Sunday, January 16, 2011

Family Frustrations

Recently, Little Guy has been driving me crazy. When he gets stressed he becomes either really touchy or really needy. Although he is excited for the semester of culinary school to begin, he's nervous about the new classes and new people. He has mantras that have expected required responses, and if he doesn't get them, he becomes upset.

For example, he'll say (twenty times a day):

"You're my baby."

I'm expected to respond with, "No you're MY baby!" (I'm not sure if this exchange is just rote on his part, or if he really needs an assurance that he'll always be my baby).

If I don't respond correctly, or if I'm on the phone or distracted and don't hear him, he gets frustrated and acts like I've deliberately set out to mess up his day. He'll silently stand there and shoot me hairy eyeballs until I get it right. Even if it takes a half hour. I'll be obliviously loading the dishwasher and he'll be silently standing behind me glaring at me. When I turn around----gah! There he is with the ol' stink eye.

Another one is his constant use of the word "sorry". He picked it up from a peer in his transitions class a few years ago and hasn't stopped since.

Every time I ask him to do something---put the folded towels in the bathroom/let the dogs out/put the milk away/whatever and he'll say:

"Sorry, Mom. Sorry."

Zillions of times I've explained to him that he doesn't have to be sorry, he did nothing wrong.

Wrong answer. I'm supposed to say, "It's ok. I forgive you."

Well, I'm not going to do that. So it's another 20 rounds with the glare for the day. He'll even stand in the hall when I'm in the bathroom and shoot me the stink eye through the closed door.

And now for the cherry on top. Constantly he asks, "Do you still love me?" or "Will you always love me?"

The expected answers to these questions are "absolutely" and "forever and ever". Any deviation from that earns the double stink eye.

For the life of me, I cannot figure out where the heck that came from. Hubby and I have never ever threatened to withhold our love from our children, yet this seems to be a constant worry for him.

I recognized how darn tired I was with all of this the other day when Little Guy and I were in the grocery store. We were shopping and minding our own business, when I noticed a woman giving me the hairy eyeball (by now I'm an expert on that). I looked down at myself, wondering if I had toilet paper stuck to my shoe or a bit a lunch on my shirt.

Nope. Then I thought about the exchange she must have overheard between me and Little Guy, who is actually a 6'1 inch 200-lb man.

Me: Honey, could you reach up and get that muffin mix? The blueberry one? I can't reach that far.

LG: Sorry Mom. Sorry.

Me: Thank you!

LG (glaring at me): You're supposed to say you forgive me!

Me: No, I'm not going to say that.

LG (changing tactics): Do you still love me?

Me: Absolutely!

LG: You're my baby!

Me: No, you're MY baby!

Then he happily marched around a little as this woman looked at me like I was a lunatic or a really bad mother. I barely noticed that little conversation with my son as we have it 20 times a day, and it must have sounded like a critical, controlling and withholding diatribe to a complete stranger.

I've tried to redirect him a gazillion times over the years, with no luck.

Anybody have any ideas?


St Jude said...

Oh to hell with the rest of the world, do your own thing. I constantly live under the glare of hairy eyeballs. Smile sweetly and give them a hairy stare right back. xxx

Anonymous said...

He probably just wants to have a bit of a dialog with you. How about altering the rote format just a tad each time you do it and smile into his eyes while doing so? Next day alter it a bit more. or play just with the response: "MAYBE youre my baby." and then sing whitney houstons "I will always love you." as a response. You need to use some imagination in your responses but give him your full attention. He seems like a nice person whose a bit nervous now.

Attila the Mom said...

Dear Anon,

Thanks for the response. Been there, done that. We have lots of dialog, this just seems to be a comfort thing, like stimming. :-)

As I explained before, any deviation throws him for a loop. Suggesting that maybe he isn't my baby would probably freak the hell out of him. gak!

St Jude said...

Whoa, I turned my back for a minute and look at you, all shiny and new. Love the look. xx

Jeanie said...

I agree with St. hell with the rest of the world. You have to do what works for LG and the special circumstances of your family. If you need to find a way to redirect it for you and LG that's one thing, but not for some grocery store woman's stink-eye.

gayle said...

Love your new look!

I would try not to even think twice about others! Do what you think is best!

Webster said...

Perhaps a shot of Jack Daniels might help. For you, not Little Guy.

Rootietoot said...

Have you ever started the game, instead of waiting for him to? Or would that be loop-throwing as well? It sounds to me like he just needs that constant reassurance that (if I remember correctly) he never got when he was younger. I say keep it up and phooey on what strangers think. but then I also think you already know that. You're my Mom-hero, you know...

Anonymous said...

I've got no advice, but I can imagine how this must make a day feel kind of long. Your patience is amazing.

Tracie Nall said...

I don't have any wisdom on this.

But I hear you, and I can imagine that it would get frustrating after a while.

Liking your new look around here.

MoonNStarMommy said...

Little Guy has autism right? Nathan was just diagnoised ... even though I've known, deep down .. as he kicks me over and over while I type cuz he doesn't want to take a nap... it's hit me pretty hard. That and the fact the decided to inform me that he's missing some of his cerebellum... ugh... but I was working on organizing my links and Little Guy is autistic if I remember right?

Brenda said...

Just do what you need to do and forget about the nosy old broads. You're such a good Momma.

Attila the Mom said...

MoonnstarMom---Yes, he has autism. :-)

stinkypaw said...

WIsh I had an idea, but I don't, sorry. Love the new look by the way.

Kikilia said...

No ideas here... my own Pipsqueak will hit me with the "do you still love me" and "will you always love me", or "will I always be your little Pipsqueak?"

Argh! She was adopted at 18 months- so I always chalk it up to that- but it does get to be 'wearing' on me.

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