Help - MIL's inappropriate requests of DD have me scared now. - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 89 Old 05-23-2005, 05:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Edited to change the title and add that DD told me again last night that she sometimes has to wipe Grammy's bottom when they go to the bathroom together, because Grammy sometimes forgets how. I am less and less inclined to think this is a "story" - whatever happened, this idea should not even be in my DD's mind. DH seems not to want to discuss it, and not worried about it. I really feel like I'm alone on this one...I'm considering simply removing the opportunity for problems and not allowing MIL time alone with DD. But I also feel that no one in DH's family will support me in that. Help! Experience? Advice? Anything? I'm a wreck over this.

*********************************
I'm at a loss here, but this is too important for me to let it go.

A little background: I simply don't like my MIL. Some of my feelings about her are based on experience, some just come from the fact that we are very different people and I flat out find her annoying. My DH understands how I feel, and shares some of my frustrations with her, but when it comes down to it I know he basically trusts his mom, even if she annoys him. All that to say that I am probably more sensitive to the idea of her doing something that I don't like than is necessary.

My MIL is one of those people who had a lot to say about potty training, and pushed hard for us to train DD early (she's PT now, and has been since she was about 30 months, at her own pace). MIL always wants DD to go to the bathroom with her, and takes DD when she needs to go. I found her obsession with it a little odd, but never really thought much about it because I don't think there's anything inherently troubling about DD seeing an adult use the bathroom - that is one of the ways kids learn to do it.

But - a few days ago, we were talking about using the potty, and DD told me that, when she goes to the bathroom with Grammy, they help each other - Grammy wipes her bottom, and she wipes Grammy's bottom. That made me and I asked her what she meant by that, and DD immediately backtracked and said, "I forgot, I don't help her." I'm certain that the look on my face indicated my alarm, because DD looked pretty surprised, and I fear that my reaction communicated that I thought SHE (DD) had done something wrong. I haven't been able to learn any more about this since, and I don't want to harp on the topic, because I don't want to scare my DD. And she's 3.5, and does sometimes say things that aren't quite right as she's trying to figure out how to explain a situation.

Now...my DD is perfectly capable of using the bathroom independently. She does not need help from an adult - so there is no reason for MIL to wipe her after toilet use. And I see NO way in which it's appropriate for her to be "wiping" my MIL. Part of me finds that so disturbing that I want to panic and think the worst, and part of me thinks it's just my really weird MIL wanting to do this as part of "teaching" DD to use the potty.

Now - I may be overreacting in a big way, but I feel like I need to understand what's happening here. I don't know how to talk to DH or anyone else about this yet. I do not feel comfortable with MIL caring for DD alone until I get this straightened out.

So - I fear that confronting MIL about it isn't the answer. I'll either offend her asking about something that's actually quite innocent, or give her more reason to cover up something sinister. Should I just eavesdrop outside the bathroom door the next time we're visiting family? What should I do?
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#2 of 89 Old 05-23-2005, 06:02 PM
 
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You could just put a stop to "group" bathroom trips. Next time MIL tries to use the buddy system you could just say that you're trying to teach your daughter about privacy.

If you did decide to tell her that you don't think she and dd need to "help" each other so you're going to put an end to the group bathroom trips, I don't think you'd be out of line.

I personally find it's a little odd for a grown woman to insist a child accompany her to the bathroom just for fun. That seems weird to me and would not fly in my family or extended family.

It seems that even if MIL is not outright up to no good, she does have some freaky boundary issues.

