Sunday, March 19, 2006

Winding down the weekend

After spending most of last weekend lying on the couch, this weekend seemed like pure mayhem in comparison. Matt's parents were here for a visit. We haven't seen them since Christmas and what I will always remember as the Great Baby Announcement Debaucle. They arrived Saturday afternoon and all seemed to be going well with everyone when I got home from work early Saturday evening. I was informed that Iris was pretty scared of Grandpa's cane. Fair enough, I thought, she may not have ever seen one, and it kind of freaks her out. No biggie. So we're all sitting around talking and eating dinner and pretty much just letting Iris entertain us. At one point I gave her a pen so she could color. After a few moments of coloring, she wandered over to the lounge chair and was about to start writing on the arm of it with the pen. Grandpa YELLED at Iris to stop and she just kind of froze and then turned around and fell in to Matt's lap and started clinging on to him. Now, Grandma was in the chair, Matt and I were sitting arm's length away, Iris was fine and well covered. It really upset me that he yelled at her so loudly, but I didn't know what to say or do in the moment. We just stopped and then shook it off and kept going with the conversation. It is so wierd, because at least one other time he has yelled quite loudly at her. It makes me incredibly uncomfortable and upset, but it happens so infrequently, and I believe with good intention (he really didn't want her to write on the chair) that it's hard to find the words to express to him why it's not okay. So, Iris spent the rest of their visit pretty scared of Grandpa. This morning we got in the car to go to brunch and he was in the front seat. Iris just freaked when I tried to put her in her car seat. She was trying to lean way over so her feet didn't even touch the back of the seat he was in. Grandpa and Grandma were just saying "oh, she's so scared of that cane!" but I really felt like she was just scared of him.
I was super nervous to bring up with Matt how Grandpa's actions made me feel, but in a moment I just blurted it out. I felt so relieved when Matt told me he shared my feeling about it, but didn't know what to do. I agreed that it was a sticky situation. It was interesting, because for Matt, it brought up emotions of times in his childhood when his father would react to him that way. We both believe that the topic should be approached sensitively with Grandpa, to let him know we appreciate that he is just trying to help, but let him we've got it under control, and that he doesn't need to raise his voice with Iris.
So, this afternoon I got a couple BIG treats. The first is we bought a glider and an ottoman so I can use them for when the baby comes. In fact, I'm sitting in it while I type this entry! It's SO cool. I was thoroughly, thoroughly impressed because Matt put the whole thing together. I was the forwoman, but he did all the work. He is about the least mechanically inclined of any man I know, almost to a fault. Seriously, he has trouble with hammers. I didn't really want him to put it together, because I was afraid it might get ruined, but he did it, and he did an awesome job! I was so proud of him! This afternoon we went to Costco and picked up a new stroller. I've been wanting a new one for months, a jogging stroller, then I found out I was pregnant and didn't know what to do about a new stroller. The only one we have is an all-purpose heavy-duty umbrella type stroller. Okay for everything, not great for anything. So, I finally decided on this stroller. It's quite cool. After I set it up Iris didn't want to get out of it. Of course, we just played with it in the living room, but tomorrow will be it's first proper spin out on the sidewalk.
Now we relax for the evening. Sigh. Back to work tomorrow!

3 comments:

  1. I have the same issue with my dad only more extreme because along with yelling he hits. So, he's not allowed to see Emma June until he gets anger management because I couldn't live with myself if he hit Emma June.

    I think maybe approaching the subject with Matt's dad by started out that you're worried about Iris having a happy relationship with him might help - you know, being worried about his well being along with hers. He'd be awfully sad if she didn't want to be close to him. Also, maybe also prefacing it with "I know things are a lot different now than when Matt was a baby so we're trying a different approach" so it doesn't sound like you're saying, "You raised your children wrong!" Which, in my opinion he did if he yells at toddlers - but that would just put him on the defensive and hurt his feelings.

    You have all the right in the world to set this boundary. It was very painful for me to be yelled at when I was so young and there's no reason for it. Sometimes it happens when a parent is stressed beyond belief and there's no one to take over - but if it does happen it's important for the grown-up to tell the toddler that it wasn't ok for the grown-up to yell like that.

    Hey ... I have to get a blog in order to post this. Great. Just what I need! Another blog!

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  2. Sorry Julia! I just changed the settings so anyone can post. It's pretty annoying to have to have an account, hmmmm? Hee hee.

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  3. I'm a real wimp when it comes to discussing respect for my children with relatives. Luckily, we don't have any hitters or shouters. So far I've just talked with my 3-yr-old about how people like and dislike different things, and that's ok.

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