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The ironies of life...little girls

Posted by oakleyok (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 15, 14 at 6:35

I need all the help I can get, but please be gentle because this is tearing me up inside.

Since I'm long winded, this will be long. :)

I had no grandmothers, sisters, or daughters. My DIL is very very quiet and not animated in the least, but still a sweet person.

My DS and family are living here until their house is ready which should be in a couple of months.

When we found out the 2nd grandchild would be a girl, we were so excited! DIL and I talked about how we'd buy American Girl Doll's, etc.

E will be 4 in 3 weeks.

I was super excited because I've never been around a little girl. I have all boys. My DH only has brothers. I was thrusted into a land of tetesterone! lol

E is very close to her mom. She doesn't leave her mom's side unless E is playing with her brother who will be 6. E also isn't chatty, just like her mom isnt chatty. My son says my DIL is shy, but after living with us for a year and a half, I don't accept the shy thing anymore.

When I babysit E, she is glued to my side. When her mom is around, I don't exist.

Yesterday is a good example of how I've been treated since they moved in. It was the first day of school. E goes to a wonderful pre-school and loves it.

When they came home with Mom...she's a teacher so they get to come home with her...I got all excited, waiting by the front door, and I first asked my GS how school was. He said, "It was a lot better than I thought!" Cute coming from a 5 year old. BTW, he and I are tight as can be. He's just like my son, loves to chat, and talk about everything under the sun. Just like me too.

I asked E how her day was. She kept on walking and didn't say a word to me. Didn't even look at me. Her mom was right behind her and she also didn't say a word. Just smiled and kept on walking. I put up with this every day. Both of them are only talkative to my son.

I've tried and tried to engage E in play, but she likes to play alone or with her brother. Or with my iPad.

The irony is hysterical, but it also makes me sad to know I'll never have a close bond with my granddaugher since I missed out on having a grandmother.

I know things can change as E gets older, but I don't think it will. BTW, E's other grandmother is a 2nd grade teacher and she has the wonderful ability to get on little one's level. I can with my GS, but I can't with my GD because I feel intmidated by E! lol

Do you know how sad it makes me feel when we're at ballgames and I see my friend's little granddaughters sitting on their laps?

E and I do have our little moments. Like when I'm putting makeup on I always do her lips, and squirt a bit of perfume on her.

Any suggestions on what I can do, or should I just accept that this is her personality which is just like her mother?

Another question. At what age does a little girl get into dolls? E loves her toy horses and won't play with her dolls. I told my DIL I won't be buying the large A.G. Doll until E starts to like them. Although I did buy her the A.G. Bitty Baby doll, and she doesn't play with it either.

E's mother has never played dolls with her and I wonder if that's part of the problem. She buys E dolls at times, but doesn't take the time out to play with her. I've tried but she plays for about 5 minutes with them.

Since I've never had a daughter, do moms play dolls with their little girls? I know her mom wants E to play with dolls (it may be too early from what little I've read on this), but it seems E would mimic mommy playing with them. E is very girly and also a tomboy. Perfect combo! I strongly feel her mom should take the time out and play dolls with her. She's always on her iPhone and being iRude. heh heh.

All suggestions are welcome. sniff sniff.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

I'm so sorry you're hurting, but I'm glad you have the opportunity to spend time with your lovely granddaughter, and I'm glad for your good relationship with your GS. I'm the last person who should be giving advice (as if that's every stopped me), but from what I hear in your post, I think this is an issue of expectations. You have a lot of expectations around what a granddaughter is and does, and are disappointed that those expectations aren't met. And when they aren't then that comes across as judgment and criticism, even if you don't judge or criticize. It can be sensed and it can feel uncomfortable for your GD. As your disappointments increase, you may try even harder, too hard, which increases the discomfort. Especially if she is quiet and shy, your more outgoing personality may, in and of itself, feel more threatening from the get go.

You've felt this hole in your life with having no females in your family, you've got in your mind how these female relationships are supposed to be, and you are placing all your expectations on your GD to fill that hole in you. She can't and will never fill that hole. That's a lot to put on one small child. Let it go.

Rather than trying to make your granddaughter live up to your expectations of what a granddaughter is and does, you need to forget all of that. (To be frank, there is a lot of gender bias in these expectations of who and what a girl is and does.) Instead, you need to be open and accepting of who your GD is. She may not want to play with dolls, and that's ok. She may never. But expecting her to play with dolls, trying to get her to play with dolls, being disappointed that she has no interest in dolls, is only making her more uncomfortable with you....I'm just using dolls here as an example as you specifically mentioned it. She may not, and may never like dolls, baking, decor, shopping or any of the other activities you associate with being a girl. And that's ok.

Rather, be thankful and appreciative of what this little one can bring into your life, no expectations. And the way to do that is to get to know her, let her lead, find out what she likes and help her enjoy what she enjoys...maybe learn to play horses. When you see your GD with her other GM, be observant. How does GM behave? In what ways and what does she do to get on your GD's level? Observe too what she doesn't do and doesn't expect. Not that you are to become the other grandmother, but that you can learn from her what approaches may be more successful.

As far as ignoring you when she comes in, children should be taught to answer when someone speaks to them...it's a matter of manners. And it may help her get over her shyness. It would be nice, and it would be helpful if DIL expected and asked her daughter to respond when she's addressed by you. However, if you try to force it, it will only become a bigger barrier between the two of you.

However, I believe if you change your approach and expectations, she can warm up to you, and then, when she willingly responds to you, you'll know you've arrived.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

I don't post here often, but this is a cause near and dear to my heart. Please read up about introverts vs. extroverts. (excellent recent book called "Quiet"). It sounds like this little girl and her mother are introverts. They need alone time and space. It is not a personality disorder, it's the way they are wired. I'm an introvert married into a huge family of extroverts...it can be a challenge. Sometimes people's feelings can be hurt inadvertently. It is not a reflection on you in any way. It's just that as much as you need to chat with people to be happy, they need alone time and space to be happy. I teach preschool which is very socially intensive. I NEED time to be alone and decompress when I get home. I love my family and want to be with them...but I need this time first. I hope this helps.
Judy


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

E's mom is modeling behavior which seems rude. One would hope she would have used the opportunity when E ignored you and began to walk past, to say, "E, Grandma's talking to you! I had a fun day today, E tell Grandma about your day!". I can see how you would feel hurt. Regarding dolls, our mother never once in any way ever played anything with us, and we actively played with dolls - from an earlier age than E's. I played with my kids a LOT, but never with dolls, really, except to guide early on, as in, see, you can feed her with this bottle, here's a carriage to take Susie for a walk, etc. My daughter had nearly zero interest in dolls or stuffed animals, while her older brother loved stuffed animals and had all his friends around him at bedtime. We did all play together with the Fischer Price little people in their cars, houses, gas station, roadways etc etc. Part of all the playing with my kids -often teaching moments, too, form some of my most precious memories of their childhood. I feel REALLY sad about all the children being ignored by parents too busy on their electronics to interact and believe we will be seeing the fallout to this in years to come including in the mental health system. Perhaps you could gently use "I statements" with your DIL when you are alone, to express how you feel when your DIL ignores you. She may be unaware of the impact of her behavior. Good luck!


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

I know nothing about GDs or having kids...but I was one once...and I'm certain I was an introvert. There were times (and a lot) when I was a child, that simply speaking to me would make me mad. First thing in the morning, I did NOT like to talk...I was not a morning person...I am better now.
And when I was a child (and still though I tolerate it now), meaningless pleasantries were not my forte, neither in giving them nor in receiving them. I used to HATE (and still loathe), the typical 'Good morning, how are you?' from relative strangers. I would either ignore it...or I would (depending on my mood), tell them EXACTLY how I was, which they didn't really want to know. If you ask a question, you have to be prepared to get an answer (my thoughts).

I might have reacted the same way as your GD when I was that age. I'd like to suggest something (and it may be insane and may not work at all), but perhaps you have/had something interesting happen today (that perhaps your GD would be interested in), why don't you mention it and see if she would like to hear about it ?

Another suggestion, don't try to so hard, but do grandmotherly things like bake cookies, take kids camping (maybe) overnight, tell stories at bedtime, etc.

If you are truly interested and don't project negative (forgive me for using this popular term..but can't think of any other) 'energy', GD will surely come around of her own accord.

I knew both my grandmothers and two of my greats...I loved them all. You're right, GMs are special....be special to her.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

I think Annie said it perfectly.

Several years ago, I recall reading an article about the scientific advancements in gender selection for parents trying to conceive. One Dr. said something so interesting. He said that when parents want, say, a boy, so badly that they will seek medical help to conceive that gender ( they centrifuge the sperm basically, iirc), he has found they don't really just want "a" boy---- they really want a specific person that have will certain traits and interests that the parents wish to see. So, the Dr said, these people are usually unhappy even when it's a "success"!

Children are people first, with amazingly prominent personalities day one. E may not be who you envisioned, so take her as she is. And lucky you for the GS relationship. Also keep in mind that , having them so close is more than most grandparents get.

There are several elements in your post that bely strong hostility toward your DIL. Living together is very tough, and living next door will be challenging as well. You may think you posted about your GD, but I read a post that I thought was really about DIL. You need to think about how you can improve that relationship. DIL is in a position of power, with her influence over those you love. If you can be more accepting of her personality or more forgiving ... Even if she makes mistakes... That will pay back for you I think.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

Even an introvert can muster a quick reply when walking into their MIL/GM's home!

