When is “Enough” truly enough?

I am told that I have a plethora of patience. That’s not entirely true. I’m not a patient driver (and have a potty mouth when I’m driving too). Dealing with ignorant people is not something I’m good at. And then there’s this: the “friend.”

The “friend” is someone you have known much of your life. This person believes that because your friendship has lasted so long, they can therefore abuse it. He or she also is also known to blow you off at any given time but need you at the drop of a hat. And this person believes that your friendship supersedes all else in life: marriage, children, EVERYTHING.

We are dealing with one such person in our lives right now. My husband is much more forgiving of the situation than I am. I have a hard time with someone who claims we shut him or her out when this person has traveled to our city several times and not let us know he or she was coming and made no attempt to contact us while here to see about getting together. Or someone who believes that his or her needs comes ahead of our marriage and our kids needs. I pray for this person regularly.I bite my tongue. A lot. And if I say something it is to Jeff or one or two very close mutual friends who are also irked by this same behavior. But I’m beginning to wonder if this is enough.

A recent action by this person has me really stewing. This person dragged friends, acquaintances and one complete stranger into the drama (this person is grown, in his or her 40’s and is a total 12-year-old drama queen). I am praying and trying to offer it up, but I’m beginning to think there might be a reason I am having more trouble than usual letting go. Maybe (shudder) it’s time to confront speak up.

Here is my conundrum with speaking up. First, no matter how nicely I do it, this person will perceive me as being confrontational. I speak from the experience of witnessing more than one friend have the same experience. Second, remember, this is a Grade A drama queen I am dealing with. Even if this person were to take my message the right way, that doesn’t mean he or she cannot spin it out of control for friends and family. And make me look like a whiner. Finally, I know my husband wants to just keep on keeping on. He avoids conflict at all cost and normally I would as well.

The problem is that all this person’s friends are essentially enablers. They allow him or her to have his or her little tantrums and ignore them. But the problem doesn’t stop. It festers. My two-year-old does this, I don’t need to deal with grown adults who do. But it is much different dealing with a two-year-old who wants his own way vs an adult doing the same.

I arrive at this end: keep praying. I am fortunate I rarely have to deal with this person “in person” or the “enough is enough” and “grow up and leave drama in high school, most of us are adults with real problems now” talk might have already happened. And not in a very nice way.

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Balance

A lot of bloggers I know are contemplating giving up the biz because of a lack of balance in their lives.

I completely understand this. There are these pulls in life. Family is the biggest one in general (it should be God, but for most people it is not) and then there is work if you have a job outside the home and now there is the internet. It pulls us to email to see if someone sent us ANYTHING interesting (be it dancing hamsters or a heartfelt tome). It pulls us to read about subjects we would never be interested in before. It pulled a friend of mine away from her doctoral thesis to google “lion vs tiger” for over 20 mins.

The internet can be a wonderful, wonderful thing. And a wonderful distraction.

So, why am I blogging about this. No, I’m not quitting blogging. My husband quit facebook. Maybe not forever, but for now. We’ll see what happens. Unfortunately I can predict that at least one CPU might blow up as someone pounds the keyboard because there is one person in particular who might get confused and think my husband blocked him. That’s part of the reason my husband wants to leave. He loves reconnecting with old friends, but hates how this device, this “facebook” can also keep him from doing what’s important right now. Reading Goodnight Moon one more time. Going out after dinner to kick the soccer ball. Potty training. Those things. Time with the kids and family.

There are other things but I am not at liberty to share too much more.

When he emailed me that he wanted to do this, I could read the relief he felt (he decided after the kids were asleep while I was napping before work). Like it was one less thing he had to check off each day. I feel badly that he felt so torn, but I have my moments too. I wish there was a way to not make email and facebook and blogging so intrusive in my daily life.

All things in moderation. That means the internet too.

Tiny Treasures Tuesday

image from Lerin at Beautiful Chaos

William– Will is climbing. Everywhere. We have pulled him off the tallest things in our house that are not our refrigerator. He has also mastered the art of pushing a chair where you want it to helping you climb. At 14 months. He is a quick learner. He also has learned that if you feed a dog some of your cookie or cracker, he will be your best friend. During movie night, we had a popcorn throwing incident that was an attempt to attract the dogs’ attention. It worked.

