ask grandma maggie

Grandma Maggie answers questions about parenting and childcare issues only. She is a mother of four girls and grandmother to two boys and two girls. Maggie is trained in early childhood education, and was the owner of a successful day care center for many years.

Due to health reasons, Grandma Maggie is not currently taking any questions.

Dear Madame:

Q1 My two year old baby sometimes becomes adamant to come on front seat when I am driving. Any amount of distraction or persuasion by my parents in the back seat does not help until I stop driving and come home. Please let me know as how to manage this problem.

Q2 Some psychologists say that for better and overall development of child, the child by the age of three should be kept in best schooling hostel away from parents. I would like to have your expert advice on this. We are so much attached to our baby that even a thought to keep him away is frightening to us.

With fond regards,


Dear Dr Uav,

We obviously come from different cultures and I don't even consider myself an "expert" in my own culture, so I would rather that you didn't do so. Expert or not I never hesitate to offer an opinion and that's all this is. Also, there is a language barrier so I am not sure what you are asking. A child should NEVER be allowed outside of his or her carseat, regardless of the fuss the child makes.

I believe all children need two things to thrive and that's love and limits. You are obviously able to give your child an abundance of love, but I suspect it is difficult for you to set limits because if the baby cries and you go home, he (or she) gets what he wants. Having the grandparents with you does nothing but increase the stress, I would imagine. I would suggest you get a kitchen timer, preferably bright red. First use it at home. Set it for 10 minutes and tell your child when it rings it will be bed time of lunch, which ever you prefer. Then think of something else to use it for like picking up toys. Then one day take just your baby and the timer out in the car. Set the timer for 10 minutes again and tell him you will go home in that amount of time, and then do so.

A timer can be a mother's best friend if it is used with consistency and everyone in the family cooperates.

As far as keeping the child away from the parents, IF and only IF, the childcare is good and the baby returns home each evening to the parents, I see nothing injurious to a child to socialize with other children in a school like setting for part of their day.

Kindest regards,
Grandma Maggie

Hi Grandma Maggie,

I'd like to get an unbiased opinion. My husband of 3 years and I have a blended family, I am 39 and he is 38. From a previous marriage, I have an 11 yr old girl and 8 yr old boy and my husband has a 16 yr old girl and 15 yr old boy. Hubby has sole custody (mom lost parental rights and has never been involved in their lives), I have primary custody of my two and they see their dad every other weekend, alternating holidays, etc. Hubby was single for 10 years and me for 2 when we started dating. His kids never wanted to share their dad, having had him to themselves for 10 years¦mine were ecstatic to have a new brother and sister.

I'm very independent, have my own way of thinking, etc. and have no problem telling my family, or his, to butt out. My husband, on the other hand, has always depended on his parents and they are very controlling. This in itself has created havoc in our marriage. Add to that hubby is an alcoholic but has been sober for 6 months after attending a rehab facility. We have been separated several months but continued dating to try and work things out. This did not make either sides of our families happy, to which I told mine, it's my life. His family has been putting massive amounts of pressure on us. His kids are threatening to live w/ grandma and grandpa if he stays with me and my kids, and his parents are supporting the kids for him to leave.

We agreed no more kids, although I wanted one, he didn't and was extremely vocal about this so it was agreed, no more. Here's the situation now: I just found out I'm pregnant. I am VERY shocked but happy about the baby, though sad about the timing and the situation. I told him on Thursday, he hung up on me and I haven't heard from him since (today is Wednesday of the following week).

I knew he wouldn't be happy¦I DID expect a reaction. I'm trying to give him time to absorb this news. I absorbed and have moved on to the realization things are what they are, nothing can be done about this so having a fit or being depressed is silly (I think women, in general, are better at handling shocks and moving forward than men…in general!) We are still separated, and living in different houses so our communication other than dates has been phone/texting, etc.

I have a tendency to be stubborn so, my question: Do I let him contact me first? If not, how long do I let this go on? Do I send him info on doctor's visits or let him ask? I have a sonogram scheduled for next week. If he has no intentions of being involved, that is his choice and as I said, things will still move forward regardless. I don't want him to feel like I am excluding him though, but this isn't going to just go away. In the past, my husband has always dealt with things as stick your head in the sand and it will go away.

