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#1 of 106 Old 03-01-2010, 06:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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And yet, I can't seem to open up my trap and say something.

We are in a tough living situation, we are too broke to move elsewhere. My husband and I are 19, approaching 20. We live in the basement of MILs house. She lives on the first floor with her DH, 15yo DD, and DH's Uncle (FILs brother). MIL's father and mother live upstairs from her, and MILs cousin and his wife and three children live in the attic apartment. Yes, very less than ideal.

We pay little to nothing for rent, have many amenities, have food availible to us almost every day (though not my ideal choice of food, but that's a story for another post).

As I said, DH's uncle lives upstairs. Background on him.. He's in his late 30s. He is an illegal immigrant, and I think that is one of the main reasons he lives with us (he has a small room next to the kitchen). Aside from that.. it is strange. He used to be an alcoholic and nearly died and has been sober for at least 5 years, probably more. He has only had one girlfriend that my DH knows of, and they split some years ago. Recently he has been really moody- just figured I'd add that. My MIL told me that "he needs a woman". We're not sure what's with his crankiness... if MIL doesn't put food on the table, if there is no hot water for a shower (which is often, what with 15 of us living in this house).. anything just gets him in a horribly bad mood and he'll outright ignore you or slam a door in your face- it is strange.

SO. DH's MIL's cousins (family in the attic) have three kids... 7yoDD, 4yoDS, 2yoDD. Said uncle is the 4yo's godfather but not close to him at all and appears to be really annoyed by him. He is very close to the 2yo girl AND my 2yo DD.

When DD was a baby (we moved in with them when she was 6mos old) he always wanted to hold her, etc. I thought it was okay, I felt that DHs family was deprived of my daughter (long story). Some things that strike me as odd..

-For awhile he would state that "He would be the godfather for both of our daughters and he would pay for their big 3yo birthday party, and it would be in a banquet hall and DD would have a beautiful dress and do a waltz and blah blah blah" until DH & I clued them in on the fact that we weren't baptizing and we don't like huge crazy parties for children, and that it wouldn't be happening.

-On one occasion he took DD, then 18mos, (without permission!) on a walk, at 8pm at night, down the street to 7-11. I had NO CLUE where she was, and ran around asking everyone. It was a family barbeque and I had stepped inside to the bathroom for a moment- learned my lesson the hard way, shame on me for being irresponsible.

-At DDs first birthday party, while she was opening up a special gift from DH & I, he ran to the table and plopped this bright pink and purple glittery trike down. Totally interrupting DD and frightening her a bit- kind of pushed us aside like "look at MY gift!"

-From the time DD was little, he'd always take her into his room, like I said, next to the kitchen. Door open, very small room (7x7 at the biggest, I'd think) and would sit with her at his computer desk and play with random trinkets and things). I always sat at the kitchen table, honestly a foot from the door, chatting with them and watching everything. I find it inappropriate and should really have asked that they sit at the kitchen table with me.

-DD has for a very long time been his wallpaper on his computer screen.

-He's really touchy feely with DD and above mentioned 2yo girl- not sure how much is too much, I grew up with just my mother and grandmother and we were very fond of kisses and hugs, so I have trouble seeing the "norm" but it does make me a bit uncomfy, and I try to deter DD from the situation when I see it happening. Example.. He'll whisk DD onto his lap and give a loud "smooch smooch smooch on her cheeks or in her hair" and say "how you doing mama, how are you, etc." Not even sure if this is cultural.. but no one else does it in the family. He does it to above mentioned 2yo as well but her mom doesn't bat an eye.

-Something that really freaked me out- he held my 2mo old in his arms for about an hour, she was sleeping. I was sitting next to him on the couch and I would inch closer or lean my head in to see the baby and he would inch away.

-Just today, I was playing with said 2yo and DD with wooden board puzzles on the floor. He comes out of his room, walks over to us and plops down on his knees, kind of sliding in front of me (between DD & I) and does the smooching thing. I didnt see it coming so I couldn't whisk her away.

-He is strangely amused by DD. One night, after dinner, DD was sitting across the table and in the middle of MIL and FIL having a conversation, uncle randomly firmly says "NO!" to DD, a few times. (All of us know that when someone says "no", she gets VERY sentimental and cries as if heartbroken). DD got sentimental and began crying and he starts laughing! I took DD downstairs and we cuddled for a bit. Poor thing. I discussed this with MIL but she seemed nonchalant about it.

