Easter Drama...

imamommyApril 9, 2012

Well SD13 was supposed to be with us for Spring Break this year but last weekend, she asked daddy if she can spend it at her mom's. He asked me, I told him he's the parent... do what you want, I don't care. So, grandma came to pick her up and she was gone all week. So, I had a really good week... it's amazing how calm & relaxing it is when she is not here.

However, I've been bending over backwards to accommodate my DIL and son in regard to DGS3. I've been raising him since he was 9 months old & since my son has been back, he's decided he wants to reconcile with her.

Here's a quick background:

They have always had a tomultuous relationship. She grew up in a horrible situation. Born to a prostitute & pimp, she spent the first 7 years in foster care. She was adopted by a cold woman when she was 7 & her adopted parents split up almost immediately after adopting her. Her adoptive mom married & had another daughter so she was treated "different" and there were behavioral problems that the adoptive parents tried to solve by sending her to rehab/camps for troubled kids... where she met lots of other troubled kids to commiserate with. There have been allegations of sexual/physical abuse by her adoptive & step dad. She has absolutely no contact with her adoptive dad who had bought her a car & was paying the rent on her apartment when my son met her. She's never really had a family (or mom) and really doesn't know how it all works. My son spent his childhood shuffled between two homes and he recently told me that he didn't feel like he didn't have a "real" family.

Well, two months or so after he met her.. she had broken up with him (it was on again~off again the whole time) but he somehow talked her into driving up to Reno at 2am and they got married. I was told by phone the next day. Aboug a month later, I was told that 1. he had joined the Army the day before.. 2. that his wife was pregnant. I was so upset knowing he would be gone for a good part of his baby's first few years. (because I figured he would be deployed with everything that was going on) So, that happened, he got deployed... she partied & neglected the baby & I ended up with legal guardianship. He's back & he isn't stepping up.. he's more concerned in trying to fix his relationship with her. The last three weeks, she has come up to see him & seeing the baby has been like an afterthought. She actually went home last weekend without seeing the baby because they had a fight. The last few weeks, they break up on Sunday, make up on Thursday. I've been irritated & told them if they don't figure out what they are going to do, they'll never get their son back. Personally, I don't think DIL wants to be a full time mom & DS expects her to. My job is trying to protect DGS from the mess they've made.

Anyway, I decided to host an egg hunt Saturday. I invited several kids from his daycare & we had a nice turn out... about a dozen kids came. Since DIL had asked to have DGS on Easter morning because her grandparents (she lives with them) wanted to take him to church, so I said that was fine & thought it would be nice to invite her to the egg hunt so she can be more invovled with him. I was surprised when my son & DIL arrived at the same time since my son had left town the day before, he said he was going to see his dad's family so I didn't think he would be there. Anyway, that was fine. The day went well.... kids had lots of fun and everyone getting along.

Then my daughter brought out the cake pops. Every once in a while, I buy DGS a cake pop at Starbucks and he loves them. I saw some cute ones online and decided to make them for the party.. they were little chicks. After everyone had eaten, I asked my daughter to hand out the cake pops. I didn't realize DIL told DD not to give DGS one because she thought he ate too much candy from the candy eggs. When I heard my daughter tell him he can't have one, I told her to go ahead & give him one. All his friends had one. Well, DIL saw him eating it and literally shrieked "DID SHE JUST GIVE HIM ONE AFTER I TOLD HER NOT TO?????" and I turned around & told her that I said it was okay. Then she started yelling at my DD and saying "I'M NOT GOING TO LET MY CHILD GET CHILDHOOD DIABETES... I SAID NOOOOO!!!!" and my son pulled her back & told her to calm down. She turned and ran off to her car & my son told me that DD had no right to disobey them, they are the parents... that she undermined their authority. I told him if anyone undermined them, it was ME and we can talk about it later... one bite of cake pop is not going to cause childhood diabetes & that she is overreacting. He went to talk to her... she was literally crying hysterically. I was embarrassed because these kids & their parents have been to several parties at my house.

So, now I'm torn. I want to be able to include DS & DIL in things to do with DGS... I have some hope that they will figure out their relationship (whether they make it work or decide to be apart) but I have some hope that I am not going to raise their child into adulthood. It's devestating to me that my own child is not stepping up to take care of his child. I get it that she had a screwed up childhood & may never be a parent but it's harder to accept my own son caring more about his relationship to his wife than his own son. But, I'm torn between not inviting them to future events or taking the chance that there is going to be these kinds of outbursts. I don't want to deny DGS from having them there because I can tell he likes them to be there but thre really is no way to control how they will behave. I'm not even sure THEY can control themselves. And then, if they are there... do they become the decision making parents & I am just grandma that has no say?

