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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I feel like I'm a bad Mother because I had to chose between my son's immediate emotional needs and my stepdaughter's physical (and possible safety) needs and it's just killing me that I chose my stepdaughter over my son, but at the same time, I couldn't have chosen my son over my little girl.<br><br>
Here's the story- what would you have done...<br><br>
My stepdaughter's Mother has staff training week all this week and Katherine's camp ended, so she has no babysitter. My Hubby has business meetings all week except for Wednesday, so he's taking Katherine on Wednesday. I've got Friday off, so I've got her Friday. Katherine's maternal Aunt and maternal Grandfather will have her Tuesday and Thursday, so that left Monday with no one to watch Katherine and all three of her parents absolutely unable to miss work. My Father-in-Law will be watching Katherine today. The problem? He's half deaf and doesn't always "get it" about taking care of children- example, he may not think to doublecheck if her seatbelt is latched or may not watch her as closely as she should be watched or just send her to herself to go find the public bathroom. Those things just didn't come up when he was raising his children and they turned out okay, know what I mean? He loves her to death and does his best for her, but he just doesn't get it and I'm not really comfortable with him watching her all day. Neither is my Hubby, but he doesn't have as many misgivings as I do. So I asked my son, Gary, to go with them and keep an eye on her. He's 12, old enough to stay home alone (with me at work across the street), so he was originally given the option to stay home or go to some farm place with Grampa and Katherine to see the animals and them go swimming. I kinda pushed him into going "so he can help Grampa is Grampa forgets something". Now the bad part? The reason why I <b>DON'T</b> like my son to be alone with my Father-in-Law and my stepdaughter? Because my Father-in-Law seems to think that my stepdaughter is <b>GOD</b> and my Father-in-Law doesn't understand why my son doesn't worship her as well. I'm setting my son up for a day of possible favoritism against him in order to ensure my little girl's physical safety. It's too late to change things now, but am I wrong? It's not like my Father-in-Law has ever babysat her for more than an hour before and I really don't see if happening again anytime in the near future, but I feel bad because I'm expecting my son to be very grown up today, but maybe too grown up. What would you have done?
 

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YK, I think that this is a situation that with a 12 year old, you can discuss it with him.<br><br>
In a way, an adult behaving "badly" can reinforce your own values and helop you add, not take away, from your ds's emotional health.<br><br>
Like I would say to my 12 y.o.:<br><br>
"Thanks for going with Grandmpa and lil sis tomorrow. I just know that you will be able to protect her in a way that Granpa won't and make sure she is buckled in her seat etc...<br><br>
"I do know that Grandpa can be kind of nutty when it comes to your sister, I mean what is UP with his 'Katherine is the most perfect devine creature on earth thing.' I mean, your little sister is a wonderful child and all, but really!"<br><br>
"I guess some men grandpa's age have that "oh little girls are perfect little princesses" thing in their mind."<br><br>
"Hey, you have to keep track for me of all the times he makes it clear that she practically walks on water."<br><br>
" I bet you will be able to tell me about, lets say 10 times, do you want the over/under on that kiddo?"<br><br>
"Oh, and I know you won't say anything to your sister about our little conversation ( or bet) here. I mean it's not her fault that Grandpa is like this."<br><br>
My 12 year old would love the 'grown up conspiratorial" feel of this. And it would make her day with the Grandpa, almost fun as, instead of being upset by the favoritism, she could smile to herself and think "oh boy, there Grandpa goes AGAIN!"
 

