With increasing frequency, Lyn is surly and argumentative. While we can explain it as the Alzheimer's, there are days when her behavior indicates that she's still aware of when she's pushing limits or behaving poorly. Tuesday was one of those days.
She had been aggressive and ugly with Mom before going to day hab. In the afternoon, she was being exceedingly sweet and solicitous. She does this when she is trying to make amends for earlier bad behavior. Mom emailed me to let me know she was risking a diabetic coma from how sugary sweet Lyn was being. As my dinner cooked, I called to check on them.
As we chatted, the topic of my eldest's winter school concert, caused us to reminisce about a high school choir concert in which I had to wear a pink lame dress with a big bow across the backside. Mom joked about how I liked the dress and it made her "want to vomit." The sentence had hardly left her mouth when Lyn started chastising her.
"Mom! Don't talk like that. You know we don't say those things. It is not appropriated." The tone was strong and disciplinary. Mom tries to ignore these comments or just replies with a simple "I know."
"Put her on the phone." I said and Mom passed Lyn the phone.
"Hi! How are you?" Her voice was cheery and sweet.
"I need you to do me a favor, please." I decided to open with something that would keep her interested. "Be nice to Mom."
"I am!" Her voice was still chipper.
I told her I had heard her and I knew she had gotten onto Mom. I told her that Mom said "vomit" when she was joking with me and that it was OK for her to say it. I told her that Mom was not inappropriate and that vomit is not a bad word. I was polite but firm. She started to cry and passed me back to Mom before pounding back to her room. She doesn't know what to do what someone other than Mom corrects her behavior and was weepy the rest of the night.
I apologized to Mom for crossing a line with her. Mom assured me there was no line crossed.
I'm not sure that there are rules in Lyn's head about what words are OK to say and what are not. Sometimes, I know the patterns. We can anticipate reprimands from her when the topic involves alcohol. However, there are times when I'm hard pressed to see how what was said broke a social taboo in Lyn's mind.
I know my getting onto her won't make a difference in the long run. We're working with her on several fronts to try to reduce the amount of behavior challenges she's exhibiting. To be honest, a crabby attitude, raised voice and bossy nature are relatively low on the challenging behavior spectrum. She's not violent, for example, but it is obviously tiring Mom.