Saturday, May 29, 2010

Fake it 'til it takes

By Heather
In March 14th, Mum slipped twice in the bathroom and smashed her head against the tub each time. James took her to emergency, and I came later. James went home and I spent all that night until the next afternoon with Mum. She was concussed, and running a fever, and her brains just weren't working. Mum spent 8 days in the hospital as they tried different antibiotics to bring her fever down. She had bronchitis, and wasn't sleeping well on top of it, and they just weren't really able to get her stabilized quickly at all. Every time her fever went up, her brain power went down.

When it was time for Mum to come home, she came here. We didn't want her to be on her own and she needed a recliner to sleep in, and the only one in both households was here, in the space under Calli's loft. So Calli and Mum became roommates. It's working out okay, Calli likes having someone sharing the room with her. Also,as soon as she felt rested and able, Mum decided to take over laundry duty for the family, she likes doing a load a day instead of my having a big laundry day. She also has taken charge of the dishwasher. It's her way of giving back.

Mum's bedroom also needed a lot of sorting and revision to make it safer for her. Whenever we can, which turns out to be every couple weeks, Calli, Mum and I go over to sort. We have to go when there is someone to watch Acer, and all three of us are available. We each have our assignments, and are able to work on them for a couple hours before my allergies send us back home.

So, Mum has been here for two and a half months, and things have been going pretty well, except now we find we need to do some major attitude revising.

As far as I know, this is the closest that Mum has had to 'normal' family life in about 60 years. Growing up, she was sent to a boarding school, and in our house, Mum made lots of dinners and froze them so we just ate whenever, we didn't have assigned chores, and our rooms were as clean or as messy as we wanted. Even the idea of all eating together took Mum some getting used to when she got here.

Now about the attitudes, there is no one who can push my buttons into explosion mode faster than Mum. Acer and James run a very close second, but Mum takes the cake, so this has been a strain for me. Bill has lived with it well, but eventually he had to step and mention her attitude to me too, to protect Calli. Mum is almost automatically negative, it's a habit she doesn't even realize. She picks and pokes at the kids, Acer fires back, bellowing at her (which is not right, but he is protecting himself). Calli doesn't, she has very little protection, she tends to just get quiet and hang her head. These last two days, Calli has started sounding like Mum as they go back and forth, and towards Acer. So it was beyond time to get this under control. I tried introducing the bucket book concept to Mum last weekend, it didn't work. She just didn't internalize it.

Today, she and Calli had an exchange of snipes when both were trying to do a good thing together. There was no reason to have it, and I had to tell Mum, that I felt she had infected Calli in only two months. Calli did not behave like this before. I needed a plan to help them both, I needed a simple one and I needed it fast. So, Fake it 'til you Make it came to mind. Both seemed to ike the idea, and I said that they needed to act (Glenda the good witch was Mum's character) like they were polite and loving and encouraging even if they didn't feel it. I told them we would practice it until Monday night, when we would discuss it and how it felt. So, Prayers about this, because I don't want Mum bringing us down, I want her to be able to learn and change even if she has resisted it all these years.

1 comment:

Heather said...

I will pray this works! Keep us posted!