Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"When Worlds Collide" OR "Small Boys vs. Exhausted Grandparents"

I'm baaaaaack... It's been almost 4 weeks since my ankle was taken apart and, mostly, put back together again. Most of this time was spent under the influence of narcotic pain medicine that left me in a significantly altered (and frequently puking) state. Hubby said it was like having a "Beth mannequin" in the house. I just remember it as a haze of pain and throwing up and being told over and over and over again just to lie in bed. Bedrest, for those of you who know me, is just about the worst thing you could do to me. Telling me, the woman who can't sit still, to lie in bed all day, every day, and not do anything. Complete torture! And, I was too drugged up to focus on a T.V. show or read a book, so it was doubly horrendous.

Lucky for us, my parents (who deserve to be sainted for this) drove 8 hours from their home in Walla Walla, leaving their beloved cat in the care of a neighbor, and moved into our teeny little guest room/office for the first 3 weeks post-surgery, so that my little boys wouldn't have to fend for themselves during Mommy's drug-addled recovery phase. My Mom and Dad: Two lovely people in their 70's, who have completely forgotten how normal 4 and 5 year old kids behave, let alone the amount of energy required to keep them occupied. Oh, my poor, poor, exhausted parents. And, there wasn't much I could do to help them. Every time I tried to get up to do anything helpful, my toes swelled up like hot dogs, I started sweating and shaking, and I had to go lie down again. As a result, while I lay in bed, my head spinning from the medication, I got to overhear lots of semi-whispered conversations that went something like this:

"Why are those boys always picking on each other? I don't remember our kids behaving like that!"

"I know. These two can't walk down the hallway without pushing each other or poking each other. Why do they fight over everything? Our kids NEVER did that!!! What these kids need is a good spanking!"

"Why do these boys fight about eating their vegetables? They should just eat the stuff they don't like first and get it over with, instead of saving it until last! Don't they understand that?"

"That's right. And, our kids always ate whatever we put on their plates!"

(Uh-huh. Sure. Whatever you say. THEY might not remember, but my siblings and I certainly do remember the battles we fought over every toy, every game, every neighborhood friend, every treat...Not to mention the everyday teasing, tricking, and picking at eachother that was a recurring theme of our childhood...Then, there are the countless incidences of my Dad hollering, "NO HORSEPLAY IN THE CAR! DON'T MAKE ME PULL OVER, OR YOU'LL BE SORRY!" This followed, of course, by us continuing our bad behavior, Dad pulling over, and the yelling that ensued. He just doesn't remember it...As for eating everything on our plates...Are you kidding me? I remember epic battles over the consumption of mushrooms, broccoli, and various other food items, as well as a certain incident involving buttermilk that resulted in actual vomiting. By the way, we were spanked, and it didn't make one bit of difference in the amount of time we spent mouthing off, as well as tormenting and competing with one another. Hmmmm....)

My Dad's coping strategy was to deliberately leave out his hearing aids, so he could have some peace and quiet and read the paper. Unfortunately, this left Grandma in charge, most of the time, as she was the only one who could hear my boys' high-pitched little voices asking for snacks or juice or stories or for somebody to come see the slugs in the backyard. Poor Grandma. What a trooper.

Anyway, my favorite overhead conversation from the last few weeks was between my Dad and my sons during bathtime. It was the perfect illustration of the developmental chasm that exists between my folks' generation and my little boys:

Grandsons: Squabble, squabble...
Grandpa: "Why are you getting so bent out of shape? Your brother's actions aren't impinging on you!"
Grandsons:  Total silence.

Forget, for a moment, that half the grown-ups I know don't even know the meaning of the term "impinging", let alone 4 and 5 year old boys. I was lying in bed envisioning my sons thinking, "Bent out of shape? What does he mean? We're not bent in some weird shape. All we did was smack each other! What is Grandpa talking about?!!" I wanted to yell something supportive, but, to be honest, I was giggling really hard and trying to do it quietly...

Ahhh, yes. It's been an interesting few weeks...And, even though I'm not in fighting form yet and could certainly still use all the help I can get, I think we were all ready for a little break from each other. A little return to normalcy (or as "normal" as it gets around here, anyway). Mom and Dad are back at home with their cat and their nice, orderly lives. The boys and I are figuring out how to navigate daily summer life with a Mommy on crutches. Hubby's discovering that there are a lot of things I used to do that I can't do when I'm in a cast and can't drive, so he's dealing with the shock and kicking into high gear. It's all working out...

And, with a little distance between us, come the good memories from our weeks together: Grandpa and the boys hunting for crabs under the rocks at the park...Grandma reading countless stories with a riveted grandson snuggled up on each side of her lap...The whole family celebrating Foster's "graduation" from preschool...Hubby and grandparents all hopping onto our bed with me to root for New Zealand in the World Cup...Drinking margaritas in the back yard on Father's Day...Sitting on the porch swing watching the boys ride their bikes around the cul-de-sac...Yep. Good times.

Thanks, Mom and Dad, from the bottom of my heart. You may not understand my little boys' behavior. You may not agree with our decision not to spank. You may think time-outs are silly, and that our house is completely chaotic and crazy. But, you love us all anyway, and you're always there when we need you. I love you, and I hope you're resting up for your next visit in August...



  1. I missed you, Beth! What a ride, huh? I'm so so glad you had a little village in your parents to help you get through what hopefully was the hardest part of your recovery...the dialogue in this post is hilarious. I love it. And truthfully, I often wish I had a gearing aid I could remove sometimes! Take care!

  2. Uh hearing aid, not gearing aid...

  3. Kami, my friend. Missed you too. Thanks for the words of encouragement!

  4. I did not realize that you were having surgery I missed those posts in my post baby never a second to myself phase. I am glad to see you are back and on the mend. I think the hardest thing for a mom to do is let someone else take over, especially if you are a control freak like me