not teaching him "tricks" - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-31-2011, 07:47 AM
 
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I think it sounds sweet that Grandma is enjoying playing with him, babies love the so big game. If you are looking for alternate childcare over this, you are going to have a very hard time finding a situation where the care providers don't play these traditional baby games.

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Old 08-31-2011, 08:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm mostly going to relax about this and focus on all the positives, and I love the idea of being out of earshot. Of course there is more to the story than this (isn't there always?) but I'll leave it at that for now.

 

Also, to note, just because something is "the norm" doesn't mean it's "harmless, ok, no big deal, etc". That's the sense I'm getting from many of your replies. If anything I ask WHY is this the norm? What is behind it? What is the core to it? Often it is based in fear as that's how our world runs and the training passes down the generation line. Maybe MIL is scared that if ds doesn't do such and such that he's "not normal" or falling behind or..or..or..

Or it could be that she is just relating to him the way she knows how and both enjoy the exchange. I'll leave it go for now and intervene if necessary.

 

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Of all the awful things she could be doing that would give reason to end FREE CHILDCARE, this is definitely not one of them.  I could understand if she refuses to do anything besides sit him front of the tv... but she actually wants to play with him.  I can't even imagine telling someone 'hey, I know you play with my kid but I'm going to have to fire you even though I don't even have to pay you because you just don't do it correctly.'  This isn't a get rid of a FANTASTIC opportunity you have type of deal.  You just need to talk to her and explain that she needs to stop if he is showing certain signs.

I can respect where you are coming from: it's free. I don't have alot of money, but if it came down to it I would pay to feel like my son was being respected. Or I would do childcare swapping or figure something else out. This isn't clothing or toy choices, this is part of his foundation for his entire life.

 

 

 


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Old 08-31-2011, 08:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by holothuroidea View Post

Again, I don't expect a lot of people to agree with me, but I don't expect this level of venom, either! Sheesh!


You clearly don't understand. I don't know why you are defensive.



 



I'm not being defensive at all.  And no, I don't understand.  I would kill for free childcare and you'd get rid of it over a game every single person has ever played with their babies... except you apparently... because it takes away his autonomy?  Just tell her what his signs for being done are if he isn't loud and pushy about it and then be thankful she loves him enough to even interact with him.  Of all the awful things she could be doing that would give reason to end FREE CHILDCARE, this is definitely not one of them.  I could understand if she refuses to do anything besides sit him front of the tv... but she actually wants to play with him.  I can't even imagine telling someone 'hey, I know you play with my kid but I'm going to have to fire you even though I don't even have to pay you because you just don't do it correctly.'  This isn't a get rid of a FANTASTIC opportunity you have type of deal.  You just need to talk to her and explain that she needs to stop if he is showing certain signs.

 

Oh and I am the original poster--- I'm not sure who you are directing this post to. Anytime I see all caps I think 'defensive'.


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Old 08-31-2011, 09:43 AM
 
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As far as the games go, there is a point to it - interaction for one - I'm sure there are other more complex ones. and I don't see anything wrong with adult directed play - to a point.  If you just handed my son a bunch of blocks a few months ago, he's look at them and go play with something else, he'd have no clue what to do with them. But my mom sits and builds things with him, and he "gets" that you are supposed to build with them. sometimes he just wants to tear them down, or toss them back in their container, and all of those things are ok (and thankfully my mom doesn't seem to care what he does with them, so long as he's not throwing them at people or the dog). 

 

As far as normal . . . I think there are some things that my DS doesn't do that it never occured to me to do with him, and when people try to do those things (can't think of any at the moment, preggo brain!) I just say we haven't done that. Take high 5's for instance - yes he does them now, but he hasn't always. and it's well within the realm of "normal" - why do people teach this "trick" - well, hand-eye coordination, a way of greeting someone that is a little less . . .touchy? than say a hug, just as a way of interacting with a toddler, as there is only so much you can do. I do think it's harmless so long as it isn't forced. What harm (speaking honestly, from a place of curiousity) do you think may come from it  - this particular game, the "so big" or any of the things grandma does with your LO? Are there any positives to it? and which list is longer?

 

I have to do this a lot with my MIL because she drives me crazy. But generally, most of the things she does (the constant kissing, too sweet voice, etc) are truly harmful - they just bug me to pieces. There are better ways to interact with DS, and I try to encourage those, but honestly, there is only so much I can do.


