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Grandparenting

My Grandson is scared of me!

(116 Posts)
Armoria Wed 12-Dec-18 15:24:36

It's getting to the point now that I really don't want to visit my son and daughter in law because my 22 month old grandson screams and cries and clings to his mum whenever I arrive. I have never ever done any single thing to warrant this and it is really upsetting.

I have a loving and close relationship to my daughter's children who are now 12 and 17 and when my son and his wife had a little boy in 2016 I could not have been more thrilled. We were not allowed to visit for the first week as they wanted to get established into a routine before having visits and also it had been sort of agreed that my daughter in law's parents should be the first to visit as the little chap was their first grandchild and we already had 2 so we had to wait until they had got round to visiting. I was a tad put out but went with it to keep the peace. When we did see him he was adorable but parents were suffering and sleep deprived so we used to take him out for a walk for a couple of hours or so to give them chance for a catch up nap and we absolutely loved the time we spent with him out and about.

When he was a few months old he had a stinking cold and reflux and at one point stopped breathing. They called an ambulance but after being checked out in hospital he was given the all clear and sent home. My son called me, he was overwhelmed and daughter in law a mess too so at 10.30pm we just got in the car and drove the 90mins to their house and spent the next 2 days and nights with them till they all settled. They are first time parents in their mid 30's, both professional people and absolutely no experience of children whatsoever. We continued to visit 2 days and nights a week until they seemed to be more confident and then we started stepping back to one a week. Also I am self employed and while I can juggle my work to fit in any family demands I cant always do so and there are periods where I have to work maybe everyday for a few weeks and I also help out my daughter with childcare for her youngest one and we do try to have a life of our own and go on holidays and breaks.

When little one was about 7 or 8 months old my daughter in law became very possessive, having now found her 'mummy feet' big time and she became his whole world whereas before she was happy to let us take him for walks, feed him, change him, cuddle him. If I were to even try to go near him or pick him up he would cry and rather than let me rock and shush him she would immediately take him off me, take him away and cuddle him. This went on for weeks and weeks and I eventually got so exasperated but tried not to let it show for sake of harmony but my son could see I was upset one time however they both said sorry if I was upset but they did not want HIM to be upset or cry and maybe it was because we didn't come over often enough and her parents were there every week or so. Her parents by the way are older and both retired, my son is also self employed so knows that when you have to work, you have to work. It got so bad that I would only have to walk in through the door and he would burst into tears, scream and hold out arms for his mum and she of course would always rescue him.

He's now nearly 2 and while he does not cry and scream so much he still does cry upon seeing me and will not go anywhere near me. Ive tried being casual about it, Ive tried holding something out for him to take, I've tried playing with him, talking to him but to no avail. If he is walking across the room and say I walk in he straight away turns around and goes back or does a massive detour to avoid me.

I am really at my wits end, He is OK with my husband, he goes up to him and holds his hand and plays cars with him. I want nothing more than to pick him up and give him a big sqwishy nanna kiss and cuddle, sing to him, read a book with him on my lap, take him for walks round the garden looking for bugs and things. All the stuff I did with my other grandchildren.

I have no idea what to do. I suspect it has been 'imprinted' on him that I am something to be scared of and to be mummy rescued from because of how each time he cried he was taken off me but I cannot say that without causing offence. He does not go to any kind of preschool, nursery or toddler group. My son works from home but little one is with mummy pretty much 24/7. They never come over to our house as a family. Son has visited just twice with him since he was born. We are expected to make the journey over to theirs which is 90 mins each way if traffic is OK. If she stays at her parents for a few days (they live about 13 miles away from us) she will meet us in town for lunch or an hour or so between his naps on one day. To be honest it's getting expensive for us to keep visiting especially as he has set naps so by the time we get there and he has been woken from his nap at the set time, we would have maybe a couple of hours with him before we would have to travel back as hubby and I dislike travelling along the country lanes in the dark so we end up getting a hotel so we can have longer with him.

It's got to the point where we just don't want to go but feel we have to to keep the peace and not be bad grandparents but how much longer can we keep doing this only for him to cry and rebuff my efforts. I am not a quitter and hate the idea of giving up on him but I'm absolutely at my wits end as to how to rectify the situation and get him to accept me. Sorry this is a long one but I am pretty desperate for any advice or help.

