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2003-05-22 - 3:51 p.m.

Last night I spent a good 40 minutes trying to decide whether I should get up to write down my thoughts. Inertia and a warm bed won, but here's what I was thinking:

Very baby/child involved yesterday. I picked up The Nanny Diaries after lunch, and didn't put it down until 2:30 a.m. when I finished it. I worked a whole shift at work and had 2 meals, and also knit 30 rows on various projects, as well as reading the book. Productive day, eh?

The book reminded me why I hated the parents I worked for, and also why I stayed in one job for so long. When you're a young woman without kids of your own, and naturally good with kids, it's way too easy to get attached, especially when it seems (frighteningly) that you have more of a clue then the parents do about what the child needs. And then its worse if you are a child psych/development student, because then you agonize over the damage you are afraid you would cause the child.

"This baby has attachment issues anyway. If I leave her too, is it going to upset her? How can I leave her in the hands of her parents or another caregiver? Who is going to sing her 'oly oly anna?' Who is going to sneak her goldfish crackers insted of organic oaty-o's? Who is going to let her spit up on the carpet without a shirt on?"

And then, in a moment of clarity you realize what you are really thinking is, "Who is going to love this baby the way I love her?"...and you know that it is too late, you are attached, and you've let yourself get stuck in a shitty work environment for 4 months because you love this baby. Oops. So then it's time to get your life back on track, your life, not the baby's because she's not your baby, and, as much as it hurts, she will be fine without you.

Yeah, so I relate to the book, okay?

Second on the child trauma last night was that apparently Matt's sister and brother-in-law have a whole webpage up with pictures of their son, Matt's first and only nephew. I say apparently they have this page, because we were never told about it, and Matt found it randomly. Pages and pages of pictures, and stories, and anecdotes about what the little monkey is up to now. And no one told Matt about it. It has a username and password log in, which Matt "hacked" (Trust me, I would have been able to get in, too), and is just the sort of thing that would be great for an uncle who lives far away from his nephew to be able to log into and check in every now and then.

I'm upset on his behalf, because that's a pretty big thing to find out. His sister and brother-in-law took the time to set up an elaborate site for people, I assume family (the brother-in-law's family all lives on the other side of the country, and in Hawaii), and either didn't even think of telling Matt, or assumed he wouldn't care. And both possibilities are upsetting.

For all Matt's life, he's adored his sister. For all his life, she was his main influence, the person he looked up to the most. She's his hero. Even when she got married and moved to NYC she would try and communicate with him in a meaningful way. She'd call him, he'd call her. Then she had a baby, and she has her own issues, yeah, but Matt falls off her radar. She thinks that she has to do everything herself, that she has to be everything for this kid. Meanwhile, Matt is dying to be part of the family, and wants to really be an uncle, and she filters him out. She stops calling, when he calls her, she can't talk (which makes sense, she has a baby), but she stops telling him things. Matt starts hearing about important things through his mom. Maybe it's because when she had the baby, she all of a sudden could relate more to her mother than her brother - that's fine, and understandable and natural. But there is no reason to block him out, and I'm mad at her for that.

I'll admit, I'm mad for myself, too. Matt and I have been together for 5 years. I thought I was starting to be part of the family. The kid likes me, I love the kid. He even kinda calls me "Auntie." So what am I, chopped liver? I don't want to see pictures of the kid? Kids are my passion! I worked in the same daycare at the same school she did! When she was pregnant, we talked about attachment theory, and other things that her mom didn't understand or care about. I've made an effort to respect her decisions and bond with her kid. I try and tell her that she has our support. And she's always happy at the time, seems excited, and then...well, we find out important things from her mom, and find the kid's website accidentally.

I'm sad, sad, sad about this. I'm upset, and depressed. I've fallen out of touch with most of my family, and I feel all those important bonds fade away. I haven't talked to my paternal grandmother in probably a year. Probably since my birthday, or maybe my brother's graduation. I haven't talked to my dad on the phone this whole year; only a couple of half-assed emails.

I usually like to end my entries with some sort of conclusion...especially to tie together some of the more rambly ones. I can't think of anything for this one, except my extended family (which includes Matt's) is making me feel sorry for myself, and I miss the little girl I used to take care of. The thought that she wouldn't know me now if she saw me is enough to make me cry - and serves as a reminder that it's best that I left when I did.

Too bad I don't really have a good conclusion here. Just more weepy excess. Oh, c'est la vie, as Margo used to say. (ad nauseum, in fact)

 

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