My mom allowed the baby to be hurt. Now what? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My mother let my 12mo fall down the deck stairs! He’s totally fine – we got so lucky. But now it’s total chaos in my family. I need some advice from impartial minds about how to handle this challenge. Please help!

Here’s what happened – My mom watches the baby 2 or 3 days a week while I’m at work, trading off with DP’s mom. She absolutely loves him, is very caring to him, but honestly she’s neglectful at times. She’ll fall asleep in her chair while he’s toddling around our family room. Not a problem, since it’s reasonably well baby-proofed, but sometimes she’ll fall asleep with the dog door to the deck open and the gate to the next room open. She doesn’t always hear him when he cries. Her health isn’t great, and she’s slow, sometimes has a hard time carrying him, and compared to DP’s mom (who is younger, fitter, and generally more together) my mom is much less capable.

She had the baby out on the deck to play, and didn’t close the gate at the top of the stairs. (It’s left open so the dog can get down to the yard. We only close it when we’re out there with the babe.) The baby wandered over, and fell down half the staircase. She was sitting in her chair smoking (that’s a whole other issue) and wasn’t right near him. Mind you, the kid is lightning fast. I can’t stay right near him all the time either. But she didn’t see him getting close to the stairs until he was already down them. VERY luckily, he had bumps and bruises only, and within minutes of falling was smiling and laughing, so I knew he was totally OK. (I was working from home so I was able to run right out.) All of the other possible outcomes flashed before my eyes, ambulance, hospital, or worse, and it was really scary. Truly, he could have been badly injured or killed. The bottom of the steps is hard concrete. Shudder!!!

Up until this happened, even though I know my mom isn’t perfect, I have trusted her with the baby. Fundamentally I believed that he would be OK in her care. Now I know that this isn’t the case, and she won’t be watching him any more.

My DP is beyond furious. He’s saying things like “She will NEVER EVER see him again. She is dead to me.”

This is so upsetting to me.

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

BUT…

She loves this baby. He loves her. They have grand times together. My mom is old, and slow because of health issues. The only joy I have seen in her in years is because of this child. Her love for him is true and deep. If he is kept from her, her heart will break. I have been on the phone with her many times over the day since this happened, and she has been sobbing. I love her, she’s my mom, even if she made a mistake.

It’s not fair to keep him from her, and it’s not fair to keep her from him. He is a lucky boy to have all four of his grandparents living and nearby and in his daily life. The more love in his life the better. And he was not harmed. Yes, he could have been harmed, but he wasn't.

BUT…

DP says no way, never. He is toxic talking about her. He is treating this as if she took a bat and struck the baby, or threw him off the deck with her own hands. Mind you, they have never liked each other or gotten along. But now, it’s horrible. He wished her dead.

Thanksgiving is coming, Christmas is coming, and I have to navigate this, and I’m just beside myself.

So what now? Do I let him cool off for a while? Do I sneak the baby out to see my mom on the sly? Do I put my foot down and tell him that part of our job as parents is to teach consequences, but also to teach forgiveness. My mom’s consequence is that she can no longer be alone with him, but we should forgive her enough to allow her to see him. Right?

 

Thank you to anyone who read all this. I guess I’m just looking for advice on how to navigate this world. Have any of you had a grandparent harm your child, how did you handle it?

Many thanks.


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#2 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 12:46 PM
 
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"My mom made a mistake. A terrible, totally preventable, mistake. It was not an accident. It should not have happened."

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

If it was the latter, well, you've got other problems.

 

Honestly, if it were me, she wouldn't be babysitting (falling ASLEEP while the baby is roaming free???), but NOT b/c of the stairs.  My ds has fallen down stairs before, and me and my dad (healthy, in great shape) were RIGHT there and we just couldn't catch him.  My ds has fallen off other things too when I was RIGHT there and just couldn't catch him.  Baby catching is hard work once they start walking.

 

ETA - really?  she's dead to your DP???  WHAT?????????

