Surly Thursday (not really Surly, not really Thursday)

 In fact I'm feeling quite a bit better. I was crazy anxious about going to my Thursday school yesterday, because I had only started a few weeks before, then was sick the week before March Break, then there was March Break, so I felt like I was starting the routine all over again. I've talked about this before, and I don't know if it's common to depressive episodes or if it's just a weird fun thing my brain does - it's not that I don't WANT to do something, and it's not that I'm not confident that Regular Me can do it well. It's this feeling I get like I will start going through the motions and I just... won't be able to make the right moves or say the right words. Like there will be a bunch of second graders staring at me and I will freeze and be unable to move. 

Anyway, I got up and got dressed and drove to the school, and once I was there it was fine, which it usually is, as long as I can get myself out the door. I read in French to the 2/3 class after telling them my French isn't that great and they were allowed to laugh a little, but not too much, and they told me I did really well. Another teacher sent her grade fives alone and then came to check with me if that was okay and reassured me she had told them they wouldn't be able to keep doing it if they misbehaved. They were actually completely wonderful, asked all their questions respectfully and told me to have a good day when they left. One younger girl had donated a few books to the library from her own personal collection and she was concerned that she couldn't find them on the shelves. I explained to her that it can take a while for the books to get catalogued and processed before we can put them out, but she kept looking for them earnestly anyway. When another girl was looking for a mystery, the first girl said wistfully, "the books I gave were mysteries".

The only crappy part of the day was that my trusty Doc Martens let me down AGAIN. A few weeks ago when I was there my left boot randomly ripped a blister in my heel that took over a week to get better. I thought it was a one-off, that I was maybe wearing the wrong sock or something, but the same thing happened yesterday. I'm on my feet for almost this whole shift, so maybe that's it. I ordered some moleskin bandage, but I'm newly discouraged about the footwear situation. Footwear in the winter is always an issue for me, and I can't afford to lose one of my only reliable options.

So aside from my stupid feet, I do have a couple of grievances I have been nursing in my bitter bosom. The first one was an interaction on my Facebook community moms group. This is a new one - I left my old one because I was pissed off and disgusted too often by the complete lack of guidelines and the medical misinformation that was allowed to run unchecked. A friend told me that this group was better, and it has been, much. When the protest/occupation was happening downtown, most people were in agreement that it was bullshit, but a few people piped up about "authoritarianism" and nebulous ideas of "freedom". The moderators banned any convoy discussion at all, other than facts - streets that were open or blocked, etc. I thought this was a good call. Most of what is on there is humorous and supportive and friendly and informative.

This particular entry was a group member asking for advice regarding her mother in law watching her kids. Her mother in law constantly thought the worst of her and would confront her in front of her family regularly. She would feed the kids junk food until they were sick and ignore any guidelines given by the mother. The woman said she recognized that she was "just trying to be a good grandmother" and just wanted to know if she was crazy for having reservations about sending the kids for a week-end visit.

The responses were almost uniformly condemnatory of the woman, NOT the mother-in-law. Everything from "yeah, that's pretty much how it goes with mothers-in-law", "oh, she has the best of intentions", "what I wouldn't GIVE to have my parents back so my kids could have a relationship with them, you ungrateful cow", and "I don't even know why I'm LISTENING to you complaining that she WANTS TO LOOK AFTER your kids". Like, over twenty comments like this.

Am I crazy? I mean, I remember being an overwhelmed mother of babies and toddlers before we had any family anywhere near, and I was desperate for a break from childcare sometimes too. That doesn't justify this kind of gaslighting in my mind. Doesn't feeding the kids junk food until they're sick sound more like the grandma cares more about being liked than about the kids' well-being? I mean, an extra couple of cookies or dessert first? Sure, why not. That's not what was being described. And basically saying that this poor woman should not only put up with being treated badly but be grateful for it, just because the grandmother was "willing" to watch her own grandchildren? "She has the best intentions?" Well how the hell do YOU know that? I found it upsetting not just because I felt like they were being so unfair to her, but because it seemed so out of character for the group. I recognize how fortunate and maybe rare my experience with my mother-in-law was (the worst thing she ever did was buy Eve a hundred-dollar pair of shorts even when Eve told her not to), so feel free to disagree with me. 

For the past year or so I haven't been into watching my usual dark, twisted fare. I usually heartily endorse the Aristotelian concept of catharsis, and really good horror movies are great for evoking pity and fear. Of course, when real life contains such a plethora of pity-and-fear-inducing crap, this becomes less attractive. I dove into a rewatch of Modern Family - so sweet! so funny! so intelligent and heartwarming! - and was utterly bereft when I finished it. Matt went away on a business trip last week, so I thought why not resurrect the very intelligent tradition of watching horror movies and then being too scared to fall asleep in an empty house? I watched a Swedish movie called Border, which turned out to be more of a very dark fairy tale. It didn't scare me in the traditional way, but I thought it was quite brilliant - different, and smart and moving. 

I looked up some reviews of the movie just out of interest. Most were good. One was not only negative, but so ridiculously tone-deaf, male-centered and egotistical that I literally rolled my eyes. The comments were all in agreement with my reaction, at least. The reviewer said that the way the actors were made up was supposed to make them "more human", but instead just made them "weird and creepy". In fact, without major spoilers, the way they look was NOT supposed to make them more human - quite the opposite. And "weird and creepy" read like a nine-year-old boy reviewing a classic movie and downvoting anything that wasn't boobs. The whole review was a real-world manifestation of that "Sorry you didn't get a boner" meme.

