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My mom allowed the baby to be hurt. Now what? - Page 2

post #21 of 89

I say this gently but the parts that I bolded show that this really was a joint mistake in a way - because just as she might have foreseen the tumble, you clearly foresaw it too and by continuing to have her care for him you do have some responsibility. And that is OK - because we all do make mistakes and 99.9% of the time the consequences are not dire. But I think you need to own that (and your DH, assuming he knew about it). And then you all need to forgive everyone...and not have her babysit again.

 

That your DH is a grudge holder is hard for me to address 'cause it's something I couldn't deal with. He will have to learn to be more compassionate with respect to parenting/caregiving mistakes because there will be more ahead for sure.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiralshell View Post


I guess I see it as "not a mistake" because we've talked before, many times, about what safety measures she needs to take when they're out on the deck. That she must check the gate, can't come inside and leave him out there alone, etc. It's happened a few times before that she has forgotten, and when I've reminded her, she waved it off. She wouldn't be worried or apologetic, more like "yeah, yeah, why are you hassling me, he's fine!" So I guess I see this more like someone putting the baby in the car and not putting on the harness in the baby seat, not just once like a total flake moment which can happen to anybody, but repeatedly... and then one day you get in an accident with the baby not strapped in. And very luckily everyone is OK... but it could have been terrible. She did not intentionally leave the gate open, but she didn't intentionally check to make sure it was closed either, and there's been a pattern there. So I guess that's why I don't see it as an accident... it was more like something that was going to happen eventually. And we had had just that exact conversation -- "Mama, please you have to be more careful because even though it doesn't seem like a big deal to you someday he could be really hurt. Forgetting to close the gate could really put him at risk and if you keep forgetting it's going to happen someday, so please make it a point to double check because you love him and it's important." And she would just blow it off. My mom is capable of remembering stuff like this, she's just careless, and more focused on other things and it's been a point of contention before now.

So now of course I see that I should have stopped her taking care of him before now. The only other options we have are to ask DP's mom to watch him every day, which will be a lot for her, or to put him in daycare, which I'd prefer not to do because it's not the loving environment of home, and it costs a crapload of money. (Me staying home isn't an option, I'm the main breadwinner, and DP isn't cut out to be a SAHD.) And I didn't want to separate her from the babe -- she loves him and it would break her heart.

So that's where we are now... Mama heartbroken, DP furious. They don't get along already -- she's critical of him, he takes criticism very poorly. And he's a grudge holder.... so this will never go away.

I'm really hoping to give it some days to cool down, then discuss again. I'm hoping to salvage Christmas, even if Thanksgiving is out of the picture just because it's so soon. (Our family gathers here at our house, and DP says he won't allow her here, so it's not like I can just take the baby over to her place.) I will figure something out. I love her, she's my mom, and I have to put my foot down and not let DP alienate her because of this. I don't want to look back on his childhood and see strife there, over something that in the grand scheme is a pretty small deal. The trick will be to get DP to see it that way, and find a way to get him to forgive her.

Thanks for everyone's advice, I really appreciate it!

post #22 of 89

He is overreacting and I would say to just give it time but it sounds like this is not something he will drop so I would put my foot down.  She's a careless sitter and shouldn't be left alone with him but that doesn't mean she can't be a loving grandma.  ...on another note, what is she doing making comments critical of your dh to him?  That is really not her job and you need to put your foot down there too.

post #23 of 89

I think your DP is over-reacting in saying that she shouldn't ever see your dc again but I also see this as a situation that you should have prevented (not trying to be critical of you at all as a very similar thing happened with my father).  You stated that your mother was not able to care for him sufficiently in the past.  At that point, it was your responsibility to remove your child from your mother's care.  It seems like it was only a matter of time before something really bad happened.  It sounds like this should be a wake up call for you.

You still saying that you want your mother to watch your son sounds like a recipe for major disaster and I could see a partner being upset over that.