What would you do?

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Oh, Ima. Don't take the 'guilt trip' they are laying at your feet. No, whether they like it or not, they get little say at this point.

I 'get' you want your son to step-up. I 'get' yoiu wish things were different. But you know and I know that being a Mommy is not a pick and choice thing. Nope, Mommies are 24/7, thick and thin...one does not walk away from their children and then decide they wanna play 'Mom' for the day. It does not work that way. You are responsible for this child the court has assigned to your care 24/7, day in and day out.

Sure DGS3 has biological parents. Sure they visit him when they mood strikes them. Sure, in their own young, selfish and self centered way you very likely really care about the child. BUT, until and/or if they pull their sh*t together and prove they are in for the long run of 24/7 day after day, week after week, month after month (no matter what else is going on and/or comes up) they are playing parents and family and you're grandson does not deserve (nor did he ask for) to be the pawn in their drama and uncertainy.

You give him the home, the stabilty, the 24/7 love and care...to allow son and DIL to show up when and/or if the mood to play 'parents' moves them is doing a diservice to the little boy who depends on (and is legally assigned to) you to make his world ok.

yeah, I'm sorry as h*ll that DIL had a rotten life. I'm sorry as h*ll the son made some very impulsive decisions and is now paying the consequences. I'm sorry for both of them that things can't be different right now...but bottomline, this child needs you. You stepped up and are his constant and until the parents prove the ability to longterm be the parents this child deserves and needs, well, they can meet you in court if they don't like it.

I really hope someday the parents really get it together and become the family you seem to desire them to be, but for now, your duty and first priority is to the child. Don't let them put you nor the child in the middle of their choices and issues.

Stay strong Ima. Don't doubt yourself or your decisions and actions when it comes to the child. Don't let them make you feel guilty or that you are being the interfering grandmother...you didn't do this to them, they did it all by themselves. if they don't 'like' the way things currently are, well they can get their 'act' together and prove themselves.

My 2 cents.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 2:50PM
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I agree with JMT -

Ima, You have legal custody of DGS. That means you are defacto parent. I'd sit down with your son and DIL and explain to them that until they are ready to grown up and be parents to DGS that they don't get any say in how DGS is raised.

If they don't like it and can't behave like adults, then unfortunately they can't be invited to any family events.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 3:51PM
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Thank you. It's not so much second guessing myself as it is wanting to do the best thing for DGS and you're right, if it causes him to be stressed that they are there, then they shouldn't be there.

My son came with me twice to DGS's taekwondo classes & I noticed a change... he was whiny, threw a tantrum & ran around not listening, which is NOT how he normally behaves. Then both, DIL & DS came to a soccer camp & kept walking away (to have a smoke or get something out of the car) and every time they came back, DGS would leave his team and run up to me for a hug. I think he was wanting reassurance that I wasn't going to leave. After the egg hunt, my son was trying to make his case. He finally said "at the end of the day, who are the parents?" and I told him, "ME!! At the moment, I am the parent and if you want to be the parents, then you need to start working towards that."

I have been stuggling with this for several weeks because at first, they were going behind my back & playing family when DIL would come pick up DGS for the weekend. My son would go over & they were going around as a family for the day. I noticed some behavioral stuff (clingy & waking up at night crying) and when her grandparents confirmed my son was doing that, I talked to them. They said they had a right to let their son see what a real family should be. I told him that it wasn't fair to his son to pretend to be a happy family and let his son get used to that concept and be devastated if things DON'T work out. I told him they should work on their relationship, if that's what they want, and once they are stable (no fighting or threats of divorce for a significant time), then they might introduce that to their son. He finally agreed but they look for any opportunity to both attend activities with him. DIL lives a few hours away so she can't just show up at stuff. But, it really all seems to be about them, not DGS. DS usually comes to see him if I make a comment that he hasn't seen him for a while but he makes little effort to take him for the day. He would rather see him in my house and then tries to correct him on things he does... that I allow. It's like he wants to "undo" things that he wouldn't have done if he had been involved this whole time & I told him that doing that is going to damage his son. He can make his own rules for his own house and that he should take his son to his place where he can choose his own rules... trying to change my rules in the house DGS lives in, is only going to confuse & upset DGS.

