Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Children Deserve Better

In the last few days I've heard too many people talk about their children as though they just aren't the precious gifts that they REALLY ARE.  It irritates me.

As a mom who saw my first two children struggle to breathe...struggle to LIVE...when I witness a parent not appreciating their child, it just hurts my heart.

As you may or may not know, we bought a house.  We're going to be moving out of this rental in March some time, so the landlord has been showing our house.  It's not bad...it's a pain in the butt, but not a huge inconvenience.  I understand that he has to do it.  What I can NOT understand is the things some people say.

See, yesterday my husband was working overtime, so the kids, my BIL, and myself, were all home during the three showings the landlord had.

It went better than expected, really, considering the kids wanted to be part of all of it.  (Of course they would...these are new people in their house!)  The first couple saw that we have twins and told me that I must be an amazing mom to not only have twins, but to have gone on to have another.  I just laughed and told them we were very blessed.  (All of my children were very much planned and wanted, so I don't think I'm an amazing mom...I think I'm JUST a mom.)

That first couple had an 8 month old baby at home, they told me; their first.  So to them, this probably seems chaotic.  (To me, it's normal.)

The second family that went through were nice...at first.  It was a woman, her 2 1/2 year old daughter, and her mother.  I should mention that the older woman (the grandmother) was fabulous.  My issue was with the mother of that little girl.
As soon as she found out that we had twins (the landlord was telling them...not me), she commented on how much work they must be.  I said that I had them first, so to me, two at once was normal...and that they aren't much work at all.  (If they were, would I have had a third?!)
Her daughter immediately saw the toys and wanted to play, and I told her that if she wanted to leave the little one in the livingroom with us while she looked at the house, that would be fine.  I told her that one more would be no trouble at all, and I didn't mind.  She drug her screaming child through the house anyway.  Finally Grandma had enough of it, and brought her down.  She sat on the couch while the little girl played with the kids.  She was super cute, and THRILLED that she was finally getting to play with that mountain of toys she'd seen.  I talked to Grandma, who informed me that she'd been a nanny for years for a "Festival family" (which means a family that works at, or are in plays at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival), but the boys are in school and no longer need a nanny.  She seemed super nice, but I'm a little...Mother Bear...to leave my kids with someone just because they say they've been a nanny.  Hell, I could say I spent three years working on the MOON...it doesn't mean I did.  Right?!

Anyway I'm getting off topic.  When Mom came back downstairs to gather up Grandma and Daughter, she decided to say "I don't know how you did it with twins...I only have one, and she's too much for me sometimes."

*Blank stare*  (Me.)

I didn't even know what to say.  The fact that her daughter was standing right next to her when she said that just took me aback.  I honestly had one of those "did I just hear that?" moments.

I know that Mom probably didn't mean to come across as some kind of bitch...and I'm sure she didn't mean to say, infront of her daughter, that sometimes she's "too much".  But she did.  And she did.

It was one of those things in life that show just how easy it is to say things in front of our children that will define them...change them...make them into who they're going to be as adults.  I hope that Mom made a slip of the tongue there, and that it's not a regular occurrence.

The day before these people came through I was talking with a woman who was our neighbor once upon a time...when her three children were small.  (They're 9, 11, and 13 years old now!)
The reason she called was because I had agreed to care for her 9 year old son.  Let's call him Billy.
Billy has "special needs".  He has some anger issues, and apparently also has some extreme anxiety.  I can only assume that when he feels that need to flee and someone stops him, that's probably when the anger comes out.  Fight or flight...right?  Sounds likely to me.  (I don't know...I'm guessing.)
Anyway, Billy's mom brought him over about two days before her and I spoke on the phone.  We wanted him to get a chance to RE-meet me (since he was only about two when I last took care of him), so he would be comfortable being here for 8 or 9 hours a day, three times a week.
When they came to the door, everything was fine.  The Boy was sleeping on the couch, and the baby was in the living room (baby gates), so only myself and Ooey answered the door.  I figured that if only her and I went to the door to greet them, it wouldn't overwhelm him...which when all three of my kids are around, tend to happen to the best of people!
The mom walked in, said hello, and took her shoes off.  In that amount of time, her son (who had come in directly behind her), decided it was too much and ran out the door and locked himself in their car.
She looked at me and said "he bolted".  She came in to have a look at the house, leaving him to sit in the car.  Within about two minutes, he was knocking on the door, yelling for her to "hurry up and let's leave NOW!"
At this point my 3 year old daughter was in tears.  She wanted Billy to come in so she could see him because she "loves him", and she said "he's my best friend!"
So the mom tried to get him into the house.  She tried using guilt..."Look Billy, she's crying!  She just wants to meet you, come in!"
I told her not to...that my daughter has the right to be upset, but so does Billy.  I said that trying to force him into the house wasn't going to help anything.  I told her that I would talk to Ooie when they'd left and explain to her what was going on.
The mom put on her shoes, and left.