 

Again, I understand.  My father is my only available babysitter during the day typically and he loves his grandkids.  However, he has multiple health issues and suffers from mental health issues.  There are times that I can't leave my kids with him alone and it breaks my heart (in addition to really complicating things).  But it is my responsibility as a parent to make sure my children are in an optimal environment.

 

At this point, I can completely understand him requesting that she only see your dc while supervised.   However, saying she is "dead to him" is very extreme.

post #24 of 89

Wow, I would be seriously annoyed at DP at this point!  He's telling you he won't *allow" your mother in your own home???  Not acceptable, IMO.

 

Yes, your mum made a stupid mistake.  My mum put my bouncer on a table and I fell off onto my head at 3 months old - totally preventable and stupid - should she have then been cut out of my life?  People make mistakes, kids get injured.  It's awful and it's often preventable, but make the changes you need to with your mum and move on.

post #25 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiralshell View Post

Do I put my foot down and tell him that part of our job as parents is to teach consequences, but also to teach forgiveness. My mom’s consequence is that she can no longer be alone with him, but we should forgive her enough to allow her to see him. Right?



Yes, pretty much this.  It sounds like your husband thinks she was deliberately negligent, but this is a member of your family and I don't think can just cut her out of your son's life because she didn't do things the way you wanted. It's possible she just really didn't think the baby gate was necessary even though you did.  Maybe she thought you were being overly cautious, but now she has had a learning experience, and your son probably has as well.  It sounds like there are other things going on with your husband in his feelings for your mother.  If he no longer wants to see her, that is one thing, but he can't dictate that you cut your child off.  But I understand this is a difficult thing to navigate right now.  Hopefully after a cooling off period, he will still disagree with you, but will not try and prevent contact.

post #26 of 89

I've been there. Except, it was my in-laws. There's only a time or two where we actually said something like, 'they're done with our kids,' but it was over reasonably serious things(putting our kids in a dangerous situation because they knew if they were honest we wouldn't allow the kids to be there). But really, it all boiled down to not letting them be with the kids unsupervised. And that's where I think your mom should be. 

 

Let your DH cool off a bit. My DH is a hothead, and when it comes to his kids being hurt, he flies through.the.roof. DS2 got hurt last week and needed stitches, and YES, DH was mad at me for not being able to prevent the accident from happening. Of course, it WAS an accident, and the only way it could have been prevented was to not let DS1 and DS2 play together. But DH even has gone so far as to say they shouldn't, because someone could get hurt. Yes, it's irrational, but in the moment sometimes those things actually seem to make sense. 

 

As for the child care situation, I don't know what to tell you. Could you find a mom to watch your child in her home a couple of days a week? That would be a more "home-ey" environment than a traditional daycare. And maybe your MIL could still watch your child a few days a week. 

 

And I absolutely would NOT sneak your child to see your mom. If your husband doesn't feel your child is safe around her, I wouldn't disrespect that. I would try and reason with him and find some kind of common ground. I can only imagine if I didn't trust someone around my child and my DH went behind my back and had them together anyway.....

post #27 of 89

Let's seee....on my watch, my kids have:

-  Fallen down the steps

-  Fallen off the bed onto the hardwood floor

-  One gashed his cheek open about an inch from his eye on a windwosill

-  The other fell off a picnic table bench and got a concussion

 

I have not prevented myself from seeing them.  :lol

 

Mistakes happen.  Accidents happen.  I agree she should not be a caretaker for your child anymore, but why on earth should she never see him againif you're there as primary supervisor?  That's pretty dramatic for the situation.   I'm glad your little one is OK, and hope that your DP isn't as hard on you or himself when your babe gets hurt on your own watch.

post #28 of 89

I put my responses in red, imbedded into the quote.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiralshell View Post

Thank you for the replies everyone. It makes me feel more sane to hear other people saying that DP is overreacting. He feels like I'm under-reacting and it's really hard to have perspective in the middle of all this.

 

I wanted to respond to what Super Single Mama said:

 

Quote:

"My mom made a mistake. A terrible, totally preventable, mistake. It was not an accident. It should not have happened."

So...this sentence is killing me.  Accidents are mistakes that should not have happened.  So, you define accident, and then say it wasn't an accident.

