Thursday, October 02, 2008

Apple syndrome...

I used to joke to B when my MIL was alive about the "Apple syndrome". More like "My son is the apple of my eye, center of my life, center of the universe syndrome". And to be fair to her, she only suffered the mildest version of it from all the other stories I have heard of other MIL's. It showed up mainly during meal preparation. Oh, B likes this, let's make it for him. B likes it in a particular way, so let's make it that way. She was gracious enough to also make things I like if I told her I liked it. But you could see that glint in her eyes when she made things her son liked. No matter who else did or didn't. Fair enough - she loved him to bits - she was welcome to indulge him. Just as long as I was not ignored. I can't remember the details of it, but I did get very upset one evening when both my MIL and FIL were staying with us (pre-baby days) and B's preferances were over indulged. I was not angry at her but was angry with B independent of it and so it really made me more sensitive to it. I didn't want to yell at B in front of them, so I just went out for a walk in the complex just before dinner time. B's mom asked B to go look for me and was worried as to why I went for a walk before dinner time. I recollect some of these incidents randomly now as I think about KB's preschool drama and how I have mixed feelings about the school.

I realize it is most easy to aquire the "Apple syndrome". You just have to give birth! The only difference is in how we let it manifest. You can either choose to make your child's happiness your prority because he/she is the apple of your eyes or you can ruin their happiness by hurting any one who doesn't treat your child the way you expect him/her to be treated. I feel annoyed with the preschool director for not accepting or even mentioning that part of the problem is that they do not have the bandwidth to deal with a child who cries louldy in the initial stages of adjustment. Instead she just says, "he is not ready for school". If it were left up to me, I would have just said, so be it, I will look for another school. But what matters to me is which school KB wants to go to. And each time we tour another school, he has fun but still says he wants to go to school W with Ms.T. And that's all matters. He seems happy to be there, so it is the school I will have to deal with even if I don't agree with what they say. I will mutter to myself my disagreement, but I will not jeopardize his happiness in that school by antagonizing the teacher or the preschool director there. At least unless it really gets to a point where I have to defend him for any other reason. I want to go with the faith that they do have his interest in mind and that it is best for him to deal with the separation issue at home if they are not able to handle it there.

There was another time a local friend of ours did something that I couldn't quite understand why. It was some trivial thing - inviting a bunch of kids to a little party she hosted but telling me about it soon after it was over - and mentioning all the other kids and their moms who had been invited and how it was all planned at the last minute - as if to say that is why she could not invite KB. It is one of those things that people do that hurts and you just cannot understand but you cannot also dig deep into for it will always leave an open strain on the relationship. At least pushed under the rug, it has hopes of getting forgotten. That was another instance when I told myself that I should not show to her that I was upset because if my relationship with her were to get strained then my kids would loose out on the friendship with her kids and vice versa. That was not worth it. I decided to just let it pass at that time even though I knew that she realized how it hurt me that she did that.

As a mother, no matter how young or old the child is, you want your child to be happy even if it means swallowing a bit of your pride or hurt feelings. I wonder how often or lasting this feeling will be. But I sure hope I am able to take these baby steps in my own growth toward a time when I will have to and will let go of KB and let him have his life...and know when to step in and when to stay away and grit and bear even if it hurts me just so he is happy.

I think back to how my MIL might have felt when I went for a walk because I was angry with B. Someone angry at her dear son who in her eyes did nothing wrong at that moment. Yet she asked B to go look for me in the complex and tell me to come and eat dinner...I suppose in caring for me, she was caring for the one she loved so dearly, her son. Once a mother, always a mother!

16 comments:

Tharini said...

Lovely post. Lovely thoughts and insight. Its hard to do what you are doing with KB's school, but if he loves it so much, then its the right thing to do I guess.

B o o said...

Noon - Ashu is LOUD! And she cried right from the miniute she got up saying "no school", cried in the car, cried harder when we reached school and I used to leave her howling in her class. I thought she ll NEVER settle down. Her teacher carried her, sang to her and gave her individual attention. Even when I thought that she was nt ready and I should take a break, the teachers thought otherwise. It was really tough to deal with that EVERY day. So I understand what you are going through. Just hang on. This will definitely pass. We just have to grit our teeth and go through it. Try the school again in Nov. Im surprised at their attitude but if you like the school, then that is all that matters. Hugs.

Preethi said...

very well written noon.. as always!!! this is a Noonie post!! Hope the school is a bit more amenable.. and you get it through to them.. good luck with that! You are right.. No matter how old they grow our children are the apple of our eye.. and both I and M can take on the whole world for his happiness :) Well put.. once a mother always a mother...

dipali said...

What a lovely post. And such a loving mother-in-law. I guess she truly cared for her son's happiness:)

Suma said...

this was such an insightful post...we do change our natural behavior keeping our kids in view...

lovely post...i hope lil Kb settles in fast...take care

Mamma mia! Me a mamma? said...

How beautifully you've written this noonie! And I couldn't agree with you more. Every word you've written, rings true for me too. Esp the bit about where we sometimes have to swallow our hurts and pride to maintain friendshis, est the friendships between the children get affected. It's happened to me more than I care to remember.

I wish you luck with your decision. I'm sure KB will be fine.

Here's big bear hug for you, dear girl.

Cantaloupes.Amma (CA) said...