After hearing what happened, my dad told me to just not include them in events. I have been struggling with that idea since DGS's birthday party... they both came, didn't help with anything but I felt like I might offend them & have a big scene if I took over as hostess... so I kinda told them (my son).. "why don't you do the cake now" or "how about having him open the presents" because they were not taking any initiative but if I had stepped in & led the party, I know that they (DIL) would have had a fit over "we're the parents!". Things were a little more volatile then because DS had just moved back & I found out the weekend before the birthday party that they were sneaking around playing family & they were still upset that I was trying to tell them that it wasn't good for DGS to see them playing family... they thought it was good for DGS to see them as a family as much as he could. UGH!!!

I just need to vent and to know what others would do in my situation. I go over to the parenting forum on occasion and see all the threads on estrangement and wonder how that can happen.... and now I know I'm risking that with my son because we don't agree on what's best for his son. Honestly, I can see my son storming off & going away because he isn't getting his way. He stormed out when he turned 18 because I set up a rule that he needed to let me know if he isn't coming home. (so I don't worry). He's been back twice but as soon as any rule is set or enforced, he is gone. It just really SUCKS to be in this position.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 6:57PM
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And another 2 cents...this is not even about cake pops and a handful of candy.

Perhaps a petty example, but take for example the riduculous 'he will get diabetes'. May I ask where the concern of 'Mommy' was of too much carb intake while the child ate the first round of candy? Inconsistent. A handful of candy did not bother 'Mommy' but suddenly one more bite at a child's party will just make all the difference. (rolls eyes)

But back to the actual point. It is not in the child's best interest to see such power plays in front of him. When 'Mommy' gets tired of being 'Mommy' for a mere afternoon, she'll go home who knows when to return. What happens to the child during this time frame? He of course is still living with and being raised by Ima. The lady who he respects as his caretaker and who he has to listen to and be taught be 24/7 day in and day out. So what's going on in kiddo's little head when he sees 'Mommy' play acting Mommy and agruing with Ima about who's child it is and who the 'parent' is?

You're correct, Amber. If Son and DIL would like to privately discuss caretaking and upbringing with the child's legal guardian, then they can do so at the appropriate time and when little ears are not around. Ima has shown no desire to pretend the child is hers or to forever kept the couple from hopefully taking on the parenting role to the child. But in the meantime, an afternoon here or there thumping their chest and screaming 'WE'RE THE PARENTS' is going to have to come to a halt for the child's sake. Ima and the couple can have all the adult discussions and play out the drama behind the scenes...but for now, the couple need to adjust to the fact (like it or not) that this child lives in the legal guardianship of his grandmother at his grandmother's house and they are the VISITORS/INVITED GUEST for an event.

It's not about cake pops. It's about a little boy. A little boy who can actually almost be thought similar to being in a stepfamily situation. Can you imagine what kinda crap would hit the wall and how terrible it would be for the child if a SM/SD stomped up to the child and started squealling 'I am the parent'. Except in the biological sense son and DIL are so far NOT THE PARENT.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 7:29PM
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What scares me is the thought that, if DS and DIL are getting back together to play Happy Families, might they produce another DGS or a DGD who will end up being cared for by Ima?

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 6:09AM
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"He can make his own rules for his own house and that he should take his son to his place where he can choose his own rules... trying to change my rules in the house DGS lives in, is only going to confuse & upset DGS."

Exactly and what I was thinking as well. Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the soup. In this case there are too many people trying to be the parent and it's only going to confuse and upset DGS.

Also, you notice how it affected DGS when DIL and DS came to his soccer camp and keep walking away? How he kept coming to you for reassurance?

You shouldn't feel bad about not inviting them to family events. Look at how things turned out. You had to push your son to do everything, felt nervous because you didn't want to take over, and DIL caused a scene anyway. Why should you reward bad behavior by inviting them to more family events? They don't deserve it.

Until the adults start acting like adults you have to treat them like children and take their privileges away.

Kinda reminds me of my MIL (now exMIL) When my eldest daughter was born she babysat her while I worked. My MIL did NOT do a lot of things I asked her to with my daughter but the main one was weaning her off the bottle. My MIL said she was worried my daughter wasn't going to eat, to which I said don't worry, when she gets hungry enough she'll eat. But my MIL went behind my back and kept giving her the bottle. I got fed up with it and finally I put my daughter in a regular day care. My MIL got all upset and said I was taking her granddaughter away from her. I told her she refused to take care of my daughter the way I asked her to so I had to put her in a daycare where they would do what I asked them to do. It was an eye opener for me because I had never come across a 60 year old woman that still acted like a child when it came to doing what she wanted to do, but it helped me realize that some people never grow up no matter how old they are.