Did she momentarily flake and not remember to close the gate?  Or was she thinking, "Hmm...I think I'll leave the gate open so the baby will fall down the stairs.  That'll be great fun to watch!"

B/c, honestly, if she flaked and forgot, it was an accident. 

 

I guess I see it as "not a mistake" because we've talked before, many times, about what safety measures she needs to take when they're out on the deck. That she must check the gate, can't come inside and leave him out there alone, etc. It's happened a few times before that she has forgotten, and when I've reminded her, she waved it off. She wouldn't be worried or apologetic, more like "yeah, yeah, why are you hassling me, he's fine!"

 

So, my problem with this is that it makes it not HER fault, but YOUR and your DP's fault that this happened.  If you knew that she disregarded the safety issues, even after repeatedly being told, then you had the responsibility to act on it and find a safer situation.

 

So I guess I see this more like someone putting the baby in the car and not putting on the harness in the baby seat, not just once like a total flake moment which can happen to anybody, but repeatedly... and then one day you get in an accident with the baby not strapped in. And very luckily everyone is OK... but it could have been terrible.

 

The chances of a child being hurt/killed in a car accident are FAR FAR greater than the changes of a child being seriously injured/killed falling down a set of stairs.  Yes, its VERY scary, but I guarantee you its not as scary as a car accident.  This is a terrible analogy - one of my friends was in a car accident with her child in the back seat (he was completely and totally fine - it was a slow speed collision, there was hardly any damage done to the vehicle) and she was shaking almost uncontrollably for HOURS after.  I saw her at school right after it happened, she couldn't even go to class that day - it scared her out of her mind.  I would never wish that on anyone, and I promise, falling down the stairs doesn't even come CLOSE to the scare that she had that day.

 

She did not intentionally leave the gate open, but she didn't intentionally check to make sure it was closed either, and there's been a pattern there.

 

I shouldn't be a parent if this is the requirement.  I'm scatterbrained, and I'm very careful, but man I definitely have a pattern of being not perfect too.

 

So I guess that's why I don't see it as an accident... it was more like something that was going to happen eventually. And we had had just that exact conversation -- "Mama, please you have to be more careful because even though it doesn't seem like a big deal to you someday he could be really hurt. Forgetting to close the gate could really put him at risk and if you keep forgetting it's going to happen someday, so please make it a point to double check because you love him and it's important." And she would just blow it off. My mom is capable of remembering stuff like this, she's just careless, and more focused on other things and it's been a point of contention before now.

 

And this part really goes to show that its YOU and your DP's fault - NOT hers.  You knew that she was an unsafe babysitter, you didn't do anything, and something happened.  I also would like to know how old she is?  Not that it matters, but if you are having these conversations repeatedly, and its not happening, how do you know that she isn't having memory problems?  As people age they lose the ability to remember everything, and things don't "stick" the way you want them to.

 

So now of course I see that I should have stopped her taking care of him before now. The only other options we have are to ask DP's mom to watch him every day, which will be a lot for her, or to put him in daycare, which I'd prefer not to do because it's not the loving environment of home, and it costs a crapload of money. (Me staying home isn't an option, I'm the main breadwinner, and DP isn't cut out to be a SAHD.) And I didn't want to separate her from the babe -- she loves him and it would break her heart.

 

Daycare might not be a loving HOME environment, but daycare can be a very loving environment.  My ds is thriving in daycare, and his care givers truly care for him, know his preferences, love seeing him learn new things.  It's a matter of finding the right fit, but daycare doesn't have to be an awful thing.  I know it costs money, but a good childcare center is MUCH better than a parent who is not capable of taking care of your child in a safe manner.  If your DP's mother can't do it full time (at 12mo you ds is just getting started - I wish my ds was as easy now as he was at 12mo!!), daycare isn't a terrible option.

 

So that's where we are now... Mama heartbroken, DP furious. They don't get along already -- she's critical of him, he takes criticism very poorly. And he's a grudge holder.... so this will never go away.