And to me "I forgot" sounds like the beginning of "I forgot I'm not supposed to tell you this." Not to worry you further, but that was my gut reaction.
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#3 of 89 Old 05-23-2005, 06:02 PM
 
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My suggestion would be to casually play pretend w/ your DD...say something about "Let's pretend we're at MIL's house, let's have a tea party....let's bake cookies....let's go potty." And see what she does. I think at that age acting it out might be a fun, no-pressure way for her to express what happened. She could show you if she can't tell you. Just an idea. I think that's why "play therapy" is used so much by pediatric psychologists during investigations for this sort of thing.
Your MIL probably was just showing her how to wipe herself properly or something, but who knows? A 3-year-old is so hard to figure out sometimes. If your gut tells you something isn't right, I wouldn't leave her there anymore either!
Good luck mama. I hope it's nothing to worry about.
Hugs!
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#4 of 89 Old 05-23-2005, 08:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NiteNicole
You could just put a stop to "group" bathroom trips. Next time MIL tries to use the buddy system you could just say that you're trying to teach your daughter about privacy.

If you did decide to tell her that you don't think she and dd need to "help" each other so you're going to put an end to the group bathroom trips, I don't think you'd be out of line.

I personally find it's a little odd for a grown woman to insist a child accompany her to the bathroom just for fun. That seems weird to me and would not fly in my family or extended family.

It seems that even if MIL is not outright up to no good, she does have some freaky boundary issues.

And to me "I forgot" sounds like the beginning of "I forgot I'm not supposed to tell you this." Not to worry you further, but that was my gut reaction.
ITA!!!! I really hope it is innocent!
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#5 of 89 Old 05-23-2005, 09:52 PM
 
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wow mama, that would freak me out a bit too. I totally agree with the suggestion of having her act it out. Tell her we're playing "grandma's house" today and tell her you need her to teach you how to be grandma. If she replicates the behavior, I think something needs to happen--I'm not sure what, but something. I too would say you would be totally within your rights to tell MIL that group bathroom trips are not permitted but I too would fear it may make things worse if you ever leave her there without you.
It's just weird, I mean it's one thing for a little girl to go potty with her mom--it's something totally different to go with your grandmother--I'm pretty sure I never saw any of my grandparents private parts!
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#6 of 89 Old 05-24-2005, 12:18 AM
 
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That would concern me greatly, too. I would put a stop to those "buddy buddy" bathroom trips immediately. And like mentioned above, try the role-playing experiment. What your MIL did is very inappropriate, even if there was no sexual abuse going on.

Bethany, crunchy Christian mom to Destiny (11) Deanna (9), and Ethan (2)

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#7 of 89 Old 05-24-2005, 01:18 PM
 
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I would end all unsupervised visits. I would also tell MIL no more bathroom buddy games. The safety of children should always come before the feelings of adults.
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#8 of 89 Old 05-24-2005, 01:28 PM
 
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Beth..first off (HUGS) to you. It makes your heart skip a beat when you are faced with the possibility that your child was abused in some way. I know how you feel. I think it admirable and smart that you are listening to that mama bear sixth sense and are interested in finding out more. The PP's have brought up some good suggestions and I have nothing to add but wanted to say I support you. Good luck and let us know what you do.
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#9 of 89 Old 05-24-2005, 01:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrspeeper
My suggestion would be to casually play pretend w/ your DD...say something about "Let's pretend we're at MIL's house, let's have a tea party....let's bake cookies....let's go potty." And see what she does. I think at that age acting it out might be a fun, no-pressure way for her to express what happened. She could show you if she can't tell you. Just an idea. I think that's why "play therapy" is used so much by pediatric psychologists during investigations for this sort of thing.
Your MIL probably was just showing her how to wipe herself properly or something, but who knows? A 3-year-old is so hard to figure out sometimes. If your gut tells you something isn't right, I wouldn't leave her there anymore either!
Good luck mama. I hope it's nothing to worry about.
Hugs!

I think this is a great idea to see what goes on. I also think focusing dd on ger privacy so that she can say that she wants privacy just in case your not there, and you can back her by telling MIL that your workin on t his issue. Sounds alittle wierd hon - im real sorry.
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#10 of 89 Old 05-25-2005, 11:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm bumping this back up because I'm really worried. DH and I have not been able to communicate well about this (in part because he's out of town, and I think it's hard to talk effectively on the phone, and in part because he either isn't all that worried about it or is too freaked to talk, I can't be sure).

