Saturday, December 5, 2009

Babies suck sometimes...and so do adults

So far, a routine in all of our lives for over a year has been the regular meetings with the other grand-parents to exchange Landon for their visitations... every 1st 3rd and 5th weekend.  I really believe it's been harder on us than on Landon... but the last few times he's seemed a bit like "uh, wait..." - just a flicker of concern. Maybe my imagination.  In any event, we make it as easy on him as possible - we act positive and matter of fact, and all goes pretty smoothly.

Well, the last time, not so much. Landon had had a hard week, a schedule disrupted by holiday travel, new childcare arrangements, and the day before the "exchange", 3 shots on a well-baby visit. He was in a pretty good mood though, as we drove the 30 minutes to the McDonald's that is the 1/2 way point where we meet the other grand-parents.

The other grand-father walked over to the door of our van where Norm was getting him out of his car seat. Norm lifted him out and was making polite small talk, and about to hand Landon over when the other grand-father reached up and yanked Landon's pacifier violently out of his mouth and threw it into our van, with some comment about "that damned thing out of his mouth..." - I was in shock. Landon's face crumpled and he started wailing... and the other grand-father took him from Norm and walked away to his car. It took great restraint on our part not to react, which would have only made the situation harder for Landon.

I hope that Landon got over it quickly - I know that we did not. It was a senseless and cruel thing to do, and blatantly disrespectful to Landon and to us.

We had heard that they do not allow Landon to have a pacifier when he is with them - we heard third hand, of course, they have never discussed it with us... so far there have been no issues about it. But what he did really pissed me off. It wasn't too hard to imagine him telling Landon gruffly to quit acting like a baby and be a man.

Whether it was an act of meanness or just ignorance, it highlights our concerns exactly... Not that the other grand-parents would intentionally cause harm to Landon, but the fact that they are so close-minded and inflexible in their beliefs, and so disrespectful of others. 

When Landon was born, and my daughter was still in the hospital, I remember "the boyfriend" taking the pacifier out of newborn Landon's mouth and tossing it aside, spouting his opinion that it was bad. A heroin addict who had already lost 4 children to CPS. Nice.

Landon's enjoyment of his "pacy" is the least of our concerns, then and now.


Fractalmom said...

I would head STRAIGHT to the pediatrician, have him/her write a prescription for landon to allow pacifier as needed for comfort...make several copies, make sure it is dated and then give it to the other grands. At that point, to remove it or disallow it is to fail to follow medical advice.

Bad move on their part.

My motto is always...

figure out the game being played, learn the rules and then play better than your opponent!!

Isle Dance said...

I'm really concerned about this. To me, it's a pattern of abuse. I'd keep in close contact with your local abuse experts, to see what can be done to ensure the baby is safe. It's free, the assistance, at the local DV orgs.

kristi said...

OMG, I would have reacted BADLY to that.

Athena said...

We had just discussed the pacifier on the well baby
visit... That it is an age appropriate thing & that it can be soothing to him, as a consistancy in the regular upheaval of his routine. But, even if we had an RX there is no way to ensure they would respect it, once out of site.

The saddest thing in all of this is no way to explain to a 16 month old when something like this happens, or why :-(

I will follow through on your suggestions though, as I also see it as a form of abuse

Dad and Mom said...

This is one grandpa that would not have acted nicely

Athena said...

Thanks Dad & Kristi - It is so hard to remain calm in the face of such brutish behavior, but there was really no alternative at that moment.

I cannot wait to go pick Landon up and hand him back his pacy!

Cheri said...

And I think I'd make sure I gave Landon his pacy right in front of mean grampy!

Seriously, whether the other grands like the pacifier or not, they need to be putting that baby's needs ahead of their opinions; that child has enough turmoil in his routine. A little comfort is a good thing.

Fractalmom gave some excellent advice!

Praying for you all,

Madison said...

I'm glad you're the primary caregiver, giving love in between visits to that sourpuss.

Barbara aka Layla said...

I admire your restraint in not having a fit when this "grandfather" did such a cruel thing, I understand you were putting Landon first as it should be. I would be very concerned about what they are doing when you are not there a way to find out?

Lou said...

