We Meant Well

Charlotte and I went to visit my Nana on Sunday afternoon.

Nana is pretty fragile these days. My aunts live within a mile of Nana’s house, as do several of my cousins, and they’re generally the ones who keep tabs on her. Right now, they’re all away on a cruise, so the rest of us are chipping in as we can. (I live reasonably far away, so it’s not easy to get to her.)

We showed up and had a nice visit for about 45 minutes to an hour. After that, things started rapidly deteriorating.

Charlotte is teething right now and her mood has been incredibly hit-or-miss. She is either happy and easygoing, or she is melting down. Nothing in between.

The meltdown started when I wouldn’t allow her to play with Nana’s fireplace tools. I tried every trick in my book to get her redirected and engaged in something else, but nothing was working. She was throwing a full on tantrum.

Now, I love my Nana, but she is very old school when it comes to child-rearing. Nana does not tolerate tantrums. Nana doesn’t understand that yelling at a 15 month old is not an effective means of gaining control over the situation. Nana yelled at Charlotte.


The tears were flowing. The sobs became desperate. The volume increased. Everything just went to hell.

Then, as a shocked Nana was (to her credit) trying to comfort my wailing child (who had thrown herself on the floor), she ran over Charlotte’s fingers with her wheelchair.

What’s beyond hysteria? Is there anything? There must be, because that’s what was happening. I’m just not sure what to call it.

I knew it was time to end our visit.

Nana asked me if I could just put her trash can to the curb before I left.

I pulled my sobbing, soggy child onto my hip and opened the garage door. As I did, Nana’s little Yorkie darted between my legs, flew out the open garage and took off down the street. I ran after her—25 pounds of crying child still attached to my hip.

I am calling after the damn dog, and she is turning to look back at me and then darting away even faster.

I am running as fast as I can with Charlotte in tow.

The dog is winning. Big time.

This is where I should tell you that I have ONE pair of jeans that even remotely fits me right now, and saying that they “fit” is probably stretching things a bit. As I was running, my pants were falling down. Trying to run after a dog, hold onto a toddler, AND hold up your pants is INCREDIBLY difficult, as it turns out. Nana’s entire neighborhood was provided a lovely view of my underwear.

Throughout this madness, I have run by at least 3 people who could clearly see how much I was struggling, but not a single person stopped to help.

Did I mention it was raining?

Eventually, I had to give up on the dog. I turned back to Nana’s house, pulled up my pants, shifted Charlotte (still crying) to my other hip, and trudged along trying to catch my breath. I put Nana’s trash can to the curb. The dog returned to the general vicinity of the house and I was able to lure her inside with the promise of a cookie that I absolutely didn’t give her because she is a little shit.

By the time I kissed Nana goodbye and got Charlotte strapped into her car seat, I had aged about ten years. At least.

It’s going to be a little while before we go back to visit Nana. And something tells me Nana won’t mind.


11 thoughts on “We Meant Well

  1. Oh my gosh. Your line about Nana being old-school about kids and behavior gave me a flash back. Our middle child was always EXTREMELY volatile, extremely sensitive, and unbelievably loud (she eventually became an operatic soprano, and she definitely has the lungs for it) and inconsolable when she was upset. My mother-in-law many times got fed up with her granddaughter’s uncontrollable tantrums and yelled at her to “shut up.” Thank goodness my husband had the guts to stand up to his mom and tell her we absolutely do not treat our children like that – we had our own way of dealing with our little girl and Grandma had to stay out of it. But oh, it was unpleasant. You have all my sympathy with your story.

  2. Oh man, that is a stressful story… I feel like I aged just reading it. Poor you, and poor Charlotte. At least you tried.

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