouble even sitting down to read... I'm so nervous and excited about going out to see my sister IN ONE WEEK! So I am sorry that I have been absent the last month, and I just wanted to say to all my regular reads to please forgive me for not being around more... it's nothing personal. I still heart all of you, it's just that I have been a bit of a mess lately.
Anna starts school 2 days after I get back from my trip so we had to get all of her school preparations squared away. I've been trying to get things ready for when I'm gone for only 4 1/2 days but everything is second nature to me, I'm here with the kids all day. John is pretty good at all of it but I want to make things easier on him. On top of that I'm just listless.
Anywhoo... My BIL brought his long time girl friend and her 2 daughters that live with him, plus his girl friend's niece. They are all staying at the MIL's apartment. From the get go, MIL has been following them around the apartment saying "what are you doing, don't do that, who said you could eat that..." and just generally upsetting the GF and her children. On top of that the MIL kind of picks on the youngest who is 12. As it turns out, since my BIL used to live with the MIL (meaning she was going to buy a house that she couldn't afford so she asked her younger son to help her with the mortgage payments while living with her) that the MIL has a looooong history of being mean and cruel to the GF and her children , even though Matt has been with her over 6 years and has lived with her for over 2.
One incident involved the MIL babysitting for Matt and the GF... the MIL grabbed the youngest (who was probably only 7 or 8 at the time) by the arm, digging her nails in hissing at her. The little one told her mom and Matt (my BIL) about it and the MIL denied it and called the little one a liar... then proceeded to tell the GF that it was HER house and if she didn't like she could leave.
Two days ago, we went out to see John and Matt's cousin who lives 35 minutes from us. The second I got there and sat down in the living room, my MIL started in on me.
"WE went here to day, WE went there... WE did this and WE did that and WE had such a great time." All of which I just forced a smile at. I know it's all a lie because every time i see the GF, she tells me how miserable the MIL is making everyone, so it's not all peachy like she is pretending.
"ME and THE GIRLS are going to the pool..." As in "You're not invited". I sigh and say nothing.
"Matt was telling ME AGAIN what a mistake it was for me to have moved back up here (She says for the 100th time and likes to remind us every chance she gets...She moved from Texas almost 2 years ago , supposedly so she could see her grandchildren every day, which you may know does NOT happen at all)..." OK , this is about where I start to fume.
So I say, "What does, Matt yell at you about this EVERY time he sees you?"
"Well... *scrambling for words* It's just that- ummm, well he always reminds me that he tried to get me to add on to the house (while he was living with her, with his money) or fix up the garage... but I keep telling him that I just don't REMEMBER any of that.*fake and uncomfortable smile*
*for the 20th time she tells me* I still get on him about the fact that he never told me he knew how to do all of that stuff- you know, electrical, drywall, plumbing... He could have saved us a lot of money and done it (all of the improvements she had done to her kitchen which was almost a total remodel... by a bankruptcy client- of all people- from the firm she worked at as a bankruptcy legal assistant ) all himself."
"Well, I would imagine that it's not a good idea to go into home remodeling with your own mother. All you would have done is argue," I say.
"Well, we did argue because Matt didn't like the way the guy was doing everything..."
"I'm just saying that you guys would have argued even more if he had been doing all of the work, so that's probably why he didn't tell you he knew how to do any of that."
She is silent for about 2 minutes, and I figure the conversation is over.
"Well ,*not looking at me and looking down at her hands, oh crap she's going into guilt mode. I can just tell* at least I know my brother is always there for me if I need him... and I hope he knows that I am always there for him."
That's good- I say.
"I thought I have always been there for my children, but OBVIOUSLY NOT."
At this point I do what I always do to refrain from getting into a cat fight with the woman- and to let her know that she is not in control and I refuse to be manipulated, I get up and walk away.
As I am walking away, she adds, "Why don't you just drop it!"
I stop for a moment with my back to her, incredulous... but try to disguise my shock by pretending that I got up to throw my gum away. Me? Drop it? I hadn't said a word once she started her guilt trip. Instead of just leaving the room, I announce to my husband- who is in the kitchen I am walking through- that I am leaving the house in it's entirety, and flash him that sarcastic smile that can mean only one thing... I am about to kill HER.
Later, we all are leaving to go to the local pizza place to eat dinner and my MIL is standing outside and scowling. She sees Anna walking out of the house and I can tell that she is waiting to see if Anna acknowledges her, which Anna does in passing. Anna is clearly uncomfortable that her grandmother is scowling at her and says a weak "hi nana" as she passes. My MIL does this sometimes because she is jealous that my girls will pay more attention to other relatives. I have told the MIL in the past that maybe if she came over and saw her grand kids more that every 1 1/2 weeks maybe- just maybe they would acknowledge her more.
As you may or may not know, I have mentioned the fact that we only live 3 or 4 blocks away from her. She has tried to insist that we come over to her place but I don't see why we should lug all of the junk we need up stairs to keep the kids entertained when she can drive over in less than a minute. She's always "too busy" (weight watcher's meeting, TV shows, cleaning her apartment, doing laundry.... seriously, I'm not kidding- these are her excuses for not seeing them for almost 2 weeks sometimes) to come over, so we don't ask anymore. I start to feel bad and try again to get her over here. I've asked her over to swim in our pool, over for dinner... nope. She's too busy. She has the nerve to tell people that she never see her grand kids because we are never home, even though I tell her to call me at least a couple of hours before she wants to come over so I can make sure we aren't out running around and are home. Does she do that? Rarely.