Oh experienced wise grandma, help!


Dear Mary,

Tell me exactly why would you expect it to be different this time? When one marries a dysfunctional person it's unfair to expect that person to suddenly be different? Here's my best advice:

Handle everything as if you alone are responsible for your life and your children's lives, which is probably very close to the truth.

Make no overtures to the baby's father, and please don't just date him as if that's acceptable to you. He either mans up or he doesn't get to play the dating game.

If he ever wants to see the baby, allow it, but limit it unless it is designated by the courts.
He does have a financial obligation to this child whether he wanted the child or not, so see that these legal obligations are explained to him by a lawyer or judge.

This may not be the wise advice you needed, but I think you knew this is what I would tell you.

Grandma Maggie

Dear Grandma,

I have a two year old daughter who doesn't talk like she should. Most kids her age that I know are talking well and she still uses baby talk. She is very smart and catches on to stuff quickly. She knows how to turn the TV off, put a dvd in the dvd player, and play with a boxed set of kniect system. She can say some words. I'm just worried. Should I put her in speech therapy? Then again I want to put her in day care so she can be around my kids and probably start talking. I just don't know what to do. She my first child.


Dear Teshia,

The fact that she isn't very verbal at the age of two doesn't mean there is something wrong with her. Children all walk and talk at different ages. We all worry about our children, especially when we start comparing them to other kids their age. If your child needs speech therapy she would also have the time to be in day care with the kids you care for. The first thing to do is ask your baby's physician if there is a specialist he (or she) thinks they could recommend to have the baby's hearing tested. Another idea is to talk more to the baby and give her a play by play of her day. As an example when you are dressing her tell her what you are doing: "Now Mama is putting on your red sunsuit. Let's get some red socks from your drawer to match. Now we are putting the socks on and then your shoes." Kids who are talked to learn to speak earlier than others. Speak slowly and distictly.

First see the baby's doctor for advice. Next remind yourself to speak to her and read to her spowly and distictly as I described in the previous manner.


Dear Grandma Maggie,

My husband and I have been together for six years (married for three). I am only 25 years old, but we both want to be young parents. We have been talking about starting a family for a while, but the response from family and friends has been very negative: "You have plenty of time for kids", "You're too young to have children now", "just enjoy each other while you can", etc. Although we've made our own decision to try to conceive now, we are keeping it a secret from those people closest to us because I fear their reaction. I know I shouldn't care what other people think, but I want to share this news with our family and friends. How should I respond if they say something negative about our age?

Thanks for the advice!

Dear Katie,

I would ask them who decided when they could have babies. Either that or not say a word until it was very obvious that you were pregnant. Then when they asked you why you didn't tell them reply, "You made it very clear that you would not be happy if we got pregnant and we really wanted to tell only those whou would love and support us." That should take care of it!
Grandma Maggie


I was 23 when I got pregnant after the doctors had told me for years it was impossible. But my fiancé at the time thought I lied and left me. I was in a relationship through half my pregnancy until about a week ago and I don’t know whether I should continue calling the second man daddy? He says he wants to be in her life, but he has two other children from a previous marriage that he rarely sees. His track record for taking care of his children isn’t very good. Should I trust him to stick around?
Abigail’s Mommy

Dear Friend,

Never muddy the waters with your child. Be honest and upright from the beginning and that includes calling NO ONE but her biological father Daddy, whether he is in her life or not. Between her biological father and her supposedly substitute father I would trust neither to be there when you need them. Just trust yourself. Have her call any male in your life by his first name only. Don't force a relationship that doesn't exist. It is not the name one uses but the way the relationship is carried out.

