Monthly Archives: March 2011

When parents Grow Old..

My folks live in a city that is about six hours by road (on a good day) and I visit them, say, three times a year. I try to get them to visit me but they are tangled up with their house, dog, garden, a little business they run (that is now getting a bit much for them but none of the kids want to take it over so it’s in a state of slow death) etc.

My father has Rheumatoid Arthritis and is in pain every single moment, every single day. It wasn’t so bad earlier, but for the past few months it’s become acute, mostly, because he’s developed a blood condition that requires some of his pain medication to stop. He’s now never without pain, in multiple parts of his body.

I call him, I feel terrible when I talk to him, but then my mom tells me that they are managing fine, which I know they are not. I go there sometimes when I feel he’s really low. But that can’t happen that often (kids school etc etc) so I mostly call, sometimes in my crazy day, I not even that . I  get sucked into domestic chaos and forget about his pain, till I get the time to think about it again (like right now). I want to change their life. I want them to wrap it all up and live in the same city as my sister, my brother and I, so we can look after them ( so it’s easier, I guess, for us to look after them) . They fight that and are not prepared to leave their life ( which I understand but I think it’s a matter of time that they’ll have to, once they grow too old to be alone). It’s hard I know, and we’ll face it someday too, but what is the other option, if none of us can move there?

It’s so hard to watch your parents grow old. I feel helpless. Part of me says – he needs you now,  drop everything and go, and sometimes I do. But I know I should be going/calling much more often; am so tied up with home and the kids that I can’t drop it all and go as often as I’d like. It makes me think – how does he feel about it? He’s in pain, he calls me and sometimes I can’t even talk because the kids are wailing and fighting over the phone. I tell him I’ll call later. I wonder if he understands. I know he calls my sister when he really needs to talk, she’s got more patience and has one grown up daughter, so it’s not crazy at home, though she works. We are three siblings, but all of us are so tied up with our daily lives that making a trip to see them becomes difficult, unless the kids have vacations.

I feel that time is running out. They are old, and though very independent, they, ideally, need someone to be there with them. They have help, of course, but that’s not all they need right now. They need one of us and not one of us can be there for too long.  It’s sad. I feel guilty, more because they never ask for help, but when I call my mom (now 75) and hear that the driver didn’t show up and she drove my dad to the doc, I feel miserable.

I don’t know what the solution is. His condition is not critical but he’s unwell and has a condition where he will be for a while, so, as my mom says ” how long can you leave your homes and be here?”. Not long I know, so we call, sometimes visit, then leave them waving at the door.

Life.

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The clingy stage, all over again, and this time, it’s double trouble!!

My five year old is just about getting out of the really clingy stage (still demanding, don’t get me wrong, that’s not going to change – mommy must do everything!) But, she’s past that I-am-going-to-stick-to-your-leg-do-what-you-can state. So that’s something of a relief. (She’s developed other somewhat distressing habits, like the sulking and moodiness of a teenager, but, more on that later – another post). For now I am happy that she’s not hanging around me like a rope, on most days.

However, the twins, now one and a half, are right there! Clingy does not quite define their behavior right now. They are gluey to the point that I cannot even escape to the bathroom without them pounding on the door beseeching me to come out.  And that makes me wonder if this is so extreme because I’ve done/am doing something wrong!

The only thing I can think of is that, at night, I don’t put them to bed. I  leave the room because they drink milk (still on the bottle!) before sleeping and I can’t put two of them in my lap and feed them, so I leave them to their maids, something they were OK with till recently, but now they scream and shout and want me in the room. The problem, however, is that if I do try and put them to bed, they fight over who has to be in my lap, pushing the other out. It leads to much shouting and crying, with both of them saying “both babies!!” or “Mama, I want your lap!”.

It’s now kind of become a vicious circle – I flee because they fight each other for me, and no matter which one I pick up, I feel bad for the other. I leave because then, at least, they know that I’ve not picked one over the other. I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do. I do know that, because I leave, they get clingier. I did try once to lie down next to them and pat them both, didn’t work. They both wanted to climb all over me and fought sleep.

Maybe I need to do this a few times to make them believe that I am not going to leave them at sleep time. But then, I get tired by the end of the day and look forward to a little bit of downtime before I go to bed. And that’s what I am going to have to give up if I have to put them to bed too.  I have no time in the evenings to myself, none at all.  My older one has to be fed and put to bed by 8:00 – 8:20, on school nights, so once we come back from the park, I am on a fast track to get her all set for the night. Then we eat dinner (mostly, I eat with the twins taking turns to sit on my lap while I try and eat!). Then I play with them for about forty minutes, till the maids eat and wrap up. So, by the time it’s time for them to sleep, I am out of steam (and patience).  That’s when I want a bit of time to unwind, talk to my husband (seems like that never happens nowadays – a gap’s developing that I don’t like). The kids sleep with us at night, and the twins still wake up a lot, so I don’t get even one uninterrupted night’s sleep – they sometimes wake up at the same time and in their sleep they cry for mommy. That’s the hardest part, because they are sleepy and not in a mood for sharing their mother and I am not my best at that time either.

What am I doing wrong? Do all mothers of twins go through this?

I have so much to write, but, I need to sleep now. It’s late and something keeps telling me to stop blogging and sleep while the kids are sleeping too. Wonder what tonight will be like..

To bed now.

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Schools. Gosh.

My five year old goes to a good school. OK, a great school. It’s one of the most sought after ones around here (elitist? you bet), with parents bending backwards to get their kids into it. I, actually, didn’t realize, when my daughter got admission, that it was so hot, but it is and getting hotter still.

Hotter and now, unfortunately, a bit arrogant too, with a don’t-like-it-leave-it attitude, which is not good, not good at all.

Tell me, am I overreacting when I say I don’t want to, as a parent, be assigned bus duty? What’s that? Well, it means that parents will be “encouraged”  to offer their services and be open to getting rostered duty on the school buses! Yes, you heard me. Not kidding! When I heard this, I was a bit, well, shocked, so I didn’t quite hold back my reaction and went ! “What the..”  Another parent, however, was open to it. (She said that she really wanted her second kid to get into the school, so she’d do what she could to get into the good books of the staff! ) Oh! come on! This is crazy, I said. She shrugged and informed me that she was part of the parent teacher association and intended to actually push the matter.(Not  a coincidence, I later thought, that her daughter is splattered all over the school magazine looking quite the star kid..hmm..)

Great. So now I pay through my nose (and other orifices!)  to send my kid to a good school only to be “requested” to spare a few hours every now and then to generally ride the school bus with a bunch of tired kiddos. Yup, my idea of a great afternoon. Not only that, what am I supposed to do with my kid on those days, the kid I pick up at the bus stop? I take her (hungry and tired) with me on this joyous ride too?

There is such a dearth of good schools and so many parents desperate for them, that schools get away with any shit these days. No one says a word.  The fee is hiked more regularly than fuel prices, but no one raises an alarm.I don’t exactly storm into the Principal’s room either! I am told they don’t take to well to revolt, and I am afraid my kid will suffer. So, I mutter to feel better and blog to vent  it out!

 

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