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DIL's parental alienation: indestructible gifts or how to handle Christmas??

(52 Posts)
Squibsy Thu 19-Sep-19 17:55:18

Finally, I hope some time over this Christmas period to see my Grandchild (by then nearly 2) for the first time since he was 5 months-old.

This after thousands Pounds legal costs, several court proceedings with Orders for his Dad to have contact, all wilfuly ignored ... it's been a one-sided toxic, highly distressing Hell.

But, at Christmastime - I'm praying little one will be have a day with his Daddy and I'd appreciate some ideas: spending time together makes the all-important memories of course... but there's this awful one-sided and joyless element to deal with of "presents from his other set of Grandparents" but not from his Daddy's because I am very mindful any gift will be likely disposed of as soon as little one gets home - and I want to avoid any distress or issues for him

I've not had a Christmas with a small child since my own decades ago: any advice, tips, thoughts, on how to handle a 'Christmas' scenario without presents but also what on earth does one, should one, do with a little one? I realise I could buy some "toys we play with at Grandma's" ... but what??

I want to present some positive ideas for my son to be able to cope with this aspect as well.

Sadly, I wish I could optimistically say things will settle down but, realistically and pragmatically, this how every Christmas and birthday will need to be managed from now on so we'll need to "create our own version of traditions" from here on.

Your Granly wisdoms would be most appreciated smile
Thank you

Squibsy Sat 28-Sep-19 08:25:22

Thanks Magrithea ... was thinking the same. Actually, since I first posted, with what I should have been prepared for - same old 'breaking contact shenanigans' happening - I've been very depressed by it ....

... decided, right now, it's pointless thinking about Christmas or at any point having contact. Obviously, another court battle looming and very depressed and exhausted with it all sad

Magrithea Thu 26-Sep-19 18:03:57

If you fear the presents will be disposed of (how heartless!) then keep them at your place or his Dad's so he can enjoy them when there (which will hopefully be regularly)

Squibsy Mon 23-Sep-19 20:06:44

Thank you one and all for all the good ideas - I have a much clearer idea of what and how and - even - if not sad how to plan for that too.

And thank you all for the warm thoughts ... it's been hard because I've kept strong for my son and there's been no one to otherwise share any of this with ... some (most) friends just can't get their heads: it's also wearing(?) to keep explaining 'Seriously, Grandparents in UK have no rights"... and I've been shocked to the core by some behaviour of our own (not even close) family... who had "come and secretly(!!) meet the cute baby" opportunities waved at them and chose to allow themselves to be suckered into devious mind games..... it emerging they had been seeing the baby but not my son nor me was always going create huge hurt (which was exactly the agenda).

GinJeannie Sun 22-Sep-19 14:36:40

Definitely keep a diary of these special occasions with photos, tickets, programmes, any memorabilia, compiled in such a manner that, when he is older and the time is right, he can read and appreciate his times with you.

rocketstop Sun 22-Sep-19 12:14:04

Buy a cheap little Christmas tree from Poundland or similar.Buy cheap baubles etc and let him 'Decorate ' it. He will always remember this as he gets older and you and your son will have the special tree to treasure after GC goes back home.
Lots of fun things for him to do. Buy some gingerbread men and some tubes of ready to squeeze icing in reds and greens and black, also some sprinkles like edible snowflakes. let him make these fab creations, he will be so proud, he could make one for each of you, you could take photos of the finished article and then ..he could eat his.This is all 'Making memories' He will never forget, and nor will you.

ElaineI Sat 21-Sep-19 19:07:12

Oh and try to take some videos as my DGC spend ages watching themselves and cousins on our phones and it often calms them if upset.

knspol Sat 21-Sep-19 19:03:41

So hoping it all turns out well for you with no nasty last minute surprises. The above idea of lots of photos is really good one and they can be shown to him when he's older to show how you tried to maintain contact. Also the idea of a toy box full of maybe charity shop toys is another great one that maybe he will even remember in the future. My heart goes out to you.

ElaineI Sat 21-Sep-19 19:03:31

Sometimes the a toy will go back to 18 month old's house as he goes home after tea and will not let go whichever toy he has in his hand and removing it from a tired tot is not a battle worth fighting! So be prepared for that.

ElaineI Sat 21-Sep-19 18:59:42

We have box of toys kept here - has grown with ages of grands but for 18 month old and 2 ½ year old - sit on /push along toy, scuttlebug, ball, board books, cars, tractors, trains, teddies, dolls, toys that make noises, wooden insert jigsaws, things with doors that open and shut, bath toys - often have a bath here, games - Orchard Games have ranges for all ages and not too pricey. DD2 buys most of baby's toys from charity shop or marketplace on FB. Also useful changing mat, wipes, bum cream, nappies, calpol, baby toothpaste and brush and a step so he can reach sink for hand washing. Also things out granny's kitchen cupboards!

Foxygran Sat 21-Sep-19 16:59:27

Hello Squibsy,
Like others have said,I would make my home really child friendly. I’d buy books and toys from the charity shop and put them in a big wooden box....The toys may change over time but he will remember that he has a toy box at Daddy’s / Grandma’s. I would also get paints and a big roll of lining paper for him to paint on. He will remember and they will still be good for him when he is older. I’d also either make sure I have Netflix for the children’s programmes that he is more than likely used to watching OR some dvd’s from the charity shop/ car boot sale. Personally, I’d just make my home really child friendly and not worry too much about the present unless it’s something like the paper and paint which is to stay at yours. Very best wishes xxx

JacquiG Sat 21-Sep-19 16:24:01

The poet Carol Ann Duffy has written some lovely little Christmas stories., including one called Wenceslas. It reads beautifully out loud, with a good rhythm to it. It comes in hardback at Amazon, so you could put your and his name in it and keep it at your house for special times together. Use it to create a calming time just before bed?