If you are close to DS, then just tell him how you feel - including the part where you don't buy that being shy equates to rudeness and while living in your home, you expect a certain amount of respect from DIL.

When this plays out again, look at DIL and tell her, "Don't you think E should respond when spoken to?" And then get down to E's level and say, "Grandma was talking to you and you need to answer." Then repeat what you said. Say it in a very sweet tone so that she doesn't feel like you are scolding her.

I don't know what to tell you about the dolls. I never played with dolls but was really into Barbie when I was older. My sister never played with dolls either. My mom never played with us unless it was a board or card game. My son never played with dolls either LOL!


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

I think jmck have hit the nail on the head. They are introverts. I'm very lucky who have a husband who knows how I'm wired and doesn't expect me to talk to him when I get home and lets me have some down time to just adjust myself. It has nothing to do with being shy. I just have times when I need my own time and that time is most often right after work. Now I have a long commute so I get more of the downtime that I need and don't have the same need when I get home, but I'm noticing the same need in my daughter. When I pick her up from pre-school or now Kindergarten I've learned she needs some time and then she will happily tell me about her day and what she did, but it is after she has been playing alone for a time.

 

As for her being tied to her mom - we struggle with that in our own household, but it is getting much better with age. My daughter has always been very tied to me, and I don't do anything to encourage it, but rather that is what she feels unfortunately at the expense of her daddy. Often I have to tell her things like you love him too, just in a different way and other things in response to her telling me "Mommy I love you best" and it is finally starting to pay off as she is now going Mommy I love you and now she is finally turning to Daddy and saying Daddy I love you and it is not having to be prompted. She has just been so focused on me only. Although she loves her grandparents and when we are over at my inlaws I have on purpose tried to distance myself from her so she is forced to interact more with my mother in law. However, being that they live in your house and sounds like introverts this is a very different thing than just visiting.

 

As for doll playing - I never did, my daughter does sometimes, but she just as often will use a stuffed animal. I have never pushed any gender specific things on her. I was a tomboy and she can be a very girly girl - completely alien to me on that end, but then she also likes batman and some other super heroes, will play with cars, and trains and loves Lego's although she tends to gravitate to the girly ones. I don't really play dolls with her other than her pretending I'm the Nana at times or showing her what she can do with them, but that goes for any stuffed animal or doll that she is playing with at the moment. I play with her and so does daddy, but mostly she plays on her own with interactions here and there. At a younger age play interaction is a bit different too than when older. Often when she plays with us is when she wants us to be her child. It is her favorite thing to play with us and she loves it when we are being difficult children. If she wants us to play with her it is either playing that or playing games such as card or board games. Outdoors we can as a family play different things such as tag, batting, kicking a ball etc. or jump on the trampoline with her (although Daddy is pretty out of shape so doesn't last long so she rarely asks him).

 

Now I do agree her parents should make her answer when people are asking her things - I know I do with my daughter, but I don't expect her to answer more than a short response when I know she is in her non-social mode. She is generally very sociable otherwise, but will be more introverted after a lot of socializing such as what school and pre-school does.

 

Everybody even young children have their own personalities and the more sensitive we are to those the better I think our relationships are.

 

I don't fault your DIL for getting on the ipad after work for downtime if she is an introvert especially since you said she is a teacher (that is a lot of socializing during the day) and then also not living in her own home, but having other people around when she gets home. I would want to escape into something that doesn't require me to respond and be polite or engage in a conversation too. Be it a book or just reading stuff online which are my escapes now. Before my daughter it was cleaning up stuff for at least 30min when I got home as it was a good way to be left alone. I still respond to my daughter and her needs, but I also need some time and I think it is important for children to learn that adult needs some time too and that it is ok for them to play by themselves.

 

Now if all somebody does when home or with the children is on electronics then maybe there is another issue, but doesn't sound like in general there is an issue just a matter of when they get home and somebody needing space.

 

I know I need space even with my own family especially when staying with them for more than a few days so I would need a lot of my own time - more than normal - if I lived with any family that wanted my interaction more than what I'm up to. Thankfully my husband has never been an issue when it comes to this as he also has a need for quiet or some downtime.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

I had no use whatsoever for dolls as a child. DD LOVED them and would spend hours playing with them for many years. Because of my dislike of dolls I never participated in playing with her and she did quite well without me. We were very close and did lots of other things together but, yech, not dolls:) I still think they're creepy.

I used to be an introvert but decided I didn't want to be one anymore and changed. I read a book by Barbara Walters called, "How to Talk to Practically Anyone About Practically Anything" and it was life changing for me. I doubt your DIL wants to change but I think her behavior is rude. She should have intervened when GD ignored you. I can see why you are hurt and I would be too.

Edited to add that I admire your patience. I don't think I could live with this situation without saying something to DIL and DS. DIL's behavior is, IMHO, rude. One can have introvert tendencies but still engage in polite conversation.

Edited (again) to add: Wait, she's a teacher and too "shy" to respond to your greeting? I don't buy it. I need my "alone" time, too, but I would NEVER ignore someone when in the same room with them. I just find the behavior you've described appalling (can ya tell??).

This post was edited by funnygirl on Fri, Aug 15, 14 at 9:02


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

I would not complain about DIL to your DS. I might ask if he has ideas about how to improve your relationship. I agree DIL as you describe the one incident is at fault, but simply pointing out faults rarely improves relationships.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

When I was growing up, I spent many nights staying over with my mother's parents. I never spent an overnight with my father's parents. There were probably a lot of reasons for it, but one was, my father's mother would've put me to work as that's all they did. They gardened, cooked, cleaned, mended, etc. Never once did they reach out to us to do anything kid-like...like a movie or a circus or even a day at the beach. If I was there, I'd be expected to do what they were doing.

With Mom's mother, I had certain expectations of behavior...I had to make my own bed, I had to help with the meal prep and help do the dishes. But that was it. The rest of the time I had to myself...I'd spend hours on the porch listening to music, reading a book, crocheting or other craft project. Once a day, I'd walk with Grandpa to the mailbox to get the mail. It was soooo easy being with them. And I was surrounded by nothing but love.

It's not that I didn't love all my grandparents, in fact in many ways my father's mother and I were more connected personality-wise than I was with anyone else in the family, but I enjoyed the time I spent with one more than the other.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

I totally agree with both of Mtn's responses. You've spoken very highly of your DIL in the past so what has happened? I think it would be hard to move in with your in-laws. I would most definitely not go to your son about DIL and GD. You risk the very big chance that he is going to be offended and will most likely side with his wife. (Which really he should.) Not to mention the position you would put him in.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

"E is very girly and also a tomboy. Perfect combo! "

Perfect indeed. I suspect she will grow up to be a very well-rounded human being, who will remember the small moments with you, and treasure them.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

I agree, it sounds like DIL and GD are introverts, and that is who they are. I have a much better understanding of this being married to one. DH and I have many things in common but I am the extrovert and he is the introvert. My extended family is very extroverted and boisterous, and I know that is hard for him.

I can almost imagine him the same way as a child as your GD. He loves his grandma very much, though, that is apparent.


I LOVED horses as kids. I had dolls, too, but OMG my horses were my favorite things.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

If it's any comfort, I do not have a good relationship with my DIL either. It is civil and polite but that's about it. We only see her on holidays or special occasions....most of the time my son comes over alone. And she is very outgoing.

My DD is a girly girl, but she wasn't into dolls either. She had them, but was never super interested in them. I did buy her an American Girl doll one Christmas with some outfits, the case, etc...and she hardly played with it. I have saved it if/when she has a daughter.

Just try to take it all in stride...take your GD on special outings to the park, a movie. Bake cookies with her. You may not reap immediate rewards, but you will hold a special place in her heart, even if she doesnt outwardly demonstrate it. Agree though, she should not be allowed to brush past you without a word when you greet her.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

Once again Tina, I'm not surprised that you were the *only* one who didn't reply to me in a gentle and kind way.

NOTHING HAPPENED between me and my DIL!!

Now I'm very angry, and I'll be back in a bit after I cool off to address the otherwise wonderful and helpful replies!

Apologies to everyone, but it never stops with her.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

Oh good grief Oakley! It was a question! You have spoken differently in the past of your relationship with her. I'm not sure how you felt that was unkind?! The rest of my response pretty much ditto'd what another poster said.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

From this website: http://storylineblog.com/2013/04/08/how-to-get-along-with-an-introvert/

"Give them some space. My old roommate, Mike, once said to me, “Don, you know I’ve figured you out a little bit. You need about ten minutes of space when you come home before you engage in a conversation.” His observation was profound. I hadn’t realized it myself, but he was dead on. Introverts don’t want to be mobbed when they get to their place of security, or for that matter, anywhere else. They want to transition and get comfortable and then engage. When an introvert comes home and is charged with some social responsibility immediately, it’s tough. Give him or her ten minutes to transition and it’ll pay you back a thousand fold."