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Old 08-31-2011, 09:51 AM
 
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I do think to some extent you're over thinking this, but on the other hand I do understand what you mean about your MIL pushing things when your ds isn't interested. But games like this aren't really training as much as just playing, and I'd relax about the games generally. If you see her pushing when he isn't interested, maybe say, "It looks like he isn't having fun with that anymore" or something. But I think this probably isn't as big an issue as it feels like to you. The big picture here is a grandma who loves her grandchild and is providing free loving childcare.
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:17 AM
 
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Originally Posted by akind1 View Post

 

I have to do this a lot with my MIL because she drives me crazy. But generally, most of the things she does (the constant kissing, too sweet voice, etc) are truly harmful - they just bug me to pieces. There are better ways to interact with DS, and I try to encourage those, but honestly, there is only so much I can do.


This needs to be my new mantra.

 


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Old 08-31-2011, 10:44 AM
 
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I have to agree with those who have said I'd let this go. Unless the baby is fussing or crying and she's still insisting on playing, it sounds like your baby is getting great one-on-one time with grandma, which is really so important. She sounds like a great care taker. I'm a working mom, too, and understand how hard it is to leave your child with someone who does things differently than you do, but really that's not going to harm your child.

 

And just an aside on the "So big" game...I was playing this with my youngest when he was still a baby. My MIL is from another country half way around the world. She was visiting us at the time, and started watching us play with interest. When we were done, she said she knew the game, and that she had played one like it with her kids when they were babies, and remembered her grandma playing with with babies when she was little. MIL speaks a different language, sings different songs and tells different stories to the kids, and plays different games with the babies - yet this silly little game crossed cultures for us. I thought that was really neat.

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Old 08-31-2011, 11:20 AM
 
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I'm not following how this could possibly be a negative thing.  He's not being coerced to do something awful, right?  I mean, in the grande scheme of parenting, there will be much, much, much more pressing issues to be concerned about.  If you send him to school, you will have a million and one things to object to if a grandparent asking how big he is and playing a fun childhood game that has been done for decades is something that bothers you. 


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Old 08-31-2011, 11:43 AM
 
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Is the bigger issue here your feelings about the game and you ex-MIL's method of interacting with your child, or your own feelings about your ex-MIL?  Just a thought. 

 

I try really hard, when MIL gets on my nerves, to think about this:   if a trusted friend did the exact same thing as she, would it still bother me?  And I also try really hard to remember that, in general, tolerance is a virtue (of course, I am the same poster who has started many similar threads about my MIL!).

 

Next to lack of sleep, I have found IL relations to be one of the hardest thing about being a parent of a LO.  I so envy women who love and enjoy hanging out with their MIL or SIL.  I don't have a sister and my mom (who didn't speak to me for the last two decades of my life) is dead.  I wish from the bottom of my heart that I could wake up tomorrow and be one of those women who says "Oh, my MIL is wonderful, I love her, she's like a second mother to me."


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Old 08-31-2011, 11:52 AM
 
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I guess I violate my kid's autonomy all the time. I teach her to repeat words, I teach her to put her toys away, I teach her to repond "woof woof" when I ask her "How does the doggy go" and "meow" when I ask her "How does the kitty go." There are a lot of things that she has learned on her own, but I think its fun to play games with your toddler. I think grandma is just excited to teach him something.

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Old 08-31-2011, 12:09 PM
 
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A bit off topic but I knew a mom with a baby around one year old. I believe her MIL started teaching the baby "tricks" and she enforced them since she thought it was cute. The only trick I saw was she said "pretty eyes" to her daughter and the little girl would bat her eyes. It was very odd to me.

 

Perhaps you should try to gently ask the MIL to not do what it is that is bothering you if you think she would be receptive. Give her a chance to shift her attitude before looking for other childcare.

 

I could never have my MIL be a childcare provider: when my first son was an infant, she'd shake a rattle in front of him, he'd be looking in another direction, she'd be watching tv and I'd be gritting my teeth. (TV is an ongoing issue between myself and my hubby in fact.)


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Old 08-31-2011, 01:00 PM
 
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watching people do this to kids makes my stomach hurt.  I agree with the argument that it is a violation of there rights. Its objectifying, and denying that they have their own internal life.

 

Now we play a lot of games together, like row row row your boat, that have co-operative movements, words, etc. But there is no expectation for the child to perform--we are doing it together.  If my little one wants to sing, great.  If he doesn't want to play, that is fine, too.  There is no *expectation*

 

I think it really depends on if MIL is playing or training... y/k?

 


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Old 08-31-2011, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Now we play a lot of games together, like row row row your boat, that have co-operative movements, words, etc. But there is no expectation for the child to perform--we are doing it together.  If my little one wants to sing, great.  If he doesn't want to play, that is fine, too.  There is no *expectation*

 

I think it really depends on if MIL is playing or training... y/k?

 

 

Yep- I think it's the expectation for performance that bothers me the most. I'm sure she was down there trying to record it on her phone. Definitely a performing vibe, that's why I just brush it off and don't give it energy when she tries to do it in front of me.

