Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Parenting my Mama...on strange behavior and sleep deprivation

It's going on 4 weeks now and Gmom is still "lunar". She is just not with us mentally like she use to be. She is so needy and clingy and confused and with that comes all kinds of strange behaviors. For those who are parents, remember the days of little kids needing another glass of water, another story, another reassurance that this is no boogie man under the bed...Now take an 80 year old mama, with those same needs, same fears, and same mischievousness...and you can kind of imagine my night time routine. I tuck her in, she gets up to pee. She wants to eat, I say it's bed time, she gets grumpy, shakes her head No, I use the "this is what you are going to do" voice, she does it...Back in bed. 40 minutes later..."MARRRRYYYY"...And she has no reason to call, most of the time she forgets why she called me altogether...and on it goes. I was with her more than 12 times last night but I stopped keeping track. I slept on the couch near her room so I could catch her quickly before she woke the whole house. I tucked her in, I said "I love you" kissed her forehead and shut her door. 20-45 minutes later she was up to pee or screaming my name again. She sleeps with her TV on and I have this feeling it over stimulates her sometimes, so to make a concrete action to her screaming, I let her know, "wake me again and the TV is off for the night". My rationale is she is a creature of habit, and once something happens regularly, she expects it. If we can get her to sleep at night in a quiet room and be awake in the day in a TV loud room, that would be great. If the TV being off tells her, it's night you need to sleep and not yell "MAARRRRYYYYY" every 15 minutes...wonderful. Well the TV being off last night caused her so much stress, she forgot about the fear of the hospital.

Some of the things I find helpful, as with a young child, is to say it how it is going to be...You are going to do this, this is going to happen. I am not very good at this style of talking, though. Me and my kids have conversations, we each have input and decisions are consensual...Mom isn't listening, isn't hearing, isn't aware that 5 other people are being kept from sleep by her antics. There is no consensual with deal with her...And she is starting to not like me, saying mean things, which like the kid who is angry, I let wash over me like water off a ducks back. At least I have had a lot of practice...thank you Riley.

On the sunnier side of our new new, my kids have been especially loving to me, telling me how much they love me more than usually, stopping to give me hugs as I tend yet again to the screamie meamie. They are gentle and caring, which bouys me up. Tim is fed up with Gmom. He has had enough. He is worried for my health, my sanity...He would like her living elsewhere if she can not find a way to stop yelling all the time. Tough decisions lay ahead for us. For the last 2.5 years we have coped and helped and loved and shared our home with gmom as a family. I feel like if she and I were the only ones, we could manage. But I am a wife and mother too...and my family needs me...whole, loving me...not worn out tired frustrated daughter to a lunar bell.

And just when you think she has left the building completely, she's back...Since I started this post, I  left to pick up Riley, take him to his orthodontist appointment and am now home again. I was gone for about an hour. Well, Gmom seems more relaxed today, more here in the now, less panicky. And she actually sat and listened to me express what happened last night, since she doesn't remember past 20 seconds. Big things make impressions with her, though, so turning off her TV last night after the 6th time she called for me at 11pm and the subsequent multiply panic freaky callouts that happened following this did leave some kind of memory with her. I am hoping having a concrete consequence can help shape her a new new routine, one that does not include massive amounts of night waking, screaming, and other oddness. We shall see...

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