SO.. you all probably get my point. I know I need to step up and stop this- I feel uncomfortable, they're MY children, and I have 100% say in what happens. We rely so much on MIL and have to and thank goodness she is here.. any helpful advice on how to discuss this situation with her? She loves her grandchildren and I hope that I can make a point to help her see where I'm coming from, it is just that they think we are strange. Our parenting is the exact opposite of theirs- we're crunchy, they're mainstream, we're not religious and they are VERY. We're just "weird" to them. How the heck can I discuss this with MIL and help her understand? Better yet, how can I put a stop to this without disrupting DHs family?

I feel like an idiot for having posted this-especially because I have been so irresponsible. Tomorrow MIL and I will be alone and I hope to discuss some things with her.. but I really need some guidance.

Thanks.

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#2 of 106 Old 03-01-2010, 07:32 AM
 
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Couldn't read and not post. s to you, mama!

Well, it's early, and I'm tired (my baby is sick), so I'll just say that if it makes you feel uncomfortable, then honor your instincts. If YOU feel it's not right, then it's not.

And I totally get creepy vibes from what you described. He "needs a woman." His overt interest in the little girls.

It's hard to assert yourself when you are in a dependent situation. What about your DH? You didn't mention how he feels about all this. If you feel uneasy rocking the boat, and this is his family, can he step up and talk to his mom and/or uncle?

I urge you to protect your dd. What is the worst that will happen if you put your foot down and not let the uncle near her? Would you be kicked out? I don't know. I think your DH needs to get involved. Now.

Good luck, Windy, I hope you both feel safe soon.

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#3 of 106 Old 03-01-2010, 11:58 AM
 
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There are definitely some yellow flags there. Bordering on red. I would be creeped out too. Is it possible he has some mental issues?

I have a young male relative who I love very much but who started showing some iffy behaviors when we moved into the same house. At this point I don't think there's any evil intent, just general cluelessness and "trying too hard". But some things are inappropriate nonetheless and I nipped them in the bud.

Since I can't control this person and there is nothing specific to accuse him of, I started by teaching my children what's appropriate and what's not. Since we are not in our own home, but living with others, streaking is not appropriate. It's fun, it's funny, but it's not appropriate in most situations, including a multifamily home.
They are to close the door when changing or pottying and to holler loudly if anyone intrudes.

And most importantly, they learn from the get-go that if someone wants them to keep a secret from their parents, it's a sure sign that they need to come directly to us and tell us everything. And if there's an overt threat made, that's an even stronger sign to tell everything, immediately.

We had an issue with them going to this person's room too. Nothing inappropriate happened but it is a room in a quiet corner, can't be seen into unless you're standing directly outside the door, etc. I nixed that one firmly. Not by accusing him but by letting the whole family know that for safety and respect reasons, other's bedrooms are out of bounds for my children. I have a baby monitor in the kid's room so I can hear if someone enters or is hanging around their door. Since there's is an out-of-the-way room, they don't hang out up there, it's just for sleeping anyway.

I think you will need to start being a lot more watchful (your post indicates you know this), and kindly but firmly speak up anytime something is giving your creepy vibes. IE: he's got your baby and is inching away "I'm glad you enjoy the baby so much, but I'm going to go put her down in her own bed now." He tries to slip off with her: "I'm sorry, she needs to stay with us." He takes her to his room: "Hey, I have decided that I need to teach my children early on that we stay out of other people's rooms." If he actively resists you at that point or tries to secretly circumvent you, I'd say you know you have a serious problem on your hands, either mental illness or bad intent. If he's just unaware (as my relative is), he'll back off when he gets a strong signal that what he's doing is socially inappropriate and unacceptable to you. I really wouldn't accuse him directly of anything to your MIL. But I would ask her for her feelings on whether his behavior is appropriate. Or express your discomfort as a personal thing and not an accusation. That way she doesn't start out defensive, and may feel freer to agree with you and help you.
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#4 of 106 Old 03-01-2010, 12:10 PM
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as someone who has lived with her Inlaws and can totally empathize with that discomfort in general (my MIL did not like me at the time, amazing what having a baby can do for a relationship!)!!

Honestly, since you have posted all this stuff that concerns you I think you that it is an issue. To me, my first guy instinct would be to keep this guy completely away from my kids. Period. Obviously not that realistic if you have to stay in your current living situation?

Is there any possibility that your family could move from your In-Laws? That in itself would solve the majority of the problems. Easier said than done I know! We are in fact moving back to my MIL's for 5 months but it is just her and my DH and me and the baby.

Whether his intentions are good or not, I find the actions freaky and anyone that tries to get between me and my own child I have a serious problem with. That is regardless of the sex of the person and what their possible intent might be.

have you discussed this at length with your DH? I know you guys are young (my DH and I only just turned 24) but is there any way at all you could move out into a better living situation? There are a variety of assistance programs for housing (although it takes a lot of time I'm told)....