This holds very true for me - It drives me crazy when my mom is visiting and I come home from work and she greets me at the door. I get even less likely to want to talk to her  even as the night goes on. I finally had to ask my mom to please give me space when I got home and it got so much better or I would feel grumpy and it has taken me years to figure that part out and it sounded so familiar to me when I read your post. It is not like I want to be rude, but it just made me feel angry for what appeared as no reason at all to me, until I figured it out. Even though I figured it out it is still not something I'm able to control the feelings of. To me it appears to be the same feeling others get when somebody invades their personal space such as when somebody stands too close in a public place. I think that is the best way I can use to describe it.

BTW I did a search for "how to greet an introvert when they get home" and there were lots of returns that seemed spot on.

Here is one on children: http://jessicabuttscounseling.com/personal-growth/back-to-school-how-to-greet-your-introverted-or-extroverted-child-after-school/

Maybe do some reading up on how to handle it and then maybe things overall will go much smoother.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

Lots of good ideas here. I agree with the introvert theory and really liked the book, "Quiet" as well.

I think perhaps you could try some activities which don't require a lot of talking, but do result in your spending time together, and may open the door to more bonding and sharing -coloring for example. She likes horses, so buy a horse coloring book for her, a coloring book for you, some nice new crayons and invite her to color with you. Even if she turns you down, pull out your coloring book, and get to work coloring, leaving hers on the table beside you. She may or may not sidle over eventually and start to color. I'm a talker, and I would be tempted to keep a running commentary going, but understanding what you've shared about your GD, I would bite my tongue a great deal. Maybe talk in ways that don't require her talking, but she could if she wanted to, thinking out loud for example, "I wonder if I should color this flower purple or blue..." and see if she responds. Try not to feel disappointed if you spend half an hour coloring and don't exchange any words. You're still spending time together. Invite her again and again. Playing cards is a similar activity. Put a jigsaw puzzle on a table where it can stay for a week or more. Invite her to do the puzzle with you in a non-demanding way, "I think I'll work on the puzzle a bit, do you feel like doing that with me?" but if she turns you down, do it anyway, giving her the chance to work her way over there.

You sound like such a wonderful grandmother, and I can imagine your frustration. Keep in mind that she is a work in progress, and don't readily give up. She may always be introverted, but that doesn't in any way eliminate a close relationship with you.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

Annie, I think you nailed it. My expectations were mostly my fantasies of how it should be, not how relationships really are. Not having a grandmother has done a number on me. I have no memories to share like everyone else does.

When my GS was born, the discussion came up as to what the grandmothers should be called. My DIL's mom immediately chose "Nana." It didn't bother me, because I wanted to be called, "Grandma." Nothing else. Just don't call me "A grandmother..." on the news if I get hit by a car. Just use my name please. lol.

I definitely understand the introvert/extrovert. I'm borderline, depending on situations. Unfortunately, this situation has made me an introvert.

DIL coming home to chill out is definitely deserved. I remember what it was like. But this summer the downtime at home was spent on her iPhone while the kids played.

DIL and I get along great. Now that we're living together, we've both noticed faults in each other. Which is okay because it's only temporary. It's like the first year of marriage. lol

I definitely agree how DIL should be teaching those children manners, which she isn't. It was instilled in me as a child, even asking to be excused from the table. I've been teaching the kids table manners. My son is at fault also for the lack of table manners when they first got here, but he's usually not around when I get the silent treatment.

Telling GD gently to say "Hello" to me is what I'm going to do. She does let me fix her hair which I love!

I just want to have a close bond with her, at my age who knows how much longer I have? I want her to remember me with good thoughts.

Is it typical for some 4 year olds not to give a hoot? Grandmothering my GS is sooo easy. I guess I expected it would be the same with my GD.

Last night she got mad at me when I offered her a bite of food...and I can't remember what it was! She's a very picky eater, and when I held the spoon up, she quickly covered her mouth and gave me a look that could kill, if looks could kill. I've never seen her do that to her parents.

Here's what I think needs to be done and I'll talk to my son about it. He'll understand, he's a kind person. :) I think both he and my DIL need to start praising me in private to E. Make stuff up if they have to. lol.

An example of that is, when they moved in and their daddy would come home from work, I'd say what I said to my boys, "Daddy's home! It's daddy!" Neither of the grandkids would budge. I thought how weird that was. I kept doing it, and now they do it everytime he pulls in the driveway. I was kind of shocked my DIL never did it. I remember how much my DH loved coming home to such fanfare. So maybe if my son will praise me somehow to my GD, she may loosen up around me.

E now understands I'm her daddy's mommy. It's always fun watching them comprehend the relationship.

Thoughts?


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

I would not give up on a close relationship with your GD just yet; it may not look the way you thought, but it can still be wonderful. One of the most wonderful gifts you can give to your grandchildren is appreciating who they are and working within those confines (honestly, it is a great gift to anyone to truly appreciate who they are and love them for it!).

My in-laws seem to be incapable of appreciating who my DH is and the personalities of our entire family. There is no effort and it makes visiting them an obligation filled with dread instead of being a comfort. It is a rather sad thing to encounter.

I agree with the above of gently reminding your GD that when someone speaks to her, she should respond. Even us introverts need to do that. As a young parent, I was often embarassed when someone had to tell my children something like that but it was a reminder I needed.

I would not say anything to your DS about your DIL. Commisserate with your girlfriends or here, but I would just leave that one alone.

On the dolls, my daughter has two A.G. dolls. They are lovely knicknacks for her to dust. She also had a dollhouse, a cute one. For both the dollhouse and the A.G. dolls, she would set them up or rearrange the furniture but that was the extent of her involvement with them. When she engages in imaginative play, it is not with dolls. In my estimation, the dolls were more representative of the ideals of the giver than those of the recipient. The same can be said for the pirate ship DH bought for our oldest son and a lot of other gifts that have flowed through this house.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

Once again Tina, I'm not surprised that you were the *only* one who didn't reply to me in a gentle and kind way.

Huh?? Once again you have found slights where there are none.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

I don't know whether she is an introvert or not. (I am and so am always ready to jump to our defense when people criticize our behaviour) but being an introvert is never an excuse for rudeness.

An introvert is perfectly capable of being socially engaging, however we are happier in small groups and do need down time to recharge. After being in school she may be mentally exhausted and need a few minutes of quiet time to recharge.

She is mimicking her mothers behaviour because that is who she identifies with in the home. Her mother doesn't engage in conversation with you and so neither will she. There may be discussions between your DS and DIL about the living situation that you aren't privy to and she is and she may be picking up some tension from her mom with regards to you.

I like the idea that has been suggested about quiet play and interaction that doesn't require talking - things such as colouring or puzzles. I don't blame her for not being interested in playing with dolls - that does require social interaction (even thought it's pretend) and setting up social situations even though the doll is an inanimate object. If she truly is an introvert that just takes a lot of mental energy.

A general comment about dolls - I never did - couldn't think of anything more boring. What does she like to do? If she is doing something solitary can you just quietly - without chitchatting! (not everybody likes to chitchat) - sit beside her and do something independently?

If we were in the same room (and I realize that we're not) I would gently say to you that tina didn't mean anything by her comment - it was an honest question and if you were to think back, wondering if something has happened. Don't be mad at her.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

Not having a grandmother has done a number on me. I have no memories to share like everyone else does.

You really should try to work on realizing that this is just not true. Not everyone has memories of their grandparents (I don't). For some, family memories are horrific.

I thought how weird that was. I kept doing it, and now they do it everytime he pulls in the driveway. I was kind of shocked my DIL never did it

You seem like a well-meaning person. But if you frequently try to force YOUR ways on this young family, you will only alienate your DIL and make things difficult for your son. Would you want him to choose you over her? I agree that it's possible that your GD senses this tension. Making your son and DIL "praise" you seems very, very bizarre to me.

Try to imagine your DIL's side of the story. Did she want to move in with you? I am very introverted and just the thought of moving in with anyone makes me extremely anxious. I'd rather move to the cemetery!


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

From MTN:
"I would not complain about DIL to your DS. I might ask if he has ideas about how to improve your relationship. I agree DIL as you describe the one incident is at fault, but simply pointing out faults rarely improves relationships." Yes!
I feel your pain and understand....big time. But...and this is hard....
With gd and DL you may Not be totally yourself: gregarious and outgoing.
Never criticize her manners ; it reflects on her mom and she will NOT appreciate your input. Just grit your teeth.
You must bend to their ways.
Stand back and let her come to you.
Makes dates for baking and outings.
Set up an art table and let her find you there, or join her coloring.
Let her find you doing something of interest she might enjoy( a craft she could do ,with help.) and let her come to you.
I have three GDs . One loves dolls, one is so so, and oldest never cared.
Never have I played dolls with them, or my DD.
As for your DD: she will never be the ' daughter you never had", or your good friend. What you DO have is a loving son, GS and GD ( who will cherish you, too) . Your job is to do nothing to alienate your DL and risk losing what you have. I said it was hard.
Support her
Take her side, not your son's, if occasion arises.
Praise her
Ask for nothing.
Be wonderful.
I loved both my GMs. The one I worshiped , like Annie's , left me alone to do as I liked, but was always ready to read, play dominos, bake , etc.
I felt very accepted, never judged....manners she left to parents.
Oh, and she was never demonstrative , physically or verbally, yet I felt adored.
You can do this! Gird your loins, girl ! Fake till you make it.
I'm rooting for you!
P.s. I remember little of either GM before about six. Six to twelve were the biggest memory makers.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

Make them praise you? What? Why? I'm sure they have enough to do!
I can't imagine asking someone to do that. Very bad idea.