MawBroon Wed 12-Dec-18 15:44:17

I can appreciate how hurtful this is for you.
I am sure it is a “phase” though and if you can continue to visit the whole family - not to babysit - he will come round.
My youngest DGS (2 1/2) had to put up with a lot of changes to his routine a couple of months ago, lots of different childcare arrangements - Daddy, nursery, aunties, other grandparents and this granny all seemed to conspire to make him very clingy and mummy centred. He took one look at me once when I arrived and fled to mummy, burying his face in her shoulder.
We approached this by my visiting for an afternoon or just for lunch with a shared outing or activity with DD, DGS and me, with me going away again at the end of it.
I think we have made real progress. If mummy is around he will still not let me do anything for him but I have since collected from nursery, done bathtime and bedtime and he has been fine.
Just be patient and do not try to force the issue. If his parents are happy to see you he will be too, but this age can be a very clingy one.

Ilovecheese Wed 12-Dec-18 15:54:02

I would also say be patient. it is a clingy age. When you visit, perhaps don't try to hold or kiss and cuddle him, just talk normally to your son and daughter in law, and don't really take much notice of him at all. He will get used to seeing you around, but will realise that you will not try to make him do anything he doesn't want to. Once he feels more relaxed with you there, and gets a little older, you can establish a relationship that you will both enjoy.

I agree with Mawbroon that if he sees that his parents are glad to see you, then he will be too eventually.

oldbatty Wed 12-Dec-18 16:12:10

Sorry but back off. I am the worlds worst at this because I like to rescue ( are you familiar with the drama triangle)

Back off from this family.

Buffybee Wed 12-Dec-18 16:15:56

I can appreciate how upsetting this is for you but I also think that it is just a stage he's going through.
I would continue visiting as much as you can do, without "breaking" the bank and while there , I would not approach him or even look his way.
Just be there! If you see what I mean.
When my Grandson was one, I cared for him 3 full days a week when my Daughter went back to work.
Very often when my gorgeous Son in Law, who worked long hours, walked in, if he was on my knee, he would turn away from him and if he was playing, he would run back to me.
My Son in Law, who absolutely adores him, was heartbroken.
I would try to "cover" by saying, he'd just woke up, or something along those lines.
My lovely Daughter told me that, he also did the same when with her and she had seen her Husband walk into the kitchen with tears in his eyes.
It probably lasted about six months, then I got the idea of being very excited when his Dad's car pulled up, saying, "Hurray, Daddy's here," and eventually , he was jumping off my knee, running to the door, shouting Daddy, Daddy.
Perhaps you could ask your son to do something similar, the next time you go to visit.
I'm sure that it will work out though as he gets older.
Try not to worry about it too much. flowers

Nanabilly Wed 12-Dec-18 16:30:56

I agree , it's a phase he's going through. Nothing to do with being with mummy for 24 hours a day , just a baby being a baby and going through different phases .How old did you say he was , sorry I can't remember but it's normally at about 2 years old.
Do you wear glasses? I have known babies / children who don't like glasses and scream when they see people in glasses..Don't know why but they all grow out of it eventually.
I think the best step to take is carry on as usual but ignore the little fellow until he's ready to be with you happily. It won't be long before he's the.lovely little gs you want.

MawBroon Wed 12-Dec-18 16:42:32

Back off from this family

What do you mean old batty this is OP’s family! .

oldbatty Wed 12-Dec-18 16:55:38

Once children become adults they are exactly that. If they then have children, they have created their own little family which sometimes needs time and space to breathe.

Why is this lady traveling miles, staying in hotels,and generally being upset?

found her 'mummy feet' big time and she became his whole world whereas before she was happy to let us take him for walks

She found her mummy feet because she is the bloody mother!

I hope OP can work something out which sits well with everybody.

Armoria Wed 12-Dec-18 16:56:15

Back off? How very hurtful your comment is. This is MY family and we can only go there once or twice a month! How the hell can I back off even further? Not go at all then have Son on my case for not going as often as his parents inlaw? You have absolutely no idea.

oldbatty Wed 12-Dec-18 16:58:27

I apologise for any upset caused. Sorry but why is this some sort of competition between the 2 sets of Grandparents?

Why is your son on your case?

oldbatty Wed 12-Dec-18 16:59:47

I was a tad put out

Chewbacca Wed 12-Dec-18 17:09:14

Back off from this family.

That was a really hurtful and mean comment oldbatty. Really out of order there.

BlueBelle Wed 12-Dec-18 17:21:05

I think the advice you ve been given is good I don’t think it’s anything to do with his mummy rescuing him that’s the interpretation you ve put on it The fact he happily goes to your husband is proof of that I think you are without realising it giving off ‘upset’ and ‘stressed’ vibes he obviously for some reason can feel more relaxed with your husband
Of course I can understand how hurt you are but I think the advice to not take too much notice and let him come to you is good advice Toddlers know how to punish😂 I looked after my now 18 year old when she was 18 months for a week or ten days while her mum and dad had a holiday We got on fine but when her mum and dad came home expecting her to run into their arms with joy she ran to me and cuddled her head down and wouldn’t speak to them all day They were mortified she gradually thawed by the next day but I m sure that was her way back f saying no ‘you left me’
Don’t forget a month or even two weeks is a very long time in a toddlers life he sees you coming then going and probably isn’t to sure He ll thaw give it time and don’t blame his mum or her parents

oldbatty Wed 12-Dec-18 17:26:33

Chew, you are right. It was completely out of order.

