Monday, September 17, 2007

Only A Little Drama

Mr. Chick and Nicholas had a nice time visiting family and going to the big game in Michigan (Go Ducks! UO spanked UM - woot!) Everyone behaved themselves and it was a good trip overall. Except for the drama Nicholas invoked on Friday night, that is.

My boys were out there to see Mr. Chicks grandmother (we call her Gigi). As it turns out, Mr. Chick's mother also went out for a visit. She went to accompany Gigi to a wedding a few hours away as well as to see Mr. Chick and Nicholas. Fine. My mother-in-law has many, many issues, but I wasn't there, so whatever. I just let Mr. Chick know he was NOT to let her watch Nicholas alone, or to drive anywhere with him. Mr. Chick agreed. So when he decided to join his law school pals out and about on Friday night he left Nicholas with both Gigi and his mother. I'm OK with this since Gigi has it together and would really be the one looking after Nicholas.

My girlfriends came over to my house Friday night for wine and dessert. It was fun to have them all over, laughing and chatting the way we do. Until the phone rang, that is. It was Nicholas, sobbing, telling me his throat hurt and he couldn't sleep and he just wanted to come home. I had to excuse myself from my friends and talk with Nicholas - or try to - and get him to calm down. When he gets all worked up he becomes completely irrational. It took a bit of "mommying", but he was feeling better. I spoke with Gigi and everything seemed OK.

And then he called again an hour or so later. This time, he told me, "Mama, Granny's (MIL) is in my bed sleeping and I don't know what to do!". I had visions of MIL being passed out in his bed in a drunken stupor (has happened before). I couldn't imagine WHY she was in Nicholas' bed. She has a small, yappy dog, Cassie, that goes everywhere with her, and this stupid dog stays on the bed where MIL is sleeping and then barks at anyone who comes in the room. This was freaking Nicholas out. He said he couldn't find Gigi, that Granny was in his bed and Cassie was guarding it, and he was all by himself and didn't know what to do. NOT a fun call to receive where there is nothing I could really do to help the situation. I tried to get Nicholas to go into Gigi's room to wake her up, but he got freaked out because he couldn't find the switch for the light and couldn't see anything. He was crying really loudly, it seemed to me, and I just couldn't imagine how it was possible that NO ONE was waking up to this. I tried to get Nicholas to go lay down on the couch in the living room, but he really wanted his blanket and it was in his room, and when he went to get it the fucking dog would bark at him, causing him to freak out even more. Gah! It was about midnight in Michigan when all this is going on, and my son has not been to bed yet. I would have called Mr. Chick and told him to get back home to help Nicholas, but we don't have cell phones and I had no idea how to reach him. I felt very, very helpless. Here is my son, freaking out and crying, alone in the middle of the night 2000 miles away from me. Eventually I got him calmed down and plugged into our portable DVD player. I gave him permission to suck his thumb. I figured he would crash in the chair watching the movie. Gigi FINALLY woke up (she wears hearing aids and I guess she simply didn't hear Nicholas) and we chatted briefly. When I hung up the phone I had the most unsettled feeling. I went back to my guests.

The phone rang a 3rd time, now nearly 2am in Michigan. "Mama, what do I do when the movie is over??!" wailed Nicholas. Who was clearly still awake and still a bit agitated. I asked him if he was ready to go to bed - NO! - and then suggested he just put in another movie and wait for Daddy to get home (how much longer could he possibly stay out?!). "But Mama, the other movies are in my room, and Cassie is guarding them!" Great. Back to the fucking dog. Thankfully, Gigi slept with her hearing aids in this time and got up to help Nicholas quickly. Mr. Chick arrived home shortly thereafter and took Nicholas down to the basement where there was another bed and they crashed out together.

