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ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Which option would you choose?

Asked by ItalianPrincess1217 (10125 points ) April 21st, 2014

I have recently found myself in the middle of some potential drama between my family’s wishes and my own. Currently my grandparents watch my 2 year old son while I work during the week and it has been very helpful to have their support. However, several issues have come up and I am now leaning towards enrolling my son in daycare for 2 of the 4 days that I work.

One concern is that he hasn’t had any interactions with kids yet and his curiosity is very apparent when we are out at parks or even stores. He wants to interact with kids and I think it is important he get that socialization.

I do have other concerns aside from him getting socialization. My grandmother is a smoker, and although she doesn’t light up in the same room as my son, she does smoke in the same house/area. This is a huge issue for me. When I drop him off, I can tell that she was chain smoking prior to us arriving. I step foot in the front door and the smell hits me like a brick wall. This can’t be healthy for the little one to be inhaling. A few months ago he developed a nighttime cough that never turned into a cold. I worry this is the start of asthma. I have talked to her about this but she’s too set in her ways to change her smoking habits now, even for her great grandchild’s health.

My other concern is the lack of structure at their house. I am trying (and failing) to potty train him and when he visits them, the potty training isn’t being enforced. Not only that, but no other rules are in place. He’s allowed candy all day which spoils his meals, he throws fits and isn’t placed in time out, he simply isn’t made to listen. This makes it very frustrating when I bring him home and he’s acting like a completely different child.

Lastly, his safety is a major concern. They allow him to play in their front yard (instead of the fenced in back yard), which leads to chasing him and yelling “stop!” before he runs into the street. I have insisted on playing in the back yard where it’s safe from the dangers of the road but they refuse. They claim he doesn’t like it back there. So time and time again I have come to pick him up after work and witnessed my grandparents trying to catch him in time before he runs into the road. They’re elderly. They aren’t able to run quickly. This is huge worry for me! I am anxious all day at work thinking terrible thoughts of what could happen. I even bought a toddler backpack with a “leash” so they could hold onto that while playing but as expected, they made an excuse for him not wanting to wear it. He wears it with me when we go for walks and never puts up a fight. Strange.

Now the dilemma. Sure, the choice seems obvious. Send him to daycare! But it’s not that easy. As soon as I dropped the “daycare” bomb on them, they immediately started to give me a hard time. “He’ll be sick all the time, it’s not safe at daycares, they don’t pay attention to the kids, it’s a waste of money, we love him, we want him here, why would you take him away from us.” Guilt trip city! Do I stand my ground and stay firm on my choice to put him in daycare a couple days a week? Or do I cave under the pressure of my grandparents? I don’t want to disrespect their wishes because they have done so much for my son and he absolutely adores them but I also can’t keep putting him in this bad environment. I can start him as early as Thursday at the daycare and I’ve never been more confused about the choices I face.

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18 Answers

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

I would go with option three:
Find a way to telecommute or a job where I can work from home or myself and take care of my child myself.

bolwerk's avatar

If you were going to pay for daycare, maybe you can pay a token smaller amount to your grandparents to follow your wishes a little more closely? I imagine daycare is more expensive.

The back yard thing seems hard to argue with. They should do what you ask. The smoking problem could be remedied with a HEPA filter, though I suppose that doesn’t 100% fix the problem. It’d be better if she smoked outside. A token payment could more than compensate for the higher electric bill.

FlyingWolf's avatar

Stand your ground and put your son in daycare. If anything was to happen to him on their watch they would never be able to forgive themselves. I am guessing they are in their late 60’s/early 70’s and the truth is chasing after a toddler is hard work for even young parents. Add heavy smoking into the mix, and I just don’t see how this is the healthiest situation for him or your grandparents.

When you are discussing it with them you can come from a couple of perspectives, one, it is a lot to ask of them to babysit full-time and two, he is hitting an age where socialization is important and a pre-school is the best placement for him,

Please don’t let them guilt you in to leaving your son in this unhealthy and unsafe environment. He can still see them regularly and spend plenty of time with them. They might even find they enjoy it more without having to be caretakers, and being just great-grandparents,

jca's avatar

When a day care center has an opening, it will often get filled immediately so I know you have to act on it ASAP.