 

This would be a HUGE problem for me.  I certainly hope that the first time your ds gets hurt while in your DP's care you give him he!! over it.  Is he this hard on YOU when your ds gets bumps and bruises in your care?  If it hasn't happened yet, it will.  If your ds has never fallen when your DP has been watching him, it will happen - I PROMISE!  My ds fell off the playground a few months ago and scared the life out of me - and I was literally RIGHT behind him, with my hand ON him when it happened.  The ONLY way I could have stopped him would have been to grab one of his limbs and risk much worse harm than letting him fall.  Thankfully, he was OK.  It's happened to my ex too - we've both gotten scared.  Ds has gotten so many bruises I could never even attempt to count or keep track of them all, and we've had many close calls.  We get scared, we deal with the situation, and then we forgive and move on.  Your DP needs to figure this out, b/c one day it will happen while he's watching the babe, and he'll have to realize how unfair he has been to your mom.

 

I'm really hoping to give it some days to cool down, then discuss again. I'm hoping to salvage Christmas, even if Thanksgiving is out of the picture just because it's so soon. (Our family gathers here at our house, and DP says he won't allow her here, so it's not like I can just take the baby over to her place.) I will figure something out. I love her, she's my mom, and I have to put my foot down and not let DP alienate her because of this. I don't want to look back on his childhood and see strife there, over something that in the grand scheme is a pretty small deal. The trick will be to get DP to see it that way, and find a way to get him to forgive her.

Thanks for everyone's advice, I really appreciate it!

 

Thanksgiving should NOT be out of the picture.  Honestly, if someone I was with said that my mom couldn't come into the house, ALL holidays would be cancelled until they changed their mind.  Seriously, I would be telling someone else to host, and taking my child there.

 

I would not sneak your ds to visit your mother, but I also wouldn't allow your DP to tell you no.  Tell him, "I'm taking DS to visit my mom, we'll be back in a few hours.  I'll make sure that he is safe while we visit.  See you soon."
 

post #29 of 89
Thread Starter 

To clarify, my mom won't be babysitting any longer -- a few of the replies indicated that I was still trying to get him to agree to allow her to watch him. Definitely not. It's clear she can't watch him any longer.

We actually had many conversations in the past, me, DP, and my mom, about whether it was too much for her to watch the baby, if we should make other arrangements, etc. This was every kind of conversation, from general "Mama, how do you think it's going? Is this too much for you?", to suggestions, "Would it be easier for you if we got a mother's helper to help you lift the baby, so you could snuggle and she could deal with the lifting etc.", to argument "Mama, please, we've talked about this, you have to close the baby gate to the kitchen. If you can't do this, then we have to put the baby in daycare."

Most of the time, she does everything right. 95% of the time, seriously. It's the 5% that was a problem. And even though that 5% was worrisome, it's very hard to say to a loving grandma that she can't care for her grandson any more when there's been some times she left the gate open, but he'd never ever been hurt in any way.

I guess that's always the challenge -- what's the line that gets crossed that makes you say, "OK, that's it, no more", especially when even though the gate was left open, etc. the baby was never hurt. When I suggested in the past that we needed to find another option, she'd say she was sorry, that she'd do better, and that it was overreacting on my part to suggest that we needed to look for daycare. Maybe it wasn't overreacting. I don't know. Up to now when I suggested it even to DP he didn't think we needed to go that far yet.

For now, DP's mom has agreed to watch the baby more. I may still need to look for daycare. I wouldn't even know where to start looking for in-home care that I could trust. I don't know any other moms in this area who could advise me, and finding baby care on craigs list kind of weirds me out.

Sigh!

post #30 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiralshell View Post


Most of the time, she does everything right. 95% of the time, seriously. It's the 5% that was a problem. And even though that 5% was worrisome, it's very hard to say to a loving grandma that she can't care for her grandson any more when there's been some times she left the gate open, but he'd never ever been hurt in any way.


