Posts tagged family

Sins Of Our Fathers – Part One

Nature vs. Nurture.   Nurture vs. Nature. 

I know most of what I write is basically…fluff.  But my interests do lie in other areas too.  I can enjoy cartoons AND reading about genetics whilst maintaining the same I.Q.  But don’t worry; this post is going to be a bit of fluff too, phew!  But as per usual, it’s a long one, run now, while you have a chance!  By the way, I wrote this yesterday as a draft because I thought we were going out but we don’t seem to be – I’ll just use this draft anyway.  The reason it’s called part one is because there are other things I want to get into that are related to this post but it was getting long so I thought I’d do it another day.  Plus, I don’t have the heart to talk about that stuff yet.  Call this a prelude to the real deal.  When I’m ready for that, we’ll talk 😉

 Becoming a mother has made a couple of things come to the fore.  How much of a part does genetics play in the adults our children become?  Personally, I think that both nature and nurture can play a part but in the long run, nurture is what counts.  At least that’s what I hope.  When we were children, one of the biggest threats my mother had was “you’re going to end up exactly like your father’s family.”  My mother loved my paternal grandfather (he died when I was 6months old but before that he looked after us when my father did not.  He had no illusions about the type of children he had raised.) but she wasn’t so keen on the rest of my father’s family and I can’t say I blame her…for a variety of reasons. The neighbours raised eleven children because my paternal grandmother couldn’t get up out of the bed every day.  My mother has no sympathy for this and can’t understand it but I can because if I allowed myself, I would have the exact same tendency to give up and hide under the covers.  I hadn’t seen that woman since I was around four or five yet when I had my own children I felt the urge to react exactly as she did every now and then.  Okay, to a lesser extent but maybe if I had eleven children, the postnatal depression that I went through would have been much more severe.  Is it genetics that made me feel like this or is just “one of those things?” 

As I said, my mother liked to threaten us with the idea of bad blood, how if we weren’t careful, we would become just like the people she despised.  She did her best to raise us so that we wouldn’t, I’m sure she did, but she made a fatal error by implanting it into our heads that no matter what we did, we would end up a certain way.  I have to admit, I was terrified that I would be a crap mother (just like the women before me…) but I felt like I couldn’t do the same things that they did.    I don’t have it in me to be those types of people.  Or do I? Sometimes I hear my mother’s voice when I speak and that scares the crap out of me.  I should have learned from her mistakes, right?  I know I’m not the best mother in the world.  I’m not good with the cleaning and at any given time, at least one of my children is covered in some sort of unidentified gunk but I love them.  I mean really, truly love them, unconditionally.   I don’t love them because they are good, or say cute things, or have blonde hair, or remind me of me, or can be easily persuaded.  Growing up, these were the things that earned love and these were the things that I didn’t have on my side.  When I was a kid, I had to deal with a lot of crap and a lot of fucked up people.  I have their genes so I’m always aware of how fucked up I could be too. 

Basically, my maternal grandmother is pretty much an alcoholic, a nervous wreck and a bit of a spoiled brat to be honest.  I love her but she’s not very good with responsibility and although she’s much better now, when I was a kid, she wasn’t very nice and I didn’t like her at all.  If she wanted to do something that you didn’t, she could get very mean.  She was the youngest child and the one allowed to mess up a lot.  Her mother raised my mother until they fell out, then she worked constantly, leaving my mother at home alone. 

Side Note: I often felt like I was the adult in that house of spoiled brats.  When I was a kid, it was me that my mother told she was having a miscarriage, it was me that was told we had no money to pay the bills so we weren’t going to have heat or light, it was me who had to come up with ideas to fix things, it was me who took care of my younger brother and the two baby cousins my mother was supposed to look after in the mornings, it was me who had to listen to her cry and freak out, it was me who had to take the brunt of everything and it was me who had to make sure that NOBODY found out what our life was like.  Not one person in my life (save my aunt) could take responsibility for themselves or their own actions.  I was a very young, naive little girl and I had a lot of responsibility that I shouldn’t have had.  I make sure my children get to play.  A lot.  Because I feel like I never had a childhood.  Maybe I had children for selfish reasons then…hmm…that made me think.  What gets me now is that everybody pretends that things aren’t as bad as they were.  Or they skim over them by saying it’s in the past.  Yeah it is, but things were worse than what I even make them out to be. 