 

I play games with him- high five, patty cake, peek a boo, etc.- I just don't make a point to do it in front of others so they can praise and reinforce the "good" behavior. Then it becomes about that- the attention, the praise- rather than the game. And if he's not into it when I initiate, no biggie. He also initiates sometimes!


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Old 08-31-2011, 03:09 PM
 
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I think that all of the people who make the argument that it was "just a game" really didn't read the original post. There was clearly something about the MIL's behavior that was unnerving to the OP and that goes beyond just playing a game. 

 

There have been a lot of reactions to my phrase, "violating their autonomy." I guess this is kind of a hot-button. I don't give myself ultimate authority over my kids. I take on the burden of responsibility for those things that they cannot and let them have responsibility for the things they can. When and how to play is one of those things they can control. A lot of parents don't think that way, that doesn't make them bad parents (or grandparents) but that's not going to change the way I feel about it. I was simply offering my unique perspective.

 

I don't think that my perspective is the only one or the "right" one, and I said that before, I don't really expect people to understand or agree with me. Really, we all love our kids and we are trying our best. But there has been some insinuation that, oh I must not play with my kids or that I don't know that babies can't talk. That is really an unnecessary and mean thing to say, and that's what I meant by the venom. 


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Old 08-31-2011, 03:26 PM
 
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Not every baby likes every game. My babies loved to play airplane but that really scares some other babies. My first never really got peek-a-boo. I think the idea of me disappearing was upsetting for her so we just didn't play that game, we did airplanes instead or "spot the squirrel," a game we invented. 

 

I think there is this idea, mostly among older generations, that if you don't "teach" or "train" kids to play then they wont be able to do it "properly." It's the same way with food, there's this fear that if you don't force them to eat exactly the right thing exactly the right way they will grow up scrawny and weak. I don't think people who see children this way intentionally violate their rights, they really think they are doing the best for them. Generally, you can't change people's minds about it either. It is part of their world-view. But from the child's point of view it can be very objectifying and hurtful.

 

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Originally Posted by carmel23 View Post

watching people do this to kids makes my stomach hurt.  I agree with the argument that it is a violation of there rights. Its objectifying, and denying that they have their own internal life.

 

Now we play a lot of games together, like row row row your boat, that have co-operative movements, words, etc. But there is no expectation for the child to perform--we are doing it together.  If my little one wants to sing, great.  If he doesn't want to play, that is fine, too.  There is no *expectation*

 

I think it really depends on if MIL is playing or training... y/k?

 



 


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Old 08-31-2011, 03:33 PM
 
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But, if your baby didn't like one of those games you would just pick another one, right?

 

I will agree, however, that the kind of interaction the OP described is better than no interaction. 
 

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Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post

Learn to play with your kid?  Seriously!! There are many baby books that teach you games for your toddlers.  This is one of them!! I actually had several books with titles Games to Play wit Baby - because my parents never interacted with me this way.  I had to learn from books how to interact with my kids. 

 

 

It is right up there with playing peek a boo,  this little piggy, making animal sounds, patty cake, or itsy bitsy spider.  

 



 


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Old 08-31-2011, 07:24 PM
 
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Yeah, I wouldn't be into someone trying to train my kid (or any kid). Although, a previous poster gave me thought into how I should think of things that bother about my own IL's.ie:  If they are doing something that annoy's me maybe I should think if it would annoy me if a friend was doing it. Because I probably am more defensive about things my IL's do.

 

BTW, I have never heard of this game before parenting websites that are American based. I am Canadian. It seems like a bit of a weird game. I am not sure how it is fun? I have never seen it played before, just heard a description.


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Old 08-31-2011, 11:46 PM
 
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OP, what does your husband say about this?


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Old 09-01-2011, 06:03 AM
 
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As far as the performance angle goes, I don't know many parents/grandparents that aren't excited about what their kids/grandkids can do - anything from milestones (crawling, walking, words) to games and songs. I would really only be concerned if she was being pushy and LO was becoming upset.

 

Heck, the other day my mother was trying her best to get DS to laugh so she could record it for a ringtone on her phone. I just kind of rolled my eyes, but DS does have an adorable laugh. again, no harm, no foul in my book.

 

I do agree with the generational "playing properly" thing - like coloring inside the lines - my MIL is probably more likely to encourage this than my mother, but she only had one child, and my mom not only had my sister and I, but was the neighborhood sitter for a long time - she just has more experience with kids in general. I don't know if it's the case with the OP's MIL, but that may also be an issue - I don't think my MIL really knows how to play with a toddler or baby, that's part of why she snuggles and kisses so much; she's got no idea what else to do with him. My FIL though LOVES to play with DS, and can for hours.

