But I do think about it. And it was really nice that he did it.
Some backstory. Last week I got really mad at the MIL. Hella mad. LE had been staying with her the whole time he was sick (he's back now, by the way, and all better, bomba gibi) and we missed each other so I went to visit him and check in.
Apparently the whole time he was staying there, MIL was feeling like all her naggy little hints on the phone to me about how I could have taken better care of LE to prevent him from getting sick weren't enough for her. She'd been saving up for the real thing. So we, the whole family I mean, were packed into the little bedroom where LE was trying to get his dad to let him use the computer. MIL just ripped into me. I should have taken him to the doctor sooner. I should have taken better care of him. What did I do to make him sick? I don't make him wash his hands enough. I don't make him wear a coat when it's 70 degrees outside. The kids at his school are dirty. His preschool is dirty and no one makes the kids was their hands enough. I took him to Yeşilköy, where, despite its high-end appearances, is one of the most filthy-child-ridden regions of Istanbul.
I didn't handle it well. I lost it a little. I cut her off and told her she was wrong. I told her I look after him. I
|Fuck you, Internet. I learn nothing from your infographics.|
She was having none of it and started going off how he's been coughing and sniffling for a month. That's allergies, I told her. It's nothing to do with scarlet fever. I explained to her about exposure and incubation periods, which of course I knew off the top of my head after all the learning I'd been doing on the Internet.
She wasn't having any of that either. "Why didn't you take him to the doctor right away? You never take him to the doctor. What's wrong with you that you don't take a sick child to the doctor?" I told her the first day he was too sick to go to the doctor, and since he was eating a bit and taking fluids and his fever was under control, I didn't see any reason to torture him by making him move around. Anyway, what would have been the point? His dad took him to the doctor the second day he was sick, but since he had no rash yet, she misdiagnosed it. I mentioned the doctor was probably overworked from seeing so many kids whose parents were taking them to the doctor needlessly for every little sniffle.
MIL came back and started screeching again. For everything she said I just said "okay." She hated that. So she tried to drag BE into it, telling him how mad she was at the two of us for not looking after our kid. "Change the subject," he told his mom. "Stop talking about it." But she kept going. "Are you trying to start a fight?" he asked her? "Yes," she said. "Yes I am," and LE giggled. "Change the subject," BE said to her again, and FIL dragged her out again.
But still. Fuck her. Seriously. I'm still pretty mad.
After her tirade, FIL came in by himself and he and I talked like grownups for awhile. He asked after my family and sent his love and we talked about scarlet fever and where it could have come from. I told him all the fun facts I'd been learning about scarlet fever, and he was interested, especially because when he was a kid it was still a thing people died from. He, like most people, thought there was a vaccine for it now. He said everyone was really surprised to hear LE had it. I told him most people didn't even believe me that he had it, but that probably was not just because it's so rare, but also because I'm foreign people might assume I'm saying the wrong word. And also because who the hell gets scarlet fever?
Later, I snuggled up to LE and asked him if it had been crazy house all week. "No," he said. "A little." I asked if it made him upset and he was all, "That's just how they are. What are you gonna do?"
My little fatalist.
So there was that. I've been mad all week. There's no point in listing here all the reasons why the MIL is under-informed and counter-productive and fucked in the head. I did tell BE once again they should take her to a therapist or something. I know. So American, right? I don't think anyone would ever be able to teach her how to break her little cognitive loops or manage her Big Feelings better, but I do think it would do her some good to have a professional, an All-Knowing Doctor, give her some attention and make her feel like her Big Feelings are something worth giving value to and dealing with. Goodness knows no one else does.
|Oh, you wanna martyr? Cuz I can do that.|
And now I'm just as bad as they are because I also failed to deal with her Big Feelings when they appear as a bunch of useless bullshit flying at my face.
Still, I called her up today to wish her happy Mother's Day. This is one of my assholiest moves in the great chess game of Divorce From the In-Laws. My other one is flummoxing her from time to time by telling her how much I appreciate her looking after LE and what a good job she does. But every year, I call her up to wish her happy Mother's Day or Happy Bayram and if anyone had bothered to know her birthday (the one on her ID is made up because no one could remember the actual day), I'd wish her happy birthday. When BE and I were married, I reminded him to call his mom on Mother's Day. I still remind him it's Mother's Day so he remembers to get her flowers.
That's the thing about Mother's Day. Some grownup has to remind the kids to do something nice for their mom. I don't see any point in reminding LE to wish me Happy Mother's Day. And when BE and I were still married, LE couldn't talk through most of that time and when he did learn how to talk, he didn't really get what everyone was on about anyway.
So I swallowed being mad and phoned her up. I braced myself for getting bawled out about the Popsicle.
Side Story: The Popsicle Incident
|More like frozen death on a stick.|
"Don't forget you owe me a massage," LE said.
Back To Mother's Day
|Just deliver to Sarıyer, Colonel!|
"Of course we had breakfast," she said.
"But did LE make you breakfast?" I asked.
"Who, LE?" she asked.
"Yeah, or BE. Did one of them make you breakfast?"
"Of course we had breakfast," she said, sounding a bit annoyed. Clearly what I was saying was so foreign, and not because I'm a foreigner, that it was causing a complete breakdown in communication. I gave up and talked to LE for bit. He was pretty busy with Minecraft.
"He's not much a mutlti-tasker," I told my friend when I hung up.
"Happy Mother's Day," he said.
"Aw, thanks!" I said.
"I'd better remember to call my mom tonight. There's the window between when she gets up and church..." he said. My phone rang and it was BE. "Bythewayhappymother'sday. Here. LE wants to tell you something."
And LE did his filial duty even though Minecraft was still clearly calling. BE must have been being a good sharer today if LE still had the computer.
And there it was. For the first time in the three years we've been separated, BE remembered to tell LE to do something nice for me.
Granted he had help, but it's a start. And weirdly enough, I feel like I've won this battle.