Trying to avoid drama between protective mother and laid-back grandparents
August 28, 2010 6:11 PM Subscribe
Grandparents (my parents) want to take my precocious ~3 year old and his ~5 year old cousin out for the day, wife is nervous and wants me to go, but the grandparents are put off, how do I handle this diplomatically?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (41 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My parents would like to take their grandchildren on an outing in a place with lots of crowds and constant activity. They offered this a week ago and we were happy to have a break, as we've also got a newborn to take care of. Since then my wife's gotten increasingly anxious about this and wants me to go along. She's uncomfortable voicing her concerns because my parents aren't exactly approachable, but they do have a pretty relaxed attitude because I was a much more manageable child (supposedly) and it does make us nervous sometimes.
Of course my father wants this to be "just them and the boys" and is unwilling to accept my accompaniment without a debate that will come down to "we don't entirely trust you, we're worried that something will happen." Doesn't help that our son is pretty high maintenance and likes to get into everything like most toddler boys and they said "don't worry, the other kid will keep him in line." I guess they haven't noticed that when the two kids are left alone, the 5 year old likes to practice arm locks and various wrestling moves on my son, who mostly doesn't seem to mind but when I catch this in the act it looks pretty borderline abusive to me and I break it up.
I can handle the conversation "please don't think for a second that you can let a 5 year old keep his eyes on a 3 year old" and I think they were *mostly* joking (the older kid's mom was present and I spared her feelings and didn't shoot this down then and there), but I'm not sure how best to handle this without hurting a lot of feelings everywhere.
Ultimately I think it comes down to making mom-with-new-baby feel comfortable and it's my job to protect her comfort level so she can relax and be at peace while nursing new-baby every hour, but she's quite protective in general and we can't really take advantage of the kindness of various members of our family to watch our child for very long without setting off an anxious panic in my wife. I have concerns too but would like to give them a chance, and if they aren't willing, I'd like to be able to go with them without setting off an emotional chain reaction in my parents. I wish dad was a little more approachable, but what can you do?