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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My parents are coming to visit and they want to take our two boys (16 months and 3 years) to the zoo on their own. My parents see the boys maybe once or twice a year. My 3 year old has only been able to leave our side for maybe 10-15 minutes and that has occured infrequently. He has never had a babysitter and we have no family living close by. In the past when we were visiting family he was walking outside with dh and his grandpa and a couple cousins. My dh went into the house for a minute to get something and my ds was bawling and showed a LOT of regression for just that incident. He became clingy and needed one of us in sight.

My 3 year old is a very bright and sensitive child. He has always had difficulty with dealing with unfamiliar people. As a baby he had to be in a sling when around strangers because that is the only way I could help him be calm around unfamiliar people. He was a very high need infant as well. Right now he is doing very well in growing and becoming more open with unfamiliar people and situations, but still quite a ways from how a typical 3 year old would respond to situations.

I am comfortable with just letting my ds grow up and become more comfortable with being away from us. He doesn't "get out" much since both dh and I work from home, but we are working on getting him out more. I don't want to put him in a situation that would make him anxious or cause him to regress. He had a tramatic experience when he was almost 2 that took almost a year for him to recover. He had surgery and the groggy medicine that they gave him didn't work and they took him back to surgery screaming for me. Afterwards he would scream if a stranger or unfamiliar person was in the same room as him. He had another surgery at age 3 and we absolutely refused to let him have the surgery (not life-threatening) unless I took him back. We also had him visit the hospital psychologist the day before and he had a tour of the hospital and talked about what was going to happen. We took home the same little boy that we brought to the hospital that time


I guess my question is....do you think aping has helped with my son's personality? Sometimes I wonder if ap has helped create my son's difficulty. At least, I think that is what my family thinks. It makes sense that providing the security and bond that my son needs right now is important for future independance.

My 16 month old has never had a babysitter either and would not be happy for hours away from his beloved milk supply
He is more flexible and warms up pretty quickly to new situations, but he still wouldn't like being left.

I pretty much know that the zoo trip isn't going to happen without me along. I guess I don't fully understand why they want to take them without me there. What do I say to my parents to help them understand? I already know my mom doesn't approve of co-sleeping and nursing past 1 year. They just say their opinion once and leave it alone though


Anyone else have a child that is highly sensitive and has a lot of separation anxiety?
 

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In some ways, your son sounds a lot like my dd, who's 2 years old. She is/was very high needs and sensitive, and approaching new situations are difficult. There are a few things I do to make things a bit easier on both of us.

First, before we go to a new place or have a new person come over, I sit down with her and we talk about what's going to happen. For example, we went to a party today, and before we went we talked about it. I said, "There will be other kids, maybe some games, probably some cake. We'll bring a present. We can probably play with toys when we get there." Stuff like that.

Second, I really try to follow her lead. For example, we got to the party today and she started walking up the stairs, then said that it was "a little bit scary." So I asked her if it would be less scary if I carried her, and she said yes. So I carried her around for awhile until she warmed up. And if she wants to sit in the corner and read a book, we do that.

In terms of the zoo trip with your parents, I'd go with, since your son will be uncomfortable without you. Or, have your parents come over first and see if your son will get comfortable enough to leave with your parents. Have them come over an hour or two before they planned to go to the zoo. Play, have a snack, let him get comfortable. Then ask him if he wants to go with them. He may surprise you and be excited about it. If not, go with. He's still really small.

And just tell your parents that he's really careful about new situations, and you don't want him to be scared or uncomfortable.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Oklahoma Mama
I guess my question is....do you think aping has helped with my son's personality? Sometimes I wonder if ap has helped create my son's difficulty.
I doubt APing made your DS uncomfortable around others. IMHO, not APing could have been especially traumatic for a DC with a personality like his.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Oklahoma Mama
I pretty much know that the zoo trip isn't going to happen without me along. I guess I don't fully understand why they want to take them without me there.
I really don't understand grandparents who push for alone time with very young grandkids either... especially grandparents who don't live close by and may be like strangers to the kids. I would be totally uncomfortable with that. If it were me, I would just say that if the kids are going to the zoo, so am I. I might say I wouldn't want to miss the fun, but if my parents insisted, I'd just say, "They aren't going anywhere without me." and leave it at that. I wouldn't give a lot of explanation, or put my DC's personality on the table for critique or debate. The mom and dad have to do all the hard work of caring for DC when he has a bad experience, so they also get to make the decisions and look out for him so those bad experiences don't happen... for his sake and yours.
 