Umm....I'm not perfect WAY less than 95% of the time.  I understand its a hard thing to say, but the bottom line is that you, and your DP are responsible for your ds's safety - that means saying the hard things to say, and making the hard decisions. 

post #31 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiralshell View Post

Do I put my foot down and tell him that part of our job as parents is to teach consequences, but also to teach forgiveness. My mom’s consequence is that she can no longer be alone with him, but we should forgive her enough to allow her to see him. Right?

 



 :yeah

 

this exactly-- you already know what is right... so buck up, take courage from the mamas here and do it   :Hug

 

do not start hiding things from DP-- just speak the truth in love! :love

post #32 of 89

I think the fact that even your DH said it was too extreme to change the care situation denies him the right to say she's not welcome around anymore.  That's ridiculous!  He knew the level of care she was capable of and giving, and he said keep it up.  He doesn't get to say she's dead to you all now.  I know it can be hard to draw the line, but at least baby is okay and now you know, without a doubt-- you should all be able to move on.  Be firm with your mom about not being the sole one supervising ever, be firm with DH about being forgiving and moving on, now that you all know she shouldn't care for him.

 

I'm glad your baby's okay!

post #33 of 89

She is smoking in front of you baby, that alone is nasty and horrible. I am 40 yrs old and have extensive scarring on my lungs from my parents smoking around me. I think it is child abuse to smoke around a child and should be treated as such by the state. There should be laws against it.

 

She falls asleep while caring for him. Plus, she smokes. Falling down the stairs is the least of the issues. What if he gets a hold of a cigarette while she is sleeping or she drops a lit cigarette?

 

Seriously, if my husband tried to get me to leave my child alone with someone under those circumstances, I would divorce him first. I know you love your mom and want to defend her, but your baby comes first.

post #34 of 89

Although, I will say, unless she did this on purpose, she should still be allowed to see him with you and/or your husband present to supervise. You do not need to tell her you are supervising, just do. That is what we do with my inlaws. We never leave our children alone with them and we make sure one of us always has our eyes on the younger children at all times when at her house.

post #35 of 89

I do think your husband is over-reacting.  IMO, probably from anger and guilt.  You and he knew the possible dangers of letting your mother babysit, and should have made changes long ago.  The two of you, and your mother, are all independantly "culpable" for actions that led to your baby falling.  Accidents do happen (my babies have all fallen, on my watch, crap happens), but in your OP you have a very large number of reasons listed why your mother was a risky proposition as a babysitter.  That's not just 'accidents happen'.  That is knowing an accident is very likely to happen and not doing something about it.

 

I would say your best bet right now to repair relationships is to own your part of the problem, and acknowledge to your husband that the anger and guilt is reasonable.  His response to the anger is not, but if I were to guess, he's saying most of that because he's afraid that if he's less insistent on that, your baby will end up alone with your mother again.  He needs to hear from you that that's not going to happen, even if you still do holidays with them, etc. He may still hold a grudge, but with time to cool off and the confidence that you are 100% agreed on the subject of your mother babysitting alone (never again), he will probably be able to pull back from his extreme stance.

 

I think it's possible that we sometimes discount a daddy's reaction to his baby getting hurt.  Especially if we're often the ones that see and take care of all the normal little tumbles and bumps.  The one time my dh saw one of our toddlers fall (down the stairs, and yes there was a gate, and he was right next to me--freak accident), his reaction frightened me.  He is a big man, a veteran of a civil war in his country, a complete stoic...and he just curled up on the floor and bawled.  Then he got very, very angry at the gate which had failed to do what it was supposed to do, or rather, he was angry at himself and at me for failing to keep the baby from falling, but directed all that at the gate rather than spew it on me.  That level of emotion coming from him was just stunning and kind of difficult to cope with, actually.

post #36 of 89

Maybe you could find a parttime preschool program with your DP's mom watching him the rest of the time. Or hire someone to come in 2-3 times a week with DP's mom watching him the rest of the time.