 

Maybe -if this is the case (perhaps the MIL remembers this game with her son as a baby, and doesn't remember what else she did with him? I know a lot of parents of that generation didn't interact a whole lot, I'm sure my mom stuck my sister and I in a playpen and we played by ourselves a lot at that age) - you can show her some things she can do with your LO - the kind of interaction - other than just supervised independent play - that you think is appropriate. Like coloring (DS loves to scribble on a big blank floor pad) or put on music and dance . . . . whatever sort of interaction you think might allow for a little more autonomy or whatever. Just a thought.


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Old 09-01-2011, 07:38 AM
 
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Just take a minute and imagine this situation, if you can-

 

Your sweet little baby boy, whom you love more than anything else, is gone.  Poof!  Gone.  And now there's a fully grown adult man instead (whom you love, of course), but you do still miss that little baby and all the games you'd use to play together and all the snuggles you used to have.  But...now he has a baby of his own!  And you fully respect the right of that baby's parents to make their own decisions on how to raise him, but you're just thrilled to cuddle and snuggle and play with him too, and it eases a little of the heartache of missing your own little baby boy (the one who poof! is gone.)

 

And then someone tells you that you're not allowed to watch him anymore, because you're playing with him wrong.  dizzy.gif

You said (or implied) in your OP that you don't feel right completely directing all of their interactions together.  I think that's wise.  By all means, set rules about the big things.  And certainly, discuss your general philosophy around autonomy, etc. But don't eliminate a situation in which your child is being cared for by someone who loves him, who doesn't require you to pay them, because they don't 100% agree with your idea of how people should engage with your baby.  You're still his mother- the way you treat him matters the most.  Exposure to different styles of interaction can actually be valuable, provided they're all loving.

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Old 09-01-2011, 07:59 AM
 
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Yes! So beautifully said. None of us raise our DC perfectly. She is loving him.
Quote:
Originally Posted by prothyraia View Post

Just take a minute and imagine this situation, if you can-

 

Your sweet little baby boy, whom you love more than anything else, is gone.  Poof!  Gone.  And now there's a fully grown adult man instead (whom you love, of course), but you do still miss that little baby and all the games you'd use to play together and all the snuggles you used to have.  But...now he has a baby of his own!  And you fully respect the right of that baby's parents to make their own decisions on how to raise him, but you're just thrilled to cuddle and snuggle and play with him too, and it eases a little of the heartache of missing your own little baby boy (the one who poof! is gone.)

 

And then someone tells you that you're not allowed to watch him anymore, because you're playing with him wrong.  dizzy.gif

You said (or implied) in your OP that you don't feel right completely directing all of their interactions together.  I think that's wise.  By all means, set rules about the big things.  And certainly, discuss your general philosophy around autonomy, etc. But don't eliminate a situation in which your child is being cared for by someone who loves him, who doesn't require you to pay them, because they don't 100% agree with your idea of how people should engage with your baby.  You're still his mother- the way you treat him matters the most.  Exposure to different styles of interaction can actually be valuable, provided they're all loving.



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Old 09-01-2011, 08:19 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prothyraia View Post

Just take a minute and imagine this situation, if you can-

 

Your sweet little baby boy, whom you love more than anything else, is gone.  Poof!  Gone.  And now there's a fully grown adult man instead (whom you love, of course), but you do still miss that little baby and all the games you'd use to play together and all the snuggles you used to have.  But...now he has a baby of his own!  And you fully respect the right of that baby's parents to make their own decisions on how to raise him, but you're just thrilled to cuddle and snuggle and play with him too, and it eases a little of the heartache of missing your own little baby boy (the one who poof! is gone.)

 

And then someone tells you that you're not allowed to watch him anymore, because you're playing with him wrong.  dizzy.gif

You said (or implied) in your OP that you don't feel right completely directing all of their interactions together.  I think that's wise.  By all means, set rules about the big things.  And certainly, discuss your general philosophy around autonomy, etc. But don't eliminate a situation in which your child is being cared for by someone who loves him, who doesn't require you to pay them, because they don't 100% agree with your idea of how people should engage with your baby.  You're still his mother- the way you treat him matters the most.  Exposure to different styles of interaction can actually be valuable, provided they're all loving.



yeahthat.gif  Strangely enough, this is sort of how I deal with my own mother. Her interactions sort of make me sick to my stomach (So big! Actually physically waving my babes hand and telling her to say bye bye, talking in that INSANELY sweet-high-tone voice, etc) - but I also know my mom is kind of a disaster. She's lived a hard life and I think forced interaction is the only type she can really "get", KWIM? I know she LOVES the kids, so so much, and they don't see her all that much (once a week or so) so when we're there, I just let her kind of do her thing. It's more about making HER day than anything else, and as my DS has gotten older he finds this sort of thing to be totally weird and funny. He will even say "Oh wow, Nana, that's silly!" when she plays these kind of games with my DD. Whatever - I let DD direct her play choices pretty much 24/7 - a few hours here and there with Nana, while pretty obnoxious, is good for both of them. 


