My baby boy has grown into the most adorable, inquisitive little boy I have ever met. In some ways he reminds me of my brother when he was that age – always asking questions, always wanting to learn something new. I see so much of myself in him but I also see a lot of Cyrus as well and it makes me even more excited to meet the other baby I’m carrying just to see if he or she is the same way.
Kaleb is also really excited to meet his little brother or sister. Just like when I was pregnant with Kaleb, Cyrus and I decided not to find out the gender of the new baby as we wanted to be surprised. Still, I hoped it was a girl. For the sake of the family legacy I need to have at least one daughter but a part of me wants to have a girl so I could have the relationship with her that I had always wanted with my own mother. If I had another boy, I’d be just as happy but pregnancy is exhausting and I’d hate to have to go through it one more time.
“I think it’s a girl!” Kaleb beamed as he felt the baby kick for the first time.
“Why do you think so?”
“Just a feeling. She’s gonna be pretty just like you Mommy!”
“Aww, sweetie! Come here!” I just love this kid! You know how sometimes you meet other people’s kids who are so adorable that you wish they were your own? Well I got lucky to have given birth to one of those kids. Everywhere we go people always compliment me on how sweet and well behaved he is.
And he really is a good kid. He’s smart and kind and he always does as he’s told….except for when his grandmother is around!
She lets him get away with everything when he’s with her. Now that he’s older, she comes over every day to watch him after school before I get home from the lab which is a little unnecessary since Cyrus is at home and can look after Kaleb himself. I didn’t mind it at first but then she would let Kaleb spend hours in front of the TV watching cartoons or playing video games on his SimPad instead of doing his homework like he’s supposed to.
That SimPad, by the way, was not something he was supposed to have as yet. Cyrus and I agreed that he would get it for Christmas but then Abbie took it upon herself to buy him one without even running it by us first.
Then she convinced Cyrus to let him keep it since he never gave any trouble and was still doing well in school. I didn’t like it but I couldn’t say no because then it’ll make me look like the bad guy who says no when his Dad and Grandma are saying yes.
I know she means well and I know she loves him a whole lot. He’s her only grandchild until the new baby is born but still, she has to learn how to respect the boundaries that we as his parents set for him.
She very well knew that we didn’t want Kaleb to have a SimPad as yet when she bought it because I told her so. She knows he’s supposed to do his homework before he can watch TV or play. She knows he’s not supposed to have anything sweet or sugary before dinner because it spoils his appetite but yet I come home and find an empty plate of cookies on the counter with nothing but crumbs left behind.
I know grandparents are supposed to spoil their grandkids but I don’t think it should be at the expense of their parents’ wishes. I don’t think it is right for her to assist him in breaking the rules that Cyrus and I put in place. And every time I talk to Cyrus about it, he dismisses it as if whatever his mother does is no big deal. If she let Kaleb break these rules every once in a while then I’d say it’s no big deal but this is every day we’re talking about so that does indeed make it a big deal to me!
One day, after coming home and finding Kaleb in front of the TV for the third night in a row chowing down on a sugar cookie, I decided it was time to have a chat with my dear mother in law. My relationship with her has been rocky since before Cyrus and I got married so I generally try my best to limit my interactions with her for both of our sakes and leave any discussions with her up to Cyrus but that night I had had enough.
“Abbie, we need to talk.”
“About?” She asked.
I sat down on the chair. My back was killing me and I needed to get off my feet. “About Kaleb.”
“What about him?”
“I’ve noticed that you have repeatedly allowed Kaleb to do things that Cyrus and I don’t want him to do. Like the TV before homework, and the snacks before dinner…”
“That’s what this is about?” She interrupted, with a dismissive look on her face. “There’s nothing wrong with letting him watch a little TV before he does his homework. He still makes good grades, doesn’t he?”
“Yes, but that’s not the point. The point is that Cyrus and I have made rules for him and he should follow them.”
She plopped down next to me. “When Cyrus was his age, he used to watch TV all the time even while doing his homework and he was a straight A student. And what’s so bad about a couple of cookies or brownies before dinner? You always come home so late anyway. What is he supposed to do? Stay hungry until you come home to cook for him? If he wants a cookie, I’ll let him have one. I’m not about to let my grandson starve just because you can’t keep your priorities straight!”