 

Whats going to happen when he's with the baby and the baby falls down?  It WILL happen, its just a matter of time.  My ex used to be really unnervingly on top of our ds and wouldn't let him do anything, until he realized that ds was going to fall and get hurt, and get bumps and bruises, and 99% of the time he'll be ok.  It took until he spent significant amounts of time alone with ds to understand that. 

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#3 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 12:47 PM
 
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I'd take a break for a bit. I don't think your mom should watch your kiddo anymore (and probably shouldn't have been watching him to begin with). I'd talk to dp about allow her to see your kid with one of you present. I'd give him some time to cool off th


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#4 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 12:47 PM
 
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I agree that your mom should not be babysitting alone.  But to not let her see the baby because of an accident is absolutely ridiculous.  Your DP sounds irrational, controlling and unreasonable.  It sounds to me like he's trying to cut you off from your family.  No way would you should let him dictate that your mom shouldn't see the baby.

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#5 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 12:48 PM
 
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First, I am glad your little one is okay. I understand your DP is upset. What is the nature of the issues your mom and DP have? It seems like his anger in regards to never wanting your DC around your mom is larger than what occured. I do agree that your mom should not be allowed with your DC alone. It's obviously not safe given her medical issues. I won't even go there about smoking around a child. I do think never letting her see your DC is a bit drastic but I get the feeling there is more going on between your DP and your mom than you've said. 

 

Why do your mom and DP not get along? Has he always been okay with your mom watching DC? Perhaps, he's reacting so harshly because he doesn't feel your reacting harshly enough?

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#6 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 12:49 PM
 
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Your DP needs to calm down. Clearly this is neglect because it is part of a larger

Pattern. That means she no long babysits or is the supervising person at least for awhile (no runs to the bathroom while she watches the baby). That doesn't mean she can't be a loving part of his life. I wouldn't leave my DD with my dad, but I wouldn't hesitate to spend the afternoon together as a family.

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#7 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 12:50 PM
 
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I think you should put your foot down and tell him that this is your mother and your son's grandmother and you will not let him alienate you from loved ones.  I'm sure it was upsetting to everyone for the fall to happen.  Those things happen, even while under the watch of faster, younger, non-smoking mothers and fathers. 

 

While I understand if he puts his foot down about unsupervised visitation, but he cannot justify cutting your mother out of your and your baby's lives.  Unacceptable. 

 

Also, I'm assuming that your son just started walking.  I'm guessing your mother didn't realize that this could happen.  I can't imagine cutting my mother out of my life for something like this.  You felt that she was neglectful...now you know that she can't handle the child alone (at least at this age) so deal with that, but don't cut people out for honest mistakes.  Soon you'll have nobody if you do that.

 

Is your boyfriend controlling in other ways?  Was this just that unsettling to him or is this a pattern?


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#8 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 12:51 PM
 
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First of all, does cooling down help your DH?  I know mine can NOT speak normally when he's emotionally wound up.  But once he cools down real communication can begin.  Is that something that works for your DH?  If he holds a grudge easily, I don't see how waiting "until he cools down" will help.

 

Having said that, I don't think sneaking is the best answer in a marriage.  I would simply tell him the baby and I are going to see my Mom on x day.  You are invited if you like, otherwise we'll see you when we get back. 

 

Answer this, would you feel the same way he does about his mom, if she was the one that had let the baby fall?  Would he feel the same way if it was his mom?  It sounds to me like he was looking for an excuse and the terrible fear of the situation pushed him over the edge.  (The fear, as you know, is AWFUL.)

 

Do you have regular plans for the holiday?  Or do you fly by the seat of your pants?  If you have regular plans, keep them.  It's his choice to come or bow out. 

 

And before someone chimes in to say this is his child too and his wishes should be respected as well.  The OP has already said the baby won't be left alone with grandma - ever.  So there has been actions/consequences to what grandma did.  Saying she is dead to family is overly punative and isn't making the baby any safer.  In fact, the baby will suffer from not seeing the person he used to see two or three times a week. 

 

I'm sorry you're having to go through this.  I'm glad your son is okay and I hope your DH calms down a bit.