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ITA with the previous poster, except I'd tone down the talk a bit. I'd keep it more straightforward. He's 12; he's old enough to get it. I'd just say, "I know it's sometimes hard being with Grandpa and SD because he thinks she can do no wrong. I really appreciate you going along to help keep SD safe, and I hope you have fun there." Then I'd see where the conversation went and follow your DS's lead. Maybe give DS practice scenarios if he wants to about what he could think if Grandpa said certain things. We do that when we know a stressful situation is coming up and it really helps us feel prepared.<br><br>
FWIW, I think most 12 yos would be able to handle that situation pretty well. It's only a day, and it sounds like the favoritism is mostly little verbal things. If it were punitive, I wouldn't be so keen on it. To make it easier, maybe you could make sure your DS has enough money for treats that day. Maybe he'd even like to be in charge of buying a treat for your DSD as well?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Wow, all day at work and only one reply. Slow day at MDC?<br><br>
Anywas, I did say a few similar things to Gary (my son) before he left this morning- I think I almost exactly quoted your "I guess some men grandpa's age have that "oh little girls are perfect little princesses" thing in their mind." and I did tell him how much I appreciated him helping Grampa and I realize that it may be hard work. I also plan on bringing him on "an ice cream date" to Haagan Daz tomorrow for a special treat and mentioning how proud I am that he helped, but I just felt really bad, like I was between a rock and a hard place and I didn't want to hurt either child to help the other. From your response, it sounds like I'm more or less on the right track. I do plan on asking him about how his day was and discussing any problems there might have been, to kinda feel test the waters on how he felt about today. I'm home from work now- Grampa should be bringing them home in about a half hour or so. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/fingersx.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="fingersx">:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi, rainyday. Didn't see you there...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Not too bad... Gary told me about Grampa driving across the parking lot while he (my son) helped Katherine buckle her seat belt because she couldn't get it. Guess my Father-in-Law didn't notice or even check and didn't hear her when she said she couldn't buckle it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/yikes2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yikes">: And then, I'm not sure how much I'm overreacting, but the kids were swimming in his backyard pool (about 3 feet deep) in the back yard and he left them alone in the yard to go park the car because the driveway was getting paved. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/nono.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="nono"> Like I said, I'm not sure how much I'm overreacting- both children are strong swimmers and it's only up the the youngest child's chest, but it's <b>NOT</b> something I was comfortable with. (And, of course, if Katherine mentions any of this to her Mother, all Hell will break loose!) In all, my son told me the favoritism wasn't too bad today except for one thing- around lunchtime, Gary asked if they could go to Burger King. Grampa said yes. Katherine then says she doesn't want to go to Burger King- she wants to go to a diner. Guess where they went for lunch. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"> Now <b>THAT'S</b> the kind of favoritism I was expecting. I've told Gary how proud I am of him keeping an eye on Katherine and how I'm glad he was there, especially in the car and in the pool. He says he's glad he was there, too, because "maybe Grampa's just getting too old to take care of a little kid like that". <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> I think he's glad it's over and he's proud of himself for helping Katherine.
 

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In the future, couldn't you just pay Gary to babysit at home? Twelve seems old enough for that, provided they get along decently.<br><br>
The pool doesn't seem like that big a deal to me . . . I wouldn't make an issue of it with Katherine's mom or your FIL if I were you. You say they are both good swimmers and it wasn't even over their heads.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Unfortunately, Gary is not ready to babysit Katherine all day by himself and probably won't be for a long time. First of all, he's got Asperger's Sundrome, which makes him not always as aware of things as your average 12 years old. He does fine by himself all day, but not if he had to care for another child. As for getting along, my Hubby and I joke that the have Oppositional Defiance Desorder towards eachother, but I secretly wonder if it's possible to have it, but just aimed towards one person- their sibling. It's not that they don't get along- they're best friends most the time- it's just that when they don't, they take sibling rivalry to w whole new level. They actually had an arguement about the color of the sky one day last week- it was blue, very, very, "sky blue". Gary said it was sky blue. This started an hour long argument because Katherine swore up and down it wasn't sky blue, it was light blue. Neither would back down, both have to be right. This happens all the time. In this case, Gary <b>WAS</b> right, but it goes either way. I'm not sure what would happen if they were home alone all day. Don't get me wrong, the love eachother and Gary's even pulled Katherine out of the street because a car was coming, even though it was risking him getting run over himself, so I know he'd take very good care of her to the best of his abilities, but I don't think his abilities are strong enough yet.<br><br>
I was considering talking to my Father-in-Law about the pool and the car, but I hadn't decided yet because he wouldn't listen anyways. As for Katherine's Mother, we're not telling her. We can't tell Katherine not to tell her Mother something, so she most likely will find out at some point and make a fuss about it, but we're definately not gonna bring it up. It's very likely that she will use that as an excuse to keep us from visitation because our house isn't safe or something like that. Wouldn't be the first time. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes">
 

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I would be a bit upset about the pool situation too. Glad everything went ok and it sounds like your son understands that he was needed and that he got your talk. Don't beat yourself up, I think all in all it was probably a good experience for your son and it isn't a commonly occurring situation.
 

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I'm glad the day went OK, and I'm sorry your son had to be subjected to that kind of favoritism.
 

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Maybe you can give him some special treat or do some special activity that he really wanted to do with you or something. Tell him how much you appreciate him helping his sister and putting up with her grandfather.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I did. We had an "ice cream date" last night and I told him how proud of him I was becuase he's been so grown up these last two days. (First, Monday with Grampa and then yesterday with my upstairs neighbor leaving the sink on and flooding out my bathroom, my hallway and half my son's bedroom- he helped me in ways he never helps, without complaining.) We had some very good Mother/son moments last night. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 
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