I was still puzzled by the whole "Granny is sleeping in my bed" part and asked Mr. Chick about it the next time we spoke. I had forgotten how much sleeping medication she takes (damn near toxic levels), so when she's asleep, she's O-U-T for the count. Nothing wakes her. She had gone in to lay down with Nicholas in an attempt to calm him down, but it backfired. She crashed out and he stayed awake and then panicked, leaving him with no bed, no blanket, and feeling like he had nowhere to go. Plus the whole dog element. It was a mess. I felt horrible for Nicholas, and I felt horrible for Gigi, who is in her mid-80's and having to deal with this when she should be sleeping and getting her rest. It wasn't Mr. Chick's fault, but never before have I wished we had cell phones. Thankfully, Nicholas slept in the next morning and recovered well. He and Mr. Chick had a great time at the game watching the Ducks kick Michigan's ass. And Nicholas didn't seem to hold it against either Gigi or Granny and resumed his normal, cheerful disposition for the remainder of the visit.

I was proud of Nicholas for taking the initiative to call me, all by himself, when he needed me. I'm so glad he knew our phone number! Other than freaking out, which was expected, he handled himself very well. He did what he needed to do. He was very responsible in solving the problem, as we've drilled into him. So as "big boy" as he was, he seemed so little and vulnerable to me over the phone, so far away, and scared. I wanted to reach through the phone and hold him. I wanted to just BE THERE to make it all better. To kick Granny out of his bed so he could go to sleep. To drop-kick the stupid dog. To make him feel safe and not alone. Thankfully, in a small way I was able to do that with just my voice over the phone, but it's not the same.

But now he's home again and everything is all better. I like knowing that.

this KILLS me. Where exactly was Mr Chick until 2-plus am, leaving a bitty kid alone w/ an addicted mom and deaf granny and NO contact #? I'd be tres pissed...
Poor N!
Sorry MP, but I have to agree with the other poster. I would have never let me husband off so easily. Why didn't he leave a contact number? Why did he leave him in a strange house, and town with an addicted grandmother and an elderly great grandmother for 5-6 hours with no way to contact him?

I would have called 911 and made the police come sit with him until his father showed up.

You son could have burned down the house or walked out the front door into an unknown neighborhood. Parents are investigated by Social Services for far less than this.

That was so irresponsible of your husband. It is not your mother-in-laws fault. It is your husband's fault. Seriously, your poor child.
Mr. Chick was out with some friends on campus, getting jazzed about the big game the next day and supporting our team by being visible in "enemy" territory. He does not get out much. Nor does he get to see these friends much. And I'm not mad at him. It wasn't his fault. Yes, his mother is crazy. He knows it - I know it. But his grandmother is GREAT. Yes, she's old, but she's very together. Perfect memory, very capable lady. SHE was mostly in charge of Nicholas. My mil tried to help by laying down with Nicholas and getting him to sleep. He DID calm down for awhile, but didn't fall asleep. She did. Gigi had already turned in for the night - it WAS late. When she woke, she helped. It took her longer to hear Nicholas than it would have for you or I - she's elderly - but I don't hold that against her.

No one is to blame. it was very hard for me to hear Nicholas freaking out and distressed, but he WASN'T alone, despite how it seemed to him at that moment. He was just in unfamiliar surroundings and wanted his Mama. I don't begrudge Mr. Chick the night out. Do I wish Granny hadn't crashed out in his bed? yes. Is it unfortunate that she requires the tremendous amount of sleeping pills each night? Yes. But what can I do? I made sure she wasn't alone with Nicholas, and she wasn't, and that was that.

Mr. Chick very well might have left a number where someone could have reached him. He didn't leave it with ME, since I wasn't there. But Nicholas wouldn't have known the number. Then Gigi got up with him and took care of it. No need to start calling around for him on my part. I didn't know which guys he was out with and didn't want to start dialing people at midnight or later and hope that Mr. CHick was with them and could hand him the phone. That would have made things worse.

Everyone is fine. No one was hurt. Nicholas got some much-needed sleep and was fine the next day.

I felt bad for him at the time, but just being on the phone with him helped. Both of us. next time? We'll have cell phones.
you sure sound defensive. just sayin'...
ouch. is everything ok?
Give MP a break. The worst part of this story is the goofy and strange grandmother taking over Nicholas' bed with her guard dog. It sounds like she was trying to help. I don't believe Nicholas was ever in danger. And while I am a homebody and I don't think my husband would stay out that late - it isn't so unheard of. The man was out with old buddies from college!

But I agree with you MP - please do get cell phones :-) I don't think I could function without my cell.

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