Okay, well I feel happy knowing you guys don't mind if I write about the fetus chronicles here. I promise I'll never be one of those goo goo gah gah people - I'm too old for that shit. One thing about the parenthood websites I've found; they are full of people with VERY strong opinions on how things should and shouldn't be done and I get the impression that some women feel that motherhood has given them license to be a life expert. Not all of them of course, but there are a lot of high-spirited conversations out there and I'm not nearly ready for that yet. Who knew the practice of letting a baby cry himself to sleep was such a hot-button topic?
So last night went to the rednecks' to see what was going on with the whole housing situation. I wanted to talk to Sheri and get her take on the situation and what her take is is pretty well horrified. She always puts on a brave face, which is completely unnecessary in terms of doing it for my benefit - if I'm your friend, I have no problem with supporting you through whatever; if you have to cry, scream, break things - it doesn't matter. We've all been through rough times and I know what it's like from personal experience to make the slow climb out of the financial ruin hole. The sick part is she makes a really good salary. But her husband's work experience isn't what you'd call stable, so of course the money she brings in doesn't cut it.
While we were talking though, she sort of deviated from the subject of losing the house and went into this whole speil about how she's glad they've found the new place because she feels like it might be divine intervention and a Sign that it was time to start fresh with everything. She's having her dad help her make a budget, she's started working out, etc. And that's a great attitude to have. But then it became clear she was talking about their marriage. Uh-oh, okay, now we're getting into a little bit of uncomfortable territory. Because while her husband is a good person at heart, and from what I can tell a pretty good father, he is not a good husband (her words). She started talking about how now that they're moving into a more affordable place, if need be she knows she can take care of herself and the kids on her salary alone, which is something she couldn't do while living in the current house. Not that I'm planning on breaking up with him, she assured me, but you know, just in case. Okay...
There was only about a half-hour period in the time we were there last night where I wanted to shove a sharp object into my eyehole. Nick hadn't arrived home yet when we got there, around 7:30. We settled down in the living room and Brian broke out a deck of cards and was giving us a quick lesson on Omaha Hi Lo poker. He had just told Sheri how we'd just deposited a hundred dollar check from his poker winnings that week and she got all excited to learn how to play. It would've been fun except for one thing.
And here's where I turn around and criticize this friend of mine. I know it may sound mean given her circumstances right now, but this situation isn't a new thing and it bothers me almost every time we go over there. Her eight-year-old daughter and two-and-a-half-year-old son were running around like a couple of screaming banshees. Okay, fine. I'm used to that part. And the daughter really is a good kid who might act hyper for a minute and then goes into her room to read or watch a dvd. I only started getting annoyed when we couldn't hear ourselves talk over the screeching and the fact the little boy kept turning the TV up to top volume over and over (and over) again.
And then I started mentally taking notes. I always give myself the disclaimer: You're not a mother; you have no right to criticize any mothering techniques. One of my friends actually said that to me once - put me right in my place and I've never forgotten it. But lately I've started picturing what I would do in a given situation where I was the parent. Sheri barely paid attention to them, stopping only a couple of times to passively reprimand them: Honey, stop turning up the TV. Honey, go play in your room. Jacob, you're gonna get a time-out. Honey, stop trying to set the house on fire. Well, I made that last one up, but I wouldn't be surprised if she hadn't uttered that phrase a few times in his life already. She told me one time she actually had to call her parents so they could help her get the kids under control when they were being particularly unruly. Her parents??? Is it just me or does that strike you as a little odd?
He paid her no attention whatsoever. In the space of about ten minutes, the little beast ripped open a bag of cereal so it went flying all over the floor in front of us, ripped up a check she'd just written out, pulled their Daschund puppy's ears hard enough to make him yelp, swiped over the stacks of coins we were using for the poker game, kicked his sister in the stomach, jumped up into his mother's lap and smacked her in the face and finally left the room to, unbenownst to us, draw on his sister's bedroom walls with a Sharpee. At that point Sheri looked at me and laughingly said, Are you SURE you want to do this?
I assured her I did. What I didn't add was that when and if I do do this, I'd like to think/hope/pray I'd do some things a little differently. And I say this with no authority or cockiness whatsover. I thought back to the days when my sister and I were young and my parents had company. We were allowed to be around for the first few minutes or so, say hi to the adults and act cute or whatever, and then we were banished to our rooms to play quietly together. There was no arguing about it; it was "Adult Time." And I know everyone is different, but am I out of line here in thinking that was a little much? And hey, here I am judging someone's parenting technique ALREADY, ha. Whoa. But like I said, I've always felt this way the whole time we've known them, so it's not a new thing that's come along with my potential bid for motherhood.
Whenever I say anything to Brian about it he says it's no big deal; Jacob is a little wildman and he's two so of course he's going to act like a raving lunatic. Like he's the all-knowing sage expert or something. I understand all that. I just think maybe a little firmer action should be taken when the kid acts like that, because personally? I was ready to leave in that first half hour of being there last night and didn't start to enjoy the visit until the kids went to bed.
Are you sure you want to do this?
Yes. I'm also sure paying attention on what I'm not going to do. I can see all you parents out there right now laughing at me and saying to yourselves, Just wait, asshole. Just. You. Wait.