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Best Behavior Series

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Showing 1-14 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 2, 2012 6:35:10 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 2, 2012 6:36:13 PM PDT
Has anyone looked at those books? I don't want to complain about my grandson's mother, however (and please note I don't blame her as she repeats only how she was raised), she leaves the little guy to entertain himself. The TV is running all day, she is on FB most of the time and there is some suspicion that the little guy has autistic tendencies. Even I, as a totally besotted first-time grandma, have to admit he is "slow". However, I think that it may be because he is not socialized. He is now 2 1/2. We had some success with the Smethport Photo Language cards and shape and color sorters as well as small books made of different materials. My son works all day and commutes 1 1/2 each way, so his time with his son is kind of limited. Unfortunately, they live either a 35 min flight or 5 hour drive (including a ferry) away which makes it difficult for me to step in as well I don't want to step on the young woman's toes. They are not married and I am afraid if she "had it", she might leave with the baby. Any help and/or suggestions are appreciated.

edited for spelling

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 2, 2012 7:56:31 PM PDT
cathyr says:
Have you considered Skype'ing - and reading a book?

Obviously, there's only so much you can do given distance issues, but how about special Grandma time, and reading a book together each night (or day)?

Other things you could consider
- Dad doing the "socialising" on the weekends. Many kindergym type groups are available on weekends here, I assume the same is true in the US. And since Dads are more likely to go to the weekend ones, it's a benefit to both. (Learning how to be a Dad and *play* with your kids is hard. Going to playgroups, swimming lessons, or whatever, is a great way to learn how in a non-threatening social situation).
- Send him letters, with colouring sheets, or things to make and do. Kids *love* getting real letters, no matter how old they are. And as they get older, just sending post cards makes them feel cared about and thought of.
- Sometimes the thing that holds mums back from mixing with others is they just don't know what to do or where to go. Especially with a first child, and before they are "independent". If you bought him (for example) swimming lessons, she'd have to take him, and while there meet other mums. Similarly, finding out when the local library does reading/craft and taking them both when you are there (Look! It's easy!), or when the Mother's Group runs, will take the onus off her to work it all out.

But none of this is about books to help. It's just, if you find the books, you'll have to find someone prepared to read them. *sigh*

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 2, 2012 8:13:34 PM PDT
Thanks Cathyr, skype'ing is a good idea. Actually, I have Tango on my Ipad and I am considering buying him one too. Sending letters and postcards is another great idea I never thought of, the phone is so easily picked up but really will not have the same effect than mail for himself. Dad is taking him already to places on weekends but I don't know if those are any organized group activities. I will find out this weekend when I fly up. With regards to mom, we tried, she is not interested and has actually said all she wanted was to be looked after. There were some rather nasty times (alcohol is another issue) and currently they have agreed to take a break and she is moving into a home (paid by us) nearby. We hope it will cut the tension which can't be good for the little man. I am trying to stay supportive but will not tell either what to do. My son has said he is willing to do whatever to keep his son, so the young woman really holds all the card. But your ideas are great and as I going tomorrow anyway with my IT person to buy an new laptop, I will get the Ipad for the little man and take it up to him on the weekend.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 2, 2012 8:37:06 PM PDT
cathyr says:
Good luck. It doesn't sound like it'll be easy for anyone. Especially if the primary care giver isn't willing to meet you half way.

If you are getting him an iPad, then look at some of the interactive kids books now available. I personally haven't used them (no iPad!), but I have some friends who loved them for their children, from a very young age. There's also apps for simple games like Memory, or ones that make animal noises. I know with my brothers and their first kids, they really weren't sure how to get *more* from a book. That whole reading the picture thing, discussing the book, and so on. The interactive books and apps are an easy way to start for Dad and son, to work out what they're doing.

Obviously, if you are going to really get into this, you can back the book reading with colouring pictures and other activities, like teachers do. He's still little, but if you are doing some sort of distance teaching with him, you can support the simple things with extras. Lots of web pages around for "home schooling" and "distance education" for advice.

I really do recommend organised activities for Dad and son. Even though I was a stay-at-home with our first, I convinced her Dad to take her to a kindergym on Saturdays. He met other Dads, saw how our daughter interacted, got some perspective on what she was capable of, and expected to do, but also learnt to *play*. They sang nursery rhymes, rolled around, told stories. He saw what rough-play was okay, how others handled their kids. It really taught him as much as (if not more than) it taught her. And now he tells all new dads that they should do the same!

Oh, one more suggestion - can you get him into child care 1 day a week? A study came out a few years back suggested child care (even 1 day) was a huge benefit for children who weren't getting what they needed at home. Even if Dad was able to drop him off and pick him up one day a week, somewhere on the way to work? It gives Mum a break (whether or not she needs it!) but also gives him the socialising you are looking for.