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#9 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 12:52 PM
 
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My vote is yes, put your foot down with DP. It WAS an accident. Both you and your DP are projecting a lot of malicious intent in your words. I know it is hard when a kid has an accident in someone else's care to process the feelings. But sometimes things happen and wishing someone dead about it is shameful. You realize that your mom is not capable of keeping up with him at the point and you have decided she can't watch him alone anymore. Done. To be punitive on top of that is wrong in my opinion. To end a relationship over it would be tragic.

 

My mother accidently stabbed my little one in the eye with a pencil. I handled it like I would any other accident. He's fine? Ok good, so from now on you need to pay more attention when you are helping him with his worksheets. And move on.

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#10 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 12:56 PM
 
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Um, yes, to all of this.  It was a mistake--it was horrible, preventable, and terrifying, but a mistake.  The whole "dead to me" thing is a bit over the top, but I'd imagine he's freaking out and scared and really really ticked off right now, which is understandable.  I think eventually he'll chill out--especially when he finds out that toddlers are walking accident prone creatures who will fall and hit their head or do other things that result in injuries even when you think you've done everything you can to protect them.

 

And I'd find a new babysitter, ASAP.  A young child should never ever be left with a caregiver who is not physically/mentally/emotionally able to care for that child.  I wouldn't switch caregivers because he fell down the stairs...kids fall down the stairs...it happens to the best of us.  But, you yourself admitted that she can't keep up with the baby--it will only get worse as the baby turns into a toddler.  I certainly wouldn't allow your husband to keep her away from her grandchild though--I am sure she's feeling absolutely devistated.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

If it was the latter, well, you've got other problems.

 

Honestly, if it were me, she wouldn't be babysitting (falling ASLEEP while the baby is roaming free???), but NOT b/c of the stairs.  My ds has fallen down stairs before, and me and my dad (healthy, in great shape) were RIGHT there and we just couldn't catch him.  My ds has fallen off other things too when I was RIGHT there and just couldn't catch him.  Baby catching is hard work once they start walking.

 

ETA - really?  she's dead to your DP???  WHAT?????????

 

Whats going to happen when he's with the baby and the baby falls down?  It WILL happen, its just a matter of time.  My ex used to be really unnervingly on top of our ds and wouldn't let him do anything, until he realized that ds was going to fall and get hurt, and get bumps and bruises, and 99% of the time he'll be ok.  It took until he spent significant amounts of time alone with ds to understand that. 




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#11 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 12:56 PM
 
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There is no way I would cut Grandma out of my child's life over this.

 

Toddlers at this age fall.  A lot.  They fall off of couches and beds and changing tables, they fall on grass and on sidewalks, they fall off of playground equipment.  Fortunately, they're generally pretty durable, and they generally survive it.  It's reasonable to take precautions (like gating off the stairs), but it's not reasonable to be totally unforgiving.  (If so, I, for example, would never be allowed near my children.  Nor would DH.  Or any of their grandparents.  DS is a daredevil who has fallen off of *everything*.  We bolted the bookshelves to the wall, gated the stairs and the kitchen, and we do our best to carry on.)

 

I agree that your mom shouldn't be babysitting.  It sounds like it's getting to be too much for her.  But I think your line about consequences and forgiveness is the right tack to take.  It would be terrible if this incident meant that your child lost a loving grandmother in his life.

 

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#12 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 01:00 PM
 
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I think everyone makes mistakes when watching kids. That your DH hasn't yet...trust me, it is just a matter of time. Your mom does not sound capable of watching him by herself. But your DH needs to chill out. One day it will be him who let the baby fall down the stairs (or something else) and he will be asking forgiveness. What are you going to do then, divorce him? Because by his standards, you should.


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#13 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 01:00 PM
 
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It is SCARY to have a little one, especially as first time parents, and when accidents happen it really shakes you up! But that is reality… accidents happen, and they will happen again. So I would remind your DP that children get hurt; it just happens… and will likely happen in his care at some point as well! Ask him how he would like it if he ever “makes a mistake” with his child and you decide it is unforgivable and he dead to you greensad.gif  


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#14 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 01:01 PM
 
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It was an accident. I would forgive her and move on.  If she is older and slow, she probably isn't a good fit to be your little one's care provider though.  Just have her visit when you are there.  I think your partner should get over it too.  would he act this way if it was his mom or you who had made the mistake?  But I definately think you should rethink your childcare. 

