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Mother-in-Law Woman Is Back

weather: sunny
outside: 13°C
mood: okay
Oh yes, the Mother-in-Law Woman is back in town for two weeks. Thus begins the amusing anecdotes of the café and family members' funny antics since the last time she came back.

Grandpa Hsiang-Hsien (Husband's paternal grandfather) seems to be doing just fine. I think they, The Royal "They", have hired a home care person to just be there for him so they wouldn't have to hang around him. It sounds like he still knows what's going on and is still in charge of his own faculties, no matter what they say about him. He's just a bit slower to remember things and put two and two together, but that's the way it goes at mid-80.

That's the way it goes at 90-some too. Grandma Xiao-E (Husband's maternal grandmother) is becoming more and more forgetful, less able to compute logic too.

The Number One thing that frustrates the elderly seems to be "where is my money?" They can't remember how much they have, where the receipts/vouchers/slips are, what things need to be done and, for time sensitive things, when they need to be done. They're too paranoid to tell anyone what they have, but they have trouble managing it themselves and need help from others.

MIL Woman was musing at what we would do when she got to that stage. I laughed that we'd make her keep a book diary and make her write stuff down every day, so she could look up everything for herself.

The Number Two thing is health. Geriatric diabetes, heart conditions and what-not are only a matter of controlling them so that they can live out the rest of their lives. At their age, it's not a matter of curing things anymore. Grandma still keeps asking when she can go off the medication and go back to eating and drinking the things she used to.

I worry about Grandma Xiao-E. She's had a tough life and psychologically, it's taken its toll. She's had one scary hallucination episode. The family keeps trying to cheer her up by saying that everyone who was evil to her is dead; only she's had the good fortune to live this long. I'm not sure if that's really helping. The last time I talked to my Mother-In-Law, I'd told them about the Geriatric Hallucinations, possible causes, symptoms and suggested a few things. The family resolved to try harder to be more patient with Grandma. There's a lot of pressure on everyone to take care of her and make sure she's happy and healthy.

The great-grand children must be helping though. I haven't seen the kids since our Engagement Trip back in 2001. They were barely toddling and babbling then.

I have to stop and explain this: my Mother-in-Law's family could probably invade Luxemburg (pop. 436K in January, 1999) and take it by force. I'm kidding, but it sure feels like it sometimes. There are zillions of other people, in-laws and children running around. But of all the kids, the ones we saw most frequently were the Little Whirlwind Boy, the Popular Boy, the Little Sister and the Little Brother.

The Little Whirlwind Boy is the first son of Cousin #1. He's four or five years old. He has ADHD and a learning disability, possibly even a mild case of Autism. I thought I saw stimming once or twice, but I'm not sure. He's very smart, you can tell. But he cannot sit still, cannot follow instructions more than one command long and even then, he can't do it for more than a few seconds. What I see is the family trying to find someone to blame. They keep talking about who he could have gotten these traits from, it can't be this person because s/he's very smart, it can't be that person, etc., etc. And it's so pointless.

Maybe I'll try planting a seed with my Mother-In-Law that it's probably the pollution in Taiwan. Cigarette smoke, pollution and other teratogens, both in utero and postpartum, have been shown to affect development in major ways. And goddess knows, there's plenty of smoky crap in the air in Taiwan. Maybe if they can blame something, they can accept it and move on to getting him the help he needs, for pete's sake.

The Popular Boy is the first son of Cousin #2. He's popular probably because he's a boy and compared to The Whirlwind Boy, he looks like a prodigy. Which I feel is completely unfair. The Popular Boy is also very finicky. He's moody and only goes to certain people. It was the first time I seriously questioned whether I wanted children at all. I found myself withdrawing and not wanting to try to play with him or bond with him. I'd never been that way with children before, ever. I'd always been a total child freak, kids have always loved me. I know that kids are all Id, they'll do whatever and I shouldn't take it personally. I feel like an absolute fool for letting it get to me. But it did. And I wasn't as thrilled as I should have been when he intentionally called me "Ma" (he couldn't get "Jiu-Ma" for "Mom's Brother's Wife").