The relationship with your GD will come along, you just need to tune into her. It's almost like dating! If you were dating a guy and he loved golf but you wanted him to play tennis, how would you woo him? You'd at least meet him halfway.

The relationship with DIL ... You need to do what will work in terms of getting what you want, not accumulate grievances ( justified or not). There are some relationships in life where you don't have the upper hand. In-laws and school teachers come to mind. You can't change your DIL, you are stuck with her. But she will likely determine much of the relationship you have with her children and even your son. Those relationships is more important then who is right or wrong, who spends too much time on their iPhone or is rude, IMHO. Do Not discipline her kids... It is a rebuke to both of them. It can't end well

I draw the parallel to teachers because they are also in a position of power over someone you love, and generally can't be changed. So sometimes you bite your tongue as a parent because you recognize how important they are to your child's success and or happiness. You kowtow .... Even if you believe you are right ... For the greater good.

In your shoes, I'd ask myself ... How can I win over my DIL?, flawed though she may be....


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

Q for you oakley, when you were growing up, did you spend time with other families...visiting friends, neighbors and such? It's a very broadening experience, mostly to learn that different people do things differently and it's ok. That there are lots of traditions, customs, rules, and ways and that they aren't wrong, they're just different.

I think what's happening in part here is, because of the living situation, you are getting more intimately involved in the primary family relationship of your son and his wife than would otherwise be. They are trying to keep their family unit going in their own way, even though they are under your roof. It's natural for you to want your house to run your way as you are the matriarch, but while they are there, give them space and relax. Pick up a new mantra: Let it be. Let it be their way. Love them enough to let them have their own family in their own way, with their own space and time, especially while they are in your home.

I think, for example, with the "Daddy's home" that that's a wonderful gift you've brought them...that's what grandmas are for, to share with them the memories and ways that you do have. But you must be very careful that the gifts you bring are just that, gifts. Not criticisms or judgments that they are doing it wrong or they are neglecting things and you need to show them the 'right' way. A delicate balance to be sure.

Please do NOT involve your DS in trying to "fix" this. This is all about your relationship with your GD which is your responsibility to establish. Involving him necessarily puts him in the middle and he's not going to be happy, and guess what...you'll be blamed for it and relations will only get harder. Instead, look to yourself, your behaviors, your tool kit...see what you can add, subtract, change, try and see what works.

I know it's not kosher to compare pets and kids, but I can't help but think about what Cesar Millan says about dogs...that they come into our lives to teach us things about ourselves, things that we need to learn. I think the same is true of children. Dealing with children is like holding up a mirror so we see ourselves in new and different ways through their eyes, so we can learn things about ourselves we wouldn't otherwise know. And just like with pets, some have outgoing personalities and warm up to you instantly...others are shy and will run and hide at the sight of you. Each requires a different approach. Each requires us to find a way to reach them in a way they can accept. Sometimes you need to not keep approaching them, but let them come to you. And when they finally do, and they will, it's a beautiful thing.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

I totally agree with jmck and if they didn't live in your house, I would totally agree with martinca too. But they do live in your house and shouldn't be allowed to be rude every single day. But, I wouldn't meet them at the door again.

I'm an introvert too but both my dd were extroverts, or at least more than me. First day of preschool, mine rushed into the room without a backward glance at me while all the other moms had a child clinging to their leg. I didn't want to pry a teary child off my leg but I wanted them to at least walk away regretfully. lol

As a child, I don't remember ever having an adult play dolls or activity things with me, and I didn't want them to. I didn't like physical affection either, but maybe that's just because my parents weren't the huggy/kissy type. What I wanted from my mom and grandmothers was to read books, lay my head on their lap when the boring adults talked and they stroked my hair, or play a board game. Very occasionally I wanted them to show me how to do something, like crochet or a craft, but it was a lot more fun if I could show them how to do something.

I also taught school, and I do remember being totally drained by the time I got home. All I wanted to do was sit in a chair with the tv on so no one would talk to me. Dh was in school at the time, so he was home when I got home and I'm pretty sure I said hi to him and nothing more. He understood, but saying hi to anyone else would have opened the door to a conversation and I just couldn't do a conversation until I had at least 30 minutes totally by myself.

I'm not condoning either of their behavior. Perhaps they didn't speak because they didn't want it to lead to more questions. But it was definitely rude - from both of them.

What I would do is let them come into the house without you being present and give them 30 minutes or so to decompress. Then knock on her door, and dil too even, or find her wherever she has gone, and then say hello and wait for her to respond. If she doesn't say hello back, I'd repeat it a little louder, and if she still doesn't say hello, I'd probably joke and say "earth to E, hello up there in outer space." If she gives you the evil eye, I'd say something like "That's your cue to say hello back."

Point being, if you give her an outright lesson on manners, she could stubborn down and refuse to cooperate now and in the future. If you keep it light, she'll get the point too.

If you get an immediate hello from her, I'd go to step two. If you have to work for it, I'd tell her you'll see her later, and then leave. Go back to your project, take a walk, or just leave the house. But don't push for more just then.

Step Two. See if she wants to share the special treat you made earlier, read the new book you just got, or just sit beside her and silently watch tv.

If you have an indoor pet, and if she likes it, that will help a lot too. Most introverts engage with pets a lot better than they engage with people.

I feel your pain. Dh's niece was the same way with mil and with me. It hurt even though I totally understood why she was stand-offish.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

More good advice, Annie. I do remember last year there was an incident with E and I told my son in private how she never comes to me. He told me he doesn't do it with him either & laughed, but my DIL went out of her way to work with E. Now she's "daddy's little girl." Although still glued at the hip to her mom.

If I do talk to him, there won't be any criticism at all, I'll ask him if he can think of ways for her to like me. For lack of a better word. That's how I feel, unliked.

I don't think it has anything to do with their family unit. I did spend time with other families and I'd hear how "we're going to grandma's house," or "My grandma sent me $20!," etc. I never said anything because I was so jealous. lol

If I do talk to my son, I won't make a big deal out of it, or let him know how sad I feel, I'll only ask for suggestions.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

I meant to respond to this: She is mimicking her mothers behaviour because that is who she identifies with in the home. Her mother doesn't engage in conversation with you and so neither will she. There may be discussions between your DS and DIL about the living situation that you aren't privy to and she is and she may be picking up some tension from her mom with regards to you.

Yes. I didn't really want to mention this because I don't want anyone to think we don't get along. I know they are just as anxious to move out as we are for them to move out.

DIL is very close to her family, who visit often, and chats up a storm with them. But never me. Surely E has picked up on this.

This will sound contradictory, but as sweet/nice as my DIL is, she really has no manners towards DH and myself. We just keep shaking our heads not knowing why, even though we've gone out of our way to make her feel welcome.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

Well the remembrance of their talking about grandmas was not what I meant. You really need to get over that. What was, was and can't be changed. Accept it. Forgive yourself for believing that the past could've been otherwise. It couldn't. It was exactly what it was meant to be. Accept it. Focusing on it now only hurts you and others around you as you strive to be this idealized grandma that never existed. Let it go. The best grandmas just always bring love.

I really was talking about how different families are. E.g., my GF's father, my memories of him are sitting in the LR chair behind the newspaper and saying nothing to anyone...so different from my Dad! But it was what was normal for them. YKWIM? So make room for variations in behavior and give 'em space. Let it be.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

I don't think it is a she doesn't like you. You said yourself that when you are watching her (mom is not there) that she b stays glued to you instead. Doubt she would do that if she do didn't like you. It is just a pecking order I think. We have that still at our house. Unfortunately it has taken a lot of work to change that at our house, but it is finally at a point where Daddy gets picked at times before me. She had been glued to my side although our pecking order is Mommy first, then my MIL, and then Daddy. I think some of it has to do with age too. My daughter never seems to get enough of mommy, but will have her fill of Daddy or Nana. I'm just now seeing that starting to change. Her friends seems very similar in their interactions within family too. May just be your grand son is more unusual in his behavior or it is Boy thing.

I think you got good advice on things to do to get her more involved and want to participate. My daughter loves to color with her Nana.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

Lots of good advice. I feel for you Oakley. You were very generous to offer your home to your son and his family.
I am not yet a MIL or a grandmother. But, this is what I have seen with my sister. She has an opinion of herself that is no where near how her DIL sees her. DIL feels my sister takes over when she enters a room. My sister feels that she holds back with her opinions. They live one town over and only visit once a month, while they visit the other grandmother daily! This would be an eye opener for me. It is truly hard to see ourselves in a negative light. Or that we are doing something that truly un nerves the other person.

Here is what I would do, and plan to do if ever the time comes. I would talk to DIL and say that" if there is anything that has made you uncomfortable with me, I would like to know. Our relationship is very important to me." You can even point out a fault (which might not really be one) like "sometimes I get over excited when I see (fill in the blank) that E or GS would like, and that can be over whelming for you."