I'm sorry - I'm just so upset, and I need to talk this out, and I can't take it to anyone IRL right now.
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#11 of 89 Old 05-25-2005, 11:28 PM
 
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I'm sorry you're not getting anywhere with this yet Beth, have you managed to talk to dd about it again yet?
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#12 of 89 Old 05-25-2005, 11:51 PM
 
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my dd will not be left alone with my mil for a long time
i don't like her or trust her period
i don't care if it hurts her feelings or dh does not thinkit is polite
i love my dd most
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#13 of 89 Old 05-26-2005, 11:08 AM
 
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This would be completely unnacceptable in my book. No way, no how would I let this continue. I can't even imagine a person thinking this is acceptable to do with their grandchild. Do whatever you need to do to protect your child and don't worry about your MIL's feeling on this issue. It appears she has some body/bathroom issues that need to be addressed.

Good luck. I can just imagine how this conversation would go if it were my MIL.
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#14 of 89 Old 05-26-2005, 11:12 AM
 
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DD immediately backtracked and said, "I forgot, I don't help her."

Does it sound to anyone else like it does to me, that the dd was coached to "never tell anyone" this stuff, and forgot that she was never supposed to tell anyone?

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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#15 of 89 Old 05-26-2005, 11:46 AM
 
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Does it sound to anyone else like it does to me, that the dd was coached to "never tell anyone" this stuff, and forgot that she was never supposed to tell anyone?
That is what i was thinking too. I would deffently end group potty trips. I am sorry you have to worry about this. Better you keep your dd safe them worry about some ones feelings. They are there feeling and they are resonsable for them not you.
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#16 of 89 Old 05-26-2005, 12:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by beth568
DH seems not to want to discuss it, and not worried about it. I really feel like I'm alone on this one...
This is what caught my eye - sounds like MIL did the same thing to DH when he was young, maybe, and also told DH "never tell anyone." Like a repeat child molester, yk? Definitely do something to keep MIL and DD apart. Sorry you are alone in this, though.

Single mom of 2 boys
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#17 of 89 Old 05-26-2005, 12:07 PM
 
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My dd is a little younger than your dd, but she does say some pretty weird stuff sometimes.
I am a SAHM and we don't watch TV and she has never ever been in the care of someone else (which, I don't know if this is a good thing or not, it's just circumstance) and when we play with others, I am always there.
So one day out of the blue, she points at her breasts and says: "I have boo boos, mommy."
Now, where she got this--I have no clue on earth!
If she stayed with a care giver--the first thing I would be thinking is: abuse--this is horrible! But since she has never left my side since birth--I have no clue where it came from. We call them breasts, always have. And my kids nursed/are nursing until 2 or CLW--so again, no clue as to why she said this.
She knows that they "feed babies" and we don't try to make them dirty or anything--so why this became a sudden fascination and she kept wanting to show them to me and calling them this was really unsettling for me for a while. But I just let it go, didn't make a big deal of it and corrected her gently each time she called them this and reminded her what they were for.

So I guess I am mentioning this story as a way to tell you that kids do say weird things. And unlike the other posters, I don't think the play acting part is going to be a real indicator of what she has done/not done with MIL.
My child is pretty creative and can make up the oddest things and then remember them and repeat them to my DH or other family.
Stuff like: "Mommy let me fly!" or "Daddy and I ate ice cream for dinner!",
etc. We don't even eat milk products! LOL! And flying? What on earth...?

However, I think NiteNicole hit it right on the head.
To have your MIL taking your DD to the potty is out of bounds. Seeing mommmy and daddy use the potty is one thing, but for me, beyond that (extended family, etc.) does not sit right. So regardless of what your DH says to defend her, she has boundary issues.

So again, using NiteNichole's advice--you don't need to confront MIL, but simply state that you are working on privacy issues and that DD goes to the potty only with you in public (safety issues) and alone in private. And just try not burn any bridges by accusing her of anything, because that always makes everything worse (and your MIL is still wrong, but you need to deal with her at family gatherings, so less stress is better).

