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not to want my grandchild to stay for three days......

(74 Posts)
purplehat11 Thu 20-Sep-12 15:19:56

He is just two and is at the separation anxiety stage. His parents want to go away for three or four days and leave him with us. We are in our 70s, love our grandson dearly and often look after him for a day or half a day. However, I'm really worried about this stay as we have no backup here and I don't know what we'd do in an emergency. There are no other family members close by and his parents would be a day's travel away. Am I unreasonable to worry about this - what is one of us was taken ill or there was some other sort of emergency. We've got no one who could look after him even for a short period.

tanith Thu 20-Sep-12 15:27:31

If you feel you might not cope then you are perfectly entitled to feel that way and tell your son/daughter that its too much for you. If its making you feel anxious then its not worth putting yourself through that although you would probably be fine as you've already looked after him for days at a time. Maybe you could suggest a couple of days would be enough for both you and the child

Greatnan Thu 20-Sep-12 15:31:44

I don't think you are being unreasonable. This stage of his development is just not a good time for his parents to leave him - they should either take him with them or put off their trip until he is more settled. I had to take care of my gd when she was 14 months old while my daughter was in hospital after an emergency cesarean. She was still breast fed and I was at my wits' end to pacify her when she cried all night for her mother. My SIL was spending most of his time at the hospital. This was entirely unplanned - it was supposed to be another Domino birth so she would be home the same day. I was only 56 at the time, and I was still totally exhausted. I was able to let my dd and SIL have a second honeymoon on their own (they took her four children on the first!) when the children were older and we all enjoyed ourselves.

merlotgran Thu 20-Sep-12 16:15:12

I looked after my first GS for a week when he was five months old so DD and SIL could have a break as he was due to go away for four months (navy). [flag]
I was in my fifties but still exhausted at the end of the week. A two year old would be worse because the days are so long with a toddler. The only bit of respite is if and when they go down for a nap. Is it possible to have a trial run by letting him stay overnight the first time? It would still be a bit of a break for the parents and you would be able to decide whether or not you can cope with a longer stay.

wisewoman Thu 20-Sep-12 17:27:24

I think that if you feel it is going to be too stressful for you and your grandchild then you should say so. Like Merlotgran I think maybe an overnight stay might be a good compromise. Only one night is doable and if the wee soul won't settle then at least you can say mummy and daddy are coming back tomorrow. If it is three nights and he doesn't settle on the first one it will be so hard for all of you. Why do we grans always feel guilty if we can't do everything that is asked of us?

goldengirl Thu 20-Sep-12 18:32:10

I think also you'd be wise to try it out for one night at first. Going straight into 2 or 3 nights I know would, for me, be really exhausting and worrying if he'd not stayed before. Try before you buy into the idea. The parents hopefully will see the wisdom of this.

Nanban Fri 21-Sep-12 09:21:31

It strikes me that the parents may think this a 'cure' for his separation anxiety - it may very well make it a whole lot worse and that should be a consideration. One night would be a good start. Though, all your worries on one side, nothing bad will happen that wouldn't happen any other time you look after him, and it may turn out to be totally marvellous for you all - if exhausting!

Bags Fri 21-Sep-12 09:36:29

purplehat, I think if my daughter suggested such a thing and if I felt as you do, I would simply tell her how I felt. She would understand. I hope you resolve the problem and your worries satisfactorily.

Nanadogsbody Fri 21-Sep-12 09:36:37

One night is enough in the first instance as Nanban suggested and is he a regular good sleeper? I never sleep well when my grandchildren stop over, but it does build a very special bond.

Perhaps too the first time the parents could bring him over, bath him, read to him, sing, whatever their routine is and put him down for the night, then go home when he is safely asleep.