Can you arrange some alone time with the DIL? Not to discuss your unhappiness or concerns, just to have bonding time. I really don't understand the introvert thing when it comes to basic manners. But, I really think that if you smooth the feathers with your DIL, other things will fall into place. Yes, you say you have a good relationship with your DIL, but that was when they did not live with you.

Both my DD were not interested in dolls. My SIL always gave them dolls, and I did too. But, they were more interested in there stuffed animals, so we went with that.

E might love arts and crafts, baking, gymnastics etc. As she sees you doing fun things, she will start to join in. You will have many years to do girl things with this GD.

I give you credit for having them move in with you!


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

oakleyok, I am so sorry to hear about your difficulty. It sounds like there is a lot of love and respect in your family. Being under one roof can be very tough even with all that love and respect. I've viewed this from the other side, of having my folks or MIL stay with us for extended periods of time -- here is my experience in case you might find some of it helpful.

People just are going to feel uncomfortable because it is not their "normal" living situation. For kids it is especially hard, it can be very confusing to have additional caretakers/authority figures. I recall one instance where my MIL felt very hurt because one of the kids was yelling that he wanted her to go away when she tried to change his diaper. I was cooking dinner or something and she told him I was busy so she would do it and he just started pitching a fit. The thing is, I think he was confused and worried: mommy (or nanny) is supposed to be the diaper changer . . . why is grandma going to do it . . . is mommy not going to be the mommy anymore?? We talked about this, and as everyone got used to the arrangement it became more clear to them, grandma will play with us, read books, etc. Mom will always be the one to clean us up after we are sick all over the place ;-) They are learning to be grandkids, you are learning to be a grandma and DIL is learning to be a mommy -- bound to be some missteps along the way.

Also, my family is reserved and not "huggy" while my husband's family is quite effusive. Daily routines took some time for everyone to get used to. When "visitors" arrive, everyone stops what they are doing to go greet them; but when "family" comes in, everyone will say hello but kids will not necessarily get up from the breakfast table to come to the door. . . etc. I didn't realize that MIL felt disrespected because we didn't immediately all get up and give her hugs every morning when she joined us at breakfast. MIL ended up having a great relationship with the kids. Nothing better than being welcomed by three little voices all wanting to be the first one to tell you something.

Finally, we found that it worked better for our family if each adult followed up with the kids as to his/her own suggestions/rules, etc. Partly because I could not keep up with whatever everyone else was saying or asking the kids to do/not do (and I did not necessarily fully agree with all of it). If I was supposed to be the enforcer for every adult, enforcement would necessarily be spotty, which would then undermine that adult . . . So either the adult could leave the issue to me, or if they wanted to handle it, it was theirs. Otherwise it was very confusing for everyone. I think does take all of the adults being on the same page as to whatever approach you all decide to use, so that might be a good point for discussion?

Please don't be too hard on yourself or down on the situation. She will come around.

This post was edited by Oaktown on Fri, Aug 15, 14 at 18:07


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

Lyfia, I think the pecking order plays a lot into this. I also have to keep reminding myself that she is shy like her mother, but like I said, you'd think the shyness towards me would be gone by now. She may oiutgrow it though.

Ellendi, for Christmas one of the gifts I bought E was a wonderful coloring book full of Princesses. She watches all the princess movies, and is always wearing her princess dresses.

She loved it, along with the extra big box of crayons. But her mother let them get 'lost". Did I say she wasn't very organized? lol. I've even asked where the coloring book and crayons are and DIL couldn't find them. E liked to sit at my desk to color.

We did have words once. A year ago next month. It was awful. When they first moved in I went over certain things with them that had to be done around the house. Remember, this is a new remodel-new addition.

The biggest thing other than not scratching the wood floors was to keep the granite countertops clean. I explained about oil, water and citric acid sitting on granite. They both heard what I said. No go. She still wouldn't wash the counters or the floor where food spilled. (This is when DS isn't here) I mentioned it again when we were all in the kitchen goofing off. Point was nicely taken. That was twice I had to tell her.

She never changed. I hate walking into a kitchen where the counters are yucky. I don't care if it's granite or tar paper! Well, I had had it one day, and I very gently...and I mean gently, brought it up to her. She told me I was "anal" about keeping my counters clean. I got tongue tied. And boy did she become chatty. lol. Now I keep my mouth shut and count the days.

When I would go to their house to babysit, I had to clean and wash the counters in order to set my purse down. Her mother is the same way from what she told me.

Not even those words we spoke made a difference..or barely. 75% of the time she still won't clean up after the kids when they eat. Except this morning I was walking to the LR and saw that she was using the dishtowel to wipe the dirty counter off. I guess I am anal, because a dishtowel is to wipe our clean hands on, or wet dishes. Unless there's a big spill and it's an emergency. lol.

BTW, she will have granite in her new house. I think I'll eat some french fries and not wash my hands, then go visit. Just kidding!

Yes, I do have issues with her, as I'm sure she does with me, but we truly like each other and do get along. I've come to accept she's not into housekeeping. Although I find it highly disrespectful. And this is what E will keep mimicking.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

There could be several different things going on:

1. DIL and GD are both introverts

2. GD is feeling a bit out of place just (?) having moved in with you and is clinging to mom (Mom may be feeling a bit strange too, being a "long term house guest" in your home even though they're family)

3. GD is just one of those kids who clings to one parent or the other even though not an introvert.

My DD clung to me, even though my mom and DH took time off from work to be caregivers from 3-11 months of age until I quit my job. She didn't really start loving to be with my mom until she was 3. E may take a little longer. My DD is definitely not an introvert (now) but she was shy and clingy when she was younger.

Dolls - DD played with baby dolls, then a bit with Barbies when she was 6-9, was thrilled to receive AG dolls at 9-10 but never really knew what to do with them. I never really played with dolls and I don't play with her but I'm not a playful person - DH is, but he draws the line at dolls. Give E some time, if she had a friend over she may play with the AG dolls but they're a bit strange, not babies but not adults either (DD has a lot of princess Barbies). So what do you do with them? DD changes their clothes, re-enacts scenes from the books, and has tea parties/picnics with her dolls when she has another girl to play with. But I think the AG dolls are more for 6-9 yr olds. DD specifically asked for the older historical (discontinued) dolls as she loved reading the historical AG books, she will keep hers for display. She actually prefers to dress her Build a Bears in different outfits instead of the AG dolls but she likes stuffed animals more than dolls.

But I agree they can at least return a greeting when they come to your house. Since they are living there and not visiting, I wouldn't expect them to be "on" all the time so tone down your greeting, don't ask questions right away (maybe save them for the dinner table) and let them have some down time.

DD loves going to my parents' house now even (or maybe esp.) when there are no other kids there. She reads, helps my mom clean, goes fishing with my dad or sits on his lap (getting too big now) on the riding lawn mower, plays board games, watches the birds at the bird feeders, etc. with them. Though when she was younger (and when the younger cousins are there) my parents were glad to pretend to eat the play food she's cooked and pretend the baby dolls were real babies when they were brought to them.

Don't push E to interact with you all the time (as long as she replies when you speak to her), but make time to do something special every once in a while (my mom loves movies, sees everything as soon as it comes out, and will take DD to any G rated movie that I don't want to sit through, thank goodness she's old enough for PG now, but I tell my mom no PG-13 until I've reviewed it first). It doesn't need to be going out, can be as simple as baking cookies together (even the ones that are already cut - DD likes the sugar cookies with the holiday images on them), even crawling into your lower cabinets to pull things out for you to use, or decide if you ever use and want to get rid of, sweeping the floor, dusting. DD loves to clean house.

Maybe you can even have a tea party with the AG doll and a stuffed animal or 2, you can model polite conversation and table manners if E doesn't know what to do. Have fun, dress up and use pretty china whether it's play sized or real sized. Mom might want to join in too. But the dolls and animals have to join in the conversation!

My grandmothers never played with me, and my mom's mom died when I was young, but I do remember walking to her house for breakfast. My dad's mom took me a few times when I was older though I only spent the night a handful of times (she was a nurse) but I do remember cooking with her and polishing her silver as she told me about each piece, and she'd tell me about each special knick knack or tea cup in her china cabinet.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

Oops, I was typing long post and didn't see yours. Oh well, get E to help with cleaning ;-) !

I get it though, DH and the kids don't clean counters after making sandwich, etc. unless there is big spill. I clean one stretch of counter on my island 3-5 times a day and it's just laminate. DH leaves spills of coffee, crumbs, etc. DS will leave drops of OJ, crumbs, and we say when DD eats the total weight/mass of crumbs is more than the original food item!

Oh, and my mom is one of those who will use same towel for dishes, hands, and counters. I've told the kids not to eat anything that was put down directly on counter - always use a plate or napkin.

In our house the towel hanging by the kitchen sink is for drying hands. Sometimes I'll grab it to dry the bottom of a coffee cup that was put into the DW upside down and still is wet on the bottom. But if I'm washing dishes by hand I get a clean towel out to dry them (like my good knives) and then use it to replace the hand towel. Dish clothes get used on dishes, may wipe the counter (if I haven't already cleaned it with spray and paper towel), then dump the dishpan, wipe the sink strainer and sink, throw the dish cloth in the wash and bleach the dishpan and sink to sanitize. I also don't put food directly in the sink - always use a colander to wash food, pan of cold water set in sink to defrost meat and after I dump the pan out I sanitize the sink.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

I wish you luck, oakley although I really think it's not a matter of luck but work to make relationships better. I know you long to feel a connection with your granddaughter that isn't there - yet. Don't give up.