You’ve tried to discuss this with them and they won’t change? I would be done so quickly.

The yard thing would be a huge issue with me. If his life were in danger, that in and of itself would make me make a decision ASAP.

The smoking is another huge no-no. Cigarette smoke deposits carcinogens on clothing, walls, furniture, everywhere. Done done done, I would be…...

jca's avatar

Another thing, kids his age need to socialize with other kids their own age, and need some structure that a day care center provides. You have push factors, you have pull factors.

dappled_leaves's avatar

They are handing you a guilt trip because you want to put your son in daycare, but they are unmoved by your own pleas to alter their behaviour in minor ways in order to keep him safer? Where are their own feelings of guilt over the smoking and playing in the front yard?

No, stand your ground and do what your gut tells you is the right thing.

janbb's avatar

You must put him in daycare; ideally for 4 days. He is not safe in their house. I realize that may not be feasible but at least do the 2 days with no guilt.

(P.S. Potty training at 2 with boys is not likely to be successful, in my experience.)

LuckyGuy's avatar

Another vote for day care. 4 days if you can. 2 days as a compromise.

Don’t accept that “he’ll be sick all the time”. That type of sickness will improve his immunity. There is no immunity to lung cancer from second hand smoke.

Please… do it!

Judi's avatar

I know this is in general but I have to say, time sure flies! It seems like yesterday you were pregnant!
I think one or two days a week in daycare is a great compromise.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 Hey you got some good advice. Stand up for yourself, your son, and your son’s lungs. He’s really susceptible at this age. His lungs are still developing. Get him out of their house. If the smoke doesn’t get to him the playing in the front yard is a deal breaker. He doesn’t like it in the back yard? Give me a break. The grandparents are going to do whatever they want and they don’t care a bit about your wishes. Get him out of there while you still have your little man. Seriously. :(

LuckyGuy's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 Another thought just came to mind. How much support (financial or otherwise) are they providing for you and your child?
Are you being forced to have this discussion because you are indebted to them and do not have the financial resources to act on your own?
If you can pay your bills there is no justification for putting your child’s health at risk.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Grandparents. They have limited time on earth to be with him. BUT they have to agree to new rules or daycare it is.

JLeslie's avatar

A vote for day care 4 days a week, unless they agree to follow your wishes. They let him run in the street and he is inhaling smoke which concerns you. Those are major concerns.

From what I have read and been told by parents about potty training, it usually is not too difficult if the child is ready. He may not be ready quite yet. Sometimes it is tough no matter what I am sure.

jca's avatar

Regarding the potty training, don’t stress over it because your child will pick up on your stress. Everyone gets potty trained eventually! Why cause anxiety for your child?

jca's avatar

Please update us as to what you choose to do, @ItalianPrincess1217.

Thank you.
jca
The Update Lady

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Thanks for the great advice everyone. I have decided to start him in daycare 2 days a week (the other 2 days grandma won’t be home so he won’t be exposed to the smoke). @LuckyGuy I am not financially indebted to them and I cover his costs on my own. So you make a good point.

The final straw was yesterday. When I dropped him off I told grandma his meals were in his bag and that he would need lunch soon. I pickedim up that evening and I’m told that she didn’t give him any of the food I provided. Instead she fed him a bowl of soup. So he had breakfast at home and then some soup…for the entire day! Ironically he was complaining of a tummy ache when I picked him up which turned out to be hunger pains. He came home and ate everything in site. Poor kid was hungry and she was too lazy to cook the meals I brought. This has happened more than once. I think it’s best to keep their babysitting services to a minimum. It’s becoming clear that they aren’t fit take care of a child his age and I can’t keep putting him in these situations.

jca's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217: So the two days that he is in the house, it’s only Grandpa?

Is Grandpa competent?

The food story is just crazy. Why they would think a two year old could get by the whole day with just soup is not logical.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@jca Yes, it’ll be just grandpa with him on those two days and he’s much more competent than she is. Also, those two days are shorter hours so thankfully I won’t have to worry about the meal issues.

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