What’s wrong little sister?


You ask Liza, what’s wrong several times a day, so does Grandpa.  I wonder it, too.  I try to facilitate, observe, think about her, what’s changed, why this contrariness?  It appears more than her relaxed little play self appears. I try not to think about it this way, but it reminds me of her mommy.  Who turns things into bad news when bad news isn’t happening. I wish Liza was at the Children’s Center with my friends, with people to help us think about how to help her.  I wonder if a 2 1/2 yr old is too young for counseling? Will Medi-Cal pay for a psychologist? Sometimes we need some help.  Like now.

For the past three weeks we are in “egg-shell” zone with your sister.  You take the brunt of it, but I am suffering inside.  Can I be a different more loving grown up for her? From the moment she gets up, she turns into a kicking, can’t do it monster.. No, No, No!  She screams.  About nothing.  But something to her.  She gets herself stuck in a corner with her negativity.  Don’t like it, can’t do it, kicking and squealing fits.  Sometime I think I figure it out….Its as if she wants to be alone with me, I decided one day.  She had a cough and stayed home with me and mostly had a lovely day.  Until rest time.  She stopped sleeping at Aubrey’s or at school.  But makes up for it at home most weekends sleeping for 3 hours.  So we played, read, she played alone, ate snacks, drew pictures, screamed about sleeping, threw all her clothes all over the floor emptying her dresser, stripped naked, pooped on the floor, screamed for me to get it off, then she cried herself to sleep for a couple hours and then I had to wake her up to go get you.

The rest of the evening was back to contrariness, hitting you, teasing with poking …attention-getting device? Who’s mine or his? She seems to perceive a bad girl in there somewhere, and so she tries to be her.  It takes so damn much effort on her part.  Grandpa and I feel her struggle. see it.  She seems to be more and more in control of my insides.  And I know better than to let that happen.

Go to dinner and say no about eating no matter what is offered.  Then cry to eat because she’s so hungry all the way home.  Get in car after picking up brother, she wants a dinosaur toy, I hand it to her, get in start to drive and she threw to the floor.  I tell her we can get it when I stop driving. She did this kind of crap when she was 18 months old.  So perfectly toddler behavior. Stopped months ago, why again? Misery-making.  We need to change this before it becomes a pattern. Or love it away? Maybe I can’t reach it, that hole left by her mommy.

I am talking so reasonably about these behaviors.  It is so unreasonable and  preoccupies my every minute.  Last week she and I were home all week.  Last week, I scratched my scalp, picked at scabs, peeled skin off my thumbs with me teeth, walked in circles and drank gin. This week she’s well and I am home with you because you have a nasty bronchial cold. You set up a zoo on the coffee table with old cartons, boxes and plastic produce boxes.  You named it “animal atlas” Today you added an aquarium section and asked Liza to come see your exhibit. She tried to smash all the boxes.  We negotiated that she could set up some exhibits, too.  We gave her some boxes, she tore them up and smashed the strawberry baskets as she cried and stomped. The animals poked her feet and she cried harder.

Today we read a story, just Liza and I, on her bed. Hold me she asked.  Kisses, please.  We made out. Snuggled, covered up and laid there awhile.  Saturated with snuggles and affection.  I talked to her about her day yesterday, saying remember when Grandpa wanted to help you clean up after breakfast?  You shouted.  What did you say.  She got all serious, eyebrows down and reported the full incident in detail.  So loud, I said.  Why?  Don’t know, she said.

Then when you laid on the floor and it was time for him to go to work, what happened?  No Grandpa.  Stay home! And she kicked her feet and stomped, t  Yes. You did it too.

I  told your sister we would leave in 5 minutes to Aubrey’s.  Aubrey Day, she sang.  I set her shoes and bag on the hall bench for her.  She walked out of the room where I had just heard her singing Aubrey Day with Twinkle Twinkle and she picked up her shoes and screamed NO.  Would you like different shoes?  You may get them.  NO.  Can I get them for you?  I opened her closet. There are three kinds, and I named them.  I found her laying flat kicking. I held her legs and told her that I was putting on her shoes today and we were leaving.