Wow. I'm taking notes from every person here. My son (29) has a new girlfriend and I'm feeling a bit prickly about her. Only met her once (they are 2000 miles away) but this is the first women in his life that I haven't felt instant warmth towards. Have to get over that somehow.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

I think your last post really was helpful in describing your "run in" with DIL regarding cleaning the counters.

My MIL was a wonderful woman. She ran the roost at her house and was adored by her 4 children/DH. When DH and I got engaged, she was a little upset because he was the first to get married and it was a change to add an "outlaw' to the family. Let me say that DH and I dated for 5 years - she knew me well and we got along fine.

Here's the problem we had. She had her ways of doing things and any way other than that made her crazy. For example, she had these wicker type placemats and salt would fall in-between the little slats and if she found out you hadn't picked up every placemat and wiped underneath them she would have a little hissy fit. I would just be visiting for the weekend and I was always feeling like I was walking on egg shells because I was worried I hadn't done something "right" - did I make the bed neat enough etc. So, while we always "got along" I never really felt accepted and comfortable around her.

Personally, I understand your feelings - having things done in your own house the way you want them is perfectly natural. BUT, you have to understand that while you and DIL "get along" fine, you will not be close if you can't let some things go. If my MIL came into my house and immediately wiped the counter off before she could even set her purse down - that would piss me off. I probably wouldn't say anything just to keep the peace and preserve family unity, but I wouldn't walk over and give her a big welcoming hug either.

If it were me, I would suck it up and wipe the counters off myself the way I wanted them and not say a word or make little sighs or roll your eyes or anything that feels like a judgement.

I agree with other posters that you need to make DIL feel comfortable and accepted in your family as she is. Messy, disorganized, introverted, etc. You DS picked her and loves her and you will not change her.

That all said, I was very fond of my MIL and miss her quite a bit. We always got along fine, but I just never really felt "good enough" for her - although I'm sure she would never admit that!

With your GD, I would agree with others that she may not be a doll person. If she loves horses, offer to take her see/pet some horses if that possible. Try and figure out something she really likes to do and do that one on one with her. Maybe DIL would love to have a free Saturday afternoon to do whatever she wants and you can take GD to a movie, or to get your nails done etc.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

actually you might not want to set your purse down on a countertop. I had heard that purse bottoms have tons of germs- I checked it out on snopes, and apparently it's true. One out of four purse bottoms tested even had e coli!

don't mean to change the subject- just thought you might like to know.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

Dlm, good luck! It does take getting used to. About the counters, when I say I have to clean them in order to set my purse or bag there, I mean there is sticky food left over from the night before. Water rings on the table that have been there for days. Crumbs everywhere. As I said earlier, she's not very organized so the kitchen table, along with the island counter had books and stuff all over them.

I'm not talking about a few little fingerprints here. One day I got on the floor and had to scrape off dried applesauce from the wood. And the beadboard holding up the counter. i just kept my mouth shut to keep the peace.

I'm no Martha Stewart or a clean freak either, but have you ever gone in the kitchen to cook and you have to clean the friggin counters off first? I would never dream of not cleaning up after my children in someone else's home. I mean who does that?

When E came home from school this afternoon, once more I greeted her. She said nothing, so I go, "Elizabeth, I'm talking to you." Nice of course. She turns around and runs to the LR, laughing. I think I got an odd look on my face because my DL was standing there and said, "What did she do?" I told her she ran away. DIL just laughed. Lose-lose here. lol


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

Oak, I feel your pain, since there are many similarities! GD just turned 4 in July, brother is 7, no close ties with grandmothers/aunts, Mom never sat and played w/me. BUT I do have 3 DD's, and I do mean the capital D~seems *i* did something right! The 2 remaining MIL's feel like second Mother's and talk very openly and candidly with my girls, even about their son's(sorry mt'deux'~until you've been there...)One of my DD is having marital problems, and her MIL sends emails to her son reminding him of the wonderful family he has and he better be 'more appreciative' or he could lose them', among other sometimes harsh comments re:his behavior. Enough about that....

As for GD, mine runs hot and cold. Sometimes she'll run to me the minute she gets in the door, other times she'll walk right past me, but ask for a treat! Now my DD(not the one above), won't let that slide! She'll say, 'GR, get back here and give Grandma a kiss/hug', and is usually very stern in making the comment, letting GR know she means business. GS is different, always says 'hi grandma', immediately giving me a hug. He's more 'low key', unlike GR who is high energy, outspoken, and I guess you could say gregarious as well as precocious, the complete opposite of what my other 17 year old GD was like at that age! With all that said, IMO, it's up to the DIL to 'create' a relationship between you and E, even if SHE(DIL) may not want to have one with you, and this could be the underlying 'current', subconsciously or not. Being a Grandmother to 6 'grands', I feel the parents have had a hand in this, towards myself and deceased DH when he was alive, as well the spouse's parents. A repoire needs to be formed when the child is young, just as you formed that repoire w/your boys. I feel you DIL should play a part in this, and it may take you talking to DS. If you and he have that bond, he won 't feel you're overstepping your boundaries, but *will* feel you want a bond with E, and be happy for that~trust me, not all grandparents feel that way.

I don't understand you DIL's manners with you and DH~did you mean 'mannerisms'?

Now I need to tell you a story about my little one~the family moved into their new home a couple of months ago, and DD 'put me in charge' of decorating GR's room, but she and GR chose the colors. We found many things, one being a cute lamp that I would re-do w/paint, new shade, whatever. I took the lamp over last week, and DD called GR into her room, where she gave the lamp a quick look, said nothing, and walked out. Later on we were sitting at the table and I casually said to DD, I guess GR doesn't like the lamp grandma made for her, so I 'll take it and give it to another little girl who might like it. I really didn't think she was paying any attention to me, but she got off the chair, stood in front of me and said, grandma, I want the lamp and I looooove you grandma! So there ya go!

FYI, if you're given the opportunity to read her a story, as my GD says, tell me one with your mouth. lol In other words, make it up as you go~ my little one loves scary stories....there was this very creepy house where I used to live....anything about 'your' childhood seems to impress kids, scary or not! Maybe if she hears things about your childhood, she'll make a connection to something, and that *something* could be you ! Good luck and God bless. (Feel free to send me an email if there's anything you want to talk about privately)


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

"Here's what I think needs to be done and I'll talk to my son about it. He'll understand, he's a kind person. :) I think both he and my DIL need to start praising me in private to E. Make stuff up if they have to. lol. "

I don't know what would be achieved by even asking them to do this, because there's probably zero chance they would (or should) comply.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

Have you talked with DIL about wanting to be closer to E? Maybe see if DIL has suggestions as to what you and E might like to do together. Give her a chance to help you. And be direct, because DIL might very not realize that you think anything is "wrong" -- DIL might see your relationship and E's behavior as perfectly normal, especially if DIL is distracted by other things. Just a suggestion.

I liked that my MIL would tell me if something bothered her. Because otherwise I would have no idea. Our backgrounds were so different there was lots of room for misunderstanding.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

Your GD sounds like my oldest DD. What works best for my DD is to go with whatever she likes vs. introduce her to something new. Once you gain more trust, sloooowly you can introduce an interest she may not have thought of, but with zero pressure.

In the case of her coming home, I'd set it up so that both of you save face. "I'm happy to see you!" vs "How was your day? " or "I missed you." My DD stiffens if there is any hint of guilt or manipulation even if unntended. My othe girls may not even notice or would respond positively to the 2nd set of responses.

At first, with adults, my DD does not connect by talking. She connects by doing, like going places. She processes quietly and for long periods. Once she talks, she has a lot to say. Like your GD, she was always very selective with who she cuddled with, really only my DH and me. She is the same now that she is older. I can hug her and DH, but almost no one else.

My DD is gifted, and I know everyone says that about their kids, but she really is. I bet your GD is, too.

My 3rd DD would fit into the kind of GD you imagined. Extroverted, bubbly, talkative, and very funny. She gets called a ray of sunshine by people. I feel bad for some of my other girls because they would like attention, too, but some are harder to get to know. (My 5th is outgoing, too, others slower to warm.)

You will get there with your GD. Just hang back but show support and love with absolutely no pressure or expectation. Kids like her see right through all attempts of force, if that makes sense (they resent it), so I would say no to suggesting to be talked up by DS.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

I just want to say, we are talking about a 3 year old here, aren't we? No child has perfect manners at age 3. My DD was very shy at that age and wouldn't always say hello if someone said hi to her, even a grandma (if she had one, which she didn't). And yes, I would prompt her usually, but she didn't always comply. Today at age 13 she's a friendly girl who always says hello, BTW.

I think your expectations of a 3 yo seem a little high. Sorry, I'm sure that's not what you want to hear. And I'm not sure how playing with dolls, or whether you should buy her an AG doll, plays into the picture. My DD played with dolls from about age 5 to 8, maybe, but hardly at all before or after those ages.

I wonder if the tension between you and DIL is being sensed by E?

Or, I wonder if you "waiting by the door" is just a little too much for DIL and E...wonder what would happen if you hung back a bit and waited for them to come to you?

