I can do it myself, MIL

In-laws came by today.  They were in town for eye glasses or something I have no idea.  I don’t like my in-laws.  I mean, I do, but I don’t.  We have completely opposite views on just about everything from politics, to healthy eating, stories for kids, religion and the mother of them all parenting.

I know it’s different for people who don’t live with me or see me more than once every few months; they don’t see what I do day in and day out.  I try not to fault anyone for a lack of understanding or caving in to the need to “make it easier” for me but holy hell hasn’t it been long enough yet?  I was pretty damn proud of myself by the time my MIL left my house.  My FIL won’t speak to me.  It’s pretty funny, actually.  His doctor recommended that he does whatever he can to stay away from me.  Naturally, I brag to my two friends that he has been “medically advised” to avoid me.  It makes for better discussion.  We disagree on just about everything and he’s one of those old men that won’t quit and I’m one of those people who will yell until I’m sure you heard me.  No need to agree with me but you will hear me dammit!  I give him anxiety so he stayed outside today and I was happy because truth be told, the fat bastard gives me anxiety.

I know I’m hemiparetic.  What I can’t figure out is how I look to others.  I’ve only seen two others like me in real life and all three of us were different.  There was the skinny lady in the wheel chair.  She was folded up oddly, they could have folded the chair with her still in it; it was just odd and it scared me. Then there was the older gentleman at the grocery store.  I was still in a wheelchair and I was being pushed so I had time to kind of study him.  I noticed him right away because he had his left arm hanging at that angle where it’s like the weight pulled him down just enough to be visible (or maybe only visible to me).  Then I saw he had on an off-the-shelf AFO (ankle foot orthosis).  Then I saw his face and it was sad.  I don’t recall any drooping, just this overwhelming look of melancholy.  Big round somber eyes and cheeks that reminded me of silly putty when you let the weight of it pull it from one palm down to the other.  But it wasn’t in a, say, palsy way.  The man looked miserable but able.  He was going through the fruit like a normal person just with one hand.  When he was done he turned and walked to the cart his wife and daughter stood near waiting for him.  His gait was only mildly off, barely noticeable.  His limp was near non-existent.  Maybe it was the arm swinging that gave him away.  I think I’m more between that woman in the chair and this man with the fruit.  My limp is very noticeable but I’m not in a wheelchair and Kasper wouldn’t let me walk away from the cart to get my own fruit without my cane.  He’s my Mark Kelly.  If I’m without my cane, he holds my hand or guides me.

I like to think it is not a fantasy that I look more capable than that wheelchair-bound woman.  I know I have more difficulty doing things others barely put effort into.  I wonder if I look as though I am struggling so bad that MIL just had to keep sticking her hands in my business for the few minutes she was near me. I was a mother for 3 years before I had Boonshka so I had a pretty good two-handed idea of how to handle a baby by the time he was born.  Now he’s almost two years old, does she really think I don’t know how to get him undressed and dressed and change his diaper in betwee?  Oh my Lord, what would she have done had she seen me standing while lifting him out of the high chair and then setting him on the floor…without assistance?  I had been waiting for him to finish eating breakfast because last night we put him in this thick sleeper (Kasper likes it super cold in the house at night).  By the time breakfast started his face was red and sweaty so I had been hanging around his chair waiting for the first opportunity to change him.

Everything I do is one-handed.  My life is condemned to existing with an idle hand and you know what they say about the Devil and idle hands…who really cares what they say?  He can have my hand it’s of no use to me anyway.  Because everything is done with one hand, it takes me more than just a little extra time and a few extra steps to get everything done.  This has allowed me to learn a bit of patience but apparently in the lessons of life, the lessons of true survival both inward and out, I’m a late bloomer or a dim student.  I do get frustrated with things when one teeny tiny thing doesn’t go right but it’s how I’ve been learning.  As a result, I’ve been secondarily learning how to deal with my frustration.

So there I was.  I had a diaper, I had the fat baby, I had the wipees and I had the new outfit. I had just sat down which is not easy with a leg that won’t bend and only one half of your body cooperating, supporting most of your body’s weight as you lower it to the floor.  I had all my equipment and paraphernalia set up and was opening the diaper on my leg when I smelt her enter the room.  Her lotion/perfume is very overwhelming and my tiny sensitive nose really hates it.  And it’s one of those lingering fragrances, too.  I always feel like she oils me up with the odor before leaving my house.  Atrocious.  So she squats before me in those fabulously Pope red rubber-soled shoes and starts on with the baby talk.  Already I was biting my tongue.  We are trying to get him to learn to speak, not give him a speech impediment.  Plus, Kasper and I believe in talking to our kids and have since birth for both.  Neither of us understand the whole baby talk thing.  I minded myself, told the angry me inside to calm down, it’ll be over in just a few minutes.