Luckygirl Wed 12-Dec-18 17:38:19

That must be so hurtful; but I too agree that it is probably just a phase. Just play it cool when you are with him and he will come round in the end. What a pain for you. But it will pass.

sodapop Wed 12-Dec-18 17:42:22

It will be just a phase he is going through. The more upset you get and the more you try to get close he will back off. Just leave him be as other posters said and he will come round. Don't turn this into a big drama. Good luck.

Armoria Wed 12-Dec-18 17:58:18

On my case because of my work we sometimes cannot travel over for a few weeks and one time it was pointed out that tbe other grandparents go more regular. I am self employed, just like he is, if I don't work I don't get paid but there is still the expectation that we should go every week. Other grandparents are retired and so free agents. Also daughter in law will stay with them for a week at a time, they take him out on trips to sealife and zoo and places like that but when we suggest a trip out we are told it will interfere with his nap times so we have to be satisfied with a few hours in a cafe somewhere over lunch. Yes we've said about coming over to ours for lunch and play but it again would interfere with his nap so better to meet for lunch after his nap near her parents house so that it's not far to go back for his afternoon nap.

Armoria Wed 12-Dec-18 17:58:52

He doesn't see me upset. Nobody does.

Armoria Wed 12-Dec-18 18:07:36

Not a competition as such but I do feel they get more or a chance than us. Their photos are plastered all over the fridge, Daughter in law shows me photos of him with Granny and Grandad doing stuff and going places, we've been given his Christmas list and basically we have to buy him socks but then she says about all the things Granny and Grandad are getting him.

crystaltipps Wed 12-Dec-18 18:18:57

One of my GC used to cry whenever she saw me or anyone other than her parents till she was about 3. She’s now 11 and delightful and happily stays over and goes out and about with us. What I’m trying to say is this is just a phase, he won’t be doing it when he’s older, just be around without being in his face will get him used to you again. It’s definitely not a competition with the other GPs. Make friends with them, buy what’s suggested and maybe give some extra money for saving or holidays.

Newmom101 Wed 12-Dec-18 18:21:43

I'm sure it's just a phase. My DD is 16 months and cries whenever either set of grandparents visit, screams if either of our brothers look at her and yet loves our sisters. It's normal for them to go through.

As for your DIL it's possible that as she's now feeling more confident in her ability as a mother she doesn't want to be apart from him. I've never had DD babysat (although she now goes to nursery 3 days a week whilst I work) because I love spending time with her and don't want to have to leave her with anyone else.

It is quite a change from your previous relationship with her though. Is there any possibility you may have said something that has made her pull away. I remember my MiL saying when DD was about 4 weeks and crying 'I'm sure she wants her nanny not you' and I wanted to claw her face off blush and then when she was just one SIL walked off with DD when she was crying for me and in tears saying 'no no, I can sort her, she doesn't need mommy' and I felt like tackling her to get DD back. I know they didn't mean things they way they sounded and were just trying to help but both situations really annoyed me

Bridgeit Wed 12-Dec-18 18:25:01

Oldbatty, don’t be hard on yourself, I understand what you meant. Sometimes we all need to chill out & take things a step at a time, my philosophy Is to be there if I am needed & not take it to heart if I’m not, especially where daughter in-laws are concerned.

oldbatty Wed 12-Dec-18 18:26:41

I do feel they get more or a chance than us

Right well I overreacted and it was badly worded but this is not a helpful attitude.

Newmom101 Wed 12-Dec-18 18:35:29

If they are retired and have more free time and your DIL isn't working but your son is, then it's only natural they will spend more time together as she's bound to fill her time by seeing her parents. If it was the other way round and your son was the stay at home parent and you were retired then it would be understandable that you would spend more time with him.

Izabella Wed 12-Dec-18 18:47:12

May I suggest a different strategy? Ignore him completely next visit. Sit down and in an apparently absent minded manner produce a couple of very small (dinky type) cars from your pocket and just play with them in your hand. Put them back in your pocket when he notices them and them take them out a few moments later. Then leave one he can pick up if he wishes. Play this very hands off approach avoiding eye contact initially. Hopefully he will be wrong footed AND have an interest in the cars. 🚕 🚗

Good luck