The Little Sister is the first daughter of Cousin #3. The Little Sister didn't really mind who was holding her, so I picked her up more and played with her. And since the Popular Boy was always getting more attention, I think The Little Sister's Mom appreciated me doting on her daughter. She'd been hoping for a boy herself, so watching her sister's son constantly taking centre stage, must sting a little.

Of course, this made all the family think that I want a baby girl. It makes no difference to me. It's a child all the same. But if they want to think that, *shrug* it's okay. =)

The Little Brother is the Whirlwind Boy's brother. The Popular Boy, the Little Sister and the Little Brother were born about 3 months apart. The Little Brother was the youngest of the three, so he slept most of the time I was there.

Oy... and I haven't even gotten to the funny anecdotes yet. =} That's alright, I'm betting no one's even gotten this far anyway =D


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 2nd, 2003 07:02 pm (UTC)
I read the whole thing. ;>

Family dynamics are always a bit odd. My family is a virtual clan, so we've got lots of people to keep accounted. Is a bit disconcerting for the husband, since he has a tiny family, and me going to his family seems so odd because there's so few... people. *smiles*

Though I don't have anyone in my immediate family who's approaching very-old age (80s and above) I remember candy striping in a home when I was younger, and just how sad and childlike these people were.

Small children scare me. I wish for sterility on a semi-regular basis.
Oct. 2nd, 2003 07:43 pm (UTC)
I read the whole thing. ;>

HOLY!!! *die of shock* =O =D
Oct. 2nd, 2003 08:23 pm (UTC)
You might have to die again... I read the whole thing too. =)

I know how you feel about an army of cousins. Something like 20-30 on both sides of the tree for me. So far, none in our generation on either side have had children yet, on my father's side, most everyone is too career/education-oriented, and on my mother's side, I'm the oldest cousin at 23. =)

I wonder if this comfort around children is more normal among Chinese... Most everyone I know would much rather be around older people than children, while I'm reversed, and this shocks most of them, "How can you be uncomfortable around old people and not uncomfortable around children?"
Oct. 2nd, 2003 09:10 pm (UTC)
Oh boy, I can just see the baby boom on your father's side =)

I don't mind either elderly or children. I can see prefering to be around children though.
Oct. 2nd, 2003 09:52 pm (UTC)
The idea of a baby boom among my generation is rather frightening. It would be at least a few years off though... Only one has married (which puts so much pressure on the 3 cousins older than her, all of whom are also women, and from what I hear through the family grapevine...) *cough* I have a funny feeling that even the marriage wave will be later than our parents' generation would like it to be. =) And grandchildren? Hoo boy...
Oct. 2nd, 2003 11:40 pm (UTC)
To answer the wondering... at least on one end...
Sign me up as one of those who are Chinese and more comfortable around children than old people... too much of a kid at heart, and kids recognise their own!

I guess in general... it's the whole not having enough patience for old people. They have an incredible wealth of information and experience, but having to slow yourself down to get it... I'd rather go in a rash of creativity and insanity with kids.
Oct. 2nd, 2003 11:37 pm (UTC)
Funny anecdotes! *boom boom* Funny anecdotes! *boom boom* -- done in the style of people chanting 'Defense!' in basketball games.

Hm... you never really put any names for anyone in your entries, huh? You've got Chinglish labels for them... interesting. Though your putonghua spelling is much better than mine ~_~ I keep using... more English phonetic writing than proper Chinese. Ah, well.
Oct. 3rd, 2003 12:16 pm (UTC)
Re: Teeeeeell...
Heh, I'll see what I have time to write =)

I tend keep everyone generic, yes. Privacy is one reason; both, my privacy and that of the people involved. Although, arguably, I threw that out the window when I told local friends about my journal. But at least I'm not naming names. The situations themselves can happen to anyone, no one really has to know.

Also, to a stranger reading my journal, names like Tom, Dick or Harry really mean nothing. Labels are a little more descriptive anyway. =)
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 3rd, 2003 12:37 pm (UTC)
I think the pollution idea is a good one.

I thought so too =)
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


The Bride of the First House

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