Posted on Jul 2, 2012 9:06:33 PM PDT
Wayward says:
First off, if they aren't married and are 'taking a break'; your son can and should quietly look into his legal options just to keep his interests known and be aware of his rights.
From your post, has she been evaluated for postpartum depression? Even at this stage, it's a possibility esp if alcohol has been an issue.
And if you want to have more time to spend with dgs; play to her wanting to be cared for card. Meet halfway and watch him for a weekend so she can have a girls' night out or they can have a date night.
If dgs has autistic tendencies, many states have early intervention programs that are FREE. They go through school age and then transition kids into school with whatever accommodations they need. Have your son discuss it with the pediatrician, or look up the state programs to see if you can find it. (They're usually out at various community festivals, too)

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 2, 2012 9:47:56 PM PDT
Thanks, my son does not want to antagonize her; I had suggested getting papers signed before baby was born regardless of what they were going to do, marrying, not marrying but living together or sharing custody whatever. While I know should she take his son, he will fight and will likely get visitation rights, here in Canada, if at all possible the child stays with the mother and he says he can't bared seeing his son only ever so often. On this scheduled break, he still will be seeing his son daily after work and he will be taking him from Friday nights to Sunday evenings.
Getting help with regards to possible autism means the doctor has to make a diagnosis or at least be willing to say she does not know and send him to a specialist and apparently, she (the doctor) believe, he will "outgrow' some of what concerns me and others who met him.
Mom goes out pretty much every night and if she does not go out, she drinks at home. My son said he does not want his son's first memories of his mom be seeing her with a beer can in her hand. I don't believe it is postpartum as she has been like this for some time. According to my daughter who admittedly does not like her, as soon as she "got her claws" into my son. I am taking this with a grain of salt but mostly because I want(ed) to give the young couple a chance and as much help as I could. The pregnancy was neither planned nor was it a decision my son was informed about. I am actually quite proud of him how he has stepped up to the plate and has taken responsibility for the situation; I know many young men would have not. They met in high school and it is a small (hick) town (my son was living with his older brother as he like so many young men had issues with dad), they got comfortable together, broke up and got back together several times, mostly because she manipulated behind the scenes and actually threatened other girls he went out with which he found out about only later. I still don't think she is a BAD girl. I was told by someone who grew up in the town that it has 3 sets of people, those who just finish (or not) high school and settle in low-end/nowhere to go jobs, those who leave, get secondary education and return either because they now are professionals or they commute and work in Vancouver and lastly those who leave and only go back for visits. The young woman in my son's life belongs to the first group, all she ever wanted was her 1.3 kids, maybe once they are in school, working 3 half days in the local deli and otherwise have a spouse to look after her. Why my younger son stayed in that town, I don't know. I guess he likes the small town feeling, the ability to go fishing and camping without traveling too far.
I am hoping for the best, although my gut feeling tells me even if they get back together in a few months or year, some time down the road, they will be back where they are today. All I can do, is being non-judgmental and support my son as much as I can and try help my grandson overcome whatever we are dealing with.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 2, 2012 9:55:44 PM PDT
As to child care, I had offered my son (as it had to be his decision and his discussion with her, so I would not be the interfering kind of mother-in-law) to pay for a sitter for a few hours daily or once/twice a week who would take my grandson to play groups etc. as mom does not drive due to DUI. However, she does not want another woman looking after her son. Apparently, my son's friend and colleague who has a daughter 4 months younger, found a play group for Saturday mornings starting in September again and the two men have decided they will go together with the children.
All the ideas here will help to add to the cushion I hope to build around them and hope that it will be enough.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 2, 2012 10:15:44 PM PDT
cathyr says:
Is formalised child care common in the area? It's just she may be more comfortable with the child *leaving* the house, rather than having someone coming in and "judging" her. Child Care in Aust is heavily subsidised by the govt, particularly for lower income families. And child care centres are more common in my area than home based or nanny-style. And when presented as "to give her a breather" or "so he can mix with kids his age", you may have more success.

Also, if you find a good one, the carers are trained to pick up behavioural issues, and know where to direct you for extra help. Early intervention (which is what you are obviously worried about) can then be addressed.

That said, I have known kids who've been pre- or borderline-autistic, but have "grown out" of it. Some of these things are learnt behaviours, others are developmental stutters. And once they reach a formalised education system they either find ways to accommodate the issues, or they grow out of them. What I don't know is how you provide early intervention for the "real" ones, and wait out the "give it time"s, and how you tell the difference...

"Apparently, my son's friend and colleague [...] found a play group for Saturday mornings [...] and the two men have decided they will go together with the children."
Excellent. I expect you'll see a big change in both Dad and son. Dads need a chance to bond with other dads too.

