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night with grandparents?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

We are in a bit of a tough situation right now. Until last weekend, I spent every night sleeping with my son, who is almost 2.5 years old. I have attempted nightweaning a few times, with limited success (for a while, he was not nursing between 9pm and 4 am, but we were starting to get back into the habit. My husband has always slept in a separate room from me because it just works best for us.


Last Sunday I fell and broke my arm at the elbow and I spent my first night away from my son because I was hospitalized for surgery. My husband slept in my son's room, and DS had two meltdowns looking for me--once before bed and once around 4am. In the morning, he was quite upset that I wasn't there and he clung to DH so tightly at his day care drop off that DH was in tears. (I suspect he was feeling a lot of stress from the situation as well.) 


Since coming home on Monday, I have been in a lot of pain, so my contact with DS has been limited.  I can position myself with pillows and have him climb up on my lap to nurse, but I am otherwise unable to take care of him in any way. I have been sleeping in the other room and DH continues to sleep with DS. Naturally, the situation has accelerated nightweaning but none of us get much sleep. DH is extremely stressed out over having to take care of him and me as well. 


I asked my parents to come over this weekend in over to give DH a break, and they came to watch DS for a few hours, during which time DH ran a few errands, but then they had to go. I asked when they could come back again and they didn't understand why we needed them because DS is "such an easy child" (he goes into super happy mode when he is the center of their attention and they have never seen him upset). DH's parents, on the other hand, refer to him as a handful, and all they have said to us in the past week is, "You two have your hands full right now. We wish there was something we could do to help but we are so far away." (They are the same distance away as my parents--about an hour's drive.)


So finally my parents came up with a solution to our troubles: They offered to take DS overnight next weekend. Actually, they wanted to take him this weekend, but we said no because I can't imagine he would handle it well. Then my father went into a spiel about how we need a break and we need to spend more time together as a couple for the sake of our marriage and we need to get a decent night's sleep sometime. He is not wrong about those things, but I don't think it is the time. He said he didn't mind having a sleepless night or two--he could alternate sleep with my mother if necessary. I asked where he planned to have DS sleep, and he said, "He would have to sleep in bed with us" which is true because they don't have anywhere else suitable for him to sleep and he is not used to sleeping alone. I was impressed that he said that because he was against me cosleeping for the longest time (and both my parents encouraged CIO, although they didn't call it that--they called it "leaving him in his crib and closing the door until morning"). But I also didn't quite feel comfortable with them sleeping with him because they are not used to it. But since he is over the age of two now, we don't have to worry about unsafe cosleeping conditions as much, do we? So I hesitated and my father said, "Look, we raised 3 kids. Why don't you trust us?" I said, "Well, you are not used to sleeping with a small child." Then he said, "No, because I don't believe in that crap. I think it was an unhealthy habit for you to get into in the first place but now we have no choice because that's the routine you set for him. You guys really need to let go. Your attachment to your son is unhealthy. And then you complain all the time about how difficult he is to take care of, when he is not difficult at all. He's easygoing and happier than you and your brothers ever were." I wish I had said, "That's because of our unhealthy parenting choices."


What do you think? Would you leave your son overnight with grandparents under these circumstances? On one hand, we could use the break and he is almost completely nightweaned since my accident and of course we would only leave him for one night, not two. On the other hand, he has totally insulted our parenting style, although he did agree to abide by it.

post #2 of 4

Well, on one hand - with your current condition and extra need for rest - I'd say that your ds might surprise you and this is right around the age when my own, very clingy and attached dd, first spent a night somewhere else (at my sisters, with my parents too, on sleeping bags on the floor together mostly - before coming the few hours with them home for a longer visit together).  They're different people, but your ds sounds comfortable with them and they'll be able to soothe him somehow if he needs it.  It's sorta a difficult situation all around, but the help might make a real difference.




In light of your dad's big speech however, I'd have a more real discussion with them about it before it happens.  


I'd guess that it's probably harsher than he meant, being exacerbated by their concern for you at the moment.  But I do think a lot of the things he said are  not constructive at the moment. I imagine I would try to discuss the following points:




Your ds is a kid and yes, he will be difficult sometimes (like anyone).  Of course, it's great it hasn't been 'too much' your parents, but sometime it will happen and you'll be reassured to know how your parents will try to manage that.


You are your son's mother -- if anyone's supposed to be attached to him, it's you.  


The things that might be difficult for you aren't to your parents - that should be okay.  Would they rather not be an emotional support for you (in complaining about your parenting struggles?)?  I know I'd find that comment (about complaining) particularly hurtful.  


There are choices within the routine of 'co-sleeping' (like sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag so a trusted adult is nearby) that may be pretty easily accepted.  They don't have to do exactly what you do - but it does need to be within your and your son's comfort level at the moment.   

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your reply! I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to respond sooner, but I did have a discussion with my mother and she put my mind at ease. She recognized the fact that as grandparents, they only see him at his best because they spoil him and give him undivided attention when they visit. My father is known to be not tactful, and now he denies using making any judgement on our parenting. I was upset at the time, but I got over it.


We did end up leaving DS with them last weekend because we really needed the break. It went well. I ended up sleeping 8:30-7:30 that night. DH slept better too without DS kicking him. My parents pulled a couch up to their bed to give DS a place to sleep. He fell asleep in their bed around 9:30pm as Dad was reading to him, and they managed to slide him onto the couch without waking up. He woke twice during the night but did not cry. At one point he got out of bed and was wandering around (disoriented) calling for me,but my mother picked him up and gave him a sippy cup of water and he curled up beside her and went back to sleep. My mother recognized that once he figured out where he was and that I wasn't there, he didn't continue to look for me (the way he does when he sleeps with his father). He woke for the day at 6:30am and was still doing fine (he had just woken up from a nap, actually) when we picked him up in the afternoon.


They have offered to take him again this weekend. DS looks forward to going back.

post #4 of 4

Glad to hear the night ended up going well after all - sounds like they did a great job making sure your ds was comfortable.

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