Where was I? Ahh…
The next big issue with Mull heading out to the great beyond is Bell.
Bell turned 17 and lost her EVAH LOVIN” MIND!!!!!!! You would not even believe. Most of the worst of it started with a rather big thing that happened between Paladin and I. We very nearly split up in July and I mean it came within a hair of divorce, but again, that’s another story for the Epic Bad News Catch-up blog post. For several weeks, we were either fully-separated or we were separated-while-the-kids-were-here. Finally, after several weeks, we decided to try a tentative visit with both me and the kids here. I had insisted on some new rules which would allow for some adult time, for some part of our life that wouldn’t have to be centered on anything but the two of us. The kids were also starting school the coming week and would be staying that week with us. Paladin had made it clear to Martian and Bell that come Sunday night it would be lights out at 10pm, since school was starting Tuesday. They seemingly had no problem with that.
Then came Sunday night. I had been making a practise of hanging back and letting Paladin do the parenting (part of the situation was that I was essentially doing ALL of the parenting) and largely limiting my time and interactions with the kids (I still wasn’t certain I was here to stay to be honest…really big things had gone down…so big that it ended up changing our marital and family dynamic). So, when Mad Men came on, he sent Bell and Martian off to Martian’s room with the laptop and Bell’s boyfriend, Sanjaya. It was all good (well…goodish…we’d been interrupted by kids about 6 times in 10 minutes) until Sanjaya left and I decided that it was impossible to make heads or tails of the storyline in the living room. Irked, I headed off to our room. Paladin came behind me and I have no idea why but he brought the telephone. Paladin was apologizing to me for the kids interrupting what was supposed to be 1 hour a week of adult time, and I was trying to shut him up so I could watch the tv. Then the phone rang, it was Sanjaya, who’d been gone all of 3 minutes. Paladin picked up and told him and Bell that it was too late for phone calls since Bell was supposed to be in bed in a few minutes. I honestly don’t know exactly what happened next because Paladin left the room and all I could hear was arguing between him and Bell as I turned the tv up so I could hear the show. A few minutes after Mad Men went off, I came out of the bathroom to find Paladin getting dressed. He then announced that “she’s going back to her mothers and she isn’t ever coming back.” I was shocked really because Paladin pretty much dances on a string for those kids. I stopped him and asked what was going on. Apparently, Bell had not agreed with his no phone call thing (she usually would take the phone to her room and stay up half the night with Sanjaya) and said she wanted to go back to Mull’s. She had pulled this on Paladin before while we were separated and he begged her not to go. It was Bell’s usual modus operandi: anytime you are told to do something by an authority figure, question them, use anything you have against them, and wear them down until they give in. Problem was Paladin had finally caught on to her (she’d pulled something similar with me over the summer). I told Paladin, “You cannot do that; she’s your child; you have to give her someway to come back home.” He agreed and went outside. Everything was quiet out there and I was starving. I ventured out to heat something on the stove really quick. I was silent and so was Bell and Martian. Bell had gathered Martian to help her clear out her entire room and was making a big show of it with several trips out to the front gate with her things. Reminded me of Cindy Brady packing to run away from home. I figured Paladin would cave; he’s BIG on caving especially where Bell was concerned. To my surprise, he didn’t cave and still hasn’t.
When things had come up with Bell before, I had often said to him that he needed to stop letting her do whatever she wanted and behave however she pleased because as the first kid goes…so go the rest. As if the universe were agreeing with me, the VERY NEXT DAY, Savvy decided to pull a fast one. Paladin had told them to stay outside for a while in the cooler morning air to get some of the energy out of them. Savvy was haunting the front door and popping her head in every 10 mins. wanting inside. Finally Paladin told her that if she did it once more she’d spend an extra hour out there. He went into the backyard to carry some wood off with Martian, and you guessed it, here comes Savvy in the door. As the only adult in the house, I told her to go back outside and when she argued, I told her I had heard everything her Daddy said and that now it’d be another hour. Savvy apparently hadn’t figured out that I was 9 once. I closed the door and saw her make a beeline for the backyard to talk Paladin into letting her inside. I called out the backdoor, but he just waved at me. A few seconds later, here he comes strolling in with Savvy who quickly informed me, “DAD said we could come in now.” I really can’t talk about the Epic Bad that had happened before but this got right at the heart of it and my place in this family. Paladin sent them to their room and then I told him what Savvy had pulled. At first, he just didn’t care, but I was ready to say “enough” to the whole situation marriage and all at that point. I think he finally understood that Bell was not the only child undermining both his authority and my place here. He disappeared into the Borrowed Girl’s room. Savvy did her modus operandi too: a tantrum and yell that she wants to go back to Mull’s. Savvy had never said that before to us, but we’d told Mull that we knew both Savvy and Indie had been pulling it on her. We told Mull we’d back her up and not to let them get away with it, but uuggh, it’s Mull. She doesn’t listen to us. Well, Savvy picked the wrong time to say that. Paladin had her dressed and thrown in the van in 2 seconds FLAT!