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Old 09-01-2011, 01:19 PM
 
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wow this thread. 

prothyraia that was a pretty good way to look at it in my opinion.  however, i agree with holeotheridea and the op.  i think it's a generational thing, my mother had that expectation of dd.  it made for a funny moment when my mother, who lives pretty close by but never visits dd, would try to engage her in the so big thing or some of the other stuff that people do.  and dd didn't respond.  and my mom was like... don't you teach her anything?  and.... dd can do LOTS of stuff.  stuff she figured out on her own, and stuff she obviously wanted me to show her.  and she can and could at 18 mos. sight read (only 3 words really) a few things. 

 

i think there's a conflict of understanding because there are mamas here who like the traditional things that people use and teach to interact with babies, like the so big.  and anytime people suggest something that parents are doing could be wrong (not that that's what most of us are doing, we're just saying it isn't a fit with our philosophy/philosophies) people get extremely defensive. 

 

we never taught dd that stuff because i do feel like it's teaching tricks.  some babies need that for interaction, or like it.  for us, we have tended to let dd take the lead, and she's been very good at communicating what she likes to do and learn.  i think maybe all this is some of us have realized (sorry if i seem to be speaking for you and you disagree) at a VERY early age that we are "unschoolers."  i really tend to identify with this and some of the more radical educational philosophies, and this kind of stance on things like the basic tricks seems to be the preliminary stage for this. 

now, you can debate here on mdc all day about whether you "believe" in unschooling, etc.  but as parents, we DO get to have some control over the kind of education our child receives.  i think this is the crux of the thread arguing. 

 

op, i hope the grandma is willing to listen to what you have to say about your educational philosophy.  i cannot remember if it was you that posted about the "good girl!" thing or not, but if that were me i would just plain freak out.  that is not ok for us.  we don't genderfy our child, and we don't say good job, etc. because we are UP.  but i would try to think about prythyria's post, and try to soften my immediate reactions by realizing that the child is loved, and that is important.  but i understand the annoyance, and it's definitely worth addressing.  would the grandma read UP do you think?  that's a good one. eta: i looked and saw the good girl thing was holeotheridea.  that phrase just makes me foam at the mouth, sorry.  why not just use a clicker?  ;)


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Old 09-01-2011, 01:21 PM
 
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yeahthat.gif  Strangely enough, this is sort of how I deal with my own mother. Her interactions sort of make me sick to my stomach (So big! Actually physically waving my babes hand and telling her to say bye bye, talking in that INSANELY sweet-high-tone voice, etc) - but I also know my mom is kind of a disaster. She's lived a hard life and I think forced interaction is the only type she can really "get", KWIM? I know she LOVES the kids, so so much, and they don't see her all that much (once a week or so) so when we're there, I just let her kind of do her thing. It's more about making HER day than anything else, and as my DS has gotten older he finds this sort of thing to be totally weird and funny. He will even say "Oh wow, Nana, that's silly!" when she plays these kind of games with my DD. Whatever - I let DD direct her play choices pretty much 24/7 - a few hours here and there with Nana, while pretty obnoxious, is good for both of them. 


I agree with this ~and the post you were agreeing with, hehe.

 

Holothuroidea, I have the same perspective as you about letting kids direct their own play, and their own lives to the extent they are able. So often people treat kids in a way they wouldn't dare treat an adult, and this is often a sign of disrespect IMO. However, in the OP's situation I just couldn't let myself get all upset about it. There are so many other things to worry about and draw limits over. As they say, you have to choose your battles. I just can't see a loving grandmother playing "so big" a couple days a week to be harmful. Sure, it could fall into the category of being patronizing or diminuitive if you analyze the situation deeply. But is that really going to cause the child to have psychological issues when he/she grows up....like it might if the parents were doing it all the time every day? And even if the parents play that game every day, if they are generally respectful of the child and his/her rights in most of their interactions, is it really so bad? IDK.

 

It reminds me: we were in an Indian restaurant recently and DS became fascinated by a couple Buddha statues. We said "That's Buddha" and he immediately picked up the word "Buddha". Since then he has noticed a little Buddha statue we have and sometimes goes to it and says "Buddha". I think this is just soooo cute and so sometimes I show him a picture of Buddha and go "Who's that?" just to hear him say it. I know, it's kinda dumb and objectifying him and his cuteness.....but I just don't see it as causing any harm to him or his developing psyche. In general we let him lead the way of his own life as much as possible and try hard to be respectful of his integrity. It sounds like the OP does too ~so again I just can't see a little bit of this kind of objectification to be harmful, especially when it's coming from a loving grandmother who provides childcare.


