Help! I stepped over the line.. - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 50 Old 12-19-2009, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think I may have stepped over the line and now I can't take it back! DSS #2 (youngest, he's 1)'s mom and I have never really got along. She is still getting used to the idea of DH being married to me, and we've only met once, when she invited the whole family to DSS's 1st birthday party a few weeks ago. She was rude and ignored me the whole time, so we don't have a "relationship" persay. But when DH picked up DSS this weekend she informed him that she feeds him 1/2 2% milk and 1/2 water in his bottles. Now, DSS won't eat baby food or solids, so he gets most if not all of his nutrition from his milk.

I wrote her a *very nice* message online (since she won't talk to me on the phone) with a few articles, explaining he should be on whole milk right now per most pediatricians. Now I feel once she reads it (she hasn't yet) she will think I am meddling (which I guess I am, I'm just concerned about him!). I can't unsend the message, but should I send another apologizing for even getting involved? I feel I overstepped my bounds, but its something I feel strongly about and am just worried about DSS's health. I guess I feel guilty for being worried, like am I allowed to be worried?

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#2 of 50 Old 12-19-2009, 03:06 PM
 
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You are allowed to be worried!! I certainly do. I'm so grateful DSD has made it this far and seems to be outgrowing the worst of the divorce trauma (she still needs therapy but that's a whole other argument).

Other then that, gosh I have no idea what I would do. At times I have pestered DP to send an email to the ex when I felt it was necessary, and helped write it. Based on the little you've said she's likely to be angry for being criticized. You might apologize for sounding like you are criticizing her, or you might just leave well enough alone. Hopefully someone with experience will come along!

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#3 of 50 Old 12-19-2009, 03:37 PM
 
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It's not wrong to worry, but it might have been better to approach the subject by asking her to explain why she is feeding DSS that way. It's not too late, you could send an "I stepped over the line, I'm sorry, I'm just worried because my information obviously conflicts with yours." email and ask her. Maybe she is intentionally reducing his calorie intake to try to encourage him to eat more solid food, or something like that. Hopefully she can see why you're worried, and has a good answer.

~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.

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#4 of 50 Old 12-19-2009, 03:43 PM
 
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Forum crashing here.

"Dear DSS's Mom,
I was just thinking about that email I sent you, and it occurred to me that I may have come across as critical*. I certainly didn't mean to be- I just know that our pediatrician made a really big deal out of using whole milk at (youngest child)'s well baby visits** at that age and I wanted to share that info. Anyway, I feel like I may have overstepped my bounds. Sorry for the unsolicited advice!***"

*even if your email was completely non critical and perfectly written
**even if this is untrue
***at least she has the information now, and you may have been able to distance yourself from it enough that she won't get all defensive and may actually change what she's doing.
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#5 of 50 Old 12-19-2009, 04:59 PM
 
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LOL. I find myself in a new position here. I am the mother, I don't tend to take nutritional advice from peds, and it would floor me to have to turn over my one year old to another woman to parent. However, I am horrified hear how she is feeding her baby. I would be appalled to hear a one year old was subsisting on cows milk alone even if it was whole and organic but low fat milk cut with water is just beyond my comprehension for a mother with any means to do. She is putting her baby at SERIOUS risk and this is at best horribly neglectful. If a baby that age is not eating significant amounts of solids for nutrition they need to be on formula. I would take the baby to see his ped immediately- in fact I would make the appt as an emergency- and report this. If there was not an immediate change made I would report this to CPS as an emergency situation and try to get emergency custody change. FIRST though I would ask (or more properly) have the father ask WHY. If she got some bad advice maybe this can all be corrected with only some humiliation and bad feelings but this is NOT a small issue this is matter of nutrition for a developing baby.
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#6 of 50 Old 12-19-2009, 05:09 PM
 
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Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but if dss is only one, then you and dh must have gotten together before he even turned a year old? That can't be an easy situation for anyone. It seems like it might be more sensitive - and effective - to have your husband deal with this situation. What does he say about it?
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#7 of 50 Old 12-19-2009, 05:24 PM
 
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Forum crashing, sorry. Your DH needs to intervene because it is his place to do so. Yes you should send another email apologizing but he needs to get on top of this immediately. That poor baby. Why on earth would she think this is ok? Cutting milk with water? Milk is not that $$$, sheesh.