Good luck but I think you already know there is something to be concerned about. As a PP said trust your instincts they rarely steer you wrong!
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#5 of 106 Old 03-01-2010, 01:50 PM
 
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To anyone who has read Protecting the Gift, what you have described is the classic behavior of a child molester. Not only are warning bells going off in your head, but this man is paying way too much attention to your dd. The touchy feely behavior and taking your dd out of your presence is a HUGE red flag. Trust your instincts that this is not normal. I would in no uncertain terms make it very clear to this uncle that your dd is not to be alone with him and that his behavior makes you very uncomfortable and you think it is inappropriate.

I don't know that you need to have a discussion with MIL, so much as just tell her where you stand on the situation. Be prepared for her to be in complete denial, as well as the rest of the family.

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#6 of 106 Old 03-01-2010, 01:54 PM
 
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This is not feeling right to me. I'm getting goosebumps just thinking about your sweet dd.


Please, please change your living situation. Separate from this man and his "grooming" of your children.
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#7 of 106 Old 03-01-2010, 02:01 PM
 
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I haven't had a chance to read the other replies....just wanted to encourage you to trust your instincts!!
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#8 of 106 Old 03-01-2010, 02:11 PM
 
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To anyone who has read Protecting the Gift, what you have described is the classic behavior of a child molester. Not only are warning bells going off in your head, but this man is paying way too much attention to your dd. The touchy feely behavior and taking your dd out of your presence is a HUGE red flag. Trust your instincts that this is not normal. I would in no uncertain terms make it very clear to this uncle that your dd is not to be alone with him and that his behavior makes you very uncomfortable and you think it is inappropriate.

I don't know that you need to have a discussion with MIL, so much as just tell her where you stand on the situation. Be prepared for her to be in complete denial, as well as the rest of the family.
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#9 of 106 Old 03-01-2010, 02:34 PM
 
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I agree with the others, trust your instincts and limit your contact with him.

I come from an immigrant family, very touchy feely, very "the children belong to all of us" sort of mentality and some of what you described made me uncomfortable too.

I think Cappuccinosmom had great advice and just wanted to say that your MIL may be more open to you than you think. My parents' generation often think we have strange notions about parenting, but they usually keep that to themselves and go along with what we ask, esp. if, as in your case, their children have married into different cultures. If your situation came up in my family, someone would nicely tell the uncle to give you guys some space. Sort of "we know you don't mean any harm, but they do things differently so we have to respect that" type of conversation.
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#10 of 106 Old 03-01-2010, 02:42 PM
 
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He sounds mentally ill -- I'd monitor all "play" and explain to your MIL what makes you uncomfortable. To me at least he doesn't sound like a molester but someone who's challenged?

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#11 of 106 Old 03-01-2010, 03:55 PM
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I'd read Protecting the gift and be more firm. I am more disturbed by the inserting himself in between you and your Dd, trying to separate you, and taking her in his room. When your stomach tells you No, go with it.
He's blowing off your concerns and making you feel they aren't valid, making you look like you are over reacting, then when things finally go bad and he's harming the girls, no one will give it a second look and won't even listen or believe you.
He's grooming the whole family.
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#12 of 106 Old 03-01-2010, 04:18 PM
 
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Just another voice asking you to please trust your instincts. Your post gave me the creeps and I'm so sorry you have to deal with this. My first vote would be for you to get out of that living situation. If that's not possible then you definitely need to make sure he is NEVER alone with your kids for any reason. And you are just going to have to start speaking up when he's doing something that makes you uncomfortable. I know that is so much easier said than done, but it seems pretty necessary in this case.
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#13 of 106 Old 03-01-2010, 04:40 PM
 
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While I agree that a mother should trust her instincts, accusing someone of being a child molester is a very, very, very serious thing and I would never make such a serious and potentially devastating accusation based on an internet post.

Nor would I automatically assume that anyone who gave my toddler a gift or held my infant was a child molester.

You have every right to set whatever boundaries you like for your child, regardless of what material benefits you are receiving from this family. No amount of free rent or food makes it okay for them to do things with your child that make you uncomfortable.

But I'm not going to get on board the "he must be a child molester" train.

And yes, I have read "The Gift".
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#14 of 106 Old 03-01-2010, 05:03 PM
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While I agree that a mother should trust her instincts, accusing someone of being a child molester is a very, very, very serious thing and I would never make such a serious and potentially devastating accusation based on an internet post.

