Lost on the IF Highway

Playing Mommy/Raising a Sister May 19, 2011

Filed under: Family,Just Life — Lost on the IF Highway @ 5:04 PM

Just as I lose my job, my sister FINALLY gets one!  Yay! That’s good news, right?  Well, maybe.  My sister and her son (S and G) have been living with us for over a year and a half. When they moved here from Kentucky, he was about 18 months old and was not talking much at all. He hadn’t even started to try walking.  Apparently, my aunt and uncle (with whom S & G lived in Kentucky) didn’t like him to “bother” them while they were watching TV (which was almost constantly). They hadn’t had a baby living in the house for quite some time. They are retired, and they enjoy their peace and quiet.  This meant G had to spend most of his time in his room, where there was no room to play, walk, or even crawl.  He wasn’t being stimulated in any way.  My sister (being as clueless as she is) had no clue what he should be saying/doing at this stage in his life, so she just ignored him unless he needed fed or changed, or if she was feeling froggy and actually wanted to play with him.

They started visiting quite often after G was born. They visited once when he was a year old and I noticed how behind he was developmentally so I said something to S and my Dad about it (who also lives in Kentucky).  I nagged at S enough until she decided it was time to move back to Illinois, but she wasn’t sure where she wanted to live, or where she would go even. She hadn’t had a job since about a year or so before G was born. I told her up front that my husband and I did NOT want her to move in, because we were finally getting rid of our best friend, EL. (We love him, but it was time for him to move out after two years!)  We had just bought the house when he moved in, so we had never had our OWN place with NO ONE else living with us.  She threw a big fit, cried some tears and next thing I knew, they were moving in. I don’t think I ever even said Yes!

Here we are a year and a half later and my, how things have changed!  G just turned 3 y.o.! He’s so grown up! He talks constantly!  He tells me, “Sissy (that’s what he calls me). Get me chaw mook, please”. (Chaw mook is chocolate milk, btw.)  He can tell me what he wants, what color it is, how old he is, all the fur babies’ names, and he even knows some of his numbers. I’m very proud of the progress he has made. His mother, on the other hand, needs some help, and I’m definitely the last person on Earth capable of helping her. She DOES NOT listen to me.  I have always been the big sister that swoops in and saves the day, and somehow she still resents me.  She has lived here rent & utility free for 19 months and has never even said Thank you, much less does she pull her weight with the housekeeping.  Even when I worked and was going to school full-time and she did NOTHING all day, she would do the dishes (maybe) and call it a hard day’s work.  I came home to a dirty house and woke up to a dirty house. When I brought it up, she would threaten to take G away, and I couldn’t BARE to see that happen.  He is the light of my life right now. He’s a good reason to stay alive!  When you’re facing this kind of frustration and depression with IF, it’s good to have a reason like G.

S finally got a job a couple of weeks ago.  She’s been working a lot (though it’s still technically part-time), so I have been playing “Mommy” with G while she works.  It’s nice, because her state aid will actually pay me to do something I was already doing to begin with.  With me not working, I can spend time working with him on some of his skills (numbers, letters, etc.) over the summer and try to get him potty trained.  I see it as a win-win for now.

Since S has never established a routine or paid much attention to his diet, I have been putting him to bed and getting him up early, making sure he gets regular baths, and trying to feed him healthy meals and snacks.  It’s hard because he’s not a big eater and he’s very picky, but I can already see his mood, attitude, and energy improving.  He actually ASKED to go to bed last night at 9:30pm. That’s the earliest he’s ever gone to bed on his own, and he didn’t fight me for one second to lay down.

I also noticed that my “motherly instincts” have kicked in, without me realizing that’s what was happening.  I realized it today when I took him and my stepdaughter to the park after SH got out of school.  When we got there, G instantly started climbing around on this combination monkey bar-slide-stairs-type of apparatus.  Every time he got close to the edge of a platform, started going too fast up the stairs, or acted like he would try out the monkey bars I could physically feel this tingle in my hands and feet and my heart would stop.  I didn’t realize I was also holding my breath until I’d done it about a dozen times.  I’ve felt that way about SH several times too, but she was already nearly four years old when I came around, and my husband (M) did most of the worrying for both of us.

For some reason, it’s different with G. I think it’s because M and I (mostly me) are really the only ones responsible for him.  S basically ignores him unless she is getting onto him.  That leaves M and me there to take care of him, teach him, love him, and just RAISE him basically.  With SH, her mother was still somewhat involved, and my MIL (M’s mom) to this day spends at least two days a week with her. We aren’t the only ones there to take care of her, so I feel like the load is lifted a little bit, but with G, I feel like I want him to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that he is loved, and I want him to be safe.

There are days when I wish my sister would just say, “Take him” and leave, but I know it STILL wouldn’t be the same, not even as much as I love him.  I still wouldn’t have “my” baby. As happy as SH and G make me, I just don’t know that there will ever be a replacement for carrying my own baby… However, my sister (S) is also looking for apartments. Thank goodness the state also has housing assistance for single moms. I personally would never dream of applying for aid (except maybe medical benefits, if I was even eligible – which I am not).  But she can’t get by without some sort of help. It’s amazing how two people raised in the same household can be so entirely different.  Anyway, M thinks once S gets out on her own she will eventually realize she can’t hack it.  Since I will already be taking care of G most of the time anyway, M honestly believes she will give him to us.  I really don’t think that will happen, because she enjoys the state aid too much, but I guess we can’t help but to hope. I would LOVE it if we could have SH, G, and our own baby. That would be a dream come true!!!


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