 

Can you cut back on hours or change schedules around? When our first was born, DH and I set up our schedules to cover the sitting with a sitter coming in just a few hours a week. Then when we moved and I was pregnant with our second, I ended up having to work because we could not pay for childcare on my salary. The additional money that I would bring in by working was not enough to cover the cost of working (i.e. childcare, clothes, etc)

post #37 of 89

I do need to add, do you know what is worse than the baby falling down the stairs? The baby getting down the stairs safely and then off missing. 

 

If she were the parent and this happened, CPS would potentially take the child away if they thought it would repeat. You said she falls asleep sometimes. She has a hard time lifting him, she smokes...all these things make for a very unsafe situation.

post #38 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiralshell View Post
, When I suggested in the past that we needed to find another option, she'd say she was sorry, that she'd do better, and that it was overreacting on my part to suggest that we needed to look for daycare. Maybe it wasn't overreacting. I don't know. .

 


It depends on how you suggested it.  If it had that "passive aggressive threat" tone to it, then yes, I can see how she'd think it was an overreaction.  But, if you were saying it very sincerely, as if you were totally ok with finding daycare, and if she was overwhelmed, you would be ready and willing to look for help.  Then, it wasn't an overreaction.  She may have felt like you were holding it over her head.

 

I personally think she's doing a very good job, except for those few incidents.  LOL.  She's a wonderful loving grandmother and you are all so fortunate that your son has not one, but TWO grandmothers who love him.    She's the best grandma in the world!  But, she's not all that great at long days being in charge of an active toddler.  

 

If you are looking for a good in home daycare, look for some websites.  Look at the pictures, and get a feel for what you want before you start calling them.  Most are absolutely awesome!  We don't just sit around watching talk shows while the kids stick toys in their mouth.  We have curriculum, and training, and love what we do.  We get excited about school supplies and post photos of our daycare kid's artwork on our facebook.  Our daycare kids grow up together.  They invite each other over for playdates, they enroll in the same gymnastics class just because they want to be together.  They are best friends.  

 

Just look around, get some ideas, then make a decision.  Your decision might be to have your mother in law watch him full time, but you might find a place you love.  

 

Here's some random photos of daycare homes.  I just googled family childcare images, and got this page.  http://www.google.com/images?q=family+childcare&hl=en&rlz=1C1GGGE_enUS387US387&prmd=ivmn&source=lnms&tbs=isch:1&ei=khHeTJXUL4OisAOd6vS6Cg&sa=X&oi=mode_link&ct=mode&ved=0CBkQ_AU&biw=1280&bih=653


Edited by nextcommercial - 11/12/10 at 9:28pm
post #39 of 89

 

Quote:
 reminded her, she waved it off. She wouldn't be worried or apologetic, more like "yeah, yeah, why are you hassling me, he's fine!" So I guess I see this more like someone putting the baby in the car and not putting on the harness in the baby seat, not just once like a total flake moment which can happen to anybody, but repeatedly... and then one day you get in an accident with the baby not strapped in 

 

In that case, I can see your dp's issue. It sounds like she's being neglectful. You told her to keep the door shut, she couldn't or wouldn't remember and the baby got hurt because of it.

post #40 of 89

I agree that she shouldn't babysit. However, if my "partner" tried to tell me that my own mother couldn't come into our house, all hell would break loose. Is this kind of control-freakism normal for him? I'm kind of creeped out by people who hold grudges in the first place, to be honest, but this is over the top. There's a huge difference between "she's obviously not on the ball enough to supervise ds" and "she'll never be allowed to see him again". Why does your partner want his child to lose out on a relationship with a loving grandparent, just because said grandparent isn't perfect? I'll be honest - if it were me, I'd go to my mom's for Thanksgiving and my partner could join me if he wanted to. "Dead to me"? Seriously? That's a major over-reaction.

 

And, I'll add to the chorus...ds1 fell off our bed when he was just a few months old, and fractured (hairline) his arm jumping off the couch when he was three. DS2 has a very thin scar down one cheek, and I was the one watching him, and I have no idea what he cut himself on (he was about two). All my kids have fallen off chairs, stairs, etc. They've all (except dd2, but give her time) fallen off playground equipment. It happens...on anybody's watch.

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