Over the river and through the woods....

Reply Mon 18 Aug, 2008 07:57 pm
This is a question about grandmother's house.

Mr. B and I both had wonderful grandparents.

He would go and visit his grandparents and never wanted to come home.

I would go and visit my grandparents and I was always homesick after a few hours. I was always ready to go home.

His family life was discordant.

Mine was not.

Which brings me to Mo....

Our family life is not too exciting but it is calm and peaceful and happy. When Mo goes to visit his bio-grandparents he is ready to come home to tell me he doesn't like living here and I'm mean and everything is awful here -- the house, the school, the neighborhood, the people, the food, the everything.

This lasts a few really long and awful days and then things are okay again.

It doesn't "fit" with either my or Mr. B's experience so I'm wondering about your experience, or your kid's reactions, so maybe I can figure out what is what and why is why.


Reply Mon 18 Aug, 2008 08:17 pm
Did you most want a grandparent discussion only, or some direct Mo discussion as well?

I adored my grandmother, and she lived with us when I was tiny.

She then lived in Manly, in Sydney...and my sister and I loved visiting her there.

But I was always glad to come home.

But one of my aunts, oy veh!

Their home was a lot happier than mine, and they lived on a sheep station.

I used to hate having to go home.

Reply Mon 18 Aug, 2008 08:28 pm
You can talk about either and I will listen closely to all but I am more interested in the being unhappy to come home aspect and wondering what the home v. away feelings are.

I was always happier at home. Even when I had a good time elsewhere.

Mr. B never ever wanted to go home, no matter what.

We've been talking about this for a while and not getting any closer to understanding the other's opinion so I thought I would ask here.

Mo's weirdness just complicates things even more in trying to understand.
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Reply Mon 18 Aug, 2008 08:29 pm
As a teenager, I would go to visit my cousin, H, as often as I could.
This town was , like idyllic, Mayberry-like and my home life was less than picture perfect...

It was vastly different. And I liked it alot. And I apparentley tortured my Mother with how wonderful everything was in H-ville.
I don't think I was mean... I was 13 so relatively self-centered insane, of course.

That could have been mean....
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Reply Mon 18 Aug, 2008 08:31 pm
We have a great time at our house. It is happy and calm..it's not a free for all or anything but the boys are happy here. When they go to either set of g-parents they LOVE it. They don't want to leave and they come home saying they miss g-dad and g-mom and want to go back. I have come to realize it is because they get spoiled at both sets and just like it there better because of that. That is also because they don't get to stay that long. If I let them stay more than 3 or 4 days I am pretty sure they would get tired of it.

And yes, I do have to deal with three little crankpots for a few days afterwards as they get used to not having their every wish granted. But it's worth it. My grandparents were not warm fuzzy grandparents and I kind of wanted them to be. I just didn't get that kind of spoiling. I am glad the kids can have that.
Reply Mon 18 Aug, 2008 08:37 pm
For what it's worth, I don't think Mo's being weird....I just think he feels predictably messy when he goes there/comes home, and he takes it out on you because you're safe and loving and home. I see this all the time. I can drivel on about it more if you like, but that's the nutshell version.

As for the others wanting to be home/not wanting to be home, I think we are like cats...warmth and love-seeking missiles...that's where we wanna be.

Reply Mon 18 Aug, 2008 08:41 pm
Yeah, I mean, besides everything being so Mayberry-ish, These people weren't my parents, didn't try to parent me. And I loved it!
Course they weren't really paying attention at all, which I'm sure is why My cousin H is mostly off her rocker now, but that's a different story.
We got to run through the neighborhood all night if we wanted!

Exciting, new, different, freedom...
of course any kid would love that.
and I'm sure some part of me was relieved to come home...
Even if I never mentioned it to my Mother.

(I still hear about how much I would rave about the place)
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Reply Mon 18 Aug, 2008 08:54 pm
I loved going to my grandparents (paternal) and they pampered us kids quite a bit. They lived close by and it seems I was there quite often, but I don't remember if I wanted to stay there or rather be at our house. My maternal
grandparents were less doting and we dreaded going there, so that was a
different experience.

My daughter cried her little heart out when we had to leave my mother's house,
after a longer visit. She wanted to stay with "Oma and Opa" any worse way.
Of course, she got spoiled rotten there and had all the attention in the world,
who wouldn't like that. As she got older, things changed though, and as much
as she liked to visit her grandparents, she was also glad to get back home.

Boomer, give it another year or two, and Mo will experience the same thing.
Around age 10 they get bored with the grandparents, and their friends and
home environment become much more important.