Just as you said: confronting her will either make her angry or cover up anything sinister. So taking charge of you DD in all circumstances is your best bet.

Hang in there, I'm sure that this is pretty painful and stressful and I really feel for you.
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#18 of 89 Old 05-26-2005, 01:28 PM
 
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I agree with the PP's who suggested stressing the privacy issue and not allowing group potty trips.

How is your MIL's physical health? Is there any possibility that your MIL has her own difficulties wiping herself - i.e., limited mobility, that sort of thing? I just thought I'd throw that out there. I still WOULDN'T approve of your DD being the one to help her with this, but I just wanted to suggest it in case home health care is something you need to look into.

You have our support, beth568! Protecting your child is your top job!
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#19 of 89 Old 05-26-2005, 02:33 PM
 
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I am with the pp that the " I forgot I don't help her " smells of being coached to not tell

As an Incest survivor mama GO WITH YOUR GUT ON THIS
if you GUT is SCREAMING problems/trouble/inappropriate etc GO WITH THE GUT

DD needs your love and protection and MIL and DH ( who should ALSO be PROTECTING HIS DD NOT HIS M IN THIS CASE MPJO) can just get over it if you change rules and enforce boundaries


I also agree with the pp who suggested the role playing with dd. I think that would be a really good idea

ok off the now..
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#20 of 89 Old 05-26-2005, 04:42 PM
 
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I don't think I would let MIL be alone with dd anymore.

The fact that she takes your dd with her when MIL goes to the bathroom is totally bizarre. Even if that is all that happened, I wouldn't allow it. I find it very creepy. MIL has too much interest, and I'd have a major problem with that. It isn't healthy or normal.

Then you add the wiping issue ... :

Don't let others convince you to minimize your concerns. You have right to be concerned. I'd even say you have a responsibility to be concerned.
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#21 of 89 Old 05-26-2005, 05:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Greaseball
I would end all unsupervised visits. I would also tell MIL no more bathroom buddy games. The safety of children should always come before the feelings of adults.
I agree with Greaseball 100%.
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#22 of 89 Old 05-26-2005, 05:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by rosie29
How is your MIL's physical health? Is there any possibility that your MIL has her own difficulties wiping herself - i.e., limited mobility, that sort of thing? I just thought I'd throw that out there. I still WOULDN'T approve of your DD being the one to help her with this, but I just wanted to suggest it in case home health care is something you need to look into.
I thought of this, too. I think it's a way to broach the subject with your dh.

But still, no unsupervised visits, no bathroom buddy business--I think we can all agree that your gut feelings have a basis in reality here!

Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
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#23 of 89 Old 05-26-2005, 05:42 PM
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I agree with the other posters in that I would not take any chances. No more unsupervised visits, no more potty trips together...period.

I understand if it is something innocent that you don't want to hurt anyone, but seriously, I would be willing to take my chance with someone's hurt feelings over the safety of my child.

For example... (not to hijack) ... but years ago, probably 15 or more (long before I knew him) my husban's father got a letter from a niece who was grown accusing him of touching her and molesting her and this and that... of course he was shocked, denied it, said she was inbalanced etc.. no one knows the true story but everyone seems to believe she was making it up...

Well, my husband and I are having a daughter and she will NEVER under ANY circumstances be alone with his father.. we agree that while it *may* never have happened.. we just simply are not willing to take that chance with our daughter--- now to spare feelings etc, we don't come out and say that -- but she will NEVER EVER be alone with him regardless...

The point is, don't take chances with your children to spare someone's feelings. They will get over it. Your child however, may never get over being abused or whatever in the event that is what is going on...

That is how I feel...