“Just change Boonshka and let her have at him.”

I just assumed, how silly of me, that she would let the child’s mother perform her duties before trying to put in her liver-spotted hands.

I started on the sleeper but it was hot and it was really sticking.  Boonshka, he’s slow in a lot of ways but he knows how to let me handle him.  He cooperates for me in ways he doesn’t cooperate for his dad.  It’s like he adjusts to my disabilities and it’s amazing.  But could I prove that he not only does this but that I am also very capable of handling my child in this situation?  Absolutely not!  Don’t be absurd; you know what they say about people who assume!  She starts grabbing at the hand of the arm I am trying to very patiently remove from the sleeve.  She’s pulling the wrong way and holding onto the cuff of the sleeve so I can’t even do what I was trying to do!  If it wasn’t a kid between us, I would have let it drop and told her to just do it herself.  But it not only was a kid, it was my kid.   Plus, I am trying to learn how to control my temper like a bratty kid has to learn.  Like I said in a previous post, this is like being stuck in puberty.

  • Stroke recovery: it takes years of practice and retraining and it’s going through all of the worse stages of your life again, sometimes you need to do it over and over and that is how we learn kids.

So I checked myself again and calmly slipped my hands away from my child and let her struggle with him.  I got a bit of a win out of it because he is wily when he doesn’t want to help you!  *stifled grin*

I know the first year of Boonshka’s life had been shrouded in mystery because no one knew what Kt was going to do; who was she going to be after all of this?  Would she be bitter and uninvolved like she has been?  Currently, I’m only little more than half over my bitterness. I don’t know how much of that will stick through to my end.  But on the plus, I am far more involved in both my children’s’ lives now than I was a year ago.  Of course, I need to be there more, a parent can always “be there” more.  I’m here and what I do I’ve worked hard to learn.  I have no problem changing my kids diaper and dressing him…when someone isn’t putting their dog-dirtied nails in my way.  By the way, who has dogs and doesn’t wash their hands before touching someone else’s kid?  He’s not a newborn but damn lady, get a pick for that dirt.dirty-nails2

While I was changing his diaper, she starts with the baby talk again.  So again, I was reminding myself not to yell at her.

She only sees him once every few months, Kt, it’s not like a few lines will hinder what little he’s learned.

But then she started getting him excited and made it difficult then she put her hands in there to hold down the flap I honestly could have managed myself.  After I finally got it, I started on the second flap but she started reaching already too and anyone with a baby boy knows you have to make sure it’s pointing down before locking it down.  I really wanted to smack her hand away but I had been doing so good not being rude.  All I could do was pull the diaper down from a different angle and make sure she saw that I was actually trying to look in there and she was preventing me from making sure he didn’t piss upward later.  She finally backed off, I gave a sigh of relief and finished the diaper.  I like to put the bottoms on, sit him up, put on the shirt and then stand him up so I can pull up the shorts and fix the shirt in one sweep.  One-handers have to do simple maneuvers like this or everything will always take forever to finish.  I got the shorts up above his knees and was reaching for the shirt when she started standing him up.  I guess she thought I would be doing that with her because he fought her and I didn’t stop him.  She tried laughing it off and I just sat there holding the shirt, waiting and laughing bitterly inside.  Finally, he threw himself down and screamed.  I calmly slipped my hand in, he grabbed his hand quietly and sat him up.  I put on his shirt, did a “Surprise!” when his head popped through its designated hole and congratulated him on putting his arms through when directed.  Then he stood and I finished dressing him the way I prefer to do it.  My biggest victory was not giving her one of those smug in your face smiles.  That is my baby and I take care of him…you, as the in-law and guest, are a last resort.  I worked hard for the ability to do the things I can do.

When I need help, I will ask for it.  If I don’t ask….leave me alone and stop trying to make it “easier” for me.  All you are doing by making it “easier” is reminding me that I am not normal; that I need assistance; that I can’t do things on my own. I don’t want and don’t need those reminders, especially not when I know I can actually do these things.

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