There's a moral to the story of course but it is gently given, and the pictures are lovely.

There seems to be a series, so get another for next year, or get the lot, I don't think anybody will be disappointed.

Many good ideas further up the thread. I do hope it works out for you, and you have a good time together. He will remember it.

optimist Sat 21-Sep-19 16:06:57

My grandson was older when contact with his dad (my son) ceased. My son hasn't seen his son for five years, the last time was at my husbands funeral. Fortunately when my grandson was younger we had lots of outings and I took lots of photos and made them into "memory books" so that on the rare occasions he visited we could make links. It's not ideal but my grandson is now older and has memories hopefully happy ones.

sharon103 Sat 21-Sep-19 15:22:06

Squibsy Fri 20-Sep-19 21:54:03 has updated recent news.
So cruel isn't it Squibsy. Hugs flowers

Nanniejude Sat 21-Sep-19 15:07:25

I’d by a pop up tent and sit in it with him and lots of toys . Musical toys are always fun so is painting and scribbling. Good luck

GabriellaG54 Sat 21-Sep-19 14:49:59

srou d around

GabriellaG54 Sat 21-Sep-19 14:49:04

A walker with blocks.
A humming top.
Hand puppets. You and his father can make up stories srou d the characters.
A day out at touch and pet farm.

grandtanteJE65 Sat 21-Sep-19 14:29:06

Do give the little one a present. It doesn't have to be anything big, but if you give nothing you will be the mean gran who never gives presents, if not now, then certainly later on.

Any chance of regular visits during the year? If so give a small present to be taken home and a toy to be played with at your house when he comes to visit.

omega1 Sat 21-Sep-19 13:22:41

I didn't see one of my granddaughters from the age of seven but didn't press to see her because I didn't want to be the case of any unpleasantness in her relationship with her mother or to cause them any problems. I left it well alone. Now that she is fifteen we message on Facebook and I occasionally see her when I am out shopping. She is very friendly and knows who I am and its all been done without any arguing over seeing her. I know I didn't see her for 8 years but it was for her own good and as she gets older and independent I will be able to see her irrespective of her mother.

kaimegan Sat 21-Sep-19 13:19:23

Squibsy info which might help but not allowed on here.
Can you p.m. me?

Jillybird Sat 21-Sep-19 13:06:04

You've already had lots of excellent ideas so I just want to say - my thoughts are with you. Also with your son.

As a primary school teacher it was always necessary for us to have two parents evenings on consecutive nights so estranged parents could both attend. This happened after one poor teacher had hell break out in her classroom trying to talk to separated parents at war...

We always felt so sorry for the kids, and how horrible it must be for them to be at the centre of the dispute, but it never crossed my mind to reflect how all that horrible aggression would affect the grandparents. My heart goes out to you.

Daffydilly Sat 21-Sep-19 12:14:04

I agree with the comments earlier regarding trips and a savings account rather than physical presents.

Another idea and one which will keep on going forever is to open an email account for him. You can send him letters, photos and videos of days out /Christmas etc. When he's older you can give him the password.

What a treasure for him to receive when he's 13 or 16 or 18 or whenever. He'll be in no doubt how much you love him and it will be his alone. Nobody will be able to take it from him.

Stay strong. X

GrannyBlossom Sat 21-Sep-19 12:04:18

I would go for games you could play together. I hope it goes well.

nanamac77 Sat 21-Sep-19 10:44:17

There's an excellent website which reviews children's books and also has recommendations for each age. It's very helpful if like most grandparents, you're out of touch with children's books. It's called lovereading4kids. (NB the number 4 is definitely that - not 'for')
This is a link to the page which recommends books for babies and toddlers but there are lots of other interesting sections. You can also subscribe to a monthly newsletter.

As others have said - keep it low key. If possible try and find out what he likes to eat. Perhaps buy a few M&S or similar ready meals for toddlers and put in freezer ( I haven't actually checked if you can freeze them!) so you have an emergency supply if what you have lovingly prepared is refused. Carrot batons or easy to peel satsumas are often favourites.

I do hope and pray you have a precious few happy hours with him.

4allweknow Sat 21-Sep-19 10:40:28

Christmastime weather csn be good or bad so you should have just a few toys to occupy the DGS. I found a stride a trike very useful when DGS visited (he lives other end of country). This can be used both in and outdoors and can be folded up fir storage. Start looking on second hand sites now unless you want to splash out on a new one then resell when outgrown. Trawl charity shops for toys, you won't need a lot as he may enjoy actually playing with you all, eg hide and seek, row row the boat. If you're not sure about age appropriateness for charity shop finds just Google item. Good luck, have a great time and Enjoy.

Hetty58 Sat 21-Sep-19 09:58:11

I'd just make low key, provisional plans in case the visit happens. It seems that you are dealing with a very ill and disturbed person so lower your expectations accordingly. Your plans should include an alternative 'no visit' scenario too!