Thursday, 12 July 2012

The In-Laws and outs of vacation for Monkey

Sent the Monkey off to my husband's parents for a week alone with them before we join him with the Kitten. They have done this several times, with reasonable success. He is generally good with adults, and loves his grandparents dearly. I worry a little of course, but not excessively. They accept his diagnosis, even if they don't fully understand what it means. Hell, I don't either, but we all do our best to help him with the tough bits, and get him where he wants to go. It is also nice to have a break from the constant supervision my little man requires, and the cleanups that my lapses of attention inevitably lead to. I feel vaguely guilty about feeling relief, but mommy guilt is a specialty of mine, so I am used to it. I appreciate that my in-laws are willing and able to take him for these times, and he really enjoys the attention.

There was a call from the SiL (Hubby's sister) soon after Monkey and Gramma were supposed to arrive, with the urgent tone she is so good at, telling us that there was a delay getting off the plane (a door was jammed) and Monkey was, in her words, "freaking out". So Hubby called his mom on her cell. What exactly he was supposed to do was a mystery to me. Maybe he thought he could talk to Monkey on the phone and distract him. At any rate, by the time he called, Monkey had finished his meltdown, and was fine. It turns out he had a relatively minor meltdown because he thought, when they made him sit down and put his belt back on, that they were going to fly back home, and he wouldn't see Granpa. Gramma had called Granpa to let him know there was a delay, he had heard Monkey having his meltdown, and for reasons I just don't understand, he felt the need to call SiL, who felt the need to call us.

This is exactly the worry I have about visits with Hubby's family. His dad can be bitter and manipulative, and often tries to stir up trouble between the siblings and tends to stretch the truth or twist it to accomplish this. SiL takes everything he says and reacts exactly as he expects, in turn she works herself into a frenzy of nerves, then usually calls her mom or Hubby to proceed to work them up into overreacting with them. She succeeds with her mom far too often. I can usually talk Hubby down if she gets him stressed out, but it is wearying to both of us. She doesn't limit this to her father's influence of course, and still stresses over her own kids and life, and passes this to her family, who spin it back and everyone panics or gets angry or whatever else. She believes she has all of the solutions to our problems with Monkey, too, most of which she gets from the internet. This drives Hubby up the wall as he is a special needs teacher with a master's in special education, and works with severe ASD kids every day. He doesn't claim to know the answers, but he has heard most of the alleged cures and treatment, seen most of them tried by the parents of his kids, and is pretty well informed of what is solid and what is bull or snakeoil. She also has plenty of more general parenting advice for us and never hesitates to tell us her concerns over our kids' development. Sigh.

Don't get me wrong, I understand that she believes she is helping. I try to be polite and not too dismissive of her when she voices these concerns. And Hubby's family loves Monkey and would never deliberately say or do anything that would hurt or belittle him. I don't know how much he understands or takes in of the drama that is going on around him. My concern is that he will be made to feel less than perfect as a person because he is ASD, and that his delays are somehow his fault. I can live with the frustration that comes with the criticism and oh so helpful advice from his family. I won't tolerate anything that belittles or marginalizes my son. Hubby's dad is a bully. I won't have him bullying my son. SiL is a drama queen. I won't have her making my son feel like he is a tragedy or broken. Hubby's mom is a good person, but is very much an enabler for her family as she tries to keep everyone satisfied.

I don't think I am a perfect parent. Hell, I can only hope to be an adequate parent for my amazing kids. If I need help I ask, and sometimes even take the advice I am given. I worry plenty, and overreact occasionally, but overall, I try to remain calm and focused for my kids. It doesn't always work out, but it really doesn't help to have well meaning (or not) folks fanning the flames of panic and frustration.

I just hope I am not a bad person for hoping he has a few really good meltdowns for Granpa.

1 comment:

  1. No you are not a bad mother, you just want some know-alls to see how little they understand...
    Been there.
    Ditch the guilt... if you can =s