The difference of course between Savvy and Bell is that Savvy was apologetic before she even got all the way to Mull’s. Paladin instituted a “No coming to our home until you have formally apologized in detail in front of the entire family” policy, as well as, a mandatory number of weekend visits that they miss if they pull this mess. Savvy has backslid one time since and that’s due to her having no skills to handle her ADD backed tantrums. At Mull’s screaming and yelling and wearing her down works beautifully at any age. :( I’m working on drumming new skills into Savvy. You can see her tantrums building from a mile away and it’s very hard to retrain her at 10. Retraining Bell…that’s going to be up to Life.
Bell has refused to come back and doesn’t see that she disrespected her father in the least (her questions were waaay above anything she should be privy to). In fact, she has decided that I’m the reason she isn’t coming back. According to Martian, she “WILL NOT apologize to ME.” Thing is I wasn’t expecting her to because, oh yeah, I wasn’t even there for the freakin’ fight girly! But I doooo now. Just for her dragging me into this business! One of the things that had me sure Mull was ditching them was that Mull kept trying to force Bell and Paladin back together. Lord above knows it kills Paladin. Every time we talk about it, he shakes his head and says something about the rest of the kids ending up the same way. Bell’s turning 18 about a month after Mull has said she intends to leave. At first, Paladin wanted to force her to come live with us when Mull goes. I didn’t see the point. It would almost assure that the first month would be full of shouting matches and having to keep her on lock down which would only make things harder on everyone. Finally, we’ve decided to let Bell do what she wants and hope that Life can show her the error of her ways quickly enough for us to pick up the pieces and set her on a better path. For now, Bell seems to be planning to take over the rent payments on her mother’s falling down house and move in 3 or 4 roommates to pay for everything. Pie in the sky. I know. But, try telling a 17 yr. old squat.
Oh and yes, I did say RENT payments. Idiot Mull got a great deal on that place over there. A little 900 square foot brick house (about $2k of supplies would fix the floor joists) with hardwood floors and a new bathroom (which we believe was supplied by a charity group for BlindBoy) and four acres of land only cost them $40K and had a $250 a month mortgage according to our friend, the real estate agent. That is a GREAT DEAL anywhere and in our area, land and homes are still selling well due to an influx of soldiers to Ft. Polk. An acre will still net you around $15k here. What does Mull do 6 months in? She sells the place for $32k to a local shark/businessman. In other words, she got the payoff and didn’t make a dime of the money they’d put in back and now she’s paying the shark RENT. Bright. Real bright.
One of the off shoots of Mull’s impending exodus is that she seems to suddenly consider us her BFF’s. Uhh no. She’s called here a couple of times now frantic over Bell. Sanjaya and Bell finally went splitsville and Sanjaya went off the rails a bit. Paladin was trying to stay out of it, but I made him get involved because Sanjaya’s chaotic behavior (at one point he threatened suicide during a tirade at their house…thankfully, the kids were with us) had crossed the line to dangerous in my opinion. He agreed and tried to get them to call the cops several times. Funny thing is this all seems to have stopped once Paladin told Mull that Bell will always be his daughter and he will never turn his back on her.
The other result of us as her new BFF’s…hold onto your hats gals…is that she and BlindBoy have asked us to be the parents of Flower should anything happen to them. INSANE, right??? After years of telling the children that we suck, suddenly we’re the only people they can trust to raise their little boy or new-white-hope as I’m tempted to call him. Mull seems bent on turning him into the new Blondie which makes sense because she also seems to have a bias toward boys. Martian was the favored child for many years until he turned 7 (old enough to start pulling away in other words) and Blondie was born. Don’t get me started on the knots she ties Martian in at times with her “poor mom” routines.
Anyhow, the reason we’re now Flower’s new godparents is because Mull and BlindBoy went to visit his family in Texas at Thanksgiving. It did not go well. All we got was a vague word or two from Martian that BlindBoy’s family was making jokes at their expense. I’d have to joke or strangle the both of them myself; the idea of dinner with them makes me shiver. Their behavior was so horrifying to Mull (after Martian explained it to her…bodes well for the translator job, no?) that she does not want her child left with these people. Paladin almost wet himself when she asked him. He told her that he’d have to consult me. As if I’d leave the kids’ orphaned baby brother out on the streets! It ain’t the kid’s fault. The next time Paladin was over there BlindBoy was also asking him eagerly if we’d take Flower and Paladin told him we would. Next thing you know, BlindBoy is shoving Flower into Paladin’s arms. Ok. I can deal. I’ve made it this far, ya know? (**On a side note…apparently, Flower can’t have pacifiers because his mouth is so huge that he can fit the whole thing in quite easily…Mull breastfeeds you know…heh heh)
There are a few other things to catch up on and blessedly, they are completely happy for the most part. But, they will have to wait because my mother has to be dealt with now. Mom is finally nearing the last stages of renal failure before she will be forced to begin dialysis and she is refusing to have a dialysis port surgically implanted. Her ex-doctor called me earlier because her kidney specialist is very upset about it and her current doctor hasn’t had any luck swaying her. The new doctor is great and a great improvement to the other GP of the creepy dream post I had during my miscarriage. That is one piece of news that I’m not sure how to categorize. I have recently been able to confirm that it was a real miscarriage. I don’t know what else to say about it really. I’ve never allowed myself to call it that until now. I just don’t know what to do with that information.
It’s all a lot of information I know. If it makes your head spin, just think: This is only the HIGHLIGHTS of the last year. Some days, I wonder how I got here. Other days, I can’t imagine not being here.
Pt. 3 is coming as soon as I can get back.