Okay, it could have went better, but it could have gone worse.  When she called me to talk about our arrangement, the behavior of that little boy suddenly made total sense.

She explained to me that her and her husband had separated 2 years ago, after several years of being unhappy and non-stop fighting.  She told me of the incident that ended it all for them...which took place in front of Billy.  (I'm not going to get into it, but it involved domestic violence and police removing her husband.)
She told me about how her husband has been playing mind games with the children, which they are too young to identify or understand.  And apparently, the night before Billy and his mom came over here to meet all of us, he'd been with his dad.

Dad is a real piece of work.  He told Billy that he was going to "hate it" over here...and that he'd be "surrounded by babies".  He told Billy that he was "going to have a panic attack and freak out", and that he "wouldn't be able to handle it" here.
Nice.  Thanks Steve.  You dick.  *Yep, calling that asshole an asshole.  No fake name there!*

Anyway, he wrote his son's destiny for him.  He set his son up for failure, and managed to make a little boy have a panic attack just by telling him he'd have one.  Great parenting.

My two cents on that:

Holy crap I'm pissed off at that guy.  Who does that?!  And this has nothing to do with being upset about not getting to take care of that boy.  Honestly, he may not have been happy here.  Our kids are years younger than him.  We don't even have things here he'd want to play with.  (And I'm kind of anti-video games.)  But the fact is that after the first day, after getting a chance to talk to him, I could have gotten him things he enjoyed.  And he could have, for the first time, been like a big brother.
But no.  Instead he's going to be watched by his dad during the times I was supposed to have him.  Lovely.  Because a man like that deserves more time with his kids...

Anyway, I was going to finish this post with just those two stories.  But I have one more.  And honestly, I don't care if this "costs" me any followers.  I'm at the end of my freakin rope here...


IF YOUR YOUNG (2 year old) SON PEES ON YOUR COUCH, AND YOU WATCH YOUR HUSBAND RUB HIS FACE IN IT AND DO NOTHING, YOU ARE A PISS POOR PARENT.  Anyone with two brain cells to rub together would have CALLED CHILDREN'S AID and had that parent removed from the home.  It's your JOB AS A MOTHER to protect your child, even if you're protecting them from your husband.  YOU chose that person as your "partner".  Your children didn't CHOOSE them at all!!!  They got stuck with him...stuck with your choice.  Great.  Lovely.  PROTECT THEM!!!

I'm telling you...if I ever saw ANYONE rub a child's face in their own urine...
It would not go well.  It would not go well at all.

Also, one more thing Super Mom...
When you see your husband slap your child in the face for biting his brother and you do nothing, you are allowing it.  You are saying it's okay.


You don't get to hit children and say "keep your hands to yourself".  You have to teach by example.  You have to know that having those children is NOT YOUR RIGHT.  It's a privilege.  You can lose custody of them in a heartbeat.  They'll be gone, and even if you're not the one physically putting your hands on them, you are also not protecting them.  Failure to protect is AS BAD as being the one who does the hurting.  

"You hit me for hitting people to teach me that hitting people is wrong."  Confusing to adults.  Confusing to children!!!

If you need some help figuring out how to raise your children with respect, you can talk to your family Dr.  You can call CPS/CAS and talk to them.  You can sign up for courses, you can get some kind of funding to pay for some child care, so you can have a break from them if you need it.

You NEVER need to hurt your children.  You NEVER need to allow someone else to.  And there is no excuse for making children feel like less than the amazing gifts they are.

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