You can't do what you're supposed to, you lose your privileges and it's no one fault but your own.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 11:03AM
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"What scares me is the thought that, if DS and DIL are getting back together to play Happy Families, might they produce another DGS or a DGD who will end up being cared for by Ima?"

This has been a HUGE concern. When my son came back & realized how much he's missed (his son was barely crawling when he left & was walking/talking when he came back... and seeing how he's bonded with me, he got upset & made a few comments that it's too late to have a relationship with his son because he was bonded with me and prefers me. (that's his immature thinking) and I told him that he needs to spend as much time with his son (away from me so DGS can't come running to me, which is what upsets my son) and build his own bond with him. He's only taken him twice and I've gone from encouraging it to remaining neutral and not discouraging it. At first, I encouraged both of them to spend as much time with DGS as possible but DIL would say she can't get him... and when she did get him, she would tell me it's because her grandparents had plans with him, not her. That's pretty much what she told me the last couple of weeks too... Easter was for the grandparents. My son has been completely focused on the relatiohship problems with DIL for the last few weeks. He wants to fix things with her and is putting DGS on the back burner until they can be a "family". I'm seeing how immature he really is... I've told him that he can't build a relationship without putting in the time & effort. The last time he took DGS, he said that DGS watched a movie but he (DS) fell asleep because kid movies bore him. So, I worry that DGS will be unsupervised if DS falls asleep while he's there. The couple of times that he's taken him, he treats it like he's babysitting... not working toward being the parent. So, my point is that I worry that since they don't seem to have a bond with DGS... and they aren't really TRYING to, that they (DS) will make another child that they can "do over" and have a bond with. My dad doesn't believe that will happen... DIL was pretty adamant that she isn't prepared to take care of a child. She came back to CA pregnant just before DS deployed and a couple of weeks later, she aborted. She lied to everyone & said she wasn't pregnant. My son wants to believe her, even though she admitted it to my daughter later. He wants a family but she does not want to be a mother... so I don't think she will be eager to get pregnant again, but I do think DS would pressure her to... so I don't know. It scares me too!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 12:36PM
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Ima I'm just going to come out and say it: I think you victimise yourself too much. You have all this drama in your life; with all people that surround you. I don't know of any relationship you have that isn't complicated. Do you ever wonder why that is?

You come here and you explain a ton of stuff about how everything is so hard for you and about how other people do the wrong thing, but I think you should seriously look at how you contribute to the drama in your life yourself.

Because you do have choices and I think it would do you good to shift your focus. For example with this Easter party:

I know you have custody of DGS, so you have a final say on things of course. However you don't always have to exercise that right. I think when you heard DD tell DGS he couldn't have the cake you would have known that someone (DIL or DS) would have asked your DD not to give him one. It's not likely DD made that decision by herself is it? You say you didn't realise that, but I think you are a switched on lady. Therefore in that moment you had a choice to leave it alone and not overrule the decision (which inevitably would upset someone). Or you could have taken DD aside and find out first what was going on before you overruled it. But you were all over it straight away. You know what DIL is like (as in: unstable) so you could have expected her to overreact the way she did. All I'm saying is that this could have been easily avoided if you would have just let it go.

I quote: "But, I'm torn between not inviting them to future events or taking the chance that there is going to be these kinds of outbursts" This is way too dramatic for me, all of a sudden their attendance to any future events is up for discussion? You create way more drama then necessary and now you are considering prolonging it even more. Think about it. You know what DIL is like; why not let her have her little decision on the pop cake, DGS would have gotten over missing out, no harm done, and you could have complimented her on trying to do right by her own son. Because that is all that was; your DIL was trying to make a good decision for her son.

Another quote "if they are there... do they become the decision making parents & I am just grandma that has no say?". That actually seems somewhat manipulative. I mean, come on IMA, you know that you are the custodian and you know very well what your rights are, and that you are not "grandma with no say" when the birth parents are there. To say that just seems like a bit of a pity party, knowing that other posters will agree with you.

If I were you I would want the best possible bond with DS and DIL and hopefully guide them in a positive way towards becoming more involved with their son.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 6:44AM
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Why do you think your son goes 'behind your back'?

