Saturday, December 27, 2008

Goodbye Christmas...

It's over. We made it. I wish it was a great christmas, a christmas that you come home exhausted but overjoyed. I will always remember it as D.'s first, but that is about it. Instead, I was just glad we were all in one piece and there was no major confrontations with family. You see, despite adoring my family, I come from one of "those" families where the holidays brings out the very best. And by best I mean worst. My one sister, who only comes around once a year at best, loves to stir the familial pot. She skips from room to room all day long gossiping to anyone she can about the last sibling and or family member she was just talking to last. My other sister (miserably divorced, three kids she hates, and a boyfriend who has made it clear he wants only her, not her family) is a trainwreck - for the obvious aforementioned reasons. My brother and his family are great, but they keep their distance because it is sad to have to watch my sister with her frightening parenting skills.

All hell broke loose the weekend prior to christmas, precipitating in a particularly awkward xmas day. I love my sisters kids, but they have a lot of behavioral issues. Both of their parents have problems. Their father wants little to do with them. My sister, the same. My parents, their grandparents, do the majority of the parenting. My sister is an angry, angry person. She is hot tempered and her erratic behavior is difficult for her children to gage. Add all this up, with the shuffling of the kids from parent to parent, and you get some pretty mixed up children. Children who are impulsive. Children who do not have a lot of self control or understand the consequences of their actions.

Actions like this for instance... my 3 year old nephew climbs up on the couch next to me and D. and jumps, literally jumps, on my newborn baby as I nurse him. This actually happened. I have never, ever been so frightened in my entire life. I flung my nephew off of us, jumped up, D. whaled and I turned as white as a freshly washed sheet. My nephew was equally alarmed. But nothing compared to the tantrum my sister followed with. A slew of profanities came flying out of her mouth, directed at my nephew - but also self-depricating - about how she "can never to anything right." I know she was upset and embarrassed at her son's behavior. But he is three. He doesn't understand that D. can't wrestle with him, ride on the tractor or just play. Part of the problem is that no one has ever sat my nephew down and told him these things - told him that D. is just a tiny baby, that he is delicate, that you must be calm around him. My sister prefers screaming to discussion - so that is what you get when she is around.

My beautiful baby boy came out unscathed - despite the terrible sound of flesh hitting flesh and bones knocking together. D. stopped crying shortly after and continued to nurse happily. DH and I were another story - totally traumatzed. We called the pediatrician just to be safe, wondering if we ought to go to the emergency room. Our doc said not to worry. To instead just watch for any number of symptoms. In the end, he was fine. He is fine. He is great. And we learned a valuable lesson. Little kids keep a safe distance.

Christmas was a few days later. My sister never called to check on D. She never apologized to me. On Christmas day, she did not speak to me once. She did not look me in the eye once. She avoided me completely. Our relationship was already strained, but it has been destroyed. Not by just this one incident, but by a slow erosion of trust. It made for a very sad Christmas, but also a stressful day where DH and I felt like we had to be particularly vigilant - knowing just where D. was at all times, who was holding him and did they know not to let the kids near him? It just sucked really.

We are glad to be home.
Glad to have a day to hang with D. and do nothing.
Hoping that perhaps next year will be different. Better. Calmer. A holiday where we establish our own traditions, our own holiday.


jenn said...

ugh- I'm so sorry about your crappy christmas. I know how much severing relationships with family members sucks, but sometimes is necessary. I hope your next christmas more than makes up for this one with wonderful traditions & memories.

And those little ones are resilient- my sister dropped my goddaughter off a chair arm- I am pretty sure she literally bounced. My poor sister was 12- wouldn't hold a baby for over a year. My goddaughter was just fine of course! I am glad D is fine, and next year he'll be running around (or scooting!) getting into everything & you'll have to watch him for much different (hopefully happier!) reasons.

Susanna said...

oh that is so scary (the jumping). I would not have been able to contain myself. I think I'd have flipped. It sounds like you handled it well, though. sorry also your sister is such a wreck. that makes everything so much harder. Glad you're all back in one piece!
xoxx s

will call soon. i have been preoccupied with sleep issues, as you know, but i think i'm calming down. thanks for your comments about it. Mister Finn says "I ain't fakin' Aunt Dit!" all in all, everything is good.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry it sucked, other than it being D's first of course.

How sad to have to see your sister's kids being spoken to so dreadfully :(

I'm glad D is ok, sounds like an awful experience.

Another Dreamer said...

I'm glad you made it through the holiday. The jumping part scared the crap out of me... whew. Sorry about your sister though, wow.

loribeth said...

Yikes!! So glad D. is OK. Sorry the holiday did not turn out quite the way you wanted. :(

Me said...

My sister's kids are not the most well behaved. The dad is absent and my sister is a single mom working full time and going to school part time. So she doesn't have a lot left over for the kids despite loving them tons. My husband and I have always worried about how they will "turn out". As such, over the last few years we have begun to take a very active role in their lives, babysitting them a few evenings a week. This gives my sis some time to collect herself and it allows us an opportunity to help the kids instead of just shake our heads about how messed up they are. I will admit that this requires a good bit of time and money on our part. But, in the end, if my niece and nephew come out as better adjusted adults for it then it will have been worth it.