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#8 of 50 Old 12-19-2009, 05:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by PoppyMama View Post
LOL. I find myself in a new position here. I am the mother, I don't tend to take nutritional advice from peds, and it would floor me to have to turn over my one year old to another woman to parent. However, I am horrified hear how she is feeding her baby. I would be appalled to hear a one year old was subsisting on cows milk alone even if it was whole and organic but low fat milk cut with water is just beyond my comprehension for a mother with any means to do. She is putting her baby at SERIOUS risk and this is at best horribly neglectful. If a baby that age is not eating significant amounts of solids for nutrition they need to be on formula. I would take the baby to see his ped immediately- in fact I would make the appt as an emergency- and report this. If there was not an immediate change made I would report this to CPS as an emergency situation and try to get emergency custody change. FIRST though I would ask (or more properly) have the father ask WHY. If she got some bad advice maybe this can all be corrected with only some humiliation and bad feelings but this is NOT a small issue this is matter of nutrition for a developing baby.
I agree with this entirely. That is very scary to hear. I worry enough about my 18 month old who still gets a TON of breast milk as well as eats a moderate amount of solid foods. I can't imagine what would give her the idea that feeding her year-old son a diet primarily of watered down low-fat milk is okay. I am just baffled and highly disturbed. Whether you broached the subject appropriately or not, this IS something that needs to be addressed-- and stat!

I'm me. In love with this guy. We're bringing up two girls: Big A (8) and Little A (3)

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#9 of 50 Old 12-19-2009, 07:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by prothyraia View Post
Forum crashing here.

"Dear DSS's Mom,
I was just thinking about that email I sent you, and it occurred to me that I may have come across as critical*. I certainly didn't mean to be- I just know that our pediatrician made a really big deal out of using whole milk at (youngest child)'s well baby visits** at that age and I wanted to share that info. Anyway, I feel like I may have overstepped my bounds. Sorry for the unsolicited advice!***"

*even if your email was completely non critical and perfectly written
**even if this is untrue
***at least she has the information now, and you may have been able to distance yourself from it enough that she won't get all defensive and may actually change what she's doing.
I like this idea for a follow up email.
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Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but if dss is only one, then you and dh must have gotten together before he even turned a year old? That can't be an easy situation for anyone. It seems like it might be more sensitive - and effective - to have your husband deal with this situation. What does he say about it?
It was not your place to contact her about their son's well-being. It would have been more appropriate for his father to discuss this with his mother. At least he has parental rights to back him up. And I agree, if he's only 1 year old, I can't imagine how your suggestion would have been received positively.


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Originally Posted by Latte Mama View Post
Forum crashing, sorry. Your DH needs to intervene because it is his place to do so. Yes you should send another email apologizing but he needs to get on top of this immediately. That poor baby. Why on earth would she think this is ok? Cutting milk with water? Milk is not that $$$, sheesh.

Yes, why hasn't the father intervened? Why does he let his new wife take care of this? If his ex is providing negligent nutrition, he has a say in getting this fixed. You don't. How can he not know why the milk is being mixed with water? This is his child, he should know the why's about his care.

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#10 of 50 Old 12-19-2009, 08:18 PM
 
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Eating bottles of milk only is not good. That child needs other nurishment, or he is going to start to failure to thrive.

Here is the nutritional information on 2% milk (different brands very a bit, but in general)...

Serving size - 8 oz (1 cup)
Calories - 130
Cals from Fat - 45
Grams Fat - 5
Grams Sugar - 12
Grans Protien - 8

So, most bottles are an 8 ounce bottle, so she is giving him...1/2 milk (4 oz) and 1/2 water (4 oz)..here is what he is getting in every 8 oz bottle

Calories - 65
Cals from Fat - 22.5
Grams Fat - 2/5
Grams Sugar - 6
Grams Protein - 4

Here is the recommended daily intake of a 1 year old in Calories is 900 a day. Also, it is not recommended to give more than 2 -3 cups of milk (16 - 24 oz) because it can lead to iron deficiency in a 1 year old. To get the calorie intake he would have to be going through 15 8 oz bottles a day.