You watched, sighed and headed out ahead of us. Needless to say it wasn’t a good trek over.  She stopped and sat on the damp driveway.  Refusing to move and took off her shoes.  Jeeze.  This is a journalistic report.  But believe me the feelings are strong at this point.  LOUD. Compassion saved for later reflection.  I was so peeved at that point, I needed a fresh adult. There were none.  I left her (not wanting to get pulled into yet another drama), took you, explained to Aubrey who was with her own 2 yr old inside and returned to the driveway.  She was still sitting, sobbing crying for her shoes.

I felt ready to do the same, but so much more adult am I, I wanted my bed and some tea. I imagined tossing her by the seat of her pants into the yard and closing the gate.  But refrained.  Apologized to Aubrey as your sister kicked every toy on the floor and frightened her Sequoia. I picked her up and held her until she stopped struggling and asked for a hug.

A troubled child, this one. I am so sorry Aubrey.

Tomorrow I go for two days to Pasadena for work and will rush back.  Grandpa cannot manage this on his own.  I have your daddy coming, secured Aubrey’s help all day Thursday and I will return early.  Will she get through this?  How? Will I?  Of course I will. What are you learning little guy?  I hope some tolerance and kindness. Breathe you tell me. gma


The judge rejected the petition for termination of the guardianship, sending mommy away in tears, her mommy frustrated in defeat.  Us,(daddy, grandpa, Julie and me) heaved sighs of relief.  Back for review on July 11. Now we wait to see what other retaliative actions Mommy and MG have in mind.  Mommy hurts, but her mommy is mad. 

Whew.  You and sissy are safe, buddy. gma

Thin Candy Shell


Your mommy’s mommy chugs toward me on the carpet in the Capitola Mall her darkened hair long, short around her face, a mullet, legs swollen. She holds her hand on top of yours propped on the top rail of her walker. Liza’s hanging onto the aluminum leg as the walker lifts, pulls forward and slams.  However rapidly this movement is repeated.  It jerkily heads toward me.  You were laughing,  Montana-Gramma chugged and squealed Choo-Choo. Liza called out when she saw me. “Train. I a train, too.”

Mommy seems happy that her mom is here.  Montana-Gramma giggles and tickles you.  She shows me that she can play.  That she’s fun.  That you like her.  She let you drink her smoothie, a huge thing for her to share like that.  You tell me your tummy hurts and I suggest using the potty, mommy takes you.  Liza and M-G sit on the bench, MG rubs her swollen ankle.  Then picks Liza up across her lap and blows raspberries on her tummy.  She tells Liza, I am going to make you some dresses.  Do you want some dresses?  You look like a little boy, she tells Liza (me).  Plucking at the little T-shirt that Grandpa brought her that says NASA across the front, she says, these are boy clothes.  I know how to dress a little girl.

Mommy and you return after a poop.  Ahhh, you say, leaning into me for a moment. Today your mommy was supposed to get to your school for a visit.  She and her mommy couldn’t make it so they called asking if I could bring you to the mall after school.  Well. I considered.  I really don’t want to drive you out there.  But a hearing is Friday, and I don’t want the judge to hear that I wouldn’t even let M-G see her little grandchildren.  So I did it.  After 45 minutes of dashing around, hearing mommy tell you if you don’t stay close to mommy then a bad man could take you. (There’s another month of debriefing) Went to Chili’s to get quesadillas and broccoli and I drank a watery, sweet mojito.  Said good-bye and tucked you in car-seats by 6:15.

From a police scanner (heard by a woman with a police officer son) said the dispatcher announced that a woman with my name going up my street is drunk driving.  ugh. (Not true, obviously) I call dispatch, tell them I am the party of interest and  I want a breathalizer. Officer calls back and asks me if I am safe.  Hangs up after telling me he’ll call the grandmother who was worried and tell her that the children are home safe. ugh. ugh.  Whose story is this, anyway?  I was duped.  Never, really, never will I take the kids out there for a visit with their mom.  I am so angry at her. But what about the stupidity of drinking in the day. Yep, that was me.

And then Jan’s dad’s email threat campaign began last night.  He shows up with his bully on. Never a grandpa. These people are so mean.  And I feel duped.  Stupid.  Stuck .   And someday when you read this you may understand why I get upset at your mom. They threaten me yet have never offered to take you two. But I wouldn’t let them.

“I love my mommy. Do you love my mom?” you asked me.  I am so glad you love her, she loves you.  Is all I say.  (For now) My thin candy shell cracked open. gma