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Old 09-01-2011, 04:53 PM
 
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I very much agree that this level of grandma-interaction probably is not detrimental. As long as the child's primary caregivers are generally respectful, they can handle different kinds of treatment from others without any kind of damage and this is really just a normal part of life.

 

I would be more concerned if the MIL was a primary caregiver and provided full-time childcare, but they don't. A couple hours a week isn't going to do damage, especially when it's mixed with a whole lot of grandma-love. I think I must be repeating myself for the 5th time here, but as long as she is not abusive there's nothing you can really do about it and hey, that's life. I feel like my original message really got lost, a lot of posts were reactionary to my phrasing "violation of autonomy." We all can stand a little violation of our autonomy and frankly it's inevitable. 

 

Thank you to the readers who got my message! And yes, every time my MIL says "GOOD GIRL!" I swear I nearly vomit on her. My DH did it a couple times but he learned his lesson pretty fast (I may have actually vomited on him, or cried, I can't remember).

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Originally Posted by P.J. View Post

I agree with this ~and the post you were agreeing with, hehe.

 

Holothuroidea, I have the same perspective as you about letting kids direct their own play, and their own lives to the extent they are able. So often people treat kids in a way they wouldn't dare treat an adult, and this is often a sign of disrespect IMO. However, in the OP's situation I just couldn't let myself get all upset about it. There are so many other things to worry about and draw limits over. As they say, you have to choose your battles. I just can't see a loving grandmother playing "so big" a couple days a week to be harmful. Sure, it could fall into the category of being patronizing or diminuitive if you analyze the situation deeply. But is that really going to cause the child to have psychological issues when he/she grows up....like it might if the parents were doing it all the time every day? And even if the parents play that game every day, if they are generally respectful of the child and his/her rights in most of their interactions, is it really so bad? IDK.

 

It reminds me: we were in an Indian restaurant recently and DS became fascinated by a couple Buddha statues. We said "That's Buddha" and he immediately picked up the word "Buddha". Since then he has noticed a little Buddha statue we have and sometimes goes to it and says "Buddha". I think this is just soooo cute and so sometimes I show him a picture of Buddha and go "Who's that?" just to hear him say it. I know, it's kinda dumb and objectifying him and his cuteness.....but I just don't see it as causing any harm to him or his developing psyche. In general we let him lead the way of his own life as much as possible and try hard to be respectful of his integrity. It sounds like the OP does too ~so again I just can't see a little bit of this kind of objectification to be harmful, especially when it's coming from a loving grandmother who provides childcare.



 


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Old 09-01-2011, 08:29 PM
 
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BTW, I have never heard of this game before parenting websites that are American based. I am Canadian. It seems like a bit of a weird game. I am not sure how it is fun? I have never seen it played before, just heard a description.


I'm Canadian too. My in-laws play this game with all the extended family's little ones. I had never heard of it before seeing them playing it, and we never taught it to DD. She looked at them like they were nuts when they asked her "how big is baby" (her expression was very funny).

 

We did teach it to DS though, kind of as a joke before a big family gathering. And know what? He adored it! He'd throw his hands up in the air and start laughing uproariously before we'd got past "how big..". We didn't "train" him to do it - we all did it and he joined in. If he hadn't have been interested, we would have stopped. It was fun in this house for a couple of months!

 

All that said, it has taken me 6 years to manage not to want to punch something when MIL is interacting with my kids. Rationally speaking, almost all of her interactions are benign (putting my 8-month-old on a chair and walking away was pretty dumb), and the children love her, but she annoys the heck out of me, simply because it's not "my way" (and sometimes, I admit, because she did it better!). I'm not sure I could stand either her or my mother being my child's routine care-giver because of this. Although free is usually a good thing, and they'd definitely love my kids more than a stranger!

 

 

 


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Old 09-01-2011, 09:21 PM
 
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We are in disagreement. For me, it's an issue of personal rights. Once you give yourself the authority to train a child to do what you want, you violate their autonomy, even if you just want them to learn their ABC's. It's the difference between the child saying, "I want you to teach me X," and an adult saying, "I am going to teach you X." I understand that my views are pretty radical and I don't expect most people to have the same perspective. There are many ways adults have for relating to kids and if they are not abusive then there is nothing anyone can do about it. It is important and inevitable for children to be exposed to a wide range of treatment. However, as a parent you need to do what you believe in your heart to be the right thing and when you choose alloparents, or other caregivers, their ideas should be pretty much on the same page, I think.
 

ETA: This is easy for me to say because I stay at home and have never had to choose a care provider. I understand that there are many more issues to take into account and like you said, this may not be a deal breaker in the grand scheme of things.



