May 30th, 2003

Chalkboard

My Son and My Parenting, People Pleasing my Mother and Fake Aunt, Kitten Troubles, and Exhaustion

Oh God, it's only nine in the morning and already today has been such a hard day. Beau and I had a horrible fight when he got diarrhea and then got stubborn and wouldn't take Immodium, neither pills nor the liquid. Then I turned into this horrible angry medicine forcing Mom-monster. I hated myself but at the same time things had just come to a head with my pampered little monster-child and I took a stand over this stupid medicine against my very stubborn Taurus. In the end, after revoking all of his privileges for a week and yelling at him and calling him names, he finally took it. I absolutely hate my parenting right now, my parenting and my inability to control my temper when I'm exhausted and fed up with him.

I just kept thinking, "This is it, he has to give in, he has to do what I tell him, I can't take this anymore." This after a lifetime, well, his lifetime anyway, of doing everything I possibly can to make his life comfortable, fun, happy and easy. I know kids are resilient but at the same time I felt like my behavior was abusive. Beau is turning out to be such a lazy shit, he really is, and despite the fact that I know we all come into this life with our own souls, genes, and agendas, I can't help but blame myself, and his father for being such a totally selfish loser absentee Dad.

I believe that it has to be possible to get kids to do what you need them to do without having to resort to yelling or shaming or doing anything damaging or hurtful to them, but I was so at a loss. I tried firm reasoning because like I said I was exhausted, and then I tried our usual one two three privilege removal counting technique and I had counted through the loss of every privilege he had for forever when I finally turned into this raging she beast who said, "Goddamnit Beau you're going to take this medicine or I'm going to shove it down your throat." Did I just lose half of my Live Journal friends? The other day I called him a girl. What is happening to me? Can you get more sexist, hurtful, confusing and stupid than that? I can't believe I'm even telling you this.

When we were in Palm Desert with my Mother and her creepy thieving housekeeper Rosa I asked Beau to please help me by being polite and kind to his grandmother. This mainly consisted of my asking him to visit with her in her room occasionally, pick up after himself, and not walk around without a shirt on, flashing his butt crack and his he-boobs. He's really huge now. He's taller than I am at thirteen and must weight about a hundred and ninety. My Mom, who is an emotionally delicate elderly old-world kind of lady, can't handle having a naked washing-machine-repairman-butt-crack-showing-grandson walking around flashing his ass and flabbiness while she eats. I begged him to keep his shirt on. I told him at home before we left, several times. I told him in the car on the way there, then when we got there, and then throughout the trip I had to keep reminding him to put his shirt on. But he did it anyway. Worst of all, he walked around without his shirt, (he won't wear underwear and his shorts have to rest below his belly on his hips, totally showing off his ass), just as we were leaving, and my competitive, harshly judgmental, fake-aunt was arriving, which of course caused her to go off on me and my parenting and that in turn set my Mother off and I haven't heard the end of it since. "Jacqui he won't mind you. You're going to have trouble. He's going to get bigger and then what are you going to do? Walking around half naked like that. Why it's just crude. It's vulgar that's what it is."

I don't know what to do. I am completely torn between the two worlds I live in, between my own naked is good, who gives a shit about all of these societal rules, everyone should just be mellow and happy, screw authority, and my Mother's uptight, conservative, Republican, bridge-playing, maid-summoning bell ringing, car honking, white-glove-wearing, everything is fine and lovely, tea dance life. Of course this rubs off on Beau. But why is he so totally checked out and blithe when I need him to just buck up and do something simple for me to make my Mom happy? He won't die if he has to put on a shirt for a few minutes around my Mother and my uptight wannabe aunt.

Then there's Jani, my Mother's closest friend, who like Rosa seems to be circling the wagons. The one who suddenly developed an interest in an old Pucci dress of my Mom's when the price is now skyrocketing into the hundreds, six hundred to be exact, on ebay. The one who nabbed a painting of my grandparents for a hundred dollars that was worth tens of thousands, who tried to borrow-to-keep museum quality Biedermeir furniture of my Mom's and so many other things. The one who always knows what everything is worth and tries to get it. The one who is always making me look bad to my Mother, who though she occasionally complements my creativity, which is just about the only thing she can relate to, has always made me feel small and is cold towards me. The one who I have tried and continue to try, to be nice to, despite my knowing that she hates me and is jealous of my relationship with my Mother and my inheritance.

She talks down to me like I am a little girl, and around her I find myself regressing into this sweet, simple, hopeful, people-pleasing version of myself. You wouldn't believe the extremes I've gone to over the years to earn her approval. This is the same woman who put me down when I started to blossom into a truer version of myself, who took one look at my wild red hair, while I was stammering out apologies, and snidely said, "Desperately crying out for attention. That's what I call it." And this is the same woman who I knew would find some way to tear down whatever gains I had achieved with my Mother over this last four day weekend. I knew she would do something. First it was Beau and the butt crack, and then later the same day she found a book I had left in the bedroom we compete over, realized it was salacious (Half Moon Scar, it's about a lesbian woman's relationship with her family and self mutilation, I don't even remember buying it or leaving it down there), she took it in to my eighty-seven-year-old homophobic (particularly with regard to Lesbian's probably because the idea of it seems more personally threatening to her), Mother's room, reads her the first chapter and then gets her riled up about the fact that I "would spend twenty-five dollars for such trash". And this after she had told me she didn't have time to read another book I had just finished reading and offered to give to her.

