We went swimming again today, and in much the same way that a dog goes a little crazy when you take out his leash and ask him if he wants to go walkies, so does Daniel at the prospect of a dunk in le pool.
Mum flew in a
gain last Wednesday, and when I saw her last night, I thought she might like watching Daniel go that little bit crazy, so I asked her if she'd like to come along. She's back staying in a friends' house while they holiday in their penthouse apartment in Queensland, which is about a twenty minute drive from here, so as it comes complete with a late model BMW, I gave her directions to the pool, with an alternative option of meeting me at my place by 11.40am, at the very latest. Mum being mum, when asked whether she was coming to the pool or my place or not at all, with a dismissive wave of the hand, kept her decision to herself. I don't know, maybe she thinks being completely self absorbed adds a certain je ne c'est quoi but frankly, those dismissive waves leave me feeling like the dog poo she found on the heell of her shoes, which kinda irritates me, what with the resentement I feel when I'm questioning my relationship to dog poo. Yes I should say so, bla bla bla, but really, why? The issue is with me, and it's about not accepting her right to be the Queen.
Honestly, I've been in therapy for four years or more now, following almost twenty years of anorexia and after that, four years of panic attacks and anxiety which, oh yeah, I'm one well balanced individual, and the reason I'm there now is to help me grow past my paralysing mother issues. It's also so I don't screw Daniel up.
We tend to parent as we were parented, so I take an hour out each week because I don't want to turn into the Queen Of the Universe while I diminish my son to a mere extension of myself.
Now where was I? Oh yeah, 11.40 came and went and no ma, so I squeezed myself into some speedos, woke the boy (he'd refused to nap at the designated naptime, so was still asleep at the designated We Need To Leave time), tried shoving some carrots down his throat and when that didn't work, was stunned at his refusal to breastfeed instead, changed him into his Zoggs
, grabbed everything we needed to survive the chilly and wet apres pool moments, and trekked out to the car. Then we trekked back inside after the boy started wailing and pawing at my boobs.Dude has no respect for the clock. By the time he was a quarter full, we were already running late so tough tittes (hehe) kiddo, off we went to the pool. Mum was already there and I was already resenting that she didn't think to say what she was doing, because I am small and need to grow the fuck up already.
Then when I was, as I do each week because taking your baby swimming is a solid argument against sole parenting, what with the undressing of self and baby required, and the packing away of clothes so that they don't get saturated by all the humidity and splashing, all while holding a baby who is going a little loco in anticipation of a dunking, struggling a little as I juggled fucking everything we needed to get aquatic, mum sat and watched. I don't know what I expected because realistically she never twigs to what she could possibly do to lighten the load - even when I was fresh out of hospital with a new baby, and stitched together so my innards wouldn't fall out, she didn't do anything even vaguely helpful. Which I resented because she was telling all her friends that she was here to support me - so why I thought she'd independently realise that I could do with a hand today, if one's on offer, is beside me.
So I asked if she'd mind helping me a bit here? And I swear she got all fucking antsy. Or maybe I expected her to so I thought she was, I dunno anymore. In any case she said something like '"doing what?" and I'm thinking just look. LOOK fercrisake, what do you think I need help with? Meanwhile Daniel is slipping from my grasp, the clothes we're shedding are falling into puddles of water, and the class is about to start.
She doesn't mean to be unhelpful, I thinnk she just totally doesn't exist outside of herself.
She finally grabbed some shit, but it was too late by then and her grabbing shit ended up making my task even more complicated. Argh.
Finally I tossed the boy into the pool and, giving my best Springer Spaniel impression, leapt in after him. Dude was having fun even before he landed (and in case you were wondering, no I didn't really toss him in. I carefully handed him to the instructor, if you must know, before daintily climbing in via the ladder), and I was glad because as I said, I thought mum would enjoy watching her grandson spaz out with pure, unadulterated joy.
As an aside, the swim teacher lurves Daniel too.. Or maybe I just look really incompetant because each week, Alice offers to take Daniel while I take the ladder, and she doesn't do that with any one else. Also, she laughs a lot with him, more so that she does with the other kidlets, which is really nice. Not the apparent favoratism, mind, because it probably only exists in my head, but that Daniel is so gregarious that others get joy from being with him too.
So splash splash, swim swim, and before you know it, the lesson was over. I got out the pool, wrapped Daniel in a blanket and handed him to mum, then got dressed (read: put my track pants on over my wet speedos, which could be the arguemnt toward the benefit of knowing if in fact, my mum, aka a potential spare pair of hands, was coming along because, hello! Change room, dry underwear!) before dressing the kid in some nice warm, dry clothes.
As she's (literally, apparently) had a panic attack at the prospect of taking the Beemer, mum had taken a cab, so I asked her if she wanted me to drive her home. Mum was all we could go for a coffee, which was nice, and despite all the shit I say about her, I like to do stuff with her like that because she's my mum, and even mre than the resentment that drips from my very pores, I feel sad about her. A deep aching sadness that we don't have anything more to share than small things like the occasional trip out for coffee together. The little swim star needed his nap though, so I explained this and declined. I offered to take her to my place instead, saying again that star needed his nap and that later on, I needed to get to target to buy a present for a one year old. I don't know what went wrong. I generally know when I've been short or terse of whatever it takes for mum to get snippy, but there's this whole range of unknown stuff I do that sets off this, I don;t even know what it is, but next thing you know, she's saying "Take me home". Just like that. Snip snip. Of course I noted that there was no "please" accompanying her request, which made it a command really, when you think about it, but decided to take my silent high road and assumed she'd say thanks or something once we got there.
I don't need slobbering appreciation, but manners are important to me, and just because I'm her daughter doesn't, in my opinion, mean that the social graces aren't appreciated.
But she's my mum so instead of saying a sing song "What do you say?" as one does to a two year old whose been handed a cookie, I felt I was being unreasonable and that I needed to again, grow the fuck up already. Then when I got to her place, she simply opened the door, got out of the car and walked away. She didn't even look back,much less wave goodbye.
I ask you? Is that right? I know it's not right that it miffs me so, this abandonment of social niceties, but is it right for a mother to get the fuck out of a daughter's car after she's driven you home?
So now the deebs is napping in the car (quote mum: but that's illegal!") and I'm here worrying about mum and what I can do to rectify the situation.
But I said that already.