 

 

Do you really only teach things to your kids that they initiate?  There is a difference between "wanting to learn" and "initiating".  Do you not read books to your kids until they express an interest in it?  Do you not ever bring them to a park until they first ask for it?  I'm really trying to understand this, and I just don't get it.  Why does a child have to initiate all the learning?  Adults are to never to say "hey, I thought this might be fun to do/learn about?"  I'm also curious to know how you teach a 14 month old something they don't want to learn - how does that work exactly?  'Cause I'm trying to picture it, and I can't.  Adding to that, if I was only taught things I initiated, I wouldn't know so, so many things I never knew I had an interest in.  A friend recently did a soap making night with a bunch of mutual friends.  It was really, really interesting, and a fun girls night.  Never before had I thought I wanted to learn how's and why's of making soap but I'm glad I had the opportunity to learn.  Was it wrong of her to ask me if I wanted to come, because I had never before said I wanted to?
 


----------------------

 

To the OP, I'm about to make a lot of assumptions.  I assume your MIL is providing free childcare, this is your first child, your ds was not upset ("kind of saying 'ehh' a couple times does not count), and you have other issues with your MIL that are clouding your opinion/view.  Here's the thing with free childcare.  You really, really have to pick your battles. I can't even imagine how you could possibly bring this up to her without her feeling like she has to walk on egg shells when you're around.  If it happens enough, your MIL is likely to give up and just say she can't do it anymore.  Now, if your ds was upset or she kept redirecting him from something he clearly wanted in order to do So Big, then that's an issue.  The issue then isn't playing the game, but annoying your ds for her personal benefit. 

 

Also, here's the thing with other people with different personalities.  They are going to interact differently with your ds than you will.  It doesn't mean it's wrong, it doesn't even mean your right.  Everyone interacts differently with children, everyone.  Some like to play so big and teach tricks and some don't.  The problem comes in when the child has had enough and the adult doesn't quit.  Again, the root issue really has nothing to do with teaching tricks or not.

 

 

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Babies initiate learning every second they are awake, they will learn everything they need to if you let them. There are times that you have to do things for them, because they are not able to think ahead. Like, you need to brush their teeth and dress them appropriate for the weather. I've said it a million times but I'll say it again, I can't always let them lead the way but when I can, I will. Learning and games are one thing they definitely can have responsibility for. I've found that if I follow all my children's cues consistently I never have time to play anything else. Children are constantly, "lets do this! what is that? where is this? can I do that? can you do that? why not?" etc. Even tiny babies will draw your attention with a coo, pat your face if they want to play tickles, pick up a blanket and peek a boo when they want.

 

Anyway, that soap making thing is a terrible example, because once you heard of it you obviously were interested otherwise you wouldn't go, I mean nobody is going to pick your clothes out, strap you into a car seat against your will, and drive you to a place you've never been before. I will assume that your friend didn't coerce you into going by saying things like, "Don't you want to be a big girl?" And I'm guessing when you made your soap your friend didn't say to you, "You are such a Good Girl!" 

 

I also resent that you think "kind of saying ehhh" a couple times doesn't count. If I came up to you and said, "Hey, put your arms in the air because it makes me laugh," and you said "ehhh" it's alright if I just ignore that. Then, when you say "ehhh" again and walk away it's alright if I chase you down and tell you to do it again?
 

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Do you really only teach things to your kids that they initiate?  There is a difference between "wanting to learn" and "initiating".  Do you not read books to your kids until they express an interest in it?  Do you not ever bring them to a park until they first ask for it?  I'm really trying to understand this, and I just don't get it.  Why does a child have to initiate all the learning?  Adults are to never to say "hey, I thought this might be fun to do/learn about?"  I'm also curious to know how you teach a 14 month old something they don't want to learn - how does that work exactly?  'Cause I'm trying to picture it, and I can't.  Adding to that, if I was only taught things I initiated, I wouldn't know so, so many things I never knew I had an interest in.  A friend recently did a soap making night with a bunch of mutual friends.  It was really, really interesting, and a fun girls night.  Never before had I thought I wanted to learn how's and why's of making soap but I'm glad I had the opportunity to learn.  Was it wrong of her to ask me if I wanted to come, because I had never before said I wanted to?

 


----------------------

 

To the OP, I'm about to make a lot of assumptions.  I assume your MIL is providing free childcare, this is your first child, your ds was not upset ("kind of saying 'ehh' a couple times does not count), and you have other issues with your MIL that are clouding your opinion/view.  Here's the thing with free childcare.  You really, really have to pick your battles. I can't even imagine how you could possibly bring this up to her without her feeling like she has to walk on egg shells when you're around.  If it happens enough, your MIL is likely to give up and just say she can't do it anymore.  Now, if your ds was upset or she kept redirecting him from something he clearly wanted in order to do So Big, then that's an issue.  The issue then isn't playing the game, but annoying your ds for her personal benefit. 

