So of course mere hours after my last post, TH received the following:
From: NanaLet me be clear: HB is not respectful of adults in the sense of obeying them simply because they are adults. This is a battle we have not even tried to win with him, because a) we have had a lot of other things to focus on and b) we don’t really subscribe to that philosophy ourselves. It would be nice sometimes if he could be more actively polite, especially to people he doesn’t know, but trying to get him to say something he doesn’t want to say is unbelievably hard. As I said, we’ve achieved the no name-calling, no swearing, and certainly no hitting limits. It’s not too hard to get him not to do things. He can remain silent when he has nothing nice to say. It’s when someone keeps pressing him to say or do something that trouble ensues.
Date: May 13, 2010
I was quite disappointed about your reaction to my visit and HB’s melt down. I keep thinking how to respond to your email, since I want to have a relationship with HB and we love him very much! Just to set the record straight about the sequence of events that morning. [Oh boy, here we go: your wife is a big fat liar. Never a wise battle strategy.] I woke up at 8 A.M. and noticed that there was only 1" of snow on the ground. So, I decided while you were sleeping that I should drive home rather than get completely snowed in for 2-3 days. Not knowing that HB would be so agitated by my quick decision to leave, I walked down the stairs and told DM and HB what I was preparing to do. [Nope—she only told me. Otherwise accurate.]
Then HB went crazy [if you call trying to walk away from her “crazy”] and screamed at me “not to say another word” [quite accurate, except I would say “shouted”] and he was out of control. [Out of Nana’s control.] DM didn’t do anything during his tantrum [quite true—and I’m sure this is what pissed her off the most] and I should have tried to find out the reason he was so upset. [He did tell her: because she kept pestering him.] Now I realize that he gets sad and upset when I leave....and my decision was sudden. [Nice rationalization—he loves me soooo much, that’s what made him mad! Only problem: she hadn’t yet told him she was leaving.]
When I was leaving, and he still was yelling, I said to him, “Your behavior makes me feel not unhappy that I’m leaving.” [Nope. It was definitely “I’m leaving because of you.” Did she look up the “constructive” way to argue, I wonder? You know, “When you do ____, it makes feel ____?”] At least he would hear the consequences of how people feel when he behaves that way towards them. [People = Nana.] These things happen and we deal with it, and then go on - it’s a long road to adulthood! [“These things” being that your grandmother is mean to you? Well, we are dealing with THAT! And TH agrees that it was indeed a LONG road to adulthood with her.]
I do feel that this is was an isolated instance. [Not.] We’ve been with him alone lots when he visits here or we go there and haven’t had that happen. [Not.] The loss in this situation is HB not seeing us more often than his birthday when there are many people there or once every 2 years on Thanksgiving. [Who said we were going for Thanksgiving?] I feel that we have a very special fun time when we are together - whether on our tractor or at the adventure park or at the zoo! [Excellent use of guilt, I must say.] We love him very much and do have an understanding about appropriate behavior when he’s with us. He’s OK with it. [Not!] [Too bad she doesn’t have an understanding of what behavior is appropriate on her part …]
So, we plan to attend his birthday party - wouldn’t miss it for the world! We’ll stay [70 miles away] for the weekend and drive in for the day. [Another excellent use of guilt, no?]
I’m sure some of our friends and family don’t agree with us about not trying to enforce a Because I Said So policy with HB. (Though not my mother; she raised me the same way.) But most of them are very accepting of this being our child, our family and our decision, and are willing to interact with HB on his terms, i.e., letting him come to them.
I’m really not getting worked up about this even though the red italics above may suggest otherwise. This can’t even come close to upsetting my bliss. (A few things can, I’m discovering. More on that another time.) Poor TH, on the other hand, keeps having flashbacks from childhood. He’s holding up well, considering. He says this is going to be his response:
Thanks for your email and for the nice anniversary card.
Looking forward to the party!