I want to cry..Landon needs the pacifier more than ever when he is being forced into those transitions. I have no idea how to enforce that. I don't think a piece of paper will matter to them.
I'm thinking he will suck his thumb, or some other object, as a substitute. Anyone know if kids do that?

Athena said...

That is the sad irony Lou - when he yanked the pacifier out of his mouth, made him cry, and walked away to put him in his car for a 30 minute drive... that's when Landon really needed it most.

I'd hazard a guess that they would be no more tolerant of thumb sucking, and cringe to think of the old wives tale techniques they'd use to cure him of that.

Cheri said...

When my son was little, I tried to get him to take a pacifier to avoid thumb sucking. He refused the pacifier, and he sucked his thumb until he was nine! (We had to bribe him to stop with a hamster!) One of the reasons he sucked it so long was a series of moves we made as a family, which upset his routine... so little Landon truly does need his pacifier for the transitions, or his thumb. They may be able to throw the pacy away, but they can't throw his thumb away.



Mom of Opiate Addict said...

Oh wow, they really seem to have their priorities pretty screwed up. How juvenile to try and prove somekind of point to a 16 month old, and take the child's comfort away, making him agitated and sad. I am glad you were able to keep yourselves restrained. Document all these events in a diary, seriously have a special place you documents transfers, phone calls, etc., with date and time. Always good to have in court if ever need be to show the pattern and it is admissible.

Ms Kay said...

Hi Lou ,

Whenever my daughter would lose her dummy ( UK word for pacifier ) then she would find her thumb so try not to worry as I'm sure Landon will do the same. If she lost it in her cot bed at night time then she would adapt with the corner of her blanket

I found a lot of people get weirdly worked up that babies should not have pacifiers and I got a fair few negative comments

I don't really "get" the pacifiers are bad point of view. Thumb sucking tends to be a harder habit to break and can force little teeth forward into buck teeth over time.

I find it absolutely bizarre that a man with a drug addict son who can't take care of his own child and then goes and creates another human life in the same circumstances is worried about a pacifier. I'd be thinking that the main point of concern would be on the crime and drug ridden lifestyle of his son but hey ....what do I know !!

Ms Kay said...

and I also think I just called you Lou in that comment - Sorry Athena xxx

Fractalmom said...

YOU know, and I know that they won't listen to the prescription from the Doctor. However, that is not enough reason not to get it because it WILL be admissible in any report you make, in any hearing on how landon is doing, in any review on how landon is interacting with the other grands.

CYA, it the name of the game.

Annette said...

OMG!!!! Athena. I really admire your ability to stay sane and behave well in that circumstance. I would have flipped! You are amazing...and I am so grateful that beautiful Landon lives with YOU!!!

pat said...

That poor baby. I want to punch that man.

Athena said...

Ms Kay - You can call me Lou any time :-) Actaully, you were replying to Lou - so it's perfect. Welcome...

And all of you - I am so heartened that so many people understand and "get it" as far as Landon and his pacy are concerned -

I will be giving him extra hugs and yes, handing him his pacy proudly when we pick him up, for all the world to see - It's primarily an affirmation to Landon, as I seriously doubt that the "others" really care about any way but their way.

I will follow up on all suggestions, for sure - for the record if for nothing else


Athena said...

I thought I'd share what Norm had to say:

Ms Kay said...

Just a quick thought also after reading your latest comment

You know the situation best but when you pick up your little man then maybe it might be an idea to keep the pacy on you but in your pocket and wait and see if he asks for it.

I remebered yesterday a friend with a similar situation , her litle girl was about 18 months and went for a weekend visit with her dad who refused to give her the dummy and when she came back after two nights without it she wasn't bothered about it at all. Just thought I'd mention in case thats useful to you

Syd said...

I know that I would have a discussion with the other grandparents about the pacifier. I don't know much about these things with babies but it would seem that Landon needs something to comfort him. I don't like to see little babies emotionally stressed. And issues that will last a lifetime start at such an early age.

mother of addict said...


I would like to thank you for purchasing my book, My Daughters Addiction: A Thief in the Family. Sadly, Mary died of overdose on August 22nd 2009 at age 32. I lived her addiction for 15 years. All I can say is there is no guidebook and no rules. In the end, I wish I had been kinder, I wish I had loved her more. My heart goes out to all, and i am an activist for drug reform policy. All my love, marie