Also, is there a reason why this child is not eating solids at all, and only eating bottles of milk. If I were your DH, I would contact the child's pediatrician, which is his legal rights to do so, and set up an appointment to discuss his concerns with the pediatrician about the child's nutrition and eating habits.

Also, just because mom only gives him milk like this, does not mean your DH in his/your home cannot offer him a variety of foods other than a bottle of milk. She has no rights to dictate in his/your house how you feed the child, unless what DH/you are doing puts the child in substantial medical harm.
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#11 of 50 Old 12-19-2009, 09:34 PM
 
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Yes, you overstepped. We all make mistakes -- don't be too hard on yourself. Navigating the stepmom thing is difficult at best. You could send a note saying as much.

I remember DSD's first birthday. I was certainly not invited, and DH skipped it and threw her his own party. But I digress.

In my own experience in dealing with a very difficult person in the same situation, the best plan when you have an objection is almost always to ignore it. If it rises to this level, though, you could write the same note you wrote, but have DH send it from his account and sign his name.

But, in reality, it sounds like she's not likely to listen to either of you. I had to suck it up many times, like when she put tiny DSD in a backless booster seat she wasn't ready for, when she lets DSS (9) ride in the front seat of her car for no reason, and when she feeds DSD sugar (well, high fructose corn syrup) soda every night and then we have to pay to put dental crowns on a 5 year old! Some people just can't listen -- it wouldn't fit their superiority complex.

Remember, you and your husband are the parents in your house and you should have your DH find out the source of this weird diet and if there is no good reason, take him to your own pediatrician and get written advice (for the mother), and feed the child healthfully at your house. When you hand DSS back, have your DH scratch his head and say that the ped recommended a different diet, hand it to her, and leave it at that.

Or, anyway, that's my $0.02.

The stepmom thing is difficult because you try to love them as your own, but yet you have to detach the things you can't control (which is quite a lot!)

Good luck!!

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#12 of 50 Old 12-20-2009, 03:11 AM
 
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Violets advice was PERFECT.
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#13 of 50 Old 12-20-2009, 10:36 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Latte Mama View Post
Forum crashing, sorry. Your DH needs to intervene because it is his place to do so. Yes you should send another email apologizing but he needs to get on top of this immediately. That poor baby. Why on earth would she think this is ok? Cutting milk with water? Milk is not that $$$, sheesh.

This may not be the case...When my nephew switched to milk at a year old he couldn't tolerate the whole milk..The doctor had her start him on 2% mixed half with water to get his tummy in line with it so there was no cramps and diareah.And every few weeks she would slowly up the milk part vs water in the milk..he never could tolerate whole milk but did just fine on 2%.Also had a child in my nursery who went on this protocal after formula..She is now almost 2 and still takes 2% or gets bad diareah..

OP...Might have DH just ask the X if the milk is bothering his tummy.Might save a whole lot of speculation and feeling hurt in the end..
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#14 of 50 Old 12-20-2009, 12:36 PM
 
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I'd send another email to apologize right now. There is probably a reason. My ped was telling me that the kids with low iron are the ones drinking milk for thirst and filling up on it, so they aren't eating solids. She could be flavoring the water with milk so he'll drink it, but not fill up. It's dangerous to be letting him get most of his calories from cow's milk.

mom to DD 3/09
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#15 of 50 Old 12-20-2009, 03:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well she still hasn't read my email (thankfully) but did have DH talk to her. She says she hasn't even talked to the pedi about his diet, and feels she doesn't need to because she is doing what her mom did for her when she was a baby and she survived.

Ok...and then she went on to say that her WIC only covers 2% milk, which I'm going to do some research but that sounds wacky to me. DH offered to send her extra $$ for whole milk for him, but she refused saying she's going to do it her way.

So, we've determined her pediatrician didn't recommend it. We fed him whole milk from that point on this weekend, he's done fine on it. I managed to get him to eat a little baby food as well..but she says since he's teething she only feeds him snacks..like mum mums and Gerber puffs all day long. So he's not really digging "real" food.

We've done what we can but only seeing him 4 days a month isn't going to make much difference in his nutrition unfortunately, but we've done what we can at this point. He looks healthy, is a healthy weight (he was labeled failure to thrive at 6 mos old when she was breastfeeding so she had to start him on formula as well as breastmilk at that stage). But he's not in the "failure to thrive" category now. He's walking and happy and giggling, so as long as he's healthy we are just going to leave it at that.