“Excuse me? I do have my priorities straight! And since you’re so concerned about him starving you could have made him a sandwich or something, not let him pig out six cookies!” My calm was slipping away from me and I felt myself going down that path I didn’t want to thread and I knew I had to bring myself back. But then she went on to say…
“Listen here little girl, I’ve been a mother for longer than you’ve been alive. You can’t tell me how to take care of my grandson!”
“Oh, I can’t? I’m his MOTHER! I have every right to tell you how you should take care of my son!”
“Fine, he’s your son, but don’t I have any rights over him? Shouldn’t I have some say?”
“No!” I shouted. “You don’t have any say! You can have an opinion and we’ll take that into consideration but you don’t have a say!”
“I know Cyrus doesn’t feel that way. He doesn’t think anything is wrong with how I take care of Kaleb, only you and I wonder why. It’s because you didn’t have a mother when you were a child. Cyrus told me your mother was in jail when you were growing up which is probably the reason why you have no clue about what it takes to be a mother yourself.”
She grinned at me in this condescending way as I stood there speechless. How dare she bring something like that up? How dare she even use that to say I was not a good mother to my own child?
“You young women think you can have it all but the fact is that you can’t. Your career has to take a backseat to your family. You should have taken more time off when Kaleb was born but no, you were so excited to get back to work. It’s no wonder Kaleb is closer to me than you because I’m the one that’s been around most of the time since he was born. I’m practically raising him for you and I’ll most likely be raising the other baby as well. And you say I shouldn’t have any say? I should have all the say in the world!”
“I’m a bad mother because I have a career?”
“Your family should be more important but since it’s not I have to pick up the slack. I’ve reorganised my life just to make sure my grandson is well taken care of which is more than I could say about you. I have just as much right to make decisions about what’s best for Kaleb!”
Unbelievable! “Wow, ok, here’s what then, so you won’t mistakenly continue to believe that you have more of a right over my child than me, how about you find something else better to do with your time from now on and let Cyrus and I worry about our children!”
“What exactly are you trying to tell me?”
“I’m telling you to go home! Your babysitting services are not needed anymore!”
She looked at me in shock. I guess she didn’t expect me to say something like that. I thought for sure she would try to argue with me more but she quietly left without even saying goodbye to Kaleb.
After she was gone I felt a little bad for the way it all played out. I was hoping we could have a mature discussion and arrive at an agreement or compromise or something. But I felt like she was attacking me and I had to stand up for myself. She had been consistently undermining me with Kaleb and now on top of that, she insulted my mothering ability.
When Cyrus came home that evening from his gig, he came and found me. He didn’t look happy. “Did you tell my mother she couldn’t see Kaleb anymore?”
I closed my eyes and exhaled. “I never said that.”
“So what did you say? Because she called me crying and saying how you yelled at her and told her she can’t see Kaleb anymore.”
I rolled my eyes. Of course, she’d exaggerate the whole thing to him. I told him what happened and he quietly listened until I was finished. “You’re not wrong for being upset. She shouldn’t have said those things but maybe you overreacted as well.”
“I did not!”
“You sure? Mom says she’s not stepping foot in this house again. She says she feels unwelcomed. What is going to happen now after the new baby is born? Who is going to watch him or her?”
“I can take maternity leave and vacation until the baby starts school…”
“But the rocket ship is almost complete. You planned to begin training for the travel right after the baby was born, remember?”
“Oh yeah…I forgot. We’ll hire a nanny or send the baby to daycare. I don’t know. We’ll figure it out.”
He sighed before saying, “I’ll do it. I won’t take any late night gigs except for on the weekends so that way I won’t be too tired during the day to look after the baby.”
He didn’t look too happy about the idea but he was determined to do it even when I protested. Cyrus loved children so spending the day with his kids could never be a problem for him but to limit himself to just performing on the weekends would definitely hamper his career as a DJ. He assured me that his career would be fine and I hoped that was really true.
Before we could discuss it any further, my water broke and I had to be rushed to the hospital. I guess all the excitement of that day made me go into labour early. This time I made it to the hospital.
Cyrus was losing his mind. He wasn’t there the first time so he had no first-hand knowledge about the delivery and all that went into having the baby until now.
Then finally our baby was born.
And it was a beautiful little girl!
Cyrus and I already knew what we were going to call her. We thought about names since finding out we were pregnant and the one we chose for if we had a girl meant a lot to the both of us as it combined the two things we both loved – science and music.
Lyra was the perfect name for my little girl.