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Babysitting Conundrum: Correct Grandma or Let It Ride?

cryingpottyI walked through the front door after a very busy day of work as I prepared to leave the office so I could head off on my first full vacation of 2013. An entire week of vacation. Casey had already left for one of her work vacations a week earlier and I was going to be meeting her in Orlando where we would board a Royal Caribbean cruise ship to go to the Caribbean.

The first thing I heard as I walked into the front room of our house was an uncomfortable silence. Addie had a slightly panicked look on her face and I could tell that Tiny Grandma (Casey’s mother and my my mother-in-law) was in the kitchen cooking the girls their dinner, and that’s when I heard the breathy, gasping and gulping sobs coming from the bathroom around the corner.

As I looked in the bathroom through the doorway, I saw a little body squatting on a child’s potty with her hands on her knees and tears running down her cheeks. Bunny was sitting next to her on the floor as she finished using her potty. About every four seconds, Vivi’s body convulsed outwards as she involuntarily gulped air into her sad little lungs. Vivi had obviously just finished one of her deep, sad cries.

I asked Addie what happened and Addie responded, “Vivi wanted a new pull-up, but she doesn’t need one, so Tiny Grandma and I told her that she didn’t need one.” Then from behind me Tiny Grandma said, “Vivi demanded a new pull-up, but there’s nothing wrong with her old one so I wouldn’t let her have a new one and she lost it.”

Vivi loses it occasionally, which shouldn’t be a surprise because she is a toddler and that’s what toddlers do. She doesn’t have very many full-on breakdown moments however, and this had clearly been one of those times where she completely lost it. She has had issues about diapers in the past, but that’s usually about wanting to go to bed for the night in a pull-up instead of a diaper. Usually, or pretty much every time she’s requested a new pull-up, she really does need a new pull-up.

The kid knows when her pants feel too squashy and wet to wear anymore. She’s gotten to a point in life where walking around with a soggy butt is not something she enjoys. So, when she accidentally pees in her pull-up she requests a new one.

The whole scene didn’t add up to me. I have no doubt that Vivi really did lose it because she wanted a new pull-up, and I don’t doubt that my mother-in-law and Addie both checked the little watermark indicator on the pull-up to see if the pull-up needed to be changed. And I have no doubt that the indicator was wrong. But Vivi doesn’t lose it over a pull-up simply because she can’t have a new one — it’s not that important to her.

I bent down and felt Vivi’s pull-up from the outside, and sure enough, it gave that squishy-squashy feeling that wet diapers have when they’re soaked through. Vivi hadn’t been lying— my little lady was actually in need of new pull-up.

The whole situation left me in a conundrum. Should I correct grandma or should I let it ride? Vivi’s melt down had clearly affected everyone. My mother-in-law was probably worried that I no longer thought that she could handle her grandkids while I was on vacation, but on the other hand my youngest daughter was right. Casey’s mom had flown into Indiana to take care of our kids for us while we went on vacation and I didn’t want to seem ungrateful for her willingness to spend time with our kids.

Knowing that I was quite possibly making the wrong decision, I quietly kissed Vivi on the forehead, squeezed her tiny shoulders, and whispered in her ear that I was sorry. Then I went upstairs and tried to forget the breathy, gulping and gasping sobs that I heard when I originally walked through the door.

In that moment should I have undercut Tiny Grandma’s authority, or backed Tiny Grandma even though Vivi was right?

What would you have done?

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