I arrived at Mom's residence at 4:30 pm, determined to keep my cool and spend no more than an hour of my day. I planned to take her to my house for some leftover spaghetti dinner and return her.
"How's everything?" I asked a caregiver, cheerily.
"Well, okay... she did knock over her V-8," Claudia began.
"At the dinner table? On purpose?" I asked.
"Yes, we had to change the tablecloth, and then she poured out her water on the table too."
"Oh dear!" I said, thanking Claudia for her work in cleaning up the mess.
Another big protest by Mom, a display of her feelings of anger over having to be at this residence and not getting enough attention. It was a hook she has used before; on other days it has caused me to feel upset and embarrassed.
But this time it didn't bother me. It even seemed funny--and I knew it was only because I had arrived so determined not to be pulled into her drama that I still felt calm.
Options: scold her and tell her that I would not take her to my house today because she did that? Or ignore it and take her to my house as planned?
I decided that scolding and expecting her to remember or change her behavior would be craziness on my part.
I took her to my house and gave her the spaghetti dinner (from the freezer, the spaghetti with sauce from her favorite restaurant, The Blue Parrot Cafe in Louisville, near Boulder).
She enjoyed it, and I took her back.
All within the space of an hour, as planned.