Frankly, I find the whole situation ironic. They come and I quote “to help out with the kid”. But instead they turn our life upside down, drive everyone absolutely mad (family dog is no exception) and make me SO tired. Instead of looking after one child, I find myself looking after one child and two adults, who present constant and immediate danger to him. At this point you probably are thinking: “Whoa there, aren’t you overreacting a little?” – wait up, see for yourself.
Last time they came to visit, my son Eric was 6 months old. In the 3.8 weeks they have stayed with us, I almost lost my milk supply (I was breastfeeding at the time) from being constantly nervous and worried about them around my baby. You would think that people their age know how to handle a baby – CAREFULLY that is. Instead Rob luckily caught the grandma when she was about to fall, having tripped over a dog with my precious baby in her hands – because she wasn’t looking where she was going.
It took me 2 months and 3 therapists to cure my baby, whom I was trying to get started on solids – he hated the spoon, after they forced food on him, tricked him into opening his mouth and pushed spoons on food while they could. This was their way of getting him to like solids.
This time they arrive and Eric is turning two. He’s been down with a cold for a week, and then began to recover, but they arrived ill, coughing and sneezing, and transferred the cold back to him – because they just couldn’t stop kissing him. A monkey would have more common sense and consideration than that.
It kept getting worse – Eric developed tonsillitis, his immune system was already weak and the antibiotics weren’t working. We went to see the doctor every other day and for a while there was a chance that Eric might need to be hospitalized. Did this stop them from clinging to him, kissing him and hugging him until he couldn’t breathe, wrapping him around their necks like a scarf? The kid was screaming and pushing them back, but no – they were all over him like a rash. You would think that at their age they have learned some respect to a person’s feelings.
I had to step forward, become a big bad wolf and forbid the loving nana and pop from kissing anything other than Eric’s foot. I must be a terrible person, but I didn’t give a rat’s ass about anything other than my child’s recovery and well-being. Is it just me or does anyone else finds it strange that a child needs to be protected from his grandparents?
And of course they are offended that I don’t trust them with my kid. That’s exactly right and I wouldn’t trust them even with our dog. I remember leaving them in charge of our dog with a exact instructions what to feed her and when – which, of course, they ignored and fed her whatever they wanted, until she had a couple of smelly accidents on their carpet. THEN they started to treat our instructions seriously.
How do people expect you to just automatically trust them? Trust needs to be earned and then kept. They managed to mess up almost every time the child was left with them. One time they were supposed to watch him, but they got distracted taking photos of the scenery, he climbed on the fence and fell, because he was tired and weak. And then it happened again in the next ten minutes. You would think that one learns from their mistakes or at least remembers them for half an hour.
How about that time when the grandpa “looked away for a minute” and my 2 year-old was riding his bicycle fast out of control down our sloppy driveway, straight into traffic? Rob yelled hysterically “Get him!!!” and I leaped, his grand dad and I got there at the same time and our hands met on Eric’s bike seat. I wouldn’t wish this feeling to my worst enemy.
I won’t even mention sharp scissors constantly being left in Eric’s reach, boiling hot cups of tea put way too close to a curious child and presents, containing dangerously small parts that can be easily swallowed. Yes, they have been asked not to do it and yes, they can read the labels on the toys. But they just don’t care. Or they are careless. Or they do it for some other reason I will never understand.
Am I sounding ungrateful? That’s exactly right, because I am. From where I stand it looks like they came to please themselves, dismiss and ruin everything I worked hard for in the 2 years since I had Eric, and certainly didn’t help.
Can anyone out there tell me – how do you turn this situation around? How do you transform the grandparents from dangerous to useful? How do you make their stay enjoyable for the whole family?