Her sister looked after her and although I idolize my aunt, I recognize that she could be domineering and bossy at the best of times.  The both of them together were far too controlling on my mother who manages to be responsible and irresponsible at the same time.  She can look after everyone else except herself and her money (and her children to be honest).  She was an only child and she is also a spoiled brat.  She was not a good mother and although she too is better these days, back then, she was going through a certain amount of mental problems that made her incapable of looking after us in a healthy way.  I still can’t believe that she was allowed to look after two children alone but the past is in the past.  She didn’t start to drink until she reached her 30’s but I think she too will end up on the route to alcoholism.  Her husband is extremely unhealthy and as he is the one keeping her together, when he dies in the next couple of years, she will probably fall apart. 

My father’s family is full of problems.  My father himself is more than likely an alcoholic.  The last time I saw him, I was around 16 or so and he definitely had a drinking and drug problem then so I doubt much has changed to be honest.  My younger brother drinks way too much and takes drugs.  He won’t admit either of those but we both know it.  I think he has a death wish (I’ve met more than one person in my life with one) and like both my parents in their 20’s, he has attempted suicide at least once.  When I get a phone call in the middle of the night, my first thought is that something has happened to my brother.  But my point is that most of my close family don’t know when to stop when it comes to alcohol. 

So, I am fully aware that I am predisposed to a drinking problem and I am sure that in the past I have had way too many drinking sessions.  It is a social thing here.  People think it’s weird if somebody doesn’t drink.  I think I’ve met one or two people in my whole life that are teetotal.  Of course, I’ve been caught up in it too.  I drank a lot as a teenager but slowly lost the habit as I got older.  I don’t think I have a drinking problem though.  I had half a glass of wine last night with my dinner but before that I can’t remember the last time I had a drink.  At the moment, it isn’t something that I need to do to enjoy myself, I get up and dance even when I’m stone cold sober so it isn’t necessary for me to enjoy a night out.  In saying that, I fully plan on getting drunk on Christmas evening so maybe that’s a contradiction.  Anyway, the point is, I tend to hold back.  I know my limits.  I don’t like getting completely drunk and not knowing what I’m doing.  That is not my idea of a good time whereas I think with the others; they drink to forget about the bad times.  Whatever it is, I hope that I’m the one to break the cycle.  My partner’s family has some of the same problems so I admit; I fear that my little ones could follow the same path because it’s in their genes. 

I am different to the rest of my family (when I say family I’m talking about the maternal side) in a lot of ways.  My mother always made me different by saying I didn’t look like them, didn’t act like them, wouldn’t turn out like them.  I was often left out of everything, was often left behind, wasn’t included in treats, that sort of thing but looking at us all now, I seem to be the only one that’s happy so maybe nurture does have something to do with it, maybe if I had been included, I would be exactly the same as the rest of them.  I can’t complain about that one 😉 

I’m probably not being very clear or concise here (what a surprise) but I was left to myself a lot as a child.  The only thing my mother really instilled into me was good manners and the fact that we were a respectable family.  Not one person in her whole family touched heroin (which was the drug epidemic in their time) or got locked up or did anything “bad” yet her son, her golden boy, grew up to become a cokehead.  She can’t understand how the bad one (me) could grow up to become first a hard worker who never got fired from a job to secondly a dedicated mother when the good one (my bro) grew up so messed up in the head.  She thinks it should be the other way around.  If he had a different upbringing he might not be so messed up.  He’s so confused right now and he can’t seem to keep himself on the right track for long.  It’s like he’s pressed a self-destruct button and just can’t stop himself.  Instead of getting help, he hears, “I told you, you’d end up like your father!”  That ain’t going to work any better than it did when we were kids. 