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#15 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 01:06 PM
 
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100% agreed with this.

 

I might agree not to let her babysit for him, but would NEVER keep her from seeing him at all.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cjam View Post

I agree that your mom should not be babysitting alone.  But to not let her see the baby because of an accident is absolutely ridiculous.  Your DP sounds irrational, controlling and unreasonable.  It sounds to me like he's trying to cut you off from your family.  No way would you should let him dictate that your mom shouldn't see the baby.




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#16 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 01:11 PM
 
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How does your dp react if your kid gets hurt in his care or yours?

 

Kids get hurt.  They fall down, they get bruises.  No, it doesn't sound like your mom is probably the best caretaker of him at this age, but I certainly don't think you should cut her out of his life.  That's way overboard. 

 

My mil has a harder time getting around, doesn't move as fast, etc as my mom does.  So while I don't leave my kids in her care all day long, several times a week, she does get to see them and watch them.  My kids just spend 4 days with my mom and my 4.5 year old came home with a giant bruise on his chin.  He was climbing on the back of the couch, fell and hit his chin on her hardwood floor.  Cutting her out of my kids' lives never even entered my mind.

 

I'm sure your mom feels awful, but your dp really really needs to chill.

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#17 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 01:46 PM
 
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I think it's something she won't let happen again.  She feels awful.  But, I can promise you that something will happen on your watch or daddy's watch.  Kids get hurt.  No matter who's watching.  I think your DP is overreacting in such a way that the original issue is small by comparison.

 

I think your mom can handle being around your son and watching him if someone else is there too.  Your mom deserves to be with your son just as she always has... she just needs a second pair of eyes.  I don't know what you've been paying her to watch your son, but maybe she'd be willing to help out for free while you pay someone else to actually be in charge of keeping him safe.  She's still going to be one of his favorite people in the whole world.  But, she can't always be counted on to remember things like gates.

 

When you were being raised, parents didn't use gates very long.  Instead parents taught the kids to go down the stairs before they could even walk.  Your son is old enough to learn how to go down steps backwards.  Now, if you don't have a fenced yard, that could be a whole other issue.  But, if the yard is safe, teach him to use the stairs.  Make the yard safe for him, then teach him.  

 

Once I let a daycare baby stand near the back door to my deck.  Only, I forgot I had opened the screen.  She had no idea the screen was open, and leaned against it to look out, and fell out the door onto that sand papery non slip deck.  Face first.  It was awful, and she had scrapes on her face for a week.  But, nobody flew into a rage and refused to let her come back to my house... and, I never, ever forgot to close the screen before letting a baby play near it after that.

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#18 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 02:02 PM
 
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Your mom made a careless mistake. It's nothing to to freak out so bad about that you should never let her see the baby again.  My own daughter fell down about 14 stairs onto a concrete pad when she was around 18 months old. I was right behind her, her older sisters were in front of her and she went tumbling down.  I tried to grab her but she only had a diaper on and I wasn't fast enough to catch her.  While it was horrifying to watch she came out of it ok.  I believe your dh is very much over-reacting to this situation. 


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#19 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 02:21 PM
 
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a few things that all have already said.

 

all 3 of you have to have a chance to get over this shock. its been horrible for all of you, but i would imagine the worst one suffering is your mom. she will never be able to forgive herself for letting it happen. 

 

you all need cooling down period. 

 

the next thing is your opening paragraph is pretty eye opening for me. even knowing everything you still allowed your mom to babysit. she should have not been babysitting right from the beginning.  in a sense i dont even feel its her fault. it is you guys not making sure you get a safe babysitter.

 

having said that i totally understand where you stand. its sooo hard to watch our parents grow old and to tell them - inform them that they are growing old. that they can no longer do this.

 

so i would say just talk to your mom. just you. without bringing your dh in. talk to her about all that you have observed - without even involving your son. 

 

i am sure you might take a lot of weight off your mom's back. 

 

there is this whole family dynamics. 