Good luck.
GRandma Maggie

Dear Grandma Maggie:

Hi my name is Fallon and I'm the 23-year-old mother of two baby boys. My older one is 2-years-old and my little guy is 1. I have two problems that I think I'm going to need your help with. My older one is in the middle of potty training. Now he is completely potty trained at daycare but when he gets home he doesn't let us know he needs to go to the bathroom. Now I should probably inform you that he's not really talking yet but he still at least stands by the teacher and lets her know when he has to go potty. There is a few times he will go at home, when someone can catch it. And we do show him how happy we are by dancing around and calling him a big boy and everything but it's just not consistent. What can I do to help him go at home on a regular basis? My other problem is simply this: they don't sleep in their own beds. My little one will at least fall asleep in his bed but he eventually ends up with me sometime during the night. And my older one is not even interested in lying down in his bed at all. If I try to put him in his bed he freaks out, he starts throwing his tantrums until I finally give in and allow him to sleep with me. What can I do to put my boys to sleep in their bed and make sure they stay in there all night? Please help, I haven't had a full night's sleep in 3 years.

Dear Friend,

The answer to children sleeping in their own room is to tell them that each time they come into your bed, they will be taken back to their bed. Then you must do it consistently, and not even cave once. Put him in, let him freak out and you sit on the floor a few feet from the bed. Tell him once, "It's bedtime" and then do NOT engage in any conversation with him except to say the word "bedtime" once or twice. If he gets out of bed, put him back. I don't know if you have noticed but you are quite a bit larger than a two year old. You are also the parent and set the rules. If you have confidence you need not yell but just be firm and consistent. I wish you the best.

Grandma Maggie

Hi Grandma Maggie,

I am expecting my third grand-baby next July and we are hoping that it is a little girl. My first granddaughter's name was SarahAshley Lynn and I would like to see if you can help me with a name to pick out for this one. I found a few in the list of names, but I want something that is special because I don't know if I will be able to be at the birth of this one or not. If you could give me some advice I sure would appreciate it.

Kimberley, a Proud Grandma

Dear Kimberly,

I am going to give you some good advice and I hope you take it. The name should be one that both parents love with no input from anyone else, particularly grandparents. The grandparents got to name their babies, now it's the parents' turn. Your job is to be elated with your grandchild, no matter the gender or what that child will be named by it's parents. This is the best gift you could ever give your daughter.

Kindest regards,
Grandma Maggie

Dear Grandma Maggie,

I am pregnant with quadruplets! My husband and I cannot believe it. I was worried before that my four-year-old daughter, Peyton, would have adjustment issues with one new baby, but four? This house is going to be crazy! She is a sweetheart. She has no behavior issues, or anything like that -- I'm just worried. Before I thought it will only change a bit, so we won't have any major issues to worry about. But she is going to be kind of alone. When the babies get older it will be the quadruplets and then just Peyton. Any advice?

Thanks so much,


Dear Friend,

What do you mean, "and then just Peyton?" This shows that your expectations are such that Peyton will be ignored and this doesn't have to happen. When any relatives or friends ask what you want as a baby gift, tell them that you want time with Peyton. If it's only a half hour to take her for an ice cream cone, then do it. You and your husband must make all five of the children your priority and that's hard to do, I know, but Peyton is part of those five. You can also include her in chores that concern the babies and praise her for the help she offers. "Thank you, Peyton. You are a big help and I appreciate it." Talk about when she was a baby. Talk about what she likes now. Talking is something you can do while you are doing other things. Tell her the birth of the quads makes you remember when she was born and how sweet it was to have her. Don't overdo it, but try to get one or two of the Peyton stories in each day.

If you can connect with other parents of multiples, that would also help you with some of the problems you are about to face. Try now to do some searching for those groups so you will be prepared when the time comes.

Good luck!
Grandma Maggie

Hi Grandma:

I am 7 months pregnant with a baby boy and I just really need some advice on what to do. My son's father and I didn't work out at all. He left me when I was 3 months pregnant, yet every now and then he wants to be a dad and he will go buy his son something, but then he says that he's not his child. What do I do? I just want to give up, because it hurts me so bad that he would say something like that. I don't want to put my son in that situation, to be around a person that doesn't care about him. I need some advice please.

Thank you,

Dear Ashlee,

The first obligation you have is not to worry about your hurt, but to protect your child. I suggest you get a DNA testing on your son and his father so that the man cannot deny parentage. Next he has financial obligations to any child who is his, and you must have that put in place legally. Always leave the door open for this young man to spend time with his son but insist he behaves appropriately and says nothing that could hurt the boy. You are not the only single parent, and it's a really hard job. However, now that you are having a baby, that baby must come first, my dear.