So he wants to spend time with his wife and their son and 'play happy family' and you disagree. You have clear ideas on how you would like them to go about this, establishing their stable relationship first, perhaps wait 6 months etc, but reality is that both son and DIL do not share your views. So you can fight them all the way, or you can let go and hope for the best. Let them figure this out for themselves, they'll do it their own way whether you like it or not. You cannot make them do it your preferred way Ima, it's that simple. No wonder your son goes behind your back. Wouldn't it be better if he didn't feel so criticised but rather encouraged to increase contact with his son? Also; it would be a lot less stressful on everybody if you would just go with it. If anything I think it will increase their chance of making it together.

I'm well aware that he's not exactly dad of the year, but I wonder if he feels like he can't get your approval no matter what he does. When they come to a soccer camp; they're criticised for walking away all the time. You could also choose to look at the positive side and give them some credit for showing up. If they really don't have a clue they'll need all the guidance they can get; from you. They need you. And you know yourself that positive attention is better than negative attention.

And of course DGS is going to be a bit clingy and unsettled after a visit, I wouldn't read too much into that either. It is normal and it happens with all kids who have to live between 2 houses, even when everyone gets along just fabulous. That's just part of it.

Do you realise that if you stop inviting them to future events (parties etc) you actually are discouraging them from seeing their son? Why would you do that? Can you just imagine the stress this will put on them; because it will create, you guessed it, a whole lot more drama, and nobody needs that right now. It is time for some peace and calm. Just relax a bit, that's all I can say

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 7:26AM
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--"If I were you I would want the best possible bond with DS and DIL and hopefully guide them in a positive way towards becoming more involved with their son."--

Just my opinion, but I think Ima did hope her son/DIL would have this bond and would step-up and be parents, but it is just not happening. I think Ima is struggling to do what is right by the child while trying to come to grips with the fact that her son is (so far) a failure at being a parent.

Ima did not ask to be in the position she is in. No one asked her if she'd like to suddenly be 'Mommy' to an infant. One that is still in her care at three years old. Nope. Was not consulted, DS/DIL just did their own thing and left Ima to pick up the pieces. Oh, I suppose she did have the option of instead letting the innocent child be entered and lost in the fostercare system after DS was gone (his choice to be gone) and the DIL could not care for the child. Now son is back and wants to occassionaly play weekend daddy. Ima has to remind him he has not bothered to even see the child for a while. But suddenly they are the 'parents' trying to grow a bond and do what's 'best' for their son? Nope, not buying it.

But I will agree perhaps that Ima may play a part in the drama that gets created at the foresaid events (birthday. Easter)...but again, I don't think she does it deliberately. I think she gets wrapped up in what should be (her son a successful parent in a happy family) and what actually is (which is playing games, running hot and cold, and occassionally remembering he has a child). I think a mistake on her part was to suggest DS/DIL appear to be acting host/hostess at the birthday. Ima's party, Ima's work to make it happen, Ima's idea to even hold one. This father and mother could be having their own idea of a party for the child. The first birthday of a recently supposedly reunited 'family' and it appears there was to be no celebration planned or arranged on their part. Ima will take care of it. No Easter party inviting the child's friends (Ima will take care of Easter for the child and make childhood memories happen) No true interest in watching the child play in his sports. Ima keeps expecting (hoping?) they'll step up , find this thing called 'bond' we're all tossing about here, and things will be suddenly A-OK. But in the end it just does not happen.

Don't be dumping future events and who attends or is not invited on Ima. DS/DIL can hold all the future events they please. They should not be depending on Ima to hold an event for them nor is there anything that says a child can not have multi celebrations. All Ima can control is what happens in her home and also has a say in if and when the biological parents have/recieve visitations rights.

But in the meantime, while it all plays out. While Mommy and Daddy decide if they are a couple. While they decide IF DGS is a part of it, Ima should not be expected to sit the boy up and a shelf for child to wait for them to get it together. While all the drama plays out it is morally and legally Ima's right and I suppose duty to make sure this child's life goes on. That he grows to be as well adjusted, stable and happy as he can be and that is young life is full of the normal traditional childhood events that no one else is providing him.

She took on this 'duty' when she stood in that courtroom and agreed to take this child one 24/7, day in day out, through thick and thin. Like it or not, agree with it or not, she has the responsibilty to stand for this child. Even if it means stepping on her own son's toes on and then.

Been there, done that. It's been 13 years.