Thanks so much for the advice everyone!

Mommy to four under age 4!
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#16 of 50 Old 12-20-2009, 06:22 PM
 
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I think that's the best thing to do in the short-term. Long-term, it would be really nice if your DH got more than EOW visitation, both because 1) that's just a good thing generally if the dad is not a total loser and 2) you would then have a chance on a weekday to take dss to a doctor if nutrition is an ongoing issue or some other potentially major problem crops up in the next 17 years. Also, your DH could make a point to take off work and be present for the next well-baby visit, so there can be an Officially Sanctioned conversation about nutrition that doesn't involve you at all.

This is not a trivial misstep on the part of the mom. This is some seriously bad nutrition at a very vulnerable stage. You don't want to overstep or usurp, true enough, but you also don't want your dss to be malnourished.

Right now, you've got four days a month to feed him well. Make the most of them!
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#17 of 50 Old 12-20-2009, 08:36 PM
 
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Ok...and then she went on to say that her WIC only covers 2% milk, which I'm going to do some research but that sounds wacky to me
For 1 year olds, WIC only covers whole milk.
For 2+ year olds and adult women they used to offer a choice but have either or are shortly going to switch to only offering low/non fat milk.
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#18 of 50 Old 12-20-2009, 09:41 PM
 
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For 1 year olds, WIC only covers whole milk.
For 2+ year olds and adult women they used to offer a choice but have either or are shortly going to switch to only offering low/non fat milk.
Starting with Coupons issued on or after 10/1/2009 WIC only covers whole milk for children 1-2 years of age. When the child reaches age 2 (or a pregnant/post partum/nursing mother is on it) it only covers 2%, 1%, 1/2% or low fat, unless there is a prescription for something else.

She could be using older coupons, which she received prior to 10/1/2009. For instance, we just re-did our WIC, but what we picked up at end of August/beginning of September was the old package and had the old coupons even for October and November.
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#19 of 50 Old 12-20-2009, 09:45 PM
 
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It's good that your dh addressed this with the mother. Even if he is at an adequate weight I would still be very concerned about her nutritional choices and not let it go. Insufficient fat intake at his age is very bad for brain development and that is something that he will carry with him his entire life.
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#20 of 50 Old 12-21-2009, 02:50 AM
 
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I never heard of a one year old subsisting only on milk! My baby needed to get on solids at 4 1/2 months; 5 months seems to be the norm. When does the mom expect to get him onto real food??
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#21 of 50 Old 12-21-2009, 10:52 AM
 
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I'd have zero issues with my ex bringing up any issues at all. My claws would come out (unless I had a fab relationship with her) if his SO emailed/called to give unsolicited advice. Just like my ex would blow his stack if my gf emailed him to give him advice about the kids.... Maybe that puts it a little more in perspective? About the milk issue though - I do think you're right!

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#22 of 50 Old 12-22-2009, 05:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well she finally read the email. She just wrote back "Please don't write to me", then called DH and told him that she would feed her son however she wanted to. So, much good that does! From now on if I'm concerned about him, if its serious, I'll just have DH talk to her or call CPS.

Mommy to four under age 4!
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#23 of 50 Old 12-22-2009, 06:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dachshund mom View Post
I'd send another email to apologize right now. There is probably a reason. My ped was telling me that the kids with low iron are the ones drinking milk for thirst and filling up on it, so they aren't eating solids. She could be flavoring the water with milk so he'll drink it, but not fill up. It's dangerous to be letting him get most of his calories from cow's milk.
This. My son wanted NOTHING to do with solids and would have subsisted on milk had we not cut it with water. I am well aware that one year olds need other calorie sources, and I am sure that it would have appeared to an outsider that I was seriously screwing up.

ETA: Just re-read the original post and realized that given the young age of DSS and the fact that her ex is already remarried, your husband's ex is probably feeling very raw and threatened. I cannot imagine having to give up my baby for joint custody visits. Unless the baby is clearly not thriving, I think it would be best for you all to give your DP's ex a LOT of space and MYOB.