We went to the bar Tuesday night as usual, and Wednesday morning one of my best friends, who I was sitting beside, tested positive for Covid. Can't even blame the dropping of the mask mandates, since it was the first day it applied. I'm fine so far, just feeling weird, like I'm sitting here waiting to manifest Covid. I thought fleetingly, maybe I'll get it and lose my ability to taste and smell and I won't feel like eating and I'll lose some weight! Then I kept eating things all day to see if I could still taste stuff (not meaning to make light of Covid, just making fun of how ridiculous I am). 

In conclusion, random picture of Angus and the rest of the team pitching staff.


Ernie said…
Those little students sound so delightful. I think if you ever freeze up in front of them, you just say WE WERE MEANT TO BE PLAYING FREEZE DANCE, DIDN'T YOU KNOW? Not meaning to make light of your fear, but I do think they will roll with just about anything.

That mother in law sounds horrid and I'm sad for that woman that more people didn't support her concerns. My MIL was (I should say IS because she is living but this behavior is from when they were tiny) the type that would allow any kind of behavior in hopes of being their favorite. When I came home from the hospital with a new baby, my in laws were there. My MIL let my kids bring sand toys that were covered in sand into the family room and play with them on the couch. I was trying to enjoy the moment of the kids being excited to see the new baby but I hate sand, except on a beach. HATE IT. And never allowed any sand related toys or kids in the house let alone on the couch. That ticked me off. It isn't worth it to have childcare if the MIL undermines, etc. Ugh.

I haven't seen Modern Family in forever. That show is brilliant.

You made me chuckle at you eating various things to test out your taste buds. Bah ha!
Swistle said…
YOU HAVE A PURPLE SHELVING CART!! Mine is bright yellow, which is ALSO good.

I am with you on the MIL thing. I have seen that sometimes on the internet, where a wave of support will unexpectedly rise up under someone who is clearly wrong, and each time I feel freshly betrayed by humanity.
Anna Epp said…
Sorry your Doc Martins are giving you trouble. Every now and then mine do too, but I still love them!! I love your library work, I could use a day in a library, for old times sake.

I feel so badly for that poster. My MIL did not watch our kids, she did all those things and more and that was that. I did give her a chance or two to redeem herself, but that didn’t go well so yeah. Not all MIL are great for us women, we should be supporting, not tearing down.

Hope you stay covid free!!!
Busy Bee Suz said…
The students that you are dealing with sound really sweet; even the girl who is mystified about her mysterious books.

I've always heard Doc Martens are the best. I too have feet issues and wearing anything other than my orthotic flip-flops puts my feet in a tizzy.

Grandmothers are supposed to guide their grandchildren in a good direction..hence following the Mom's guidelines. I suppose I too have been very fortunate and the FB mom is being bamboozled by her MIL. People are weird.
Suzanne said…
WHY are shoes such jerks, sometimes? I am an Easy Blisterer, and I understand completely your woe about needing reliable shoes!!! Hoping the moleskine helps protect your feet until they become inured to the shoes.

And your class experiences sound really lovely. I'm so glad it went well - I would have felt the same trepidation and starting-over-ness that you did after being out unexpectedly. Hoping that next time goes even better.

Your read on the MIL post seems just right. Getting free childcare is one (glorious) thing, but it sounds like people are forgetting that (presumably) the MIL wants to be with her grandchildren, too -- she's not some poor unpaid stranger trying to survive until the mother returns from gallivanting. And I think it's totally reasonable to have expectations like "please don't make my children sick" or "please put them to bed at a semi-reasonable time" or "please don't take them axe throwing." The mom in your group didn't sound like she was being micro-managey. Ugh.
StephLove said…
I'm glad you're feeling better.

I think there's a certain amount of rule-bending to be expected from grandparents (my mom's came mainly in the area of bedtime), but there's got to be a limit.

A friend of Beth's got covid and lost her sense of taste and smell (temporarily) and said she ate MORE because without taste she never felt satisfied when she ate. That seemed unfair to me.
Well, you know my situation, so I won't get into it here. There are eyes everywhere! But I am so glad you had such a lovely MIL and I am sure she is very much missed.

I am also so glad I didn't lose my sense of taste! That would be sad.
I'm sorry to hear you had not been feeling well, and glad to hear you are feeling better.

The events with the children sound wonderful. It's encouraging to hear children thinking so positively about reading and books.

I hope you don't get covid, but if you do, may it be mild. Just this week I have ventured out for the first time to in-person dining, and amazingly nothing bad has come of it. I'm still wearing a mask when I go to most places with gatherings of people.
Tudor said…
That mom should have gone to AITA - she would have gotten better answers -

Re: shoes. You probably don't want to hear this. I don't want to say it. My son didn't want to hear it from me when I said it to him ... but ... we bought him non-Croc-looking Crocs (there are Crocs loafers that look like real shoes on the top but have Croc soles) for his standing-up-all-day-in-an-ice-cream-shop job and he actually loves them.

I wear non-Bog-looking-Bogs and I adore them - Again, waterproof, warm, soft-and-cushy soles, but they don't look like Bogs.

I mean, I know they're not Doc Martens, I get it, but I thought I'd mention it. You can throw things at me now if you like - I won't be offended.
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