aibu or are gp?(9 Posts)
Ds is 16mo.dh and I took him to visit gp for the day at easter. They live 100 miles away so we tend to see them only every couple of months. Whenever we arrive gp are excited and always expect ds to be happy to be handed over to them for cuddles etc. He always cries hysterically as essentially they are strangers to him, in an unknown house after a two hour journey.
I know they are only excited and feel bad that they are disappointed, so dh and I have been trying to temper their expectations and now suggest ds is tired after his journey, maybe he'll settle down after we've been there a while so they can play with him first and have cuddles later. But though dh's sisters come and play on the floor with ds, read stories etc, gp don't bother and chat about adult stuff on the sofas. Then they randomly try to pick up ds from the floor, resulting in hysterical crying and ds running to dh or I to be picked up.
Again, I feel bad that they aren't getting the cuddles they want, but ds is a fairly attached
clingy toddler and he can't be forced to want to sit on their laps. Last time we visited fil did some brief DIY involving hammering and ds was distraught for the remainder of the visit. We've tried to encourage gp to sit and play on the floor with ds but they don't want to (there's no health reason not to).
Now gp have started complaining to sil about not being able to hold ds as he cries and not being able to bond with him, they think its dh and my fault as apparently we don't give them the opportunity? Aibu to think you can't force a toddler to want to be held by other people and he's at a clingy age and perhaps if they made the effort to play with him he may warm to them?
YANBU, however toddlers are naturally inquisitive little souls.
Say Grandad was doing something exciting like playing with some Brio, would your DS's natural curiosity get the better of him and he'd wander over to join in? Ditto if Nanny was making cakes and you were standing in the kitchen holding him so he could help at his own pace?
Maybe there is middle ground?
If you sat on sofa with DS on your lap next to GPs then you could play peekaboo with the GPs/read a book/do some rhymes which would help them to engage with him.
It's been a long time since they've had toddlers, they've probably forgotten. You can both whinge about it or you can try something which might help your DS warm to them.
First thing to do is ask SIL not to pass on the whinging to you. If your PILs want to actually discuss it with you, that's fine. But you really don't need to know about behind-your-back-moaning.
Then, tell them what to do. Bright and cheery -
"ooh look ds is playing with xxx, why don't you sit with him and play? This is your opportunity!"
"could you read ds this story? Just sit next to him, this is bonding time!"
They'll either do it, and your ds will get used to them, or they'll refuse, and you'll have your answer if they ever do complain to your face.
Also, get them to visit you next time. Shouldn't be you driving 200 miles with a baby, anyway. And ds might be happier on his own turf.
I think it's clear that you can't get them to interact in a way your children like - so you're going to have to one day, get your children to interact with them.
For now they're too small of course - so just keep reiterating that they're in the "fussy" stage that will hopefully pass by the next visit. When they go to pick up one of your DC don't say anything, if they hold them and the child fusses, don't say anything or just say "don't be silly" and leave the interaction to DC and GP - so they don't think you're encouraging the "acting up" behaviour.
And as your kids grow up, on the car journey just explain what it's nice to do - it's nice to sit next to GP for a while, it's nice to say hello and give them a quick hug... etc etc.
We had the same issue, but over the course of a few visits DS slowly came to recognise their house, the toys they had, and eventually them (although he still takes a while to get used to them each time)
Can you persuade the GPs to back off for a little while so your DS can settle? Then slowly start to talk to him more until by the end of the visit they might get a cuddle?
I know that if (what may as well be) strangers rushed DS he'd take much longer to calm down than if they just sat still and waited for him to be comfortable enough to go to them.
DD was the same with my parents at that age. My grannie and auntie would be at their house as well, and DD was expected to behave like a little performing puppet for them.
She wasn't used to them, or to so many adults at once, and so went all strange and shy. Her behaviour was often appalling around them. It was torture, having driven an hour and a half to get there!
It got better as she got older, and could do things like help Grandad in the potting shed, or help Gran tidy her jewellery, or somesuch.
As a GP with five DGC I know they are all different at that age. .. my youngest two atm are and are polar opposites lol. One will plonk herself on anyone's lap for a book but other is wary. I could not see them very much as they lived overseas till recently so I wait for rare cuddles and have to " earn " them each and every time. GP may have to do this too....shared games with you DS and them is great suggestion.
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