Thursday, January 01, 2009

One more, cuz I need advice

So one of the conversations I had with The Barbara started out innocently enough - I was telling her about how much I love Ace's school and all of his teachers and therapists and friends etc. Like she often does, The Barbara had to turn a positive conversation into a negative one. She said "those poor, poor children," which made me cringe. I tried, in vain, to turn the conversation back to being positive and tell her how much the children progress at the school, when she started telling me how I should feel so lucky when I see the other kids there and "aren't you glad that Ace only has what he has?"

ssiiiiiggggghhhhhh

Anyway. She then started saying how I should be so thankful because "those other kids have it so much worse." I looked at her, patiently waiting for her to stop talking (because arguing with her does no good, I've discovered in the 8 years I've been with her son). It became clear that she was waiting for me to agree with her. I was momentarily stunned - what did she want me to say? "Sucks to be them, I'm so lucky!"

After a second of stammering, I said "I don't like to compare - everyone has their own story. There are a lot of disabilities represented at Ace's school."

I don't know how I managed to handle that diplomatically because I seriously hate when people feel sorry for Ace and other kids with disabilities. Life's gonna be hard for him to some extent, but his only limitations will be what other people place on him.

My question to y'all is this - I've tried to school The Barbara in other things (like how Ace's prematurity was not, in fact, my fault) and she doesn't especially listen. Since Ace will be growing up hearing her say "poor baby," do I confront her sympathy directly? Do I ask her to stop and explain why?

What do I do, internets?

23 comments:

Crawdaddy79 said...

I think a healthy punch in the face fixes a lot of things. This situation might warrant such a solution.


You're welcome.

fwapah said...

Either leave it alone because she ain't never gonna change nor understand, or just flip out one day with a well-crafted and practiced diatribe to really get her attention and drive it home. Not yelling, just sharp and to the point. :)

Aidan's mom said...

Hmmm...can't remember what kind of relationship your hubby has with The Barbara. I usually leave these things up to my dh to handle with his mom. Could you ask him to talk to her and explain how hurtful this is going to be to Ace as he gets older and understands what she is saying?

Melinda Barton said...

Just explain to Ace that some people, like grandma, have intellectual/mental disabilities and, as much as it may frustrate us "normal" people to deal with them, they deserve our sympathy. Poor things.

i'm black betty said...

i can't say on HERE what i would do, but it might include some duct tape and zip ties...

Roz said...

Stacey some people will put a negative spin on anything..but it sounds like you and your husband need to sit that bitch down and tell her she better straighten her ass up or just stay away all together..

I mean seriously where the hell has she been anyway..does she not hear herself and how freaking tacky and disgusting she sounds!!

Watercolor said...

I think Aidan's Mom has the right idea. Drew should talk with her and explain it is not appropriate and will not be tolerated. If she continues, he'll have to talk with her again and explain if she does it again and you all are there, you will leave. And then do it. Or if she is here, she will be asked to leave. And then do it. Nothing short of that will get through to her.

As Ace grows up strong and proud of himself, her talk will make him begin to feel less proud and more shameful which is wrong. Trust me, I have a grandmother like this. Nothing I did was good enough. Every I got hurt it was because I am a klutz and shouldn't be out there playing sports anyway. You think are are strong enough to overcome it, but you are just a kid after all and she *is* your grandmother - someone who is supposed to love you and want the best for you. She has to be telling you the truth, right?

If she can't be positive and supporting then she is a negative influence in his life. Is that a good thing?

Christine the Soccer Mom said...

Stacey, just nod and smile and say, "Uh, huh," and then go about your business. Sounds like The Barbara is not going to change her mind or her ways, and trying to help her on that road is only going to make you nuts. (More nuts?) ;)

Seriously, I've learned to just smile, nod, "uh, huh," and then do my thing. Then I offer it all up and leave it all at that. There's nothing I can do to change certain people's outlooks or attitudes, and trying to do so only makes my stomach churn (I'm not good with ... confrontations). So I let it all go and offer it to God. :)

Rob the Webkahunah said...

I got it on this one... everytime she says "poor baby" say, "You're right... he is a poor baby. I checked his piggy bank and he only has 38 cents." keep assuming she means the monetary version of Poor until she calls you on it and explains exactly what she means... then just say, "well, that's a silly way of looking at it... I'm WAY more concerned about how we'll pay for his college."

then proceed to do it again every time she says "poor baby" like the first conversation never happened.

With any luck, she'll start doubting her sanity, and eventually decide you're the one who's nuts, and the words "poor baby" are your trigger.

RhondaLue said...

I like Melinda's suggestion! HA HA!

But Rob's was great too!