I'm a firm believer that a 'bond' is either there from the beginning or it is not. Someone can not force it or wave a magic wand and make one grow. Nor can anyone force a biological parent to be a parent. Sometimes all we can do is hope our children don't blow it a second time.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 8:06AM
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Fair enough Justmetoo, I'm not disagreeing with it. Ima is in a very tough situation for sure; I'm just trying to maybe get the point across that you cannot win all battles and sometimes it is better to go with the flow. If that causes less stress then also DGS benefits.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 8:20AM
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Justmetoo actually said it better than I could. I know & I have thought about how drama follows me & have wondered how that is. I LOVED the peace and quiet the entire week SD was gone... a boring life with no drama. I enjoyed the Easter party... even though I was surprised to see my son show up with DIL when he told me he was going out of town the day before. (Again, it felt like they are sneaking behind my back) I know it must be things I do that cause drama to follow me. If I had more time, I would figure it out... I may go back into counseling because I do agree with that.

Just for the record.. no, I don't support them being together. I support them both having a relationship with their son ~ separately. They are horrible for each other and if they get together, I'm more likely to have DGS LONGER or forever. Their "marriage" happened because she broke up with him & he decided to "prove" his love for her by taking her in the middle of the night and marrying her. I got countless calls from him in the middle of the night to come get him, she threw him out at the beginning of the marriage. Then calls telling me not to come get him when I was in my car. Finally, after a couple of times, I told him he's married to her & work it out yourself when he called. She was hitting him. He did not want to leave. Within a couple of months, he told me she was pregnant and he had joined the Army. He came to see me one day after they had a fight. She called him repeatedly, telling him that she was going to abort DGS & he would do whatever she said. Just recently, he told me that she really wanted to abort their son but he insisted she continue the pregnancy. He says it was HER idea for him to join the military, not his. Then she used it against him and was angry that he "left" her. While she was pregnant, I took her to birthing classes... trying to be helpful & get along with her since she is going to be my DIL. The question came up, "what do you hope to get from the class?" and she answered, "get this out of me!" referring to the baby. She never rubbed her tummy & showed any excitement like most pregnant ladies and they moved into my house just before he was born because they were planning to move to Georgia. Her parents wanted nothing to do with it. He took her and DGS (just after he was born) to Georgia before he was deployed for 6 months. During that six months, there were several incidents of domestic violence, MP's arrested her & he was disciplined for her behavior. DGS was taken to the ER three times for "falling" when he wasn't even rolling over yet. They destroyed a moving truck when he moved her back just before his deployment (because the military kicked her off and banned her from the base). The truck's transmission was gone... I can only assume she grabbed the gear shift while he was driving. She used to have emotional outbursts over anything... and she has never been "loving" toward my son. They stayed with me for a week before he had to fly back to be deployed. We were going to look for housing for her. She beat him up (put nail marks across his face on one incident that he didn't report) but on Halloween, she got upset with him & started beating on him while he was driving. They had DGS in the car & witnesses called police. She was arrested. A few days later, she was out & they talked before he left. He insisted on her going to the airport so I agreed. After we dropped my son at the airport & returned to my house, where her car was... she told me to keep DGS so she can go look for a house on her own. I didn't see her for days. Weeks passed & I still had DGS so I found an apartment for her (because she said she couldn't take DGS until she had a place to take him) but even after she had the apartment, she left him with me. She had him a day or night here and there. On one of the night visits, she had brought home a guy & at some point during the night she left the apartment (either drunk or got drunk), rolled her car into a ditch and was arrested. She did not tell police she had a baby in her apartment with some guy she met. Fortunately, the guy called some of her friends to come stay with the baby so he could leave and I found out the next day that she was in jail & I went to get the baby.

That's how I ended up with Guardianship. She has gotten better with DGS, the older he is but there is no real bond and she doesn't seem to mind the lack of bond. My son does. He wants a bond to exist but I believe it's his lack of maturity to think it's automatic... and doesn't seem to have a desire to put in any time toward it. But, DIL has so many problems... she has been in rehab so many times, she is bi polar, and she recently was diagnosed with an eating disorder.. which is why she had a meltdown over the cake pop. And the only thing I can say is that I made the cake pops because DGS asked me to and he loves them... and I didn't think it was fair for anyone to say no cake pop as they are being handed out to the rest of the kids. Would it kill him? no. Would he get over it? sure. But, the basket of candy he ate.. DIL unwrapped for him and sat with him as he ate didn't seem to bother her. It wasn't out of concern for his health... maybe a power struggle or an unrealistic fear because of her eating disorder and mental illness. Rational parents know a cake pop (not even two bites of cake) is going to cause a disease like diabetes. When she threw the fit, I did not respond to it... other parents seemed to ignore it & walk away. It wasn't given any energy and she ran to her car where my son followed to console her.

