We are all amazed by the toddler who wakes up hungry in the middle of the night, climbs out of his crib, drags the kitchen chair over to the freezer, and is found the next morning sleeping contentedly on the kitchen floor next to an empty tub of ice cream. We are amazed because just a few short months ago, this was a helpless baby, someone who could only communicate by crying. Crying because he's hungry, cold, sad, sick, lonely, wet, itchy, scared....
As my Mother's abilities disappear, as bits and pieces of her intellect flicker on and off, her problem solving skills no longer even match those of a determined and hungry toddler.
My Mother is in the yelling stage now. She is frustrated by her inability to do things for herself. She is frustrated by what is going on around her, she doesn't like her clothes, she doesn't like the food, her neighbors, or her sneakers. She is frustrated by her inability to get herself out of a "problem situation", she doesn't know what to do or how to make it better. So she yells.
She can't find the right words to communicate her needs. She can't ask someone, "Would you please put the dvd into the dvd-player so that I can watch a movie?" She waves her hands around and screams "hey you, HEY, HEY, HEY, disk, ugh, movie, NOW, yes, come on you can do it, DO IT NOW!"
"This is hard!" She bangs her toast on her plate "No, no, no, no!"
"Mom, you asked for toast, this is nice toast."
"No, no, no, no! Yuck!" I don't think anyone could have made a better piece of toast, but it was not right, for Mom.
I brought her the jeans, Sarah's jeans. They looked very much like her old favorites.
"These aren't jeans, I'm no dummy, theses aren't jeans, no ugh, ugh.." she's waving her hands at the pants, I think pointing out that they have no back pockets. "These aren't jeans! Are you stupid?! No yellow..." She's pointing at the lack of gold top-stitching that these jeans don't have. She balls them up and throws them on the floor.
I'm full of every emotion:
I want to laugh, she is yelling at me because the pants don't have gold stitching, since when has my Mother been so fashion conscious, about her jeans, of all things?
I want to smack her, I want to slap this nasty woman.
I want to yell back at her. "You ungrateful woman, I have been to six stores and five consignment shops, these are the only jeans for 100 miles. I've washed and hemmed them. Just wear the +*^%$ pants."
I want to cry, why can't I make her happy, why can't she accept these pants? Why can't she accept anything? She's fighting, she's frustrated, she's lost.
She is snappy and sarcastic and curt to her aides and neighbors, and me.
I am so sick of it.