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How long can one year olds remember Grandparents?

(26 Posts)
Lavazza1st Mon 26-Oct-20 22:29:46

I have been thinking a lot about my GC and wondering how long it will take for him to forget about us? Or maybe he already has. Is there a window of time where it's crucial to have contact or be forgotten?

When I google stuff, I keep reading how estrangement is worse for parents than kids, but I don't know. My DS has not got any other family that he talks to. He's got various things troubling him, MH etc. He was hostile and aggressive and really should be the one apologising, but I doubt he ever will due to his perceptions.

I really would have loved to have a relationship with GC , but unless I am to apologise to DS (and dance to his tune) I really cannot see that happening. There isn't really anything I can think of to apologise for apart from putting down boundaries, because he was abusive. So I am going in circles. It's been three weeks now, which I know isn't much compared to some.

Illte Mon 26-Oct-20 22:56:15

One year olds dont have a memory as in recalling people who aren't there. That doesn't mean he won't recognise you when you appear again.
Simply for that for a one year old out of sight is out of mind - literally! The memory synapses in his brain are not developed yet to enable him to think about someone who is not there.

That's why it's a enormous developmental moment when they throw a toy out of the pram and then look for it. It exists even though they can't see it!!!

Every grandparent ceases to exist for every baby the moment they are not in his sight. And time is meaningless to a one year old too. Two minutes, two days, two weeks theyre all the same.

Your relationship with your son I can't comment on. I only know about the child development aspect of your post.

Lavazza1st Mon 26-Oct-20 23:01:33

Thanks Illte, that was what I wondered about. I hope we will see him again and that he will recognise us.

I am not ready to give up- yet. At the one month of silence, I am considering trying to talk to DS and see what happens. Maybe some would think it's a bad idea. Maybe it is.

SueDonim Mon 26-Oct-20 23:09:45

From my experience, it varies wildly. One of my GC seemed to recognise and be comfortable with us from just over a year or so.

Another GC always forgot us between visits. The first time she remembered us was this past August, when she was well over 3yo.

We hadn’t seen her since last October and knowing that she had always regarded us as strangers on each visit, it was lovely to have her jumping for joy this time. ❤️

I hope you get to visit your GC soon, it must be very hard. flowers

Lavazza1st Mon 26-Oct-20 23:14:53

It is very hard, Sue. My son has had MH difficulties for years, I think Bipolar but has not had a specific diagnosis because he has not engaged with Dr's.

My plan all along was to leave it four weeks and then try to establish some type of contact- before writing off the situation completely. If he is still hostile and abusive, then I don't know. Some people probably think it's a bad idea to try at all...It's hard to just give up.

It's lovely your GD was jumping for joy and remembered you! flowers

crazyH Mon 26-Oct-20 23:20:18

Don't give up ....all the best!

Elizabeth1 Mon 26-Oct-20 23:23:58

I’ve bought a fabulous coloured hardback book of my Facebook memories which has given my 2 gds loads of fun. This book was very reasonably priced and is good for the youngest gds to remember both me and their grandad I’ve even used the messenger recording to send a bedtime story a real one young children love real stories.fingers crossed they continue to keep us in their minds grin and by all accounts the take this book to bed with them [Smile]

Elizabeth1 Mon 26-Oct-20 23:25:48


Lavazza1st Mon 26-Oct-20 23:28:05

Ok @*CrazyH thanks.

@Elizabeth1 thats a really nice idea. If I am unsuccessful in trying to contact my son after 4 weeks of no contact, I will begin making a memory box for GS to have when hes grown up- and will get a photo book made too.

welbeck Mon 26-Oct-20 23:34:34

we don't know what the estrangement was is about, so it's hard to comment.
but my first reaction, not knowing anything of the circumstances, is swallow your pride and make contact.
unless there is some danger in doing so of course.
good luck

V3ra Mon 26-Oct-20 23:38:24

I don't think it's a bad idea to contact your son.
Is he likely to have calmed down or even forgotten what you've "fallen out" over, given his mental health issues?

Rather than revisiting the last time you met and worrying about who should apologise to who, how about a comment like "Can we start again?" or even "It's been a while, do you fancy a get-together?"

I certainly wouldn't want to give up on a one year old grandson yet. It sounds like he needs you in his life

Astral Mon 26-Oct-20 23:38:41

One of my children surprises me sometimes by remembering things that happened when she was 1 or 2. It's probably one of those very individual things.

If your son has mental health issues, are you in a better position to support him and your grandchild inside or outside of a relationship? Maybe you could apologise for verbalising boundaries but enforce them non verbally, like making a polite excuse and hanging up the phone or leaving the room if things get aggravated. I've seen a lot of people talk about setting boundaries that way because verbalising them makes people defensive or feel attacked.

Sometimes people with mental health issues can't see or understand that they have them and there is often nothing you can do to force them to get help until they notice it for themselves. I've been through cycles of depression my whole life and it still isn't apparent to me how low I am until I hit rock bottom.

I know all of that is easy to say from outside your situation. I hope you find something that helps.

Lavazza1st Mon 26-Oct-20 23:39:45

@Welbeck my son has had MH issues and was sectioned in the past , which he blames me for signing the papers for. He also blames me for leaving his ( abusive ) father and for the fact that he does not have a relationship with him.

