The bullshit of my mother-in-law truly kens no boundaries.
Seriously, the woman is going to give me trombosis one of these days. Let me preface this whole rant with fact one:
It is REALLY hard to offend me. You have to TRY. Very. Very. Hard.
…Maybe if you shat on my bed, I would be offended (but if you explained that you really had to go and for some reason the toilet was not accessible to you, and only on my crocodile IKEA sheets could you relieve yourself, I would understand and find it in my wide heart to forgive.)
Yes, I am hard to offend, to say the least, yet miraculously, she manages to do it regularly with a breezy effortlessness that is glorious to watch.
…So, she comes over this last Monday to see (–) for the first time. It’s a simple dinner invitation, but already, shenanigans ensue. First, they cancel the original dinner date and move it to the next day lunch, because they’re tired. My mom shrugs and reconfigures the four course dinner she had planned to a three course lunch.
She wants to go out the night before and buy out the store, but I convince her to buy the ingredients the same day of the invitation, which is good, because then another call comes: They will bring the lunch to our house. My mom, who is always prodding me to be respectful towards this woman, raises her eyebrows:
They are BRINGING lunch? What does that mean? They are coming to our house…they’re our guests.
Well, his mom says she doesn’t want me to have to do any work for them this close after the birth.
…But I’m here, my mother says. And they KNOW that I’m here. Why would you cook the lunch? Of course I would cook it. Do they not trust my food?
I tell her to not worry about it and take it as a free lunch, but my mom comes from Eastern Europe where you do not ‘bring lunch’ when you go over and visit someone. Somewhere, she feels an assassination attempt has been made on her culinary identity…
The funny thing is, I can imagine my mother in law’s face if we ever came over to their place and brought food so she wouldn’t have to work so hard–I can see her offended to the bone.
Whatever. They come. They bring the food. She holds (–), plays with him, all right. Over and over, she coos: Kleines Jun-chan. Oh, my kleines Jun. (My little Jun– ie, her son.)
At some point, I really wish (–) was old enough to talk so that he could look up at her and say in his high, clear kid-voice: My name is not ‘kleines Jun-chan’. My name is (–), and I am my own person.’
When they leave, I tell J that I don’t want to give the kid a japanese name, because I don’t like double names and because I think she will then refuse to use his real name. Note how she refused to call him his name the whole three hour visit, calling him only ‘my little Jun’.
But in the manner of his family, he ignores that I ever said anything, perhaps hoping that this will cause the issue to be forgotten.
I can forget a lot of issues, but not one revolving around names, because I am a self-confessed unrepentant name-obsessed fool (yes, read my back entry on names if you don’t believe me.) And earlier, some pressure had been made that the kid should have a Japanese name as well, which I protested against. His name right now sounds very complete and good to me. And then, his father has one name. I have one name. If later the kid decides he wants to discover his Japanese roots and pick his own name (like I picked my own baptismal name at the age of twelve) that would be one thing… But right now, I see adding a second name and defacing the rhythm of his current one only as a measure to placate and make his mother happy.
And I have a habit of placating people only when I LIKE them.
She comes over last night to say goodbye to (–) before she goes back home to Italy. She bounces him on her knee, calls him ‘little Jun’ again, then turns to J in my earshot and says in Japanese: You really need to hurry up and pick a name–your grandfather would like to see pictures of the baby, but I can’t send them until I know what his name is. What about Tarou?”
Tarou?! I find my kid a beautiful name and she wants to ignore it and call him TAROU? One of the busu-est boynames to crawl out of the recently irradiated Japaner Islands?
The Holy Virgin and all her Fucking Saints!
And what do you mean: I can’t send pictures until I know the baby’s name. Uhm…. ??! (A line of doublethink on par with her excuse for not attending our wedding. She said: ‘I didn’t know you two were getting married, because I didn’t get an invitation’. To her own son’s wedding. Yes. That was her excuse for not attending and the ensuing two years of silence on the subject.)
I jump up and glare at her–not that glaring is sufficient,
she should really be smacked upside the head cock-slapped, something, I suspect, grossly lacking in her upbringing. But I am a fairly civilized person.
I glare and say:
The kid HAS a name already.
Then retreat into my room. I don’t come out until she leaves. I don’t say goodbye to her. Yes, I’m being rude, but fuck it, I’ve shat three times in two weeks so it was her mistake to mess with me in this emotionally and gastrointestinally precarious state.
The funny thing is, she’s so fucking nibui that I doubt she even knows I was pissed off. And if she does, she certainly doesn’t give a shit. After all the crap she’s pulled, this is just a little more blood under the bridge, but as far as I’m concerned, she can use my kid’s one and only name when she speaks to him/about him or call him nothing at all.