My guess is, that Mo's grandparents feel guilty and try to compensate for
it by spoiling him more than he's used to.
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Reply Mon 18 Aug, 2008 11:25 pm
Boomerang, remembering something of your situation from the past, it makes me wonder what, if anything, the bio-grandparents, bio-family, have said to Mo that caused him to react in this way. What ideas have they put into his head? Do they understand that it's in Mo's best interests to be with you folks?

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Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 12:12 am
I've seen 'reprogramming' of children who've spent time with grandparents. Sometimes it just because there are fewer boundaries, sometimes it's because the grandparents actively, if unconsciously, cast aspersions on the child's home environment, 'Don't they let you do that at home?'

I vaguely remember Bill Cosby talking about his father's attitude to his grandkids. One day Bill caught his son lighting a fire in the lounge room, started to rant and his father (child's grandfather) said 'Don't you go rousing that boy, that's a beautiful fire.'
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Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 06:39 am
dlowan wrote:
For what it's worth, I don't think Mo's being weird....I just think he feels predictably messy when he goes there/comes home, and he takes it out on you because you're safe and loving and home. I see this all the time. I can drivel on about it more if you like, but that's the nutshell version.

This was my thought too. I would tend to think that if he went ANYWHERE for a few days, and then came home, there would be rough transitions.

Then on top of that there is the bio aspect. Brings a lot of stuff to to forefront that might not always be at the forefront.

Then on top of THAT, bio-grandparents may be saying disruptive things, whether innocently or not.

Which is to say -- I'm not sure that general grandparental experiences will necessarily give you much insight into Mo's reactions, since there is so much stuff going on that is specific to Mo and his situation.

But to answer the question anyway...

I was always very nervous about being at my maternal grandparents' -- my mom had rebelled against them in various ways, and had a very fraught relationship with them, and my main memory is of wanting to be good and being very self-conscious. For example, my parents were against the idea of "table manners," and I didn't know the "right" way to do many things, though I wanted to, and I remember spending mealtimes observing closely and trying to eat properly.

I think they were perfectly nice -- especially my grandmother -- but she wasn't quite sure what to do with young children, so paired with my own discomfort, things were always a bit awkward.

I usually visited them at the same time as a cousin visited, though, so that's what I looked forward to and really enjoyed. We're both only children and are very close.

I never visited my paternal grandmother alone -- my dad and I would both visit her at the same time. I loved visiting her because I got along with her in a way I didn't with my maternal grandparents, and because she lived in Florida! But she and my dad always had at least a few huge screaming matches per visit, and I absolutely couldn't stand those.
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 06:51 am
Hmm, that "good" thing might be useful actually, and also tie in to what dlowan was saying. I don't remember what I was like when I got back from my grandparents', but I could imagine Mo also being on his best behavior when he's at his bio-grands' -- isn't that something about RAD, being especially charming with strangers? (I know they're not strangers, but they're not really intimates either.) And then crashing after that, because of the effort and the repression involved.

One thing I just caught is Mr. B had a bad homelife and didn't want to go home; you had a good homelife and did want to go home; are you worried that if Mo doesn't seem to want to be home it's because he has a bad homelife? Really don't think that's the case, if so.
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Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 07:29 am
Thank you, all.

Maybe it is the "spoil factor".

My grandparents were not the drop everything and play with the kids and plan all kinds of fun and exciting activities type of grandparents.

Mr. B's weren't the spoil type either. But they lived in Santa Barbra and had a summer house in Mexico with a nanny who treated Mr. B like the crown prince of America.

I don't worry much about Mo's g-ps putting ideas into his head. I do worry about him maybe asking if he can stay there and then Mo parroting back their reasons why not (not a good house, neighborhood, school, etc.) as the reason why he doesn't want to stay here.
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 07:59 am
That's valid Boomer. I never knew my maternal grandparents--both died before I was born--and I always felt cheated. My paternal grandfather died when I was very young but I was in college when my paternal grandmother passed. Until I was in highschool, I was obligated to visit her in East Texas every two weeks. I couldn't wait to get home even though my own home was as dysfunctional as hers.

I can't remember my mother ever saying anything positive about her. I can't remember my grandmother ever saying anything positive about my parents. When I was very young, I did tell her about my family life not realizing how horrific that sounded to Grandmother. Grandmother then instructed me to tell them not to smoke, not to drink, not to play cards, etc. etc. which, when I was little, I dutifully reported to my mother. That of course did not contribute to family solidarity as it only reinforced deep resentments.

It was not a pretty scene. I had no idea how much I contributed to that as a child simply reporting what existed in my world. And, if the child has perceptions that homelife is more restrictive than grandma's house, and reports it from his/her perceptions, it could sound different than what the child actually intended.

We can hope that Mo's grandparents are truly grownups who take that kind of thing into account.
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