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Yeah, that! (What Chucklin's Mommy said) My ds was the same way. At 3, no way in hell would he have been OK with a separation like that. Now that he is almost 4, I think he would be fine if it was someone he knew (and someone who understands him). You can use the 16th month old as an excuse if you want to not get into it.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Chunklin'sMommy
I really don't understand grandparents who push for alone time with very young grandkids either... especially grandparents who don't live close by and may be like strangers to the kids.
My husband's parents are like this. I think they probably feel sad/guilty about the fact they don't see their grandchildren very often, and want to somehow *prove* that it doesn't really matter. I know in my situation, my MIL left her three week old for ten days
, and that was only the first of many overnight visits before dh was one! So part of her *pressuring* me for overnight visits is to feel better about her own choices.

There are lots of things you can do to address the issues, and not the zoo visit in particular. Find something, anything, to compliment them on about their parenting choices. Tell funny stories about how much the grandchildren miss and love their grandparents. Even if you have to stretch the truth a little.

I think they probably just want to know their grandchildren love them, and that you are not coming along because you don't trust them. Even if you DON'T trust them. Putting your dc in a stressful situation will only make matters worse, too, especially given the previous history of surgeries and feeling upset about being separated from you.

Your instincts are well practiced, mama, and likely correct.

Massaging the grandparent ego while not giving in on your own principles can go a really long way.

Good luck!
 

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My dd, 27 mos, still has huge separation anxiety issues. My mil is always asking to spend time alone with her but the minute I even leave the room, dd comes looking for me. MIL also is befuddled by cosleeping and extended nursing, but I long ago gave up being bothered by that. I know that AP has helped her tremendously. I came into because she was high needs and colicky as a newbie and stayed practicing ap because it works. I never even heard of it until she was around 3 weeks old and not fitting the "What to expect" book's description of what babies do. I go The Baby Book and never look at WTE again. I just tell my mil, where dd goes, I go, and leave it at that. One thing I did with my mil a long time ago is send her The Attachment Book by Dr. Sears. It is little and a great intro to AP. I told her this is how we are raising dd. I am not sure if she read it but between giving her the book and ignoring her non-ap comments, things are better.

Plus, dd is such a sparkling, wonderful girl that no one could argue with what we are doing!
 

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In your situation, I'd go, but I'd let your parents take the lead. Let them find the unfamiliar animals, talk to the children about where to go next, and do all the fun stuff- you can take a back seat. After all, you get this blessing every day- your parents, only once in a while.
I don't think AP causes anything, btw, but sometimes life lives down to your expectations. Sad, but true.
 

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Couple of questions...

Do you trust that your parents would take good care of the kids IF they wanted to go? Will they watch them closely, be able to catch them if they take off running, etc.?

How many days will your parents be in town and will they be staying with you? If they stay with you for a week, for example - you could let the kids warm up to them over the first few days and try a zoo trip toward the end of their trip?

My brother took my dd1 to the zoo (about 30 minutes from our house) - just the two of them - when she was three (and he was 22). He wanted to be a good uncle and take her to do something fun. I was unsure how it would go. He doesn't have kids but I knew he'd watch her close. I did remind him not to let her fall into the bear cage though... We put her carseat in his truck, and off they went! He said that they saw a handful of animals, she frowned and said "I want my mommy" and they headed for the exit. On the way, they passed something she became interested in so they stopped to see that animal. Saw a couple more; he thinks they are ok. Then she wants me again - so they head for the exit, again! This repeated a few times but she kept seeing animals (on the way out - he always immediately took her to leave, as he didn't want a screaming three year old in the zoo!) They ended up staying at the zoo for three hours! I think my dd felt safe that she could go right home to me if she wanted to. Knowing that got her through the day - it was her choice to stay each time. He didn't even try to convince her otherwise - it was her choice.

If they'll be in town long enough for your kids to warm up, and you trust them - I'd let them give it a try. I'd just want them to agree to bring them home if the kids want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the input. My parents are staying for a week. I don't have a problem taking a back seat. My son is pretty comfortable anywhere now as long as my dh or I are around where he can see us. It will be progress if my ds can go on the merry-go-round without me and with grandpa.

My parents were barely able to even hold my ds as an baby. My boys are their only grandchildren and I know they are disappointed that they can't do all they want to do. My son has taken several days to warm up, but he only warms up to some people...it depends on the approach. And then when he has warmed up it is not to the level where he can be without a parent around.

They want me to talk the zoo trip up to my ds. While that may work to some degree, I KNOW he will start bawling as soon as it is time to get in the car to go to the zoo. And he LOVES the zoo. There is no place he would rather be than the zoo. I have mentioned it to him and he wants to go, but we he found out that the grandparents would be taking him he didn't want to go anymore. My dh told him that I would go with him.

