Last night was pretty hard, as our elder house guest decided to go out leaving us to put the itty one to bed. Poor baby, she just wanted her mum (she isn't that much younger than Jenna but that doesn't lessen the feelings) and she cried and cried with my holding her. I massaged her before bed - she has very dry skin - and then sang to her until she fell asleep. A half hour later she was awake and crying for her mum again. Yet again I'd been told to leave her to cry, which I've refused to do when we've cared for her occasionally from tiny. I went in, followed by Jenna who said she couldn't go to sleep with her friend being sad. In the end we tucked them up together and there was silence. Much later we put them in seperate beds again.
When her mum got home we heard her start to cry again and Jenna getting up to her. We had a bit of a terse exchange.Other parent: She needs to learn that I won't go to her.Me: Why? She's genuinely upset! She's just learning that you only meet her needs when it's convenient.Other: It's not about her being convenient. She knows I've NEVER gone to her at night.Me: Great - so she knows you're choosing never to meet her needs at night.
The next time the other mum heard a cry she went right up there without a word. I don't think I actually had an impact as much as she didn't want to discuss it again. Probably I wouldn't have said so much if it wasn't for the feeling of being put upon and for the offence that my children were having to suffer because of her desire not to parent her child any more than she felt like. It's hard to blame her for this - it's a cycle of perpetuating the rejection she's felt herself - but I wasn't going to let Jenna do her job for her.
Anyhow, everyone is gone now. It's wierd, because I'm sad to see them go even though they turn up unexpectedly and never tell me how long for (or how many meals they're eating with us or eating out!). The little one is such a love, such a pleasant child to be around. She can be oppositional (what nearly three isn't?) but she always seemed shocked into doing what I say because I just don't argue with her or get angry. She can be very gentle and loving, and she just craves to be touched and talked to. The problem is that the mum needs the same level of parenting and she's my age.
I have worried about writing this entry - because I don't want to sound dismissive or superior in my attitude to this friend. She needs a lot of support and I'm more than willing to give it, when it doesn't cause problems within my own family. It's that balance though, how to give someone outside the family what they need without taking from what my own children need. I don't want to have to choose! But here we are and there it is.
When they left Jenna wanted to follow them. She went and stood outside in her dressing up shoes (pink and glittery) and stomped her foot. She said, in a very teenage tone, "I'm GOING, it's not FAIR. I WANT to GO with THEM. [stomp]" I said, "Come back in here this minute, you're not going anywhere in those shoes." You know those moments of total premonition when you can see what's coming in the teenage years? LOL
After the house was empty we had a bit of a shouty afternoon. There has been some degree of tension this weekend, and Jenna was tired after her late night. It came to a head when Jenna refused to help me tidy up and I said she could choose to pick something up or go for her nap right away. She screamed at me, can't even remember what it was she said, but I snapped and screamed back at her to GET UPSTAIRS THIS SECOND NOW!
She did, muttering all the way about "don't know why you won't let me stay downstairs, don't know why I have to do this, it's not fair, you don't like me, I'm not your friend, mutter mutter". I followed her to say sorry, and discovered her in the bathroom climbing the shelves to get my (totally unused) makeup box. She was deposited in bed and told to be quiet until I declared nap time over.
After that, feeling that I'd inexcusably lost my temper and worrying about the baby again, I called Martin and cried down the phone about not coping and not wanting to be like this. Morgan had looked so shocked at me shouting, feeding with a look of not wanting to close her eyes in case I morphed into nasty mummy again. I couldn't bear for it still to be so tense around here when the newborn baby arrives. What kind of home life is that, with me spending half the day screaming and fighting my impulse to smack Jenna?
When Martin got home I sent him and Jenna to buy chips, as we're almost out of food and had neither bread nor potatoes and hardly any vegetables. He recounted his first experience of a really difficult conversation to have in public with a child.
Jenna: What's that?
Martin: On the stick over there? Doner meat.
Jenna: What has it got in it?
Martin: Lots of different kinds of meat.
Martin: Yup, probably pig.
Martin: I guess so, probably cow too.
Anyway, I'm rushing to the toilet constantly which is unhelpful with Morgan dozing on me this evening. Also I have the return of the simultaneous spotty/dry skin, which is fun. I gave in and bought a face mask (Crash Course in Skincare from Lush which is one of the few that doesn't irritate my skin further) - and as for finding something I can use as a moisturiser on my dry and inflamed eyelids... :( Moisturisers sting (too much water content) so it's the massage bars that are prooving best bet. All of this trivial but nevertheless frustrating!