Joseph– Joey has started potty training. Sunday, after months of refusing to even sit on the thing, he came up to me and said, “poop Mama” which usually means, I’ve already gone and need a new diaper, but something told me to ask him if he needed to sit on the potty. He ran down the hall to the bathroom and said, “sit on potty mama!” So I ran after him and helped him get his diaper and shorts off and he pooped on the potty! He got much praise and a piece of candy (that he had no idea he was going to get). Then yesterday he didn’t do so well telling us he needed to go, BUT, he asked to wear his big boy underwear after his bath and wore them over an hour without soiling them at all (2 false start attempts at peeing on the potty) before it was night-night time and Jeff put a diaper on him. He is on his way!

Shelby- Miss Shelby is loving the pool! When her grandparents were in town last week, we took advantage of the pool at their hotel. She loved it. We are trying to locate someone willing to do private swim lessons to hopefully get her more comfortable with putting her face in the water, floating and kicking and maybe some survival strokes. Most places around us will only offer group lessons so fingers crossed that one of them will have a recommendation for a teacher!

When Can Etiquette Be Thrown Out the Window?

People who know me personally (I’m talking about you friends on facebook) know that I am pretty big on etiquette for a LOT of things. However, I do feel that there are times and occasions when etiquette gets severely in the way.

An etiquette gripe I have I have right now is about baby showers.

Let me start by saying that my baby shower was an etiquette buster from the beginning. For my first baby none of my friends offered to throw me a shower surprise or otherwise. They all told me, none to subtly, that they wanted invites, but they refused to offer to give me one. So, I figured I was on my own for EVERYTHING. Then my mother, mother-in-law and step-mother-in-law stepped in. Major etiquette faux pas. After the fact that no family member is allowed by Emily Post to throw any type of shower under any condition for any other family member for any occasion, it is a SUPER breach of etiquette for mothers to throw one for their daughters. And quite a few women told my mother so. However, my mother explained, I had no sisters, no female cousins old enough (or living close enough) to offer to throw one for me AND all of my friends were in this situation where they didn’t seem to want to be the one throwing it for me.

More recently I have run into the issue of gift registries. Now, aside from the fact that there are many people who are out pricing their guests with their gift registries, there is the simple issue of telling people where you are registered. While Emily Post maintains that you never, ever include your registry in any type of correspondence. Ever. The idea is that they are supposed to call the mom to be and ask. My mother did comply with this rule of etiquette. However, it is 2010. Quite frankly, that rule is outdated. Despite all the ways to contact someone, if you are sending an invitation to a person, then you expect that person to contact you back just to find out where you are registered? Does this person really have time to do that? I mean, I work nights and have 3 kids, anything that makes my life simpler, I appreciate.

I consulted about a dozen or so friends who have hosted baby showers in the past 12 months or so and all of them said they either had printed in the invitation the registry OR they included one of the cards the store provided them. Not one of them got a complaint and one even told me that one of her mom-to-be’s guests was an older British woman who found the idea charming and convenient. Unexpected allies are always good.

While all these women had positive experiences with the showers they hosted, a couple had attended showers where that was not the case. One shared with me a shower where the registry was left out of the invites and the mother only got clothes and diapers and not some of the less expensive but useful things she had registered for–like bottles, wash cloths, and the like. Another told me that she attended a shower with no registry info and the mom got several duplicates of the same item with no receipts attached. Now, I got two bouncy seats, BUT, six? That would  be excessive.

So, really and truly I think we can put that on the back burner of etiquette issues because in the end, it just shows that these days most people are concerned with time and don’t even realize what they are doing might be poor etiquette because the guests actually appreciate it.

One of the horror stories I heard came from a friend I’ll call Annette whom I used to work with. Annette attended a shower for a former co-worker of ours about a month ago and shared this event. The mom opened a large box from several cousins that contained a check with a picture of the stroller she had registered for. Now, I have family members who have done similar things, but I will go on the record that to ask the mom to pay the sales tax (which they did not figure in) and in this case shipping (the local store didn’t carry strollers) is very tacky. That’s part of what makes it a gift. If you are sending cash or a gift card, I think it best that you not specify what you want it to be used for and allow the parents to select something. I don’t know if Emily Post addresses this, but I think it’s nicer that way.

