I’m posting this picture of him to set the tone. You see, this is more than just my baby. He’s… I don’t know how else to say it, but he’s magical.
He’s wonderful and one of the best things that could ever happen to anybody. He’s smart, he’s funny, he’s interactive and sweet. He barely, if ever, cries. No shit. I’ve heard him cry about once that I can remember. It’s not that things don’t bother him, they do, but he yells at them or about them and then me or mummy sort them out. Why cry? There’s simply no need.
He’s 6 months old now. Well, nearly, and he’s got two little teeth in the front. He’s eating solid foods every day now and its better at it every meal.
But you see, his grandparents know nothing of this.
There could be lots of reasons for that. I’ll get there, don’t worry.
His grandparents live 12 blocks away. In the same suburb.
They’re not invalids. They’re not immobile. They’re not being kept away from him. They’ve got their own transportation and means. Neither of them have highly communicable diseases, nor do they hate children. You see, they’ve had my older 3 children over many times.
In fact, they’ve requested to have the older kids over this weekend.
Almost a year ago, my wife and her mother had a “falling out”. The details are too detailed, so I won’t detail them here. Suffice to say that there comes a point in a person’s life that they have just had a gutful and they’re not going to take any more, so they don’t.
They haven’t spoken since.
My father-in-law, who is really my wife’s step-father, has approached me at my kids’ school. We both teach kids how to play chess, and he’s done his hapless farmboy dance before, telling me he doesn’t know what’s up with them crazy womenfolk but he sure misses his grandchildren.
And I do, actually, consider them his grandchildren. He loves them and they love him, that’s been enough for me.
So, he approached me. I said, “Well fucking DO something. Make it clear that the children are a priority.” So he did. He asked if they could have them over, made it clear that they missed them. That was enough. I sent the older 3 children and they had a great time.
Then my youngest was born. Things got… weird again. Briefly. The older kids’ visits to Nanny & Poppy’s got more frequent and we settled into a comfortable zone. Wife put aside a lot of the bullshit that gets in the way and offered up an olive branch. Through me, she asked them if they’d like to have the baby for a few hours.
Nothing heavy, nothing too difficult. Just a few hours on a weekday so they could experience that beautiful boy. So they could hear him laugh. Smell his hair. Watch the way he watches people’s faces and the way he shapes his mouth when he says, “booooo…”
I rang and said, “Awesome, let’s do it! One stipulation, keep Teddy away from him.”
Teddy is their Labradoodle (and I can’t believe I’m even writing that word, it’s too goddam funny) and he comes from a difficult background. To say he is uncouth is too kind. He’s obnoxious as hell. He’s a fairly big dog (think proper poodle-sized and Labrador) and he’s ill-mannered. He jumps on people. His claws scratch. He’s hard to control.
I can’t even dream up an alternate universe where a request to keep the ill-mannered dog away from a (then) 4-month old baby while he visits for a few hours. I didn’t ask for the dog to be tied up. I didn’t ask for him to be locked away in a closet. I just asked that they keep him away from my baby, my helpless baby.
And the message I got back was, “Well, I think we’ll leave it for now.”
They didn’t want him.
If it meant that they had to alter their dog-heavy lifestyle, then they weren’t interested.
Well, needless to say, shit blew up. Wife got mad and texted her stepdad. I sent emails that went unanswered. We heard from other family folk that I was perceived as “aggressive”.
So, I wrote a succinct email. Nothing aggressive, but still pointed. I told them that they chose a dog… a F*CKING DOG (I didn’t say that part that way) over their beautiful baby grandson.
A month passed. Then a bit.
Yesterday, a text asking to have the kids over. The “older” kids, I assume.
I am drafting an email explaining the fuckery of all of this, but I’m having a hard time with where to go with all of this. I have no desire to keep the older kids from enjoying their grandparents. I never want to stand in the way of their relationship, but how do I reconcile people who have such obviously fucked-up values wanting to spend time around some of my kids, but not my baby?
I tell you what. I look at that picture above, and I can’t think of a thing on this planet that I wouldn’t do to spend time with him if he was my grandchild.
Maybe that’s just me.