 

Also, here's the thing with other people with different personalities.  They are going to interact differently with your ds than you will.  It doesn't mean it's wrong, it doesn't even mean your right.  Everyone interacts differently with children, everyone.  Some like to play so big and teach tricks and some don't.  The problem comes in when the child has had enough and the adult doesn't quit.  Again, the root issue really has nothing to do with teaching tricks or not.

 

 


ETA: I completely agree with the bolded statement.

 


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Old 09-02-2011, 10:05 AM
 
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Again, I don't expect a lot of people to agree with me, but I don't expect this level of venom, either! Sheesh!


You clearly don't understand. I don't know why you are defensive.



 



 



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I think that all of the people who make the argument that it was "just a game" really didn't read the original post. There was clearly something about the MIL's behavior that was unnerving to the OP and that goes beyond just playing a game. 

 

There have been a lot of reactions to my phrase, "violating their autonomy." I guess this is kind of a hot-button. I don't give myself ultimate authority over my kids. I take on the burden of responsibility for those things that they cannot and let them have responsibility for the things they can. When and how to play is one of those things they can control. A lot of parents don't think that way, that doesn't make them bad parents (or grandparents) but that's not going to change the way I feel about it. I was simply offering my unique perspective.

 

I don't think that my perspective is the only one or the "right" one, and I said that before, I don't really expect people to understand or agree with me. Really, we all love our kids and we are trying our best. But there has been some insinuation that, oh I must not play with my kids or that I don't know that babies can't talk. That is really an unnecessary and mean thing to say, and that's what I meant by the venom. 


I don't see how the comments have been venomous or defensive, though. To me, an attitude of "my philosophy is soooo radical that I don't expect anyone to be able to understand it" (which you've sort of said a few times now) is the very definition of being defensive.

 

Personally, I would love to understand where you're coming from, but I just can't so far. It still seems like you're saying that an adult initiating play with a small child is inherently, and harmfully, coercive. No? And who here really believes that "empty praise is the only way we have of interacting with our children"?

 

If the child clearly doesn't like a game and the adult keeps it up for their own enjoyment, then yeah....that's a whole 'nother issue, I think. But thinking that the stuff your kid does is cute? Even things that have been initiated by an adult? How is that not natural? I don't think babies would be so cute as they grow and learn if it wasn't natural for their caretakers to have a reaction to how cute they are. IMO, it's part of the survival of the species and all.


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Old 09-02-2011, 10:50 AM
 
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I think I understand what holothuroieda is getting at...Correct me if I am wrong holothuroieda, but I don't think you are against teaching per se (because no matter what we do we are teaching our children by example at the very least), you just feel it should be initiated by your child? You don't expect your child to figure everything out for themselves, but want them to have the opportunity to do so?  I also do agree generally with trying to respect our children's autonomy.  This is why we EC and did/do BLW. I do not think that we can flawlessly do this, however.  For example, if DS is in need of a bath, he gets one even if he would prefer not to bath.  If he is obviously tired but doesn't want to nap, I try to get him calm and relaxed and to sleep anyway.  I do think (as is the case with so many things) that this philosophy taken to the extreme could have negative consequences. For example, what about teaching your child about dangers (ex. stranger danger to an older toddler, or what things are HOT, or how to safely go down stairs...)?  Would you expect this to be somehow initiated by the child as well?  If so, a person could be too late to teach the lesson.  Also, what about essentials, like reading?  If you have a child who hates to read and only wants to draw, will you respect their desire not to read and just hope they come around?  This seems unfair to the child.  I generally agree with what you are getting at, but do think that as parents we need to use our experience in some situations to guide our children's choices for their own well being.

 

Also, I am curious about the parents who don't use the word "good".  Does this mean you are against praising a child for accomplishments generally?  Or is this more to do with categorizing behaviours as "good" or "bad"?  If DS accomplishes a new skill that he is proud of, I do praise him ("Yayyyy DS!") because I am proud of him and he is proud of himself.  But I do also agree with not praising everything he does (I don't want him doing things in order to be praised and for example there is no praise when he uses the potty and no dissapointment expressed when he uses his diaper instead).  I am just curious about this perspective and would like to learn more about it if you could guide me in the right direction.

 

OP, I agree with PPs about guiding your MIL in terms of play with your son.  You are pretty fortunate to have a MIL who wants to and is capable of being so involved in DSs life, and it sounds to me like she means well she just needs some guidance.  I wish that my MIL or my mom could be my DSs caretaker as he loves them both so much and is so loved by them!  Honestly, my MIL would do things very differently than me, some of which would likely drive me a bit crazy.  But I still think that if you focus on the bigger picture as opposed to the individual behaviours you can find a balance with the MIL. 


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