I am pretty much settled on going with my ds. I guess I just need to figure out what to say to my parents. I trust them to keep my son safe. They probably wouldn't have such a problem with my son bawling as I would though. Right now I like the idea where I tell them that my son is only 3 and give him some time. He will go places alone with you, but he isn't ready for that and I don't want to push him until he is ready.

What do you think of that?
 

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We don't leave our children with babysitters and family has only watched our older son a handful of times. I AP both boys. My younger son is still going through the clingy phase, but I know he would do fine if grandparents or aunts babysat him. Older son, same thing. He would even do fine with a teen babysitter.
With my older son, he even started to go to Sunday School by himself at 3. He had no problems or seperation anxiety and loved it. Younger son(age 2) is not at that stage yet.
I really don't think AP'ing has anything to do with your sons personality. If that were the case, I wouldn't have 2 very personable, confident, independent sons.
I would probably go with my son if I were you. No one has ever taken our boys anywhere alone. I figure there will be plenty of time for that when they are older and able to decide for themselves if they want to go. Your parents might be a bit disappointed, although it seems the bottom line is they want to spend time with him and that shouldn't matter if you are there or not.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Oklahoma Mama
Thanks for all the input. My parents are staying for a week. I don't have a problem taking a back seat. My son is pretty comfortable anywhere now as long as my dh or I are around where he can see us. It will be progress if my ds can go on the merry-go-round without me and with grandpa.

My parents were barely able to even hold my ds as an baby. My boys are their only grandchildren and I know they are disappointed that they can't do all they want to do. My son has taken several days to warm up, but he only warms up to some people...it depends on the approach. And then when he has warmed up it is not to the level where he can be without a parent around.

They want me to talk the zoo trip up to my ds. While that may work to some degree, I KNOW he will start bawling as soon as it is time to get in the car to go to the zoo. And he LOVES the zoo. There is no place he would rather be than the zoo. I have mentioned it to him and he wants to go, but we he found out that the grandparents would be taking him he didn't want to go anymore. My dh told him that I would go with him.

I am pretty much settled on going with my ds. I guess I just need to figure out what to say to my parents. I trust them to keep my son safe. They probably wouldn't have such a problem with my son bawling as I would though. Right now I like the idea where I tell them that my son is only 3 and give him some time. He will go places alone with you, but he isn't ready for that and I don't want to push him until he is ready.

What do you think of that?
You don't need to explain in detail to your parents why your kids should stay with you. You're the parent. Period. Say that you and your children are a package deal. When they get older, they can go to the zoo or somewhere else without an escort, but not now.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Oklahoma Mama
I guess my question is....do you think aping has helped with my son's personality? Sometimes I wonder if ap has helped create my son's difficulty. At least, I think that is what my family thinks. It makes sense that providing the security and bond that my son needs right now is important for future independance.

My 16 month old has never had a babysitter either and would not be happy for hours away from his beloved milk supply
He is more flexible and warms up pretty quickly to new situations, but he still wouldn't like being left.

I pretty much know that the zoo trip isn't going to happen without me along. I guess I don't fully understand why they want to take them without me there. What do I say to my parents to help them understand? I already know my mom doesn't approve of co-sleeping and nursing past 1 year. They just say their opinion once and leave it alone though


Anyone else have a child that is highly sensitive and has a lot of separation anxiety?

My dd is also very sensitive and would not even ride in someone else's car-even with me there- for quite awhile. I think grandparents accepted it because it was really obvious that she was upset and no one wanted to deal with her when she was that upset.

I don't think ap created your son's separation anxiety at all. I think separation anxiety is common at that age and with those experiences no matter how you parent.

I presume your parents want to have a good visit to build a trusting loving relationship with your kids and not a crying, screaming, anxiety filled visit. I would tell them that the boys are just not used to being away from you for so long yet. I would tell them that in a few years they can try an outing alone. I would tell them that you will go with them to the zoo if they still want to go. If they don't accept this that is their problem.
 

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AP or not, I think a lot of kids who don't see people that often won't go willingly go with them for a day trip. If your parents only see them twice a year, then they are strangers.
I would ignore their comments to you about your style of parenting. And I agree with you, I would be there for the zoo trip, too.
Why on earth do they have to do the trip alone with your kids?
Maybe when your kids are older, but not now--they are still babies.
I think it's nuts--how would they know when they eat, when they nap, what they need when they cry, etc?
If they insist, just tell them that you want to go so you can enjoy the trip and that you love seeing the animals. :LOL
 
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