If your husband can talk to her like Aidan's mom suggested it would be better. But even still The Barbara sounds like the kind of person that just doesn't allow things to sink in. Her point of view is ALL THERE is to her and I doubt anything can change that. BUT, he can *try* to explain to her that he's not "poor"...has some challenges yeah-poor, NO! But we all have challenges and he's no different. Feeling like people feel sorry for you is not a good feeling to grow up with so if she doesn't "get it" then just tell her to knock it off or you're outta there! Good luck. I think you'll need it.

sinister_n_evil said...

My contribution would be discussing her lack of ability to care for herself every time she calls Ace "poor baby", and discuss nursing homes for her care in front of her. Refer to her as the Poor baby, and ask her what size depends does she wear. Begin asking her what kind of funeral arrangements does she want, and tell her that you have picked out the perfect burriel dress for her. Have this conversation with her every time she calls Ace a POOR BABY... and tell her that if she doesn't curb that habit, neither will you. Dare her that you will refuse to change her depends if she continues to use that term when she refers to Ace... I am sure that she will Love that one...Of course warn Drew in advance... and tace CPR classes just in case...

Sandi said...

She needs to stop that sort of talk before Ace gets any older, but I see your quandary. Drew should tell her. She may not choose to hear it the first time, but don't let him give up. You're too good a mom to let that woman belittle your child.

HEATHER said...

See I totally agreed with Aiden's mom, until I read Rob's wonderful suggestion!!! Since he has had personal experience with The Barbara, we should all defer to his judgement and bow to his awesomeness!! Honestly, that is THE PERFECT comeback! And it's so SMARTA$$-it's really quite genius!
Well done Rob, very well done!

Style Expert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Style Expert said...

Maybe you should get her a t shirt that says, "My GRANDSON IS GREAT!" Maybe she will get the point! On another tip, at least she knows his name. My step-father in law can't remember my children's name and they all sound alike. At least she talks to you, mine don't!

Bird said...

Well, I think that you got some great advice here. For me, when my mom find something that she just HAS to harp on (like the fact that he likes to stick out his tongue), I tell her he has enough to worry about without her piling it on. Also, the shut up or you-no-see-your-grandbaby technique has been known to work.

Watercolor said...

It has to come from Drew. It can't come from you. It cannot come from you.

If she was pinching him a little, just a little, not too hard, just enough to sting a little bit, every time she walked by him, no one would allow that to continue.

No one would say, oh well, that's just the way she is, she likes to pinch kids.

The emotional "pinch" is no less mean. Trust me. It has take a lot of therapy money to get over my own version of living through this....lol!

The kicker, have Drew ask her if she wants Ace to ask him one day, "Why doesn't Grandma believe in me?" See if that doesn't sink in for her a little.

Hugs. This stinks and is very very hard. But Ace is the most important person in this and his family should not be a source of negativity. Yes, he'll encounter people out in the world with her attitude. But he should be able to turn around and see love and pride from his family to hold and sustain him.

Love you. Hugs to you all.

Jen said...

fwapah said what I would do. I would flat out tell her in a sharp like you better not open your damn mouth again and utter those words to my son EVER again. She is going to HURT him, NOT help him. I couldn't have as much patience as you are with that with her.

See, I already dread how it will be with MY MIL and how damn controlling she will try to be. I already picture me taking my child from her arms, packing our shit & driving away with her in the dust confused as to why I am even leaving because she WILL NEVER understand that I am the MOTHER and not her. It's going to be bad. I have this re-occuring nightmare as to how she will be. I can't STAND someone to tell me how to do something. Especially her, because it's always her way or you are doing it the wrong way. I feel your pain but I would just have to tell her. I would talk to your hubby & explain to him that if she does it again what you will do. IF he doesn't want to do it himself. :) Dang, I feel for ya.

(sorry for the book)

shiksa said...

As I'm sure Drew can relate, my dad's parents were never the most welcoming or warm of grandparents. They never hesitated to criticize my appearance, my grades, how or what I ate, all the way up to, "there's no way she got a full scholarship to college - you're just making that up." And no amount of talking-to would make them act otherwise. They felt it was their right to speak their piece about their offspring (and their offspring's offspring). But my mom would tell me that they were very unhappy people and that we were the only family who even visited them (which is and was true) and that we should try our best to be kind. Ace will be a beautiful and well-adjusted boy, thanks to you and Drew, and it's the Barbara who has the problem, but we all know that already. I think you have a better chance of reinforcing the good in him than teaching an old Cajun new tricks. That's my two cents.

From the Doghouse said...

Every time she says "poor baby", release some gas. Pick the orifice of your choice.

I never said it was a mature suggestion.

mayberry said...

I just really don't know what else to say. I think it's all been said already! Crawdaddy and Doghouse and Melinda and Rob - they're all so good......

Kayra said...

Teach Ace to say "I'm not a poor baby, I'm Ace". Nothing sends the message across to stubborn/ignorant people like a comment from a child.

Koontah said...

Teach Ace to say, "Poor Old Decrepit Grandmaw" every time she says that.