The truth is that his Dad only has eyes for his eldest son, which upsets my ES greatly. His Dad did not bond with him as a baby and has never made the effort with him, even though I have encouraged him to. Unfortunately he blames me so much for everything and I don't know what can be done because I have loved him, stood by him when no one else would and have done my absolute best for him. But it was not enough.

welbeck Tue 27-Oct-20 00:03:53

that's tough. can you just decide that since he will go on blaming you for most everything, that's just part of the package of being in touch with him.
don't try to resolve it. it sounds intractable anyway.
if you don't expect fairness, gratitude, then you won't be so disappointed, annoyed, aggrieved.
can you set your own boundaries but without announcing them to him, as that would be confrontational. just exit stage left when the action gets a bit too hot. if you see what i mean.

Lavazza1st Tue 27-Oct-20 00:08:54

@welbeck its hard and I would love him to be able to see how much we've tried to help him and for him to see that he's punishing the one parent who has always been there for him at the expense of one who never has even before we split up.

It's frustrating that he never takes any responsibility for anything he does, but I/we have not reacted, we simply left when he was hostile and have been waiting for him to apologise. Obviously he sees things differently, unfortunately.

SueDonim Tue 27-Oct-20 00:09:09

I don’t know much about dealing with such situations but from friends’ experiences, sometimes the thought is worse than the deed.

One friend was worried sick that her brother with MH problems had discovered where she lived and she dreaded him turning up on her door. He indeed did so, but instead of the storm she was expecting he simply left when she told him to and he hasn’t bothered her again. She does keep an eye on him via intermediaries but as you say, people with MH problems can choose to disengage whenever they like.

Lavazza1st Tue 27-Oct-20 00:09:46

BTW when I say We in the second paragraph I am referring to myself and his stepdad.

Lavazza1st Tue 27-Oct-20 00:13:30

Sue, its so hard. Another couple of family members have Clutster B Personality Disorders and have really hurt us, lashing out in a completely unprovoked and vicious way. His behaviour does remind me of the Cluster B Personality, though he hasn't actually had a formal diagnosis owing to the fact that he is extremely argumentative and confrontational towards medical staff, to the point that they discharged him because they could not work with him.

Smileless2012 Tue 27-Oct-20 09:42:58

You must do what you feel is right Lavazza and whatever that is, don't lose sight of the abusive nature of your relationship with your son.

You set boundaries I seem to remember because of his abuse toward you and one of your concerns was that abuse being played out in front of your GC.

IMO a laid back approach would be a good idea. As suggested by V3ra "It's been a while, do you fancy a get together?". Keeping the initial approach light and pressure free may make it easier for him to respond in a positive way.

It's a difficult balancing act when dealing with someone with MH problems. On one side is the desire to keep communication and the relationship going, and on the other is the difficult task of being supportive while simultaneously not enabling abusive behaviour.

Lavazza1st Tue 27-Oct-20 10:22:51

@Smileless yes there hasn't been a formal estrangement as such, as in he has not said he does not want anything to do with us. I suppose if he actually says he wants nothing to do with us, that will be the cut off point and I'll accept it more.

To others on the post who may not know, his behavior became hostile and aggressive while we were delivering his stuff to his new home, so we left- and he has not answered messages since. He is also unhappy because we forced them to move out as they were not intending to. We had originally agreed a stay of three months, but it turned into 7. We really enjoyed the time with our Grandchild, but felt he deserved better than the three of them squashed into our box room- and we hoped our son's (hostile to us) behaviour would improve if they had their own space.

I don't really know how to go about trying to contact him after this time, so any suggestions are most welcome. Please bear in mind that I am a "bad mother" and he has already said he will never respect me because I am divorced." He thinks I denied him a relationship with his father because I am divorced. (!!!) None of this is true, but he cannot see that his father did not ever make time for him before or after the divorce. If there was a bond there, the divorce would not have broken it. Unfortunately his Father only has eyes for one of his children and it's not him, so he lashes out at me. There may be more reasons I don't know about.

Smileless2012 Tue 27-Oct-20 11:17:24

Do you think then Lavaza that it may be a good idea to contact him along the lines as suggested by V3ra?

It would be awful if his response was that he wants nothing to do with you as I know from personal experience, but is the not knowing something you can deal with, possibly long term?

Lavazza1st Tue 27-Oct-20 12:27:25

@V3ra @Smileless2012 thanks for the suggestion. I must have missed it before when I was typing.

It's not unusual for him to go several weeks without him acknowledging me ( and that's even living in the same house!) and when he was abroad he didn't contact me for a long time. It wasn't even him who told me I was a Grandma! If it wasn't for DiL I may not ever have known...

That's why I am now thinking, he hasn't said he doesn't want me. I think he did want to continue living with us and also wanted to blame me for everything- I also think he wanted me to chase him as DiL said he wanted to receive a message from me. He didn't then reply .... but he hasn't actually told me where to go, either.

Norah Tue 27-Oct-20 15:40:27

I think GC know GP after 2-3 years. Three weeks is a short term, not to worry excessively.

Lavazza1st Tue 27-Oct-20 18:09:22

@Norah Yes it is relatively short. I just worry about it being longer, potentially - as I already lost another child.

Smileless2012 Tue 27-Oct-20 21:45:39

A fear that lightening will strike twice in the same place Lavassa and one that many EP's share.