I really have to “set the scene” for this one. My daughter in law was going out for dinner for her “once a month dinner with her friends from high school” last Fri. My husband, youngest son, granddaughter (7 yrs), grandson (3.5 yrs) and myself decided to go to the local “Stanley’s” for our supper. The guys had plans to golf the next day and I had plans with granddaughter, Trinity to go shopping at her favorite little shop in town, “Judy’s Cottage” as part of her first communion gift from the previous Sunday.
So, we pile into the Suburban, son driving, husband in passenger front seat, kids each in car-seats with me in between them in the backseat. We go eat our supper and since we were near the golf course, guys want to check the golf cart to make sure it was “ready” for their first venture of the year out on the course. In between the restaurant and the golf course, Trinity had put a piece of bubble gum in her mouth. I was playing ABC flashcards with grandson Christopher and Trinity started to giggle and play with the gum. Pulling it in and out of her mouth and stretching it out with her fingers all the while giggling furiously. So what did I do, I laughed with her. We got to the golf course, took a short ride in the cart, got back in the Suburban and the men thought “since we’re here,” we’ll take the cart to the gas station to fill it with “fresh gas.” Because Lord knows you have to use fresh gas, can’t use gas from the tank in our yard don’t you know!!!
So we were running back and forth. Trinity kept it up with the gum and she was cracking me up to tell you the truth. She was so excited about our day the next day and was delighted in the fact that her dad hated her chewing gum AND playing with it the way she was but he had no idea. It was between her and me. We finally got home after an hour of sitting in that backseat.
So I’m telling my husband about it later that night and I told him how hilarious she was with that gum. In walks youngest son so I started telling him about the whole scene and how funny she was. Well, he didn’t react the way I thought he was going to. He got mad at me. He tells me later that he wasn’t “really” mad but I felt he was mad. He told me that I knowingly let her do something that he didn’t like and what was that telling her?? How was I going to feel when “she was kissing boys” because Dad didn’t like it. HOW WOULD I LIKE THAT????
I was speechless because I never thought of it that way and after a second I said “IT’S NOT THE SAME THING” and he said it was. Was it the same thing or was I just sharing something with my granddaughter?
So I think about this for a LONG TIME while and think, maybe if it was the same thing, is it better that she can come to me and know I’ll love her and she can tell me anything, maybe something she wouldn’t want to tell mom or dad?
I’m at a loss. How do you feel? Was I wrong or were we both kind of doing the right thing??? HELP!!
Oh, please! It was gum!!!! What kills me about your story is that he probably did ALL kinds of stuff as a kid that you didn’t like, but did it anyway b/c he knew you didn’t like it! Plus, she’s being a kid! I think she probably needs to be told how to chew gum “nicely”, but getting mad at you won’t teach her anything. If it bothered him that much, why didn’t he tell her to quit?! I don’t think you were wrong and I think he’s forgetting what it’s like to be a kid!
Can you remind him of an incident that he did with his grandparents that you didn’t like?
While there are some grandparents that can openly defy their children’s every wish as parents, I also think it’s a grandparent’s right to indulge a bit. That’s why I keep my mouth shut when my kids go to my parents house. If they watch too much tv there, eat too many sweets, or stay up too late those are all the joys that come from spending time with their grandparents.
If it were a matter of safety then I would probably say something to my parents, but otherwise there are some things you just let slide…
Life is too short. Then again my parents are in their mid-70’s and I know they won’t be here forever to enjoy their grandkids. I want everyone to have fond memories.
I have several thoughts about this.
First, it is your right as Grandma to indulge your granddaughter a little. Not too much, but a little. Bubble gum gymnastics qualify, in my opinion.
My parents are unfazed by their kids’ protests, whether it be my mom “not being allowed to” swear in front of my nephew, my niece watching horribly scary monster movies, or my own tots not receiving any correction at all when Grandpa is in charge. If I said anything to my parents about letting my kids get away with murder, they would simply say, “I am the grandparent, and that’s my prerogative.” It’s not that they don’t care that my kids are raised properly; it’s just that they consider that to be my job, and it’s their turn to have fun with the kids, since they never could take it easy with their own kids.
When my siblings and I were kids, we used to take some liberties when my Granny was babysitting. She used to say “your parents are going to shoot you” and we totally took it as a joke, because we knew Granny wasn’t going to turn us in for a small thing – even though she was known for being a very strict disciplinarian with her own kids.
I feel that if this comes up again, you should make light of it and encourage your son to see your sense of humor. Assure him that when he is a grandpa, he will do the same things.
And also, he should give his daughter – and his own effectiveness as a parent – more credit. Your granddaughter is being raised by your son and is internalizing the values he is teaching her. Note that her crime was playing with gum – perhaps the most benign act of disobedience a child could come up with – not anything really wicked.
All that said, I would take the opportunity sometimes to let your granddaughter know that you consider her respect for her father and of his authority to be of high importance. Not with respect to her every movement, but with respect to the big picture.
Oh, by the way, how WILL you feel when she is kissing boys? Because someday she is going to do that . . . regardless of your grandparenting choices . . . .
OH SKL, how I dread the whole growing up process of them even growing up at all. I can’t even begin to imagine what it will be like when Trinity is dating. My son will go NUTS!! Bailey too and Christopher too! If I could shrink wrap them all now until I die, I would. This is what I consider my “ last chance” at a “kind of parenthood” that’s not really that. It’s so hard to explain.
My parents as well as my husband’s parents had the deal that “when in Rome.” I wouldn’t suggest anything to my mother in law. She was wonderful and great down to her matching apron and “housedress.” She was the epitome of “perfectness.”
When the kids were with them, they minded and were adored. I feel the same. I want them to behave but want to give them that piece of chocolate or ice cream cone if they want one. When the parents are here, they are the boss, if they aren’t, I am. They know this and I think are okay with that.
I feel that Toby felt that I let her do something that I knew bothered him and felt that in up coming years, she would think it was “okay” to do what dad said “NO” to. I understand his point and what he meant but I know, he knew, I meant NO HARM.
This is a hard subject. I understand exactly what your son is saying. It’s not what happened it’s how it happened. Get it, he’s saying she knows that she did something she knew dad didn’t like and you acted like it was okay. BUT….I understand that you were trapped in a car and you were kind of trying to entertain them. I don’t feel it’s anything that will jeopardize anything “serious” that might happen in the future.
I think your granddaughter will know you really love her and can come to you if she ever needs to and listening to this post, will know her dad loves her too. More than words can say.
OMG….I can’t believe I found you on here Joy. I’m so happy. After leaving PD, I’ve been coming to wordpess because I love the different choices and I’m so happy I came upon your blog.
I’m so happy that I can’t say. I saved your site and will be back bright and early tomorrow and will go through all your posts.
YOU ROCK GRANDMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Teach them values, and integrity.
AND THEN…spoil them rotten and send them home!!
YOU – ARE – GRANDMA!
And next time…
…get yourself a big piece of that gum and show her how it’s REALLY done! ; )
-mom of a 7 and 11 year old-
You are grandma….grandmas are generally cool and fun to be around!! When my children are with grandma, grandma makes the rules. This included washing those hands lots of times, eating ice cream before dinner and occasionally staying up 30 minutes past the designated bedtime. Of course, this is all done without my knowledge. 🙂