By this afternoon, eldest daughter Panda Bear and her two kids will be living out here permanently, at least for the near foreseeable future.
They’ll be staying with us for a bit, until we can help find her a place and get them all moved in. Hopefully after a brief period of time.
For those of you who are new here, Panda Bear is our ADD and Asperger’s eldest daughter. She is divorced and trying to raise two kids, grandson Beanpole (4yrs) and granddaughter Baby M (2yrs, almost 3). Unfortunately for a variety of reasons, a lot of them self-inflicted, she’s having trouble keeping control of her kids and her life. Which is why she’s coming out here to be close to us.
She also is our most frustrating child to work with. Middle daughter June Bug for a while held that title, but recently seems to have relinquished it and Panda Bear has eagerly picked it back up.
One of the biggest issues is that she seems completely clueless in the parenting department. The kids behave around us because we insist on nothing less, but they run wild when she’s around or they’re alone with her, because she lets them get away with it. I have no doubt she loves them and wants the best for them, but is unable or unwilling to enforce the rules with them. Furthermore she lets them snack on junk food all day rather than preparing meals. One of the more shocking things we caught her doing when they were visiting over the summer was giving her kids coffee. Yep, you heard that right. Even though, as good upstanding LDS members, we don’t drink it, we don’t object to someone drinking it in our home. (Alcohol, of course, is a different story.) But we were forced to ban it from our house when she was around because she could not get it through her head that children, especially as young as hers, should not be drinking the stuff. I don’t know about everyone else, but when I was growing up it was considered a grownup beverage. My parents let me try it once dark, and that dissuaded me from ever touching it again until I was at least 19 or 20. I did drink coffee for a little while before I converted to LDS, and still love the aroma (especially freshly ground). But I’m mixed on giving it to teenagers, and absolutely dead-set against giving it, or any other heavily caffeinated drink, to young children.
Another major issue is the kind of people that she seems to attract. The guys are always a concern because she is young, pretty, and naïve about too many things, but she also attracts drama-queen girlfriends who often cause her just as many problems and get her into trouble. Normally, since she is an adult, we’d just leave her alone to learn life’s hard lessons as long as it took to get through her head, but we don’t want to see our grandkids suffer for her poor decisions. Partly due to her mental and emotional issues, she is slow to realize when people take advantage of her or when she is in a bad situation. That’s how it was with her ex-husband, and eventually her ex-boyfriend. We want to get her in a situation where she interacts more with people who will lift her up and not drag her down. Also she sometimes gets clingy and smothering with people to the point where she drives them away.
One of the most irritating things that we’ll likely have to put our foot down with her about is the fact that she doesn’t understand the concept of “our business is our business’, particularly when it comes to dealing with Yes Dear’s family. I’ve filled pages and pages of this blog with the dysfunctional ways of the family, and our only real protection from them is that we are very choosy about how much of our personal business we share with them. Panda Bear has a hard time understanding that, and often will call and complain to other members of the family if we say or do something that she doesn’t agree with. Because of her propensity to do that, we’re very careful about some of the things we discuss or share in her presence, particularly when it comes to finances.
Hope I didn’t give you too much of a negative picture here. We feel better having her out here because we can now help her and the kids out when she needs it. We look forward to seeing more of our grandkids. We want to help her get on her feet and stay on her feet, and get her to understand that she’s the one that ultimately has to make it happen. But there is certainly going to be challenges and stress in the coming weeks and months dealing with her and I’m just venting here about those.
And I’m back to work starting Monday night. Believe me, I’m in no rush to go back, but I need the money and need to get back into the work routine. Hopefully while Panda Bear and the kids are staying with us it’ll stay calm enough so I can resume my regular daily sleep schedule so I can work at night.
But, after dealing with them over summer, I’m not counting on it. So I’ve got the earplugs handy.