Nanadogsbody Fri 21-Sep-12 09:42:13


Just re-read your OP and realise you are worried about emergencies. If one or both of you suffer from I'll health that might necessitate some sort of emergency dash to hospital then that puts a whole different light on it.

glammanana Fri 21-Sep-12 15:26:51

purplehat If you feel that you want to have the little man for the three days could you not stay at your DDs/DSs home whilst they are away that way the little chap will be in familar surroundings and you will be near to places that he is used to on a daily basis ? If this is not possible I do think a trial run would be the best answer and if not successful your family should respect your views that the little man may well fret whilst they are away.

Bags Fri 21-Sep-12 16:07:46

Thought just occurred, if the little boy is at a "separation anxiety stage", wouldn't it be better if his parents postponed their days away until he has got over it? Why be so abrupt? Unless there is some other reason that they want him to get over it fast. Not sure I understand the need of the parents to be honest.

Dancinggran Fri 21-Sep-12 19:43:43

Three or four days days is a long time to be seperated from his parents if he isn't used to being away from them. Like most of the other grans I would suggest a shorter overnight break but let your daughter/son know about your worries - perhaps they haven't given it a thought that you may be apprehensive.

NfkDumpling Fri 21-Sep-12 20:03:20

What does he want to do? If he's at the separation anxiety stage he may get worse. DGD2 decided when she was two and a half that she wanted to stay and asked to do so. We had a trial sleepover and she was as good as gold so now comes over quite regularly for a night or too. However, the energy of a two year old is very draining - we're only 65 and 69 and she's an easy child.
If it's just to give his parents a break perhaps it could be put off until he's more open to the idea and you've been able to follow the good advise already given but personally I wouldn't take him for more than two nights / three days for your own sake.

artygran Fri 21-Sep-12 20:50:07

We had no problems getting GS to stay overnight from an early age, but he used to worry if he thought he might have to stay away from mummy any longer. He would come with his teddy and say "Duncan has decided he wants to go home tonight, so I think I'll take him home". It was a while before we could get him to stay longer. He is now five and asks to stay, but usually wants to go home after a couple of nights (and yes, it is tiring looking after them 24 hours a day - when we started overnighting him, everyone slept like tops except me!). I think, as glammanana says, looking after him in his own home might be a good idea. He might be more settled.

specki4eyes Fri 21-Sep-12 21:41:30

purple - don't you worry about the way you feel - your fears are perfectly reasonable. Its very scary being in charge of other people's toddlers, even when they are grandchildren.

I rashly offered to look after my 3 year old twin grandchildren whilst their Mum and Dad took a day and night off. When they arrived, one of them managed to squeeze through some ancient bannisters and fell down our back stairs; the other broke a lavatory; they screamed hysterically whenever asked to do something which didn't have their approval; they sat down in the middle of the road and refused to budge; they wouldn't wear their seat belts and they refused to wear buoyancy aids round the swimming pool. Anarchists in the making! On their return, my DIL smiled fondly at them and told them that they are going to be "nightmares" when they are older. Have I got news for her!

I was reduced to a gibbering wreck. Won't be doing it again!

gracesmum Fri 21-Sep-12 21:45:54

I composed a long post to add my tuppence worth and lost it !So I'll be brief(er) Our recent 4 day babysit of two DGSs (27 months and 9 months) at their home went very well but we were absolutely exhausted! there was no possibility of them coming home! DH has considerable health issues and while he could be an extra person in the house he was not able to be as hands on as he or I might have liked (+ I don't think he ever was even when our 3 were tiny!!) and given that we have had to call out the blues and twos a few times in the last 3 years I had to have a plan B. DD's friends 2 doors down were our first port of call if we needed help, then the girl she has on Mondays (see later) and finally the other GPs about 1 1/2 hours away.I think it was too long really, but middle D and her boyfriend came up on Saaturday noight and were wonderful on the Sunday and DD has a girl who comes in on a Monday so she could take the boys to the park and give me a break. I did not sleep well so found it hard to hit the ground running each morning and frankly I am not used to that level of full-on activity! I would definitely have a one night trial run and put it to your DD that you are worried about emergencies and your DGC's welfare. We none of us like to say No to our children or admit that we are not able to be supergran but if this is causing you so much worry and stress, the pleasure will be leached out of the experience. So much better to be sorry to see grandchildren go than to be counting the minutes. Good luck - I do hope your DD sees it from your point of view - maybe someone else could have a tactful word? One of our DD's tried to tell her sister that it was a bit much for us! You could try the idea I have heard of one night for each year - so 1 night at 1, max 2 at age 2 and so on?