I know what you're thinking, that I should get my own life, or become more of my own person and stop trying to win my Mother's and my fake-aunt's affection and approval, particularly when they are so hopelessly old fashioned and wrong headed. I should just wash my hands of their backwards political thinking and their blatant racism and homophobia. I should plant myself and my child and my man where we can thrive, with people who are more like us, instead of living on the fringes of society and success. But it isn't that simple. I've become a whore for the money and I feel like there's no stopping this train, particularly when I've spent a lifetime waiting for it to reach it's destination. I can't stop needing my Mother to love me, and I can't walk away from my inheritance. I've tried, I really have, but at this point it would mean giving up so much, my home, this city, the majority of my pets, and my relationship with my only parent. I don't have any brothers, sisters, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, or half anything. This is it, my Mom and my son and my boyfriend, the maids, the pets, and me.

Then to top everything off, just as we were finally dragging Beau off late to school, one of the mama cats drags off one of the kittens from one of the other mama cats, and tears open it's neck. Just three days ago I worked for hours to save it's little newborn kitten life. Legs didn't have the presence of feline mind to lick it's mouth clear of placenta when it was born and it was lying there next to her cold and lifeless when I discovered it. I cleared it's face and airway and gave it mouth to mouth and tiny kitten CPR. I thought it was dead for sure, because it was so cold and floppy and it's mouth was hanging slack. I did everything I could think of including praying and then I left it's little body with the other momma cats thinking maybe they could lick it back to life. And then this miracle happened, it started to scream this strangled kitten scream. I ran to the bathroom and it was laying abandoned in the middle of the floor, still as cold as it had been before but gasping. I grabbed and ear syringe and jammed it down it's throat and sucked out a bunch of liquid that I hadn't known to do before and after another two hours and it came back. Now it's on it's way to the vet with a rip in it's very tiny throat and if it survives it's going to take another chunk out of my dwindling credit.

Today I have to go see my surgeon for my monthly checkup and vitamin B shot, go to my Mother's to deal with bills and to try to force her to let us do an inventory of her silver, china, crystal, linen and stuff this Sunday, and take Irma and Esther over to my friend Maryanne's house so they can take a crack at all of the stuff she will be selling before her garage sale this weekend. At some point I am going to have to separate some of the mommy kitties from their sisters so we won't have this cut neck kitten swapping business going on anymore. It all just feels so fucking overwhelming to me. I need exercise and therapy. Beau and I both need to go to the dentist to have major work done. Beau needs tutoring and possibly assessment for ADD.

I just needed to whine and be brutally honest and candid. Thank you so so much to anyone who cares enough to bother to read all of this.

Love you,
Jacqui
Chalkboard

(no subject)

You're never gonna believe this. I called my Mom today and she told me that she's decided to let Rosa's nineteen year old son live at our Palm Desert house for four months, without even discussing this with me. Rosa will be making herself at home there when she visits on her days off, and these are the months when Mom stops using the house and we do. I'm so angry I want to scream.

Scott said, "Tell your Mom that this has Bad Idea written all over it." Yes, let's do that inventory of your silver, china, crystal and various other antiques with the person we suspect of stealing the things that we are having to inventory in order to get a handle on how much may have been taken, and then while we're at it, why don't we just throw open the door to our other house, so she can just back a truck up to driveway and load everything in and split when she senses she's about to be fired.

I called my Mom's secretary and her lawyer. I think she's really losing it. When I tried to talk to her about this, all she would say is, "Oh hush up!" Later tonight when I called her she was just as grouchy and implacable. She told me she doesn't want to talk to me about any of this over the phone. Meaning she suspects Rosa is listening in. Can you imagine continuing to emply someone you know has stolen things from you and who you suspect of listening in on the phone. I'm reminded of Michael Keaton in Pacific Heights, remember that movie? Once he moves in you can never get him out. What on earth is going on here?

I was so stressed out all day today because of all of this. I just didn't have the focus or the energy to respond to everyone's wonderful comments, but I read them and I am so grateful to you. I am so flattered and moved that you care enough to read my words and write to me. I never feel I deserve this much kindness from you because I have sucked at reciprocating, although I always hope to improve at this.

My tiny little three day old kitten has two little stitches in his neck where Ruby bit him while trying to steal him away from the other mommy cats. I moved the tiniest kittens and their moms to my closet, I have a big closet, so that the other girls won't keep trying to steal them and move them around all the time.

Beau is so resilient. He was loving and happy and acts as if we never had a fight. We went for a walk and he held my hand and put his head on my shoulder and was cuddlier than he's been ages. Who knew?

I think this is where I am supposed to mention that I finally had sex again with my boyfriend after a long dry spell following my surgery. I love having sex with my boyfriend. How the hell did I live without it for so long? Do you ever do that, go without for a while, then dive back in and think, "What was I thinking, man have I missed this?"

I can hear Beau and Andrea playing outside in the street with the new balls I bought them. It's such a sweet sound, bounce, bounce, bounce, You're it. No, you are.

And holy Christ Michael, you always know how to make me laugh, duct tape and bags.

Love you guys,
Jac