The questions I posed were because I WANT to include them in events but I do not want to have her outbursts... jeez, one year she started crying hysterically when my son got a plate of food at Thanksgiving. She has mental issues & I get that, but I don't want to walk on eggshells when I plan an event. I got tired of SD causing drama with her grandma and the grief it cause me, so I don't have parties when SD is here anymore. No SD, no drama. With DIL, it's only events that are focused on DGS but those are events that also include kids he's in daycare with & their parents that I know. It's embarrassing. DIL may or may not have a meltdown at any given time over any given thing, which is why I backed off at the birthday party. I realize now that it was a mistake but it was also the first thing she's been to for him. I let lots go & roll off my back to keep the peace for DGS. DIL has given me lots of reasons to want nothing to do with her.. but I have let so much go. As JMT said, they are welcome to plan things for him but they barely spend time with him.. and yes, it bothers me to have my son live less than a mile from my work & not see his son more than a few hours a week. He came over last night & saw him for a couple of hours. Yet, he will drive three hours to see his wife..

and a little more insight into their "marriage". All the time he was gone in the military, there were guys in & out. One of her friends told me she was prostituting from the apartment. He had a girlfriend in Georgia that he dumped the day he moved back here. This "reconcilliation" came out of left field for me, when I envisioned my son coming back & being a dad to his son. DIL told me she wanted nothing to do with him and from the outside perspective, she appears to be torturing him... acts like they are reconcilling and then dumps him. She's done it several times in the last few weeks and he has been very emotional, depressed and suicidal. Then they get back & he's happy. IMO, she's playing games with him. She has emotional detachment problems (I think based on her childhood) and them being together is bad... not ever going to be good for DGS. (unless she deals with her mental issues and he grows up!)

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 9:42AM
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I'm afraid I once again respectfully disagree to an extent. Not trying to be difficult, but I truely 'get' the position I believe Ima is in.

Sure, some things one 'lets go' and/or deals with it at another time, a more private time. But seriously, if the occassional 'Mommy/Daddy' was seriously taking their role and desire to be a part of the event they would have pre-discussed the event. They would have been in on the menu and activities from the beginning. One does not show up and then start making a stink over how the event was planned and/or what and how much is being served. those are pre-event discussions and arrangements to monitor for this child and or any other child attending with special needs. As I said earlier post, concern for a cake pop is a bit too little too late after already stuffing his face with candy (where was the concern monitoring this intake and the possible suggestion of saving some for later?). How do you serve a treat to all the other children present and not one to the guest of honor?

Do you really think saying 'you get one and you and you, oh, but not YOU, YOU'VE HAD TOO MUCH AND WILL GET DIABETES' was the correct way to handle the event? Do you really think DGS will just eventually 'get over' he was singled out by the part-time occassional wanna-be Mommy/Dadddy? The one who should have 'let it go' was the wanna-be occassional Mommy/Daddy. Then was NOT the time to make a I'm the Mommy Power Play. Then was not the time to suddenly decide she has deep concern for the child's diet. Does Miss Wanna Be even have a clue what the child eats at all on any other given day? Does Miss Wanna Be have any clue that this child likely knew all along what the menu was to be and was looking forward to what he and grandma had planned for his friends and him? So now lets suddenly step up act Mommy and announce 'oh not you my son, none for you'....a cake pop and the singling out of a child not even beeing raised by you on any semblance at an event you are a guest at being held in his place of residence by his 24/7 guardian really muddies the point that the cake pop and the optioning to be a rare occassional parent are very different issues. Wanna Be Mommy should have not opened her mouth in the first place as the guest at the event.

Not a good idea to single a kid out and make him different in front of his peers who are all having a treat. Myself having a child with galactosemia, I watch and measured her intake 24/7 and knew exactly what went in and when. I also had enough sense to know when to pre-discuss a menu with a hostess and when to caution my daughter to slow down as a additional treat was yet to come. I also had enough sense to realize that a couple more ounces of this or that would not be the be all to end all. Children with special diets can and are accomadated and special diet schedules can be arranged so not to single out. But guess that's just me and perhaps how I handled occassionaly events and treats served or not served at them.

Ima is the one who is left to put up with the child's disppointment and deal with the fall out of any confusion of being singled out and/or observing the parent power grab....long after Mommy/Daddy leave and go home and about their daily lifes until and/or unless they decide they want to play parents on yet again another day.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 10:20AM
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Thank you for getting it JMT.