Good luck to you mama...
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#24 of 89 Old 05-26-2005, 05:48 PM
 
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I tink it is weird that she is very insistent on DD going potty with her, and the whole wiping and "i forgot" brings bells, i agree withthe role playing and see what happens. if she has been abused make sure to get counseling as left untreated it can really mess up a person (first hand experience)


at the same time all my sisters and I used to take showers with my grandma. then she put a towel over the toilet seat stood us on it and lotioned and powdered us. it was nothing sexual just bathtime. i continued taking showers with her until i was ten. very not weird at all.

but not to downplay how weird having a 3 year old wiping for you is.


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#25 of 89 Old 05-26-2005, 06:08 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beth568
...she sometimes has to wipe Grammy's bottom when they go to the bathroom together, because Grammy sometimes forgets how.
:

Its just doesnt sound right. I mean what does"Grammy" do about wiping when your dd isnt there to help her? Then your dd says that Grammy wipes your dd butt? Ummm I dont think Grammy forgot how to wipe her own behind. Things just dont add up IMO

My kid wouldn never be alone with that person again
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#26 of 89 Old 05-26-2005, 10:47 PM
 
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I agree that it is best to NEVER leave these two alone again or give them the opportunity to be in the bathroom alone. Just too weird for me.

If she brings it up, let her lead the discussion. Kids can be very easily swayed and can be led to believe things that never happened. Comments, like, really? Wow, what did you do? etc. will allow her the space to discuss it with you. Playing together with dolls or something can work too.
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#27 of 89 Old 05-27-2005, 04:43 AM
 
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My dd is in a stage where she is curious about the potty, and she does go into it with my mom, as well as me and my dh. My mom told me the other day that dd followed her in and handed her the tissue. I know from experience that she will follow me in, and do whatever it takes to see what is going on. Strange as this seems, none of it makes me feel uncomfortable, as it is my childs curiosity and we are just following her lead. She has tried to follow my dad in, and my dad won't allow it. Why? because something in him makes him feel uncomfortable...that is his boundary.

Your story seems like boundaries are being crossed. First of all, your dd is fully potty trained. She doesn't need any more lessons. Secondly, it sounds as though she is being taken in not of her choice or curiosity. Thirdly, she has clearly been told not to discuss it.

Whatever your MIL's reasons, it is your child. I would make it clear to both dd and MIL that she no longer needs "help" learning how to clean herself. Furthermore, if MIL needs help, she can hire a nurse.

I wonder if your MIL has some strange obsession with cleanliness, and feels it is her obligation to teach your dd how to do it "right". Whatever it is, it just sounds strange.

My feeling is, if something doesn't feel right, it isn't right.
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#28 of 89 Old 05-27-2005, 10:01 AM
 
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I have no problem with my kids going to the restroom with other family members other than me and DH.. Like Gma, Gpa, Aunts, Uncles.. But if they said anything like that I WOULD NOT let them go again..

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#29 of 89 Old 05-27-2005, 10:10 AM
 
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dyan i also woldn't have a problem w/ dd going w/ other fmily memebers unless they were insessant about it like the gramma was.

Courtney and Cree, baby made 3, added one more then there were 4, sakes alive, then we had 5, another in the mix now we have 6!

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#30 of 89 Old 05-27-2005, 10:22 AM
 
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Wow, this is a tough one. I think a 3.5 y.o. is entirely capable of saying this disturbing thing when it never actually happened - and I also think it could have happened. Your dh, when he gets home, needs to be really forthright with you about how his mom taught him to use the potty. Maybe if you phrase it as your *need* to know, because you are so worried for you dd, and make sure to act very apologetic about having to intrude on *his* privacy? Because there are privacy issues here for sure, but your dd's safety requires that he 'fess up.

Speaking of privacy, ITA that it's time for your dd to start using the potty alone, both at your house and at grandma's. That should stop anything creepy, and really, it is a good rule/habit to have in place as she goes out into the larger world and spends more time around other adults/bigger kids when you aren't there.

I'm so sorry that you have to deal with this. I am very blessed to have a great MIL but I can only imagine what it must be like to have one you don't trust.
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