Mom is apparently becoming a little more comfortable in our house. Though I dearly wish she would stay out of my kitchen. I’ve offered to bring her a chair to sit on so we can visit while I am doing dishes, but she seems to prefer standing in the doorway, somewhat trapping me in the kitchen. Sigh. I know it isn’t much, but it takes some getting used to and I’m trying not to grind my teeth when it frustrates me.
I’m doing my best and holding my tongue as much as I can. Now I have another one who I have to listen to as well. And I’ve discovered she is unable to hold a conversation. Such a huge obstacle to overcome. But I’m treating her as I do my son, with “uh huhs” and the like. She mostly repeats what she’s heard or read on TV. In case we missed it, I guess. It’s just an annoying habit, and surely one I am big enough to ignore.
When I say she can’t have a conversation, I mean that all she does do is repeat what she’s heard or seen. If my husband tells me dinner was tastey, she’s the next one to say it. Never first, always second. She reminds me of a parrot. It’s the same every day, the same comments. Mom has always done this. Everytime we drove down a certain street, we passed a farm with a sign “Okra $5 a barrel” or something like that. Every time we drove past that sign Mom would ask us if we liked okra, then proceeds to tell us that she didn’t. It became a family joke that whenever someone was beating a dead horse, we would ask, “Do you like okra?”
How do you deal with obnoxious behavior in your home? My grandson likes to make a lot of noise. Just noise, at all times of day. It’s part of his hyperactivity. He always chattered to himself, even before he was old enough to actually talk. It can get quite annoying and the more you ask him to stop, the louder he becomes. Sometimes I just have to jump up and yell at him to stop. I guess its just part of who he is, and only when he gets way out of control do I yell. I try to remember that when Mom asks me for the umpteenth time, “Do you like okra?” or reads a caption on the television that I am perfectly capable of reading myself.
I know, how can I complain, when my son and grandson have given up their bedroom for their grandma. I feel like such a jerk, but I can’t help it if something annoys me, can I? Well, I’m trying to control it, and finding it a little difficult. It’s sort of like that annoying co-worker who bores you with their exciting tales in the life insurance business, or his lint ball collection, you do the bare minimum required by society. It makes me uncomfortable, and I’m trying hard to be Buddhist and accept people exactly as they are, but I’m not the Dalai Lama and I have difficulty, as I’m sure other people do.
Her weirdest habit is her constant scratching or brushing of material, whether it’s her sweater, a blanket, or the couch cushion. I don’t understand this little quirk, but assume it must soothe her when she is anxious, though she does it even when it would seem she is not anxious. I try to put my chihuahua in her lap and let her scratch the dog. It doesn’t make any noise, and they both really like it. Though I don’t think the dog really likes the scent of cigarettes. Trying to make the best of that as well.
I understand now the power of a nicotine addiction. I also understand that people I know have been able to quit. Non smokers see smokers as rather ignorant. I try to be a bit more open minded, at least when it comes to some generations. I have little sympathy for a 20-something cigarette smoker. They enter into the habit fully knowing the odds of various health problems inherent in nicotine addiction. Mom’s generation got hooked long before all the bans and warnings. Still she should have quit 25 years ago when she had her first heart attack, or after she had her second open heart surgery, or maybe after she had both carotid arteries cleared, but no. And now why should she quit? She’s 84 years old and still kicking. It’s like she’s immune to death. Maybe the implanted defibrillator has something to do with it.
Outside her parrot-like behavior, Mom is likeable. A little annoying, but perfectly harmless. She has no opinions, no thoughts of her own, I wonder why. Is it a level of intelligence, or merely her personality, it’s still something I try to deal with. I firmly believe she has come me like this at this time in my life to teach me patience. I need to learn a meditation of patience.
On the plus side, since she’s moved in I have been more diligent about getting out and running errands or walking. Now if I can get her to give me the papers I requested from the VA and social security, life would be improved. She had no idea what the papers were for, and, while I don’t want to take her mail from her, she needs to give the forms to me to fill out or she won’t get anything. I explained to her several times that the VA would be sending us paperwork to see about her getting R’s navy pension. When it arrived today, she opened the envelope and studied it for a long while, then put everything back into the envelope and put it away in her room. I’m betting that she won’t remember where she put it by tomorrow.