I am sure all this togetherness is difficult for everyone involved in different ways.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

I don't have kids, but do have a mother in law.

In fact, I have a great mother-in-law... but there are some times when we spend a lot of time together (like when she comes to FL for a week or something) that I just get tired of talking all the time. She talks way more than I do and there are times when I just want to look at something on my phone or on my computer and not talk(!) and I don't want to be rude but it's like "I'm just trying to type here..." Mostly, she gets the hint, but sometimes she doesn't and it annoys me a lot even though she is great because sometimes I just want to be QUIET.

I wonder if that is coming into play a little. Living with anyone is hard, especially a mother-in-law who you may kind of feel that you can't take liberties w/ like you could w/ your own family. W/ my dad, I have no problem saying "shush, I'm reading something" but I definitely wouldn't say that to her b/c you are always more on "company" behavior w/ a MIL I think. Maybe it is stressful for her to constantly feel that way since she's in your house. NOT that you are making her feel that way, but it is just a hard situation to live with someone all the time who you kind of have to be nice to rather than just being "real" with.

Of course, she should still have manners and make her daughter say hi!!


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No real advice, just my story. I've got two girls-the eldest would suck all the air out of a room. She's got a big, boisterous personality (and a heart to match). 2nd DD, who is 22 mos younger, is her complete opposite-#! is very tall, blonde, inherited her bio fathers good Swedish looks and very intellecutal and outspoken. DD2 is shorter than me, milky white skin and dark hair and could be my clone as a young woman as far as facial features. She's very, very quiet, moody and uber creative.

Both girls married men with complementary personalities.

My eldest and I get along perfectly, while DD2 and I have difficulty at times. (my personality is more like DD1), primarily because she needs her space and tends to withdraw..

So it's hard-you have a picture in your head of how this little girl is going to be, and they just don't fit that mold. Neither of my girls played too much with dolls-they loved their books, however. I didn't play dolls with them-but I did love my dolls as a girl. I pretty much let my kids personalities dictate how they played-DD2 preferred curling up with books and cutting out pictures in magazines to make collages and mood boards. DD1 was into games and being a mother hen! She INSISTED on knowing what was going on all around her.

So-it really was, and still is, hard for me to get into my mind that the girls never fit the idea I had in my head o what a daughter would be like. They were never into girlie things, per say, but both have my weakness for sparkly stuff!

As to your DIL-it's somewhat like DD2's DH. Try as I might, I just can't get the feeling that he LIKES me. He's kind to me, we laugh together and get along well, I just haven't clicked with him (it's been 7 years!!) and I've resigned that it's just not going to happen. It really is that introvert/extrovert thing. Plus, DSIL2 comes from a rather reserved family-his Dad is gregacious and a super likeable guy-but his mother is almost uptight! I don't think she and i have exchanged 100 words-but DD says she likes me, she's just 'quiet'.

My suspicion is that little E will bond with you in ways you'll never imagine. When she gets older she may find that you are the one she feels most comfortable coming to 'talking' about things-even if that just means her hanging around the kitchen while you cook. I was that way with my father's mother-she's my favorite person in the entire world, and i love her more than I can say, and I spent a huge chunk of my childhood just hanging out in her house, soaking up her love, wisdom and advice like a sponge,


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

Kswl,you don't know my son. He's my rock. When (not if) I talk to him, I won't mention my DIL, just to help me figure out how to get closer to E. We are extremely close.

Sue, GD will be 4 on Sept. 7th. Not sure how you can compare your DD to my GD since you admit your DD didn't have a grandma. I only greeted them at the door that one day since it was the 1st day of school. I don't hover. :)

Patty cakes, I mean "Manners." Like it's good manners to address someone when they speak to you. And having good manners regarding cleaning up after your children in someone else's home. Loved your story!

Oak, I don't feel comfortable asking for help from my DIL. After all this time, I don't know how to deal with a shy person. A lot of the time when I talk she just smiles and doesn't say anything. Although there are times we sit on the porch together and gossip, which is always fun. lol But I've accepted she's a quiet person, and it doesn't anger me at all.

Beagles, my mom would talk herself to sleep, so I know what it's like to be with someone like that. lol. I don't do that with DIL.

Any shy people here who want to help me out? lol I also think she should play a large part in getting E to feel close to me, but it won't happen.

Anele, yes, E does sound like your DD. She's one smart cookie too.

Pesky, I hope you're right. With them living next door (we're each on an acre so there will be privacy) I hope the little distance between us will help E bond with me as she gets older.

This morning was sweet. E woke up around 5 crying. I was the only one who heard her so I went into her room and whispered sweet nothings to her while rubbing her hair, and she fell back to sleep. Usually when this happens she wants mommy, but not this time. :)


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

I may have to believe in divine intervention after all!

After I wrote the above, something happened that never happened before. I was eating my breakfast back here in the bedroom and watching the news. Everyone else already ate.

E opens the door, climbs on the bed, takes a piece of my toast and starts chatting! I asked her why she was crying during her sleep, and she said it was a monster. Ahh. So we carried on a conversation about funny dreams and monsters.

While I had her attention, I asked her if she'd water my Roses for me. She loved doing it! We sat on the porch for a long time, and she had no desire to go inside to mom. :) I have noticed she likes flowers, so that's one thing I can teach her, because her mom isn't really into them.

Also, when I told my DIL about the dream, she asked E if she'd thanked grandma for helping her. Sweet!

I'm glad I opened up about this! lol


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That is just the sweetest thing! Loved reading about it, Oakley! You are a great grandma, I can tell!


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

Oaklyok, it sounds like E is close to you, in her own way.

In your original post you wrote that she is glued to your side when her mother isn't around.

Most all the little girls I know (2 granddaughters) love their mothers and want to be with their mothers when possible.

Don't take this wrong, I know you are sensitive, but try not to compete with your DIL for E's attention. Because you are with E every day, her time with you is not as 'special' as it would be if she saw you less often.

Give it time, be there for her when she is ready (like you were this morning). I bet that once they are in their own place, and she hasn't seen you for a while, she will be thrilled if you invite her to walk over for a tea party or to help decorate cookies. As she gets older, set up times in that neat green house to start seeds and show her how to tend plants.

I learned to accept that my son is married to someone whose house is never as clean as the one he grew up in. OMG! They don't make the bed every morning!!!!.....they are still in love and he is happy, I got over it.

I always need to say that I would never ever have been able to move in with my Mother of Mother in Law for even a week...I loved them both, but living together would have made me crazy. I'm only good for about 3 days of vacationing with my kids and their families. When we have done 'family beach vacations/reunions we try to rent the biggest house possible and know to not engage one another if they have a book (or iPad) on their laps.

Good luck, give E time. Almost 4 is still really young.

Edited to write that I'm happy to hear you had a great morning in the garden with E.

Also, be careful about trying to teach the 'manners' thing. Because there are so many people out there who might be inappropriate with a child, many young ones are being told that it's OK, to not hug or kiss someone unless they (the child) wants to. When my brother first met my granddaughter (3) he said, "can I have a hug?". she looked at him and said, 'no'. I know some might say that was rude, I find it empowering for her.

Teaching to greet someone is a little different, but if the child has already said good morning or hello that day, do they really need to say hi each time see the same person???

ML

This post was edited by maddielee on Sat, Aug 16, 14 at 11:41


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

So happy you had that special time with your granddaughter! Many more to come in their own time. She's lucky that she has a grandma who is so willing and open to spend time with her. I have three gs and one gd so know where you're coming from!


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

Her coming to you is awesome, a step in letting you know she wants to bond with you. I think your going into her room to sooth her gave a kind of confidence in you and it made her feel good. Let's face it, kids relate by how they are feeling, bad OR good, and I see this as a turn in the right direction.

Glad to hear DIL acknowledged you in asking E if she had thanked you. Do you think she may have jealously issues w/you? She may see you as a rival because of your closeness with your son. Some women can't deal with another woman when it comes to their DH, even though it's only the mother. They feel it's a competition. My best friend has this situation.

I can't help but feel as she gets older and matures, she will see you as a good role model. I don't know you personally, but on the boards you come across as caring, kind, fun, helpful, as well as compassionate. Her Mother may not possess these attributes, so she may see you as 'the teacher' in human relations. For now, just be there. She knows she can come to you for a 'warm fuzzy'.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

I'm so glad you had a good morning with E. I didn't know they were moving next door. I bet once she is settled and comfortable there, it won't be long before she is spending more time at your house alone too.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

Maddielee, It has to be hard for my DIL to live here. I would have had a meltdown by now if I were her. lol. Really, the only fault I find with her is not helping out around the house. She vacuumed only once this summer while off from school, and it was an area rug, while I was dust mopping the wood. I have to get over it for sure. But there's 4 of them and two dogs. That's why it kinda sorta makes me mad. I'm constantly cleaning foot and finger prints.

Excellent point about the manners, I never thought of that. I'm basically teaching table manners and please, thank you, that kind of stuff. E takes up after her mom and me, neither of us like to give hugs out unless we know the person really REALLY well and we like them. lol.

As far as greeting me when they get home, if I say something to them, it's good manners to reply since I'm grandma. If it was a stranger, I wouldn't expect (or want) her to say anything.

