Monday, July 14, 2008

Insomnia strikes...

It is a quarter till 1 and I am up researching cloth diapers in an attempt to distract myself. We went to a cloth diapering "how to" today which was really cool. It was packed with people. I think with the economy the way it is people are really looking for ways to cut cost.

We brought my mom (and dad) along because we are hoping to sew our own. My mom is a seamstress. I can certainly sew enough to handle a prefold or even a contour diaper. But putting a gusset on a diaper cover is a whole other story, so my mom's expertise here is a real asset. After seeing the demonstration I am wondering if we shouldn't just register for diapers and perhaps I will just sew the covers. We'll see. The hemp fabric that I like best, because it is soft and the most absorbent, seems hard to come by. I'll have to do some more extensive online fabric hunting.

Really, I am just trying to distract myself till I am tired. which at the moment seems very far way. It is really some family troubles that have me in non-sleep mode.

It was nice to see the folks today but they are under so much stress. For two years now my parents have been the primary caretakers for my sister's three children. For the last year, they actually lived in the house with them. My mother woke them and sent them off to school, had the baby all day, fed them dinner and did homework with them. My sister was really only around at bedtime. She could be home earlier, but usually choose to stay at school late to prepare her lesson plans - even though she could do them on the weekends while the kids are with their dad. But her weekends are reserved for her boyfriend - who currently appears to be more important than her kids.

Over the last year of my sister and the kids living with my folks, my sister has become very resentful of my mother in particular. She seems to blame my mother for her predicament, which I can not quite understand. My parents have never asked my sister for a dime. She pays no rent, no utilities and nothing for food or diapers. My folks even pay for the little guy to go to daycare 2-3 times a week because my mom needed a break. I pleaded with my mother months ago to ask my sister to step up, but she wouldn't do it. My sister does little to help around the house. She does not clean her own "area," the kids rooms or the spaces they share with my folks. My mother always feels like a jerk asking my sister to vacuum or clean her bathroom - but she asks because she needs the help. My mother has also asked that my sister and her boyfriend go to his house to "skack up"on the weekends while the kids are with their father. I don't really feel any of this is unreasonable, but it has forced my mother and sister into a relationship that resembles that of a teen and her mom, not an adult woman and her mom.

Add it all up and my sister seems to think my mother is the root of all evil. In a raging argument a month ago she decided to tell my mother she was moving out. My mother didn't even know she had the financial stability to do so. I am sure, in reality, she can't really afford it - she will run out of money and expect my parent to bail her out. She is moving to spite my folks. Since she broke the news my sister has been slowing pulling away from my mother. She rarely speaks to her, she won't eat dinner with them, she never even told my mother when she was moving, even though she asked my mother's best friend for help with the move. My parents are devestated, both because of the loss of the children and because of how nasty my sister is being. They are so sad to see the kids go, afraid because neither my sister nor her ex is particularly interested in parenting them. They are both, a tad unstable. Apparently a few months ago my sister admitted to my mother that she never wanted children!?!?!?! How exactly do you not really want kids and then have three?? I think my sister liked the idea of kids, the attention she was slathered with while pregnant and with a baby. But the idea wears off in the face of reality. It is all just so sad.

So, while it was nice to see my folks for the diaper gig and dinner, they were so on edge. They were snapping at one another and actually got in an argument at the restaurant. Thankfully, the place was loud anyhow and I don't think anyone noticed. I was mortified. This is not their typical behavior. I think they are just so stressed over the whole situation.

I used to be close to my sister. Now, we don't talk. We are cordial - enough so I can see the kids whenever I want. But I fear our relationship will deteriorate even further now that my sister is severing relations with my mom. My parents had big riffs with their siblings in their 20's and 30's and I always swore that would never happen to us.... But here we go. How do you just swallow it when watching someone go through life is like watching a perpetual train wreck? How do you maintain a relationship with a sister who is so terribly disrespectful to your mother who has been so incredible generous? How do keep a vital relationship with your nieces and nephews in the middle of this whirlwind?

Families are so damn complicated. Here is me and my folks (blurred) at the beach.


jenn said...

I am so sorry about your sister, the situaton reminds me of my cousin who has taken advantage of family for years, has just had to move out of the parents house where she couldn't even afford to keep the electricity on, lives with her no-job boyfriend & is newly pregnant with #3. It is a hard situation & no clear rules or winners.
I hope your sister can mature to the point she needs to be to support 3 kids & that all your relationships improve.

Anonymous said...

Sewing your own is easy, with a bit of practice you'll be fine. There are lots of free patterns online, and tutorials as well. Email me if you'd like links. Covers with gussets and FOE are a bit tricky at first, but really not as hard as you might think. Your best bet is probably to buy your supplies online. Hemp doesn't tend to stay soft for long, bamboo is better for that, and more absorbant, but has a longer drying time. If you like I can find you some links to fabric co-ops (US-based) so you can buy your supplies cheaper.

Your sister situation is so sad, it must be very hard to watch.

I do not have a relationship with either of my sisters, one has a child I've never met. I don't really have a relationship with my mother either.

Pamela Jeanne said...

Insomnia is horrible -- I know as I'm experiencing it these days, too. (Sigh. And I was once a world class sleeper.)

Let's hope we both get back to sleeping very, very soon.

p.s. thanks for your support on the panel et al. means a great deal!