You are absolutely right noon in saying as mothers we have to keep aside our interests / pride sometimes.
I have neighbors who miss no opportunity to send their daughter to play with cantaloupe, be it in our house, park, library etc. And we graciously welcome her since the little girls love each other's company. But these folks never ever extend the invitation back to us ... they make their own park trips, library trips etc either by themselves or with someother friend. It hurts and hurts bad .. but then we never point out since.
Cantaloupe will miss out the time with her friend... if our relations with the neighbors sour. So we just keep quite.
And this gyan was given to me by BP :)

Cantaloupes.Amma (CA) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
noon said...

Tharini - thanks...I am still unsure if I should go back to the same school - practical reasons more than personal - if he takes some time to adjust when he goes back there, that too in Jan when kids fall sick etc - if again they say the same thing it will be harder on him and on me to find another school. But as of now KB keeps saying he wants to go to this school...keeping fingers crossed!

Boo - thanks girl. Makes me feel better to hear these stories even though I don't have a damned choice in the matter when it comes to this school. They just are not able to put up with his crying/volume nor able to engage him enough until he stops. Just so upsetting. Have to just see what happens...hopefully he will mature more in the next three months and realize that if he really wants to go to school he has to stop crying.

Preethi - Thanks - and you are kind as always! :) Did Cheeky go to Montessori? I can't remember if you mentioned...I know you said he cried a lot too - but stopped later - but is it because the school engaged him better?

Dipali - thanks! I thought you are off to Oz?!

noon said...

Suma - thanks! I really hope he settles in school at least in Jan!

Mammamia - my pal - thanks for the hug and bbh back to you too! And feels better to know others go through similar situations too - you know when friends do strange things...I guess we just have to take it in stride for the sake of the kids! Go through growing pains all over again with them! Grrrr!

CA - see, I think I am being patient when such things happen every once in a while. And then I read this and feel like I just cannot be that nice for the sake of KB. It's not even that I don't want to be nice but my face will reveal how upset I am. It is so ridiculous - they send** (so you are really taking care of their child at that time) the girl with you each time but never extend the invitation to you - how can they do that! You don't have to show them you are upset but you can sweetly tell them to let you know when they go to a particular park and that you would like to bring C along and go together. Just do it CA! COme on they are taking advantage of your super niceness! And your husband - I remember the post about how he dealt with his brother - no surprise the gyan came from him1 :)

Mystic Margarita said...

Such a beautiful post, Noonie - very insightful and heartfelt. You're so right - it's difficult to comprehend a parent's love for his/her child unless one is a parent. I'm sure KB will do just fine - hugs.

Neera said...

You have written this so beautifully noonoo, truly ur style :)

Could it be that KB keeps referring to school W because he's been there for a month and has a certain comfort level. If he starts a new school, after a few weeks he'll start liking that too. I say that from experience because when Vansh started summer camp, he didn't want to go there, he wanted to go to ECFE but after a few weeks, he forgot about ECFE. The same thing when he started preschool, he talked about summer camp.

Also I think my opinion differs from yours here. My husband and my MIL share a bond which is just too lovely - of the kind that she just has to utter a few words and he understands exactly how she feels about something/someone. And that's happened because she has been sharing her true feelings with him.

If its somethign trivial, I anyways like to give that person benefit of doubt, but not otherwise. Last fall, with the ugly winters and staying indoors looming ahead, Vansh was in dire need of playmates in the same building. I tried a few times to arrange playdates with 2 boys of another lady who were close in age to him but it seemed like she didn't really care much because the '2 of them were content playing with each other and didn't trouble her at home' (her own words). Had I been persistent probably the playdates would have gone on with Vansh enjoying, but I didn't want to be in a position of always me taking the initiative. Vansh did ask me a couple of times and said that he wanted to go and i told him that its not nice to always go uninvited and that I had invited them so we'll wait for them to come over and play. He forgot after few days.

A couple of months back, a new neighbor dropped by with her abt 1 year younger son and the kids had a lot of fun playing with each other but she was unmindful in the way she was treating me. While I was busy fixing dinner for the kids, she was asking me for missing pieces of puzzles etc for her son and what was where kind of things (btw my husband made me realize that as he had also come back from office by then) and so I maintained my distance from her when she called or dropped by again. After a couple of times. I told her we'll drop by the next evening and she was very welcoming (even though she hadn't invited herself). May be she realized or whatever but now she's a changed woman and very good with the kids and we have regular playdates for the kids.

Sorry for the long comment :)

Aryan said...

lovely post..many a times even I feel that my husband is apple of eye...but as you said..once mother forever mother..what a lovely correlated post..as others said, typical noonie style...
AM

Collection Of Stars said...

Beautifully said Noon. Just lovely.

noon said...

Neera - yes, it could be that he is just used to this school. Have to get him settled here first and then worry about next year.
And about your other comment - oh no, I would not for ex take KB to my friend's house if I felt uninvited there for sure - even if he misses their children - I didn't mean it that way - but I will still go if she invited me to her place even if she did not invite me to her party - even if I feel hurt - because sometimes there are valid reasons - we had not been friends for too long then even though we met often in the time we had known each other - she knew more people in this area since she had been living here for a long time while I was new etc etc - so I just justified things for her for the sake of KB and her kids to continue their friendship irrespective of how I felt. That's what I mean. Of course if she had done something outright hurtful or rude, I would not condone it either for any reason - some little things you compromise on for the sake of your kids. But of course we do draw lines!

noon said...

Aryan, CofS - thanks! :)