Nor would I automatically assume that anyone who gave my toddler a gift or held my infant was a child molester.

You have every right to set whatever boundaries you like for your child, regardless of what material benefits you are receiving from this family. No amount of free rent or food makes it okay for them to do things with your child that make you uncomfortable.

But I'm not going to get on board the "he must be a child molester" train.

And yes, I have read "The Gift".

She doesn't have to accuse him of anything, but she can distance her children from him as much as possible, thats for sure!

It is also not just the giving of a gift but the pattern of behavior that she describes that has most people on edge who have read it I think.
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#15 of 106 Old 03-01-2010, 05:07 PM
 
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He sounds mentally ill -- I'd monitor all "play" and explain to your MIL what makes you uncomfortable. To me at least he doesn't sound like a molester but someone who's challenged?

I was also wondering if perhaps he doesn't have a sense of common boundaries and is just truly lonely. However, you still need to listen to your insticts and put a stop to the uncomfortable behavior, regardless of the intent behind the behavior.
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#16 of 106 Old 03-01-2010, 05:35 PM
 
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Your gut is telling you something, and you should definitely listen.

I personally would never let dh's uncle be alone with dd. Ever. And I know it's way easier said than done, but i'd think about ways you could get out of that living situation.


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#17 of 106 Old 03-01-2010, 06:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, thank you,thank you, everyone.

We cannot realistically remove ourselves from this living situation. BUT, I can try and ensure that I keep both of my girls downstairs in our apartment as much as possible, or outside, or just in general away from him, you know?

I disagree about the people's rooms thing only because I wouldn't want to take that from her.. she often goes into 15yo SILs room (door open) to play with hair clips, etc. and be one of "the girls", which she very much enjoys. She also (more importantly) sometimes goes into MILs room to wind down for a few minutes (myself of MIL with her), she's suspected of having SPD and gets sensory overload quite rapidly.. this is typical when we have guests over and she just needs a moment. BUT, I will never allow her in his room again. If the situation were different with her I'd change the no-rooms rule in an instant.

It is hard.. just because we're dependent on everyone. And MIL would never kick us out.. so I'm going to start being firm. Thanks again.

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#18 of 106 Old 03-01-2010, 09:09 PM
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Your gut is telling you something, and you should definitely listen.

I personally would never let dh's uncle be alone with dd. Ever. And I know it's way easier said than done, but i'd think about ways you could get out of that living situation.






LISTEN TO YOUR GUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That "mama-bear instinct" has EVOLVED in humans over time for a reason!!! It's part of what allowed us to survive as a species. Listen to it.

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#19 of 106 Old 03-01-2010, 09:10 PM
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PS. If you can't find Protecting the Gift at the library, I'll mail you a copy. I feel that strongly about it. PM me your address, if you'd like.

I just read your title and my brain was screaming PROTECTING THE GIFT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#20 of 106 Old 03-01-2010, 09:47 PM
 
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She doesn't have to accuse him of anything, but she can distance her children from him as much as possible, thats for sure!

It is also not just the giving of a gift but the pattern of behavior that she describes that has most people on edge who have read it I think.
People in this thread are accusing him.

It's a very serious thing, to call someone a child molester or a potential child molester. "Mama bear instinct" isn't an excuse for making unsupported, potentially devastating accusations.

We can protect our children without calling every male who likes children a child molester.
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#21 of 106 Old 03-01-2010, 10:07 PM
 
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People in this thread are accusing him.

It's a very serious thing, to call someone a child molester or a potential child molester. "Mama bear instinct" isn't an excuse for making unsupported, potentially devastating accusations.

We can protect our children without calling every male who likes children a child molester.
Here's the thing... I don't kiss my own children on the lips. I kiss their faces, like a cheek or forehead. Lip kissing is for lovers.

And not handing a baby back when asked? That totally violates my sense of propriety.

Maybe he's not a child molester... but I don't think any of that is okay. I would be scheming hard to change the living situation.
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#22 of 106 Old 03-01-2010, 10:53 PM
 
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Here's the thing... I don't kiss my own children on the lips. I kiss their faces, like a cheek or forehead. Lip kissing is for lovers.



Um, I kiss my DD on the lips and all my family does?

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#23 of 106 Old 03-01-2010, 11:17 PM
 
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People in this thread are accusing him.

It's a very serious thing, to call someone a child molester or a potential child molester. "Mama bear instinct" isn't an excuse for making unsupported, potentially devastating accusations.

We can protect our children without calling every male who likes children a child molester.
I get your point, and it is a very serious thing. I just don't think that agreeing the behavior sounds predatory is in the same realm as knowing this man personally and calling him a molester to someone who knows him. Her original post is basically asking "does this sound like predatory behavior that I'm right to be wary of" and we're answering with our opinions "yes." I haven't yet seen anyone say "that man is for sure a molester."
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#24 of 106 Old 03-01-2010, 11:29 PM
 
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Eh, you overreact, you piss off DH's uncle. Big deal. Do it.

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#25 of 106 Old 03-02-2010, 12:23 AM
 
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Here's the thing... I don't kiss my own children on the lips. I kiss their faces, like a cheek or forehead. Lip kissing is for lovers.
Maybe in your house. I kiss my babies/children on the lips all the time.

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And not handing a baby back when asked? That totally violates my sense of propriety.
Where in the OP's post did she say he didn't hand the baby back when asked to do so?

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Maybe he's not a child molester... but I don't think any of that is okay. I would be scheming hard to change the living situation.
I think the OP should trust her gut. From her post, I didn't get "child molester", though. I got "boundary issues" and "lonely". Since I'm not there, I have no idea what the vibe he's giving off is like, and I, personally, pay more attention to that than to descriptions of behaviour. She should totally go with her gut feeling. It's important to teach her kids some guidelines, in any case.

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#26 of 106 Old 03-02-2010, 12:33 AM
 
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None of them scream out "dangerous" to me, but put together they are building a story. He could have problems, he could perhaps be wishing he was a daddy, he could be sincerely just bonding with her. It could be cultural, it could be that he has poor skills, it could be that he has no respect for the mom. Or it could be that he is grooming them and her daughter is the next victim.

One thing is definite here: mama has some instincts screaming at her. I say, no matter what the situation is, go with those instincts.

I have felt nothing when so and so held DD or wanted to play with her or give her presents. But then I have felt every bone in my body scream out just when another person ruffled her hair. I trust those instincts. C'mon, we have a biological imperative. Our primal parts are only interested in protecting our offspring. You need to put aside all the other static such as social etiquette and culture. Pay attention to your instincts. Don't let someone else walk over your mother/child bond. That's a test, even if he isn't a molester.

I also second and third reading "protecting the gift"

Mama to expecting Babe 2
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#27 of 106 Old 03-02-2010, 12:35 AM
 
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In my opinion, as their mother, if you are feeling uncomfortable you have EVERY right to pick your kid up, and out of his arms and say " Okay, time for mommy time!" " Time to change your diaper!" or whatever you need to say.

His behavior raises big red flags for me. Be assertive, mama. ((hugs))


ETA: I think in one of the above posts the OP said he would inch away from her, when she got closer to look at him holding the baby......I mean...........whoa....that means give me my baby back, to me...

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#28 of 106 Old 03-02-2010, 01:38 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountaingirl79 View Post
ETA: I think in one of the above posts the OP said he would inch away from her, when she got closer to look at him holding the baby......I mean...........whoa....that means give me my baby back, to me...
I'm not sure what I'd think, honestly. I'd find it very strange if a mom was "inching" closer to me while I was holding her baby. If she wanted the baby back, I'd expect her to ask, and I'd probably be wondering what on earth was going on.

Lisa, lucky mama of Kelly (3/93) ribboncesarean.gif, Emma (5/03) ribboncesarean.gif, Evan (7/05) ribboncesarean.gif, & Jenna (6/09) ribboncesarean.gif
Loving my amazing dh, James & forever missing ribbonpb.gif Aaron Ambrose ribboncesarean.gif (11/07) ribbonpb.gif

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#29 of 106 Old 03-02-2010, 02:02 AM
 
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I honestly wouldn't mind as much about the person inching away from me if it was a mother I knew, and was friends with or if there weren't any other weird things going on....

I have an uncle with who "sitting on his lap" was a normal thing for everyone else involved, except for him. ...if you know what I mean.... So, maybe that is why this raises a flag for me. Plus the other stuff OP mentioned....it just gets me motivated to say something, ykwim?

( I wanted to add that I was not a victim of my uncle's "come sit in my lap" scheme because my mom wouldn't let it happen. She always made up an excuse, I was very attached to my mom. It came out when I was a teen that some of my cousins had been molested by him. So... I just felt motivated to tell that story, for whatever reason. Stay firm in your convictions!)

**HUGS****

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#30 of 106 Old 03-02-2010, 03:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all so much! I'm proud of myself, when he got home from work, DD and I were in MILs living room. He marched right over to her "HI BEAUTIFUL!!" and I jumped in between them two (she was at her easel) and began coloring with her. Situation deterred.

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