Anyway-After we get back from dinner, Emma climbs right into the baby pool that Jason (the cousin) has out for his 19 month old. Anna and the younger girls chase each other around with sand pails full of water, getting each other wet. I don't see what happens next but the MIL took a pail- literally snatched from what I was told- and filled it up then proceeded to throw the pail full of water FULL FORCE into Anna's face seconds after Anna did an about face. Anna didn't know that her grandmother even had a pail and was standing behind her, so she screamed in pain from the dirty water hitting her in the eyes full force, then choked because she inhaled water after screaming. She was completely soaked and could see.
The MIL grabbed her arm and was saying, "OH, you're fine, you're fine."
I ran over after I heard Anna scream, and pushed the MIL out of the way, and took sobbing Anna inside and changed her into dry clothes. The whole time I could hear the blood pounding in my ears. What made me so angry was that the MIL wasn't even involved in the water play with the kids, and she just all of a sudden gets up and does that to Anna. She didn't do it to the GF's kids because she knows that the GF would have chewed her a new one. The MIL didn't do it to her favorite grandchild because Emma is only 2 years old... so she does it to Anna? Or did she do it because she was mad that Anna had barely interacted with her all night? I say this because the MIL has behaved very childishly in the past when this has happened, and even was mean verbally to Anna after that, also saying things loudly for Anna to hear to try to make her feel guilty.
When I came back inside (after cursing under my breath for several minutes) I contemplated asking the MIL if she would like to hold Emma's head under the water of the baby pool next, but I didn't, I walked in the opposite directions. Meanwhile the MIL's sister tried to make weak excuses for her sister like Anna just happened to turn at the wrong time.
It doesn't matter to me. I didn't see what happened unfortunately but I wouldn't put it past my MIL to do something like that out of anger because Anna had only spoken to her in passing. Any way you shake it, if I was Anna's grandma I would never dump a whole bucket of water on a 6 year old, and I especially would not aim the water at a 6 year old's head - front or back. Normal grandma's don't do things like that. This is something that my nut case mother would do.
Also, there is no point in me even asking the MIL what happened because I know for fact that she lies. There have been many times that John and have caught her in lies that she has told to make herself look better - if not blameless. So I know for certain that i wont get the truth out of her. The MIL's sister likes to defend family any time they are put in a bad lime light so I know that even though she may have seen the whole thing, she will distort it so her sister looks like she did nothing wrong.
Which all really saddens me because a 6 year old is involved here... a 6 year old that is FAMILY.
So, now I am having second thoughts about the MIL watching my girls since she has shown bad judgment in the past. Not to mention the time I came home while the MIL was babysitting to find Emma standing in our large picture window in the living room, wrapping a card from the blinds around her neck, meanwhile my MIL sat there oblivious watching tv... for over a minute. Just to prove a point I stood there and watched Emma until the point it could have gotten dangerous (Emma never got the cord around her neck , only on the sides, but when she started getting it around her neck, I banged on the window and told her she better stop that and get off the window seat), my MIL insisted that she was just on her way over to to get Emma. I told her that I had been standing there for almost a minute so that was a lie and she denied it even though John backed me up.
I am ashamed to admit that when we are in a crunch, despite the incidents in the past, we have had her watch the kids. No more. I just don't think she is capable of doing what is right for my kids anymore.
To top all of that off, Matt's GF told me last night that the MIL said yesterday, "I might as well move back to Texas because I'm not ALLOWED TO BE A GRANDMOTHER HERE."
This made me so angry all i could do was sputter and stammer. I couldn't even get a whole sentence out.
Then yesterday the MIL was mad at the GF's daughter and the MIL's sister's grand daughter and she threatened to spank her sister's grand daughter all for eating ice cream after they had a late breakfast. The MIL said the GF's youngest was being disrepectful after the MIL yelled at them, and the GF"s youngest said, "But my mom said we could have some."
When the GF tried to find out what happened, the MIL threw her keys across the room, put her shoulder down and shouldered through the GF and bumped her really hard, then went into the bathroom and slammed the door. Then when my BIL came home from picking up his video camera at my house, she talked all sweet to my BIL and sat there and acted like nothing happened. NUTS! She is acting so much like my mother.
Again, very erratic behavior, not to mention childish... I just don't think I can trust her to take care of my kids while I am gone to Reno to see my sister next week. John has a new charting system going in in the hospital he works IT at, so he is only supposed to take one day off at a time, and that is why we asked the MIL to take off one day. That way she could watch the kids on next Friday and John could watch them the Monday after. The MIL decided to take both days off, so John didn't take any days off. I told John that I would rather not go on my trip than to have the MIL watch them, and her watching them is completely out of the question. I know her feelings will be hurt but I have to think of my kids first.
BUT, I also told John that he better not NOT tell his mother so as to avoid confrontation, and that I hoped that since this was different circumstances that his boss would let him take the extra day. If not... I'm not going. :( I hope everything works out and I can go... we'll be out 300.00 for tickets but I'm not going to trust my children to be safe in the hands of someone who obviously can't think straight enough to behave appropriately.
If you're still reading this... thanks! I hope to get back to being more positive soon ;)