Posted on Jul 3, 2012 9:49:51 AM PDT
Wayward says:
Ah, I missed that you were in Canada. I think he could still talk to a lawyer, just to find out what his legal options are and protect his (and his child's) rights. The mom doesn't have to know unless he chooses to act.
To get back to the original discussion, which behaviors are you concerned about? I've seen the laugh and learn series for my kids, but only vaguely remember Hands are Not for Hitting. I recall thinking we preferred other types of books, since some of the 'we don't do this' talk seemed to put ideas in my kids heads.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 3, 2012 1:03:34 PM PDT
There is no particular behavior, just that he is all day alone with mom and the TV. He loved the flash cards, I guess which are little like memory and has been able to put opposite together, although apple and oranges do go with balls. When my son took him over to his friend, he used the cards to show the little girl that he wanted to share. He does not speak really, only very little and those are most one-syllable words. As strange as it sounds he seems to pick up life skills from those cards. He plays alone with them and at night my son uses them to play with him. My brother was here on vacation and the way he described it was, he (my grandson) is not quite "there". You can show him all kinds of things, call him (he was tested for hearing) and he will only rarely react. We know that mom at least is kind to him as he does go to her when he hurts himself or wants drink/food but only when dad is not in the room. If he knows where dad is, he cries until dad comes to be with him. I guess, I see the books and flash cards a little as a substitute for him not being socialized.
I have talked to our family lawyer and he will write something up that is in the most "unlegal" language possible to be still legal.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 3, 2012 1:13:05 PM PDT
We tried to make it palatable to her but sees nothing wrong with the way she raises him and she told me that it is just fine, if she can go out evenings or on the weekend when dad looks after baby. My daughter says she is controlling him by holding the possibility of her taking baby away. I see it more as a form of isolation and thankfully finally have gotten through my daughter and older son that basically not going to visit and rarely talking to him because she butts in, is really giving her what she wants and that is isolating my son from his siblings. She is careful with me as she is well aware that their living standard is mostly because I bought the house they live rent-free in, pay for health insurance and car insurance, ie. all big ticket items and my son works for their living expenses. But I am well aware that should she take a dislike to anything I say or do, that for peace and his son, my son would be forced to be less available to talk to me or meet me. I know all those posts sort of giving the impression that he is pussy-whipped (according to my daughter) but I believe he is trying to keep things on an even keel and will react accordingly when need be. This break and her moving out is proof of that. It may not be forever but if they get back together and one point done the road, unless she makes some real changes (and we all know one has to want those changes), they will end up "taking a break" again.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 3, 2012 4:46:06 PM PDT
cathyr says:
"I know all those posts sort of giving the impression that he is pussy-whipped"

Angela, there is no way I am judging your son, his partner, or you. Without being there and knowing the parties involved, I can't and won't. Unless you live in the relationship you can't know what it's all about. I will offer you support, because you asked for it, but I am not casting any sort of judgement.

I don't envy you being on the sidelines and worrying about your grandson (your son is an adult and is perfectly capable of making his own decisions). I understand the need to protect a child, and in your place I would be tearing my hair out.

Things I know
- limited language at 2.5 isn't that unusual, especially if he understands more than he expresses. He needs to get practice talking.
- if his Mum loves him, and he still goes to her, then it can't be all bad. It sounds like she doesn't leave him at home alone, and she cares for him to the best of her ability. So many kids don't get that.
- going to Dad over Mum isn't unusual, even in the most perfect family environment, and shows your son is doing something right.
- there are so many people in his life who care, your grandson has the potential to be anything he wants. No matter the difficulties life will bring him. Having people in your life who actually give a damn makes all the difference. Your son could have walked away. He didn't. You could have. You didn't. His Mum could have. She didn't (although you may wish sometimes she did). Your grandson is loved.

Good luck, Angela. You and your son have a hard road ahead. But unconditional love makes a huge difference in anyone's life.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 3, 2012 6:20:06 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 3, 2012 6:21:56 PM PDT
Thanks Cathyr, I did not feel you judged. There are plenty of people around us who say why is he putting up with it (mostly his siblings, who obviously don't want their brother hurt). Yes, the little man is loved unconditionally. I know that all children develop differently, so I am okay with waiting until playschool which he will start in November. I just feel that with mom not really engaging him and that he needs all the help he can get from us.
No, she did not walk away but she did try to "sell" us our grandson. As I said she had lost her driver's license due to a DUI. Here in Canada we do have a state run insurance tied to the Motor Vehicle Branch. We paid a few years ago for a specialize driving course, so she would get her license back but the insurance company first wants $15'000 which were part of a settlement made to an injured party. She told my son, for $15'000, she would sign anything. Needless to say, we ignored this. And in hindsight are glad she does not have a license as there is no guarantee she would not drive under the influence again. I am scared re her behavior. The little guy walked out of the front door once and she did not notice. Thankfully or maybe not, the dog went with him. Nobody was able to touch the baby, so no one could help either but thankfully someone recognized the dog and thankfully, my son was working still nearby.
I am really grateful for your answers and have been today at a crafts store and bought different materials, my daughter will come later and we will make a few "postcards" and will start mailing them soon. My old Ipad is at the store so files can be transferred to a brand new Ipad. If we can figure a way out that the Ipad will be my grandson's and not another vehicle for his mother to not spend time with him then I will buy one for him. Apparently, with the app "Tango", different than Apple face time, you can leave messages. This way I will be leaving him daily message and hopefully your other suggestion reading to him will soon be possible too.

edited for grammar

Posted on Jul 12, 2013 2:20:36 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 12, 2013 2:20:40 PM PDT]
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Discussion in:  Children's Books forum
Participants:  4
Total posts:  14
Initial post:  Jul 2, 2012
Latest post:  Jul 12, 2013

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