I want to include them because I know that usually the best thing for a child is to have the most people around that love them... as long as everyone gets along. Most adults can do that and if they can't, then forcing it will only stress kids, so then it's better to not. With DIL, we are not hostile with each other. We are pleasant but not close or super friendly. She has done a lot to make it harder for me to be around her over the years but since she moved to her grandparents, they talk with her & she took a parenting class and seems to have been satisfied with the occasional afternoon or overnight visit with her son. She admits that more than a day or two really stresses her out. I don't see her ever being primary caregiver, so getting together with my son... HE would need to be primary caregiver and he clearly expects HER to. So, I have that concern besides the volatile domestic violence problems of the past. Yesterday, my son told me that DGS will always be an only child because DIL told him she will never have another child. He says he'd like one but that they would adopt an older child if they ever did. He says it's because DIL can't handle when DGS wants something and she can't understand what he wants because he can't talk to her. (Did I mention my son might be very immature? I had to explain to him that she does not want to be a full time mom to DGS, adopting an older child would be HARDER than raising a child from infancy because they tend to have problems... much like DIL's attachment problems.) It's very frustrating that he doesn't "get it".

I just wanted to get other perspectives and sure, I want to hear that it's okay to not invite her. I would LOVE for her to be at every event for her son... to see him get the eggs, sing happy birthday, all the stuff I as a mother enjoyed with MY kids. I don't want her to miss it and I don't want DGS to miss having his mommy there. But, I also don't want him to grow up remembering how his mom did this or said that at his party.. in front of his best friends. I am still torn on that but I know that what I want to happen, can't always happen. I can't count on her to show up & behave... I really don't know if she has any control over it or not, but I can't walk on eggshells & worry about it the whole time. DGS will feel the tension, he may also worry about it.. Is mommy going to yell at grandma or auntie?

One thing that happened during the party was DGS fell down & scraped his knee. I wanted to scoop him up and take care of it but my son jumped in to "handle" it. Someone said "wash it & put on neosporin" and he said it doesn't need neosporin, it's not that bad. It was bleeding & when DS walked passed me, DGS gave me the saddest look like he wanted me. I let my son take care of it but still feel like I let DGS down because when he hurts himself, I kiss it & he says "all better!" but with DS & DIL, they were more like "shake it off kid!" and that's fine to not baby every injury... kids bounce back & are off playing within minutes either way... but it was the look in his eyes that made me feel guilty for not being the one to tend to it. That is something I have to deal with. That's another thing that makes it tough because on a day to day basis, we do things one way and they come along for a day and want to do things their way... and that is fine if they take DGS for the day, do things YOUR way... but when he's at my house, when I'm there... he may not understand why he has to do things different.

It really isn't that different than a lot of our step situations.. it would be like inviting a non custodial mom to a party at dad's house and she starts to decide what her kids can or can't do, even though dad has his house rules that the kids know... whether it's tighter or looser, it's not her place to do that.

Thanks for everyone's input.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 2:37PM
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"it would be like inviting a non custodial mom to a party at dad's house and she starts to decide what her kids can or can't do, even though dad has his house rules that the kids know... whether it's tighter or looser, it's not her place to do that. "

That why I say Ima - it's your house - your rules. If your son wants to take DGS for the day and play daddy then he can take care of DGS how he wants to, but if DS or DIL is an invited guest at YOUR home - you should be the one to tend to things, and you shouldn't feel bad about it, or feel you have to step back and let DS step up. Which is why I suggested sitting down and talking to both DS and DIL in private and explaining to them that until either of them get custody of DGS, you are DGS's legal guardian and decision making parent for him.
I think if you do that it will be less confusing for EVERYONE involved.

As for your son wanting DIL to be a mom or trying to get her to adopt an older child-

Try this - I had to do this with my ex and it actually worked. My ex does not always "get it". No matter what I said I could never get him to understand what I was trying to say. I would say it in different ways, very slowly and carefully, but it was like it was in one ear and out the other. But during this one argument we were having I started just repeating the same sentence over and over and wow - he actually accepted what I said! He said "okay, I get your point". This guy has NEVER gotten my point before! But I just kept repeating the same thing over and over and it was like magic. He stopped arguing with me. I couldn't believe it!

So maybe you can try that with your son.
Every time you see DS - tell him that DIL does not want to be a mother, she does not want another kid, that she doesn't even spend any time with the one she has. Tell him over and over and over. Maybe he'll get it. We can at least hope. :)

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 3:16PM
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