I know that a lot of what I saw as a child has rubbed off on me.  I am a spoiled brat.  I know I am.  I don’t really know how to stop being one…and I probably am a bit mental myself, but never to my kids 🙂 My mother always says to me that I have the same expressions as one of my father’s sisters (I don’t remember ever seeing her) so obviously genetics has a part in things.  But I do believe that it’s how we raise our children that counts the most.  We can’t raise mini-me babies but we can do our best to make sure that we don’t pass on our crap for them to handle.  At least, that’s what I’m hoping and maybe by blogging about things, I won’t be carrying that shit around for my kids to pick up on…

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Potty Training Blues

This month has been ridiculous so far…I keep adding to my list of things to do.  So, I have two blogs that are suffering, I’m doing NaBloPloMo, NaNoWriMo, dealing with a Sims2 addiction, taking care of a clingy 8 month old, potty training a reluctant 3 year old whilst working on his speech therapy homework, trying to get information from the council on when I can move and spending waaaaay too much time asleep.  Let’s just say I’m not doing a great job…you should see the state of my sitting room, I’d post a picture but I’m too ashamed 🙂

Yes, my son is 3 and he still isn’t potty trained, I’m a bad mother, I know.  He was too young before I got pregnant before, I didn’t have the energy while I was pregnant and  I didn’t want to take on the whole potty training fiasco while I was breastfeeding so now, only now have I finally got around to it.

I don’t use the word fiasco lightly.  My son is seriously attached to his nappies.  I’ve half heartedly attempted to potty train a couple of times and it always ended up in hysterics.  My son is quite independent, he likes things to happen a certain way.  He walks into the house, strips off to his nappy, occasionally puts on a pair of spiderman wellies and a thomas the tank engine hat and that’s it, that’s what makes him comfortable.  Any time I’ve tried to replace the nappy with pants, he has freaked out and I mean FREAKED out and I’ve been afraid he’ll get some sort of lifetime trauma – yes, it was my mother that did it, she forced those training pants on me now the nightmares will never stop – so I haven’t pushed it.  The other day, I decided it was time and apparently so did he because he didn’t bat an eyelid and has taken up the potty training challenge. 

It’s going quite well, in some ways, but I think it might take him a while to perfect his skills and how the hell do you get little kids to go from the potty to the actual toilet anyway? 

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My Daughter’s First Steps

I didn’t intend for this to become a “Mammy” blog but everything that occurs in my life is Mammy related so what did I expect to happen?  I have two beautiful, amazing children.  My son is 3 and my daughter is 8 months.  I wanted another child so that my son wouldn’t be alone and that was a great choice especially now when I watch them playing together, him teaching her everything he knows.  I did worry that nothing she did would ever be special because he had gotten there before her.  He was the first great grandchild, the first grandchild for both sides of the family, the first to walk, speak, etc.

 But my daughter had other ideas, she was going to outshine him in everyway so even  though she did it all second, there was no way we could forget it.  She said her first word and sat up at five months.  She now says mama, dada, baba and hi.   She can wave.  She can do lots of amazing things that I will remember when she has her own children, regardless of what number child she is.  If I have five children, I’m now sure that I will remember everything they do first, just like I’m now sure that I’ll love each of them with all of my heart.  While I was pregnant, I worried that there was no way I could love two people with the same intensity that I felt for my son.  I’m so happy I was wrong.

 Ah, yes, the reason I started this post.  My daughter took her first tentative steps today.  Without holding on to anything, at 8 months old, she walked and she LOVED it.  The lot of us sat there chanting her name, encouraging her and she was determined to repeat the process.  Then my son took her by the hands and made her run around the room, that was funny, if a little nervewracking, he can be a bit clumsy with her!  He  walked at 11months which was pretty damn amazing especially considering he was premature.  I love this.  I love being a Mammy.  I love how this means the world to me.  I love how I will tell everyone I know about it and they will all feign interest while silently wishing I would shut the hell up.  Isn’t it great being a Mammy?

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