DEAR JERKASS: We were visiting my daughter and her husband when their 3-year-old, "Bethany," entered our room and rummaged through our medications. The door to the guest room was closed and the medications had been placed on a desk. Of course, everyone thought she had ingested some, so they rushed her to the ER. We were fortunate that nothing was found in her system.
My son-in-law thinks we should help pay the medical bills. I have sent several hundred dollars, but he is asking for more.
Bethany is an only child, and they allow her free reign of the house. I have other grandchildren who are even younger, and none of them would dream of touching something that wasn't theirs.
It has been almost a year since the incident, and they still haven't taught her to respect and leave things alone that are not hers. My daughter is a professional and her husband works from home, which concerns me because he isn't as strict as I feel is necessary.
Are we obligated to help with more of her medical expenses? I don't think so because we have already helped, and I don't think it's our job to teach our grandchild boundaries. -- OHIO GRANDMA
DEAR OUTDATED PARENTS,
Prelude: What can you sit on, sleep on, and brush your teeth with? (I'll answer at the end).
From a legal standpoint, by sending any money, you accepted responsibility for what happened.
From a familial standpoint, unless you can't afford it, pay it. This is your grandchild, not some third world kid you don't care about.
And it's a 3yo, for whatever that's worth. They are not especially known for obeying all the rules and telling the truth. Case in point: Yesterday my 3yo told me that "Momma said I could have an ice cream sandwich" ten feet from her and ten seconds after she had said "no". Little liar.
Know who's at fault in all of this?
All of you.
Grandma, you should have kept your meds in a safer spot. Your kids should have put safety knobs on the guest room. The little tyke shouldn't go where they're not supposed to.
The problem with a lot of situations is that we look for only one person to blame. The answer to the above riddle is: A chair, a bed, and a toothbrush. Most people answer with something like "your thumb", or equally asinine comment.
Bottom line: Take responsibility for what you did wrong and don't try to blame shift when it gets too expensive.
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Judas' Advice Column
This is