Leeann, mama to 3*magic*kids: DD 1/03 DD 9/04 DS 8/06
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#24 of 50 Old 12-22-2009, 07:38 PM
 
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ETA: Just re-read the original post and realized that given the young age of DSS and the fact that her ex is already remarried, your husband's ex is probably feeling very raw and threatened. I cannot imagine having to give up my baby for joint custody visits. Unless the baby is clearly not thriving, I think it would be best for you all to give your DP's ex a LOT of space and MYOB.
And your husband should be the only one intervening or participating in his son's care. You calling CPS over some concern you have is just so out of line.

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#25 of 50 Old 12-23-2009, 12:43 AM
 
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Um, yeah. Calling CPS on your DH's ex: way to make that relationship go from difficult to impossible.

Lucky wife to DH and mom to DS (10/02) and sweet DD (7/08) and DSD (3/93) and assorted animalia
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#26 of 50 Old 12-23-2009, 11:40 AM
 
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Well she finally read the email. She just wrote back "Please don't write to me", then called DH and told him that she would feed her son however she wanted to. So, much good that does! From now on if I'm concerned about him, if its serious, I'll just have DH talk to her or call CPS.

Call CPs becuase you are concerned/don't like how your husbands exwife is rasing their child? And based on the posts, a child it appears she was pregnant with at the time you were getting together with her husband.

personally I think there is some middle ground between hoping your husband talks to her and calling CPS. That poor kid

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#27 of 50 Old 12-23-2009, 11:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I never SAID I was calling CPS over THIS. But she does MANY dangerous/unhealthy things with this baby, and if it gets to the point that his life is in danger, and she won't listen to DH, we will have to take other steps.

And FYI, I didn't "get with" my husband until their son was 6 months old. So you saying I was with him while she was pregnant was WAY out of line!

Mommy to four under age 4!
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#28 of 50 Old 12-23-2009, 09:28 PM
 
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Well she finally read the email. She just wrote back "Please don't write to me", then called DH and told him that she would feed her son however she wanted to. So, much good that does! From now on if I'm concerned about him, if its serious, I'll just have DH talk to her or call CPS.
I think you are being a little unrealistic in your expectations. Please, for just a moment, put yourself in this other woman's shoes. You have a 6 month old baby, and your DH or SO leaves you to be with another woman. Only 6 months later, still stinging from the wound, you yet find the grace to invite her to your dear baby's birthday party, but by no means are you ready to be chummy with her.

Fast forward a few weeks, and now this other woman starts giving you parenting advice. And, on a public message board, threatens to call CPS unless you comply with her wishes.

I think you put it best in the title of this thread.
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#29 of 50 Old 12-23-2009, 09:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Why are you assuming they split up for him to be with me? That's utterly absurd. They broke up before we ever even talked. I'm not threatening to call CPS if she "doesn't comply with my wishes". I said if she continues doing things that are detrimental to DSS and won't even LISTEN to DH's concerns, SOMETHING has to be done to PROTECT DSS. How else is this supposed to be accomplished if she won't listen to anybody and even do research for the sake of her son? I mean, seriously? We are supposed to coddle her FEELINGS at the EXPENSE of DSS? I mean, really. I think I am done with this board. I have never been to a more negative place where all that seems to matter is his mother's feelings because "poor her, she's not with DSS's father anymore". I mean, REALLY.

Mommy to four under age 4!
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#30 of 50 Old 12-24-2009, 01:40 AM
 
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Somehow this post went from good to bad and now it is going downhill. CPS doesn't have to be a threat or a negative. Children need an advocate and if your DSS needs you then and DH is unable to get the childs mother to do right then CPS may need to step in. You stated there was no Dr. recommendation for the watered down milk, he has a history of failure to thrive and now his mom is shutting you and DH down on discussing his nutricion. Really if she won't change and won't discuss it then you may have no choice but to turn to CPS.

(I just wanted to point out that we have no idea of the relationship DH had with the bio mom and why it ended. Before drawing conclusions and pointing fingers, it is possible that bio mom was the one who ended the relationship, or the relationship was over years ago but the child was concieved, or a whole bunch of things)

Sophia ~ 9/21 learning how to be crunchy mama. Uh oh, I just went over the crunch edge! ECing!! Planned ~ maybe next time : :
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