Let me know how it goes.

My best,
Grandma Maggie

Hi there!

It's great to find your resources. I have an 11 day old baby girl (Annabelle). This is our first child (my husband and I) and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. I had a C-section last week & I'm still recovering. It's frustrating when you can't 'do' as much as you like, though usually I do it anyway because I don't want to miss out!

However, that's besides the point. I noticed yesterday while feeding her she had flaky skin around her ankles, wrists. Now this morning I noticed she'd got it all over her tummy. I was planning on giving her a sponge bath this afternoon or evening, and didn't want to dry her out anymore.

Is baby lotion safe? Baby oil seems to 'oily' for me, but if that's what it takes... Your advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you so much!

Lori, my dear,

First babyitis is hard to beat. We Mamas want to do it all. Newborns often have flaky skin while adjusting to this new world they are in. Using baby lotion on a child this young is safe as long as it's fragrance-free.

Also, try not to make demands on yourself to participate in everything you "used to do." Better for both of you that you spend this time rocking and cuddling Annabelle as much as possible. Do you understand how often an older sister (me) would love to just hold one of their babies and do some serious rocking and snuggling once again? These are the important things, my dear.

With envy,
Grandma Maggie

PS: Please also bring your concern to your pediatrician so that s(he) may address whatever health and skin worries that you may have!

Dear Grandma Maggie,

I have a daughter who is 12. She is in the sixth grade. The three of us (my husband, my daughter and I) decided that we would try to have another baby. My daughter is learning in science about where babies come from and all that, so she understands the process. Unfortunately, I just found out we failed. I had a miscarriage. My husband and I are so upset. It is heartbreaking. My daughter should know that she will not be having a little brother/sister, but I don’t know how to tell her. I mean, how do you tell your twelve-year-old daughter (after she admitting feeling a bit lonely at times, and that she wanted a little sibling) that you had a miscarriage? It’s hard enough for my husband and me to deal with it, but a child? Please give me some advice.

Thank you.

Dear Friend,

First let me offer you my condolences for your loss. Next, I think you must tell you’re twelve year old immediately that you had a miscarriage and there will be no baby in the near future. She also needs to feel the loss before she can get beyond it. I want to make one more suggestion. I think it's important that you mention that one child does not ever replace another, but you are so glad you had her and the joy of her birth with no complications. If either of you cry, so be it. Tell her you know how she feels. Handling this thoroughly at this time will help your daughter learn coping life skills that will be helpful for her throughout her lifetime.

Blessings on all of you.
Grandma Maggie

Dear Grandma,

I can't seem to get my mother-in-law to back off and respect my parenting skills and religion. I'm of one religion and happy about it. She has left this religion and is now Born-Again. All she wants is my daughter to follow in her religion and do the very thing she does best: hurt people with a book. How do I tell her that it’s not a weapon?


Dear Friend,

It's not your job to educate your mother-in-law. Your job is to give your own child religious training if that's how you want to have her grow up. But let's face it, many kids adopt a new religion when they are adults, or leave the one that they were raised in.
However, it is kind to respect all religions and not degrade them by saying rude things about them. If your mother-in-law starts in, just say to your daughter, "You know Grandma believes in one religion and we believe in another. What I want you to know is it's important to respect everyone's choices." And I would say it in front of your mother-in-law.

If she continues, you and your husband will have to discuss this. It's his mother so he should be the one to tell her discussing religion is out of the question because of her attitude and if she cannot be quiet about her choices you will have to limit her time with your child. That would really be sad. Kids need all the love they can get from every side. What they don't need is to be exposed to bigotry.

Kindest regards,
Grandma Maggie

Grandma Maggie is not a medical professional and writes purely from her own experience as a mother, grandmother and caregiver. Her advice is her opinion only, and should only be taken as one woman's opinions, which may not be appropriate for everyone. Each situation merits its own evaluation. If seeking medical advice, please call your family pediatrician.

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