DIL knows how happy I am that she has a close bond with E. I didn't have that with my mom so I encourage it. It makes me smile watching them together. And then I get sad because I never had that kind of attention.

Patty, I don't think DIL is jealous of my relationship with my son because she's in the process of developing a similar relationship with *her* son. I tell her often that the old adage "A son is a son until he takes a wife" is hogwash if you're close to them. She knows I also encourage her relationship with GS because she knows how nice the relationship I have with DS. Although we do have words at times! But we both forgive and forget before we go to bed. :)

Well...another fantastic moment this afternoon, and when I told DIL how E and I had a great day together, she was really happy.

I was in the living room laying on the sofa with a tummy ache. E comes in and says she wanted to watch My Little Ponies. Then she lays down at the other end of the sofa, we talk about our favorite ponies, and while talking we both fall asleep!

I also baked a cake today and called her into the kitchen to give her bites of the frosting. I'm good at bribing. ;)


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

I've been wanting to respond to this for a few days and haven't had much time. I still only have a few minutes, but real quick.

I'm glad to hear things have been going better! I think it would be hard either way to open your home to someone or be on the other end. I think it's wonderful that you and your DH were willing to allow DS and his family to move in during this time. Lots of good advice above. I imagine when everyone is back to living in their own separate houses things will be even smoother.

This topic made me think of a good book. This is a general comment to anyone. It's Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend. It covers three main parts: Part 1 - What are boundaries? Part 2 - Boundary Conflicts (boundaries and your family, friends, spouse, children, work, self, and God) Part 3 - Developing Healthy Boundaries.


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Hi Shee! We're good on boundaries. We gave them the master bedroom, and they've made a mini-LR out of it where they can have alone time with the kids to hang out with and watch movies.

How is Little Shee doing? Keeping you on your toes? :)


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Oak, you are moooore than generous as well as thoughtful! I've given up my MBR a couple of times, but only for a few days at a time.

I'm happy to hear it isn't a jealousy issue, and it's a wonderful feeling when you see a child bonding to either parent! Many parents these days don't seem to take the time to build a relationship, which I find so unforgivable~why have kids? Sorry about you and your own Mother, but it seems years ago it was even hard for a parent to say I love you. I remember I was in my 30's the first time I said it to my Mom. After that, it was every time we visited my parents or DH parents when leaving. Things have never changed in my family, and my kids do the same. My heart just 'feels the need' to say it, even though they know it. And I never get tired of hearing it! If you haven 't, let yourself go and say it. I think the little ones need to hear it even more than we older ones do. And don't be surprised if you 'get it back'. Pay it forward really does work. ( I hope I haven't said too much)


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Sounds like such a great morning, Oak! I am very happy for you and your GD!


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Oakley, I just saw this thread last night, as I've been laid up with bronchitis for almost two weeks now, but it was too late to read other than your original comment. Today I read all of your replies and some comments from others. Just too many to read them all at this point. I was very tickled to read that you're relationship with your darling granddaughter is improving. That warms my heart as I know how much you desire it to be a special one.

I've had my share of working with shy children being a reading teachers assistant. I had my own little classroom working with elementary age children in groups of two to four. In my opinion, it's best to give them the lead. Completely back off any attempt at interaction, sometimes as far as not even greeting them first, other than with a smile, and allow them to make the first move. Young as they are, they will see you as someone that understands their needs and find that a loving gesture on your part. It doesn't take long and they will seek you out or be the first to greet you. Which is what I think is already happening, and that makes me so happy for you!

My guess is, this could work with your DIL too. Since you know what time she arrives home, I'd make plans to be in another part of the house, if at all possible, or at least be preoccupied with a book or TV. If she walks within your path, look up and smile, but otherwise keep your eyes toward the book or program you are watching.

I'm like you, being a mixture of an intro and extrovert depending on the situation, so I don't see this as being rude, since you are acknowledging her presence with your smile.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

I've read all of these responses. I just have to say, sometimes as mothers we cannot control our young children's behaviors no matter how hard we try. My 5 year old is extremely moody. He's happy one minute and the next he's yelling at me to "shut up." Horrifying, I know. I never thought I'd tolerate it from one of my kids, but engaging him just makes it worse, so I ignore him. My biggest challenge, my Mom and my MIL both think he's an awful brat and they both take it personal when he acts out. He is not spoiled, he gets disciplined, but his behavior is and always has been 2 extremes. It is absolutely exhausting. This puts a lot of stress on my relationship with my Mom and MIL. I let my DH deal with his mom and I deal with my mom. I know it's an entirely different situation, but I will tell you this, it has greatly strained the relationship between my MIL and myself, and if given the choice, I don't even want to be around my in-laws because I hear all kinds of comments about how I should be handling him. The more I perceive them to be judging me, the more I back away. I suspect your DIL may be doing something similar. I can't even imagine how I'd feel if we were all under the same roof. Anyway, just a little food for thought.


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Hi!
That was very generous of you guys to give up your master. As for the book, it sounds like you guys are doing well, but I only mentioned it because I honestly believe anyone (others reading too) could benefit from it even if they feel they have good boundaries. It’s not as cut and dry as one may think. The book is more in depth than what it appears to be.

He’s doing well, thanks! He’s chatting a lot these days.


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

I have to share a bonding moment I had today which I dreamt of years ago when I bought a curio cabinet. I imagined myself showing my pretties to my granddaughter, who wasn't even conceived at the time.

The other day my GD was given a cute snow globe, and as luck would have it she dropped it on the floor and it broke. She was devasated.

That's when I remembered I had a shelf of snow globes and a music box. Today I got them out, set them on a towel on the bar, turned the music on, and my GD's eyes lit up!

The music box is Russian, which has a Prince and Princess inside doing a waltz to "Fur Elise." When E opened the lid she couldn't take her eye's off of it.

I told her it was hers, and she can have it when she gets older. You should have seen her smile and say, "That's mine." Afterwards, I took her to the curio cabinet and showed her my Pretty Ladies, and we're going to get them out tomorrow.

Here's the sweetest part, when we were finished I was going back to the bedroom, and she runs down the hallway saying, "I want to open the door for you!" LOL!!

A real dream came true today, one that I had totally forgotten about! My DIL was watching and she said, "It's time to get her the little jewelry box with the ballet dancer inside."

I think I'm going to like having a little girl around. :)


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So happy for you!


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

Oakley, that is fantastic. Glad that things are on a roll for you! Thanks for sharing the heartwarming stories.


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Oak, what a heart warming experience! This is just the start of many more, for sure. ;)


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

What a great opportunity you had to give her the snow globe!
Even though we lived fairly close to both sets of grandparents and I loved them all, I didn't interact with them much in elementary years or as a teen; but had "snow globe moments" with them from time to time.
My mom occasionally mentioned my maternal grandma wondered if I didn't like her because I usually went off to read a book. I just didn't know what to say to her.
When I was 12 we moved next door to my paternal grandma to be where we could help her. I never felt close to her really. She tended to be critical and to compare me to, well, pretty much everyone, but she meant well.
In college I moved into my mat. grandparents basement apartment to be closer to campus. In my whole life they had never tried to correct me (something I feel is always best left to the parents!). While I lived there they just visited with me, asked me about school and work, told me amusing stories, etc. Never once did I use the kitchen downstairs. I always ate with Gramm and Gramp and they always acted amazed that I would do all the dishes when I "should be studying" or that I could carry my book bag with so many big textbooks. They were delightful and brilliant and the least judgemental people I know! They met my husband long before the rest of my family did and made him feel welcome, too. He feels as close to them as I do. Gramm's been gone nearly 20 yrs now, Gramp has been gone for 11. I still miss them both with all my heart!
I think you're wonderful for wanting a close relationship with your family! Just keep loving your little one and be patient. Don't push the relationship. Love her mom, too. Grandparents can be a safe haven when the time is right!
Wishing you all the best!
Kay


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Kay, what a sweet story! That's the kind of relationship I want with E. I do love her mom very much even though we have a different POV regarding cleaning. lol.

Thanks for sharing, you gave me a good visual of you and your grandparents. Sweet!


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

Oak, that is fantastic about the globe!! Very sweet!

Polly, I am not sure if your son is going through a stage, but if you feel like he's consistently like that (easily frustrated), I highly recommend The Explosive Child book. I am linking the website for it below-- have not explored it much but tons of info. Shows how these kinds of kids are not manipulative or bratty, but just lack skills-- and it's NOT because of parenting or anyone's fault. The actual "plan of action" is pretty straightforward and actually great for everyone, inc. adults. Compassionate and takes everyone's needs into account.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lives in Balance


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RE: The ironies of life...little girls

Polly, of course I cannot and will not judge you. I'm simply sharing this story.
A close friend's six year old would verbally, and occasionally
physically...kick, but not actually making contact....act out. This had gone on for years. I hated watching, and one day I spoke up. I asked her to imagine his words and actions at fifteen: translate his kicking out and hollering " Shut up, I hate you " and running off, to the possible words and actions of a teen.
( End of story is that the dad took over and demanded respect. This demonstrated the benefits to my friend. The kid is a fabulous young man Today. )
Your situation is likely very different, but thought I'd share. Hope you aren't offended at all .
Marti
Oak. So happy you and gd are getting those bonding times!


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