gracesmum Fri 21-Sep-12 21:48:10

I seem to have lost that DD and SIL were inb New York hence "no possibility of coming home" in line 2.

merlotgran Fri 21-Sep-12 22:14:31

And I'm losing the will to live confused. I wouldn't have left a two year old with anyone I thought wasn't fully confident that they could cope for more than one night even if I loved them very much.

RINKY Fri 21-Sep-12 22:37:38

The trouble with getting older and having young grand kids is that much as you love them, it takes so long to recover when it's all over. However, I now have five grandchildren (managed it in 5 years - wasn't I clever) but they are all living abroad. Had three of them only an hours drive away until recently and managed to get to see them once a fortnight for two to three days, even taking over the night shifts with new babies and poorly ones so parents could recover but soooo exhausting when working still and having oldies to check on too.

It was a huge if temporary relief when after ten weeks of us packing worldly goods and looking after vomiting babies, my daughter and girls flew to join her husband in Qatar a few months ago but now I have recovered I didn't really know what to do with those extra days but as this is the first time in five years I have not had crisis after crisis to deal with and parents are relatively stable at the moment, I have picked up a paint brush again for the first time in thirty years and am reasonably happy with first results.

But I do miss my girls and look forward to visiting them soon plus my two grandkids in Canada whom I have only seen twice. Be nice to be on holiday though without all the other things which take over too.

Littlenellie Sat 22-Sep-12 08:18:20

Mine came to live with me age 4 (you all know the story), now age 13,she says I have to be kind as she soon will be old enough to choose my care home..grin

Butternut Sat 22-Sep-12 08:30:03

RINKY Good to know you are enjoying your painting again. smile

Bags Sat 22-Sep-12 08:59:37

Thank you for that post, gracesmum. This thread has got me wondering a lot. I think I have less contact with my grown up daughters than many other grans and yet I wouldn't have to explain reservations such as have been written of in this thread to them, because they'd know without being told. Seems to me that a lot of young parents are very demanding and very insensitive about their own parents.

But there's another factor as well. Neither I nor my daughter who is a mother would have wanted to be separated from a two-year-old who suffered separation anxiety, unless it was absolutely necessary. Certainly not for a holiday.

Sorry, but I just don't understand the "let's dump the kids on someone else and have a break" attitude.

crimson Sat 22-Sep-12 09:22:05

Bags; i was just reading through this thread and was thinking pretty much what you'd said as I got to your post. I was very aware that my children would only be with me for part of my life and that that part would go very quickly; ok I didn't have parents or in laws that I would have trusted my children with anyway [my dad was 50 when I was born] but I never actually wanted to be away from them and every holiday was as much about being with the children as having a break for ourselves. Again I didn't work so don't understand the stress of the work/family balance [well, I suppose I do as it brought about the, thankfully, temporary split from my daughter and grandchildren]. When we looked after both boys the other year for two weeks, we had them each day from 9 till @ 6 and I was totally exhausted. When I had them for one day at their house my partner and then my son and his girlfriend came round to help. Having grandchildren is the thing that has most made me realise I'm getting old. By 6 in the evening I'm cream crackered. Also, I think as mums we developed a way of not actually sleeping properly when ours were small; waking in an instant if I heard a noise from them. I could do that back then; I can't do it now.

Bags Sat 22-Sep-12 09:32:40

crimson, you did work, you just weren't employed by someone else.