Now, we get to an issue that rankles a lot of people. A second shower. I was given a second shower by a very persistent co-worker because my second child was a different sex from my first. It was small and intimate. However, she insisted on including my family in the invites. So, I emailed them ahead of time and assured them I was not trying to be greedy and did not want them to feel as if they were obligated to send a gift, but an invitation was coming. They replied graciously that they thought it was wonderful my friend was doing this for me and hoped we had a great time. And my registry did not include large ticket items but mostly focused on clothing. I think that if a person is having a child of the opposite sex, there is nothing wrong with throwing them a shower, but be prepared to get some backlash. On a similar note, for second, third or more babies I have been invited to events that were deemed “showers” but had a theme. The most common was a “wipe and dipe” shower where people were to bring wipes and diapers. Another was a “pounding” where everyone made covered dishes. And I have been invited to “scrap book showers” where people made a scrap book page etc. Not so much about gifts but about making something for the baby. No matter, Emily Post says no, no, no to these. Technically, you shouldn’t even have a party to commemorate that child.

Again, I agree that a full blown shower is unwarranted for additional children unless the child was a surprise coming many years after other children and all items were sold or given away or the case of having an opposite sex child, but really, you can’t have a party where people bring diapers and wipes only? Or come and put items in a time capsule or decorate part of a patchwork quilt or scrapbook page. That seems rather harsh.

Finally, who to invite to a shower. It should be the parents’ choice period. Now again, Ms Post tells us we should allow grandmothers to invite their friends as well, but I’m not into that. If you are the friend of the mother-to-be, ask her who she wants there. Certainly if that many of the grandmother-to-be’s friends would like to attend a shower one of them could offer to throw one? Or they could send gifts after the fact?

Etiquette is etiquette. It’s a guideline, unfortunately it sometimes acts as a throwback to a time when things were quite different. And many, many people believe that any breach is verboten. While I do look to etiquette for guidelines quite often (for example, my friends who recently put items for their child on their wedding registry) I know there is a time to say, you know what, things change and the etiquette needs to change with them.

Movie Night x3

Friday night we watched Up! complete with popcorn. The kids thought this movie was great largely on account of the fact that there were lots of balloons and a dog who talked in it. Jeff and I fell in love immediately with Carl and the love story between him and Ellie. We were thrilled to have this movie join our collection!

Remember we were bemoaning not finding the Pixar Shorts Volume 1 film. Well, Saturday morning on a trip to Target success!  My all-time favorite, Knick-Knack is included and I have another favorite to add Mike’s New Car. Lifted was also very cute. Joey was a bit confused by Jack-Jack Attack and Mater and the Ghost Light because he knows those movies so well now. Honestly, there was not one I didn’t like. I was disappointed that You’re Friend the Rat was not included as it was very well done and I am a HUGE Ratatouille fan. I guess that’s what Volume 2 is for though.

Finally, Saturday night we watched Wall-E. I had some doubts about this one, I will admit, but knowing how much Joey loves robots, I was going to give it a try. I am so glad I did. I think Wall-E served as a very intelligent commentary on the dangers of over-convienence, abusing our planet and of course, complete reliance on robots. The “Auto-Pilot” was Hal 9000 remade for kids and a new generation and in the scene where the captain and the Auto-Pilot fight there was the 2001: A Space Odyssey theme playing. My kids liked all the robots. We decided with this movie to change it up a bit and do movie candy (since we had just been to Target where it was all $1). I was introducing Joey to Goobers which I didn’t want the baby to have (on account of the peanuts in them, not the chocolate for choking reasons as much as allergy ones). Imagine my surprise when I found the baby with chocolate on his face because Joey dropped one.

I’m not sure what our movie next week will be as we have a few we haven’t watched together yet. In the running right now are: A Bee Movie, The Muppet Movie, and The Love Bug.

Monday Minutes

1. We officially have 2 potty training toddlers in our house!

2. I guess a third child learns really quick because he has two older siblings to follow. Will can climb up anything.

3. Do you know how difficult it is to find bib overalls for little girls? We have to have them so someone does not remove her diaper at night. We finally found some and are awaiting their delivery.

4. Hopefully we will find someone to give Shelby private swim lessons soon. Fingers crossed.

5. Well, the weekend got away from me and while many things WERE accomplished. The toilets didn’t get cleaned (although one did get bleach put in it). Good thing no scorpions showed up.