 

your biggest problem is not safe babysitter for your son. you can find one. the biggie here is sitting with your mom and explaining why she cant babysit your son. which should have been done a long time ago and not now. but i can totally understand why not before. esp. your mom. 

 

and the first time your dh drops the baby, or the baby has an accident while within arms reach of dh - just look at him. he will understand. right now he does not have the ability to understand.

 

he is responding to his genes. protecting his child. 

 

and i totally agree with nextcommercial. your ds is old enough to learn a lot of safety measures - like climbing down beds, stairs, not going near the oven...


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#20 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the replies everyone. It makes me feel more sane to hear other people saying that DP is overreacting. He feels like I'm under-reacting and it's really hard to have perspective in the middle of all this.

 

I wanted to respond to what Super Single Mama said:

 

Quote:

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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


Spiralshell -- Mama to David Nathaniel, born October 2009. And so you see I have come to doubt all that I once held as true. I stand alone without belief, the only truth I know is you.
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#21 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 05:10 PM
 
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I say this gently but the parts that I bolded show that this really was a joint mistake in a way - because just as she might have foreseen the tumble, you clearly foresaw it too and by continuing to have her care for him you do have some responsibility. And that is OK - because we all do make mistakes and 99.9% of the time the consequences are not dire. But I think you need to own that (and your DH, assuming he knew about it). And then you all need to forgive everyone...and not have her babysit again.

 

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

 


 

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Originally Posted by Spiralshell View Post


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

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

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

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

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



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#22 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 05:23 PM
 
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He is overreacting and I would say to just give it time but it sounds like this is not something he will drop so I would put my foot down.  She's a careless sitter and shouldn't be left alone with him but that doesn't mean she can't be a loving grandma.  ...on another note, what is she doing making comments critical of your dh to him?  That is really not her job and you need to put your foot down there too.

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#23 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 05:38 PM
 
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I think your DP is over-reacting in saying that she shouldn't ever see your dc again but I also see this as a situation that you should have prevented (not trying to be critical of you at all as a very similar thing happened with my father).  You stated that your mother was not able to care for him sufficiently in the past.  At that point, it was your responsibility to remove your child from your mother's care.  It seems like it was only a matter of time before something really bad happened.  It sounds like this should be a wake up call for you.

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

 

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

 

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

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#24 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 05:38 PM
 
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Wow, I would be seriously annoyed at DP at this point!  He's telling you he won't *allow" your mother in your own home???  Not acceptable, IMO.

 

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


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#25 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 05:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiralshell View Post

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



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

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#26 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 05:48 PM
 
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I've been there. Except, it was my in-laws. There's only a time or two where we actually said something like, 'they're done with our kids,' but it was over reasonably serious things(putting our kids in a dangerous situation because they knew if they were honest we wouldn't allow the kids to be there). But really, it all boiled down to not letting them be with the kids unsupervised. And that's where I think your mom should be. 

 

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

 

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

 

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

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#27 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 06:12 PM
 
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Let's seee....on my watch, my kids have:

-  Fallen down the steps

-  Fallen off the bed onto the hardwood floor

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

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

 

I have not prevented myself from seeing them.  :lol

 

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

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#28 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 06:17 PM
 
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I put my responses in red, imbedded into the quote.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiralshell View Post

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

 

I wanted to respond to what Super Single Mama said:

 

Quote:

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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#29 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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To clarify, my mom won't be babysitting any longer -- a few of the replies indicated that I was still trying to get him to agree to allow her to watch him. Definitely not. It's clear she can't watch him any longer.

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

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

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

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

Sigh!


Spiralshell -- Mama to David Nathaniel, born October 2009. And so you see I have come to doubt all that I once held as true. I stand alone without belief, the only truth I know is you.
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#30 of 89 Old 11-12-2010, 06:26 PM
 
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Quote:
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Most of the time, she does everything right. 95% of the time, seriously. It's the 5% that was a problem. And even though that 5% was worrisome, it's very hard to say to a loving grandma that she can't care for her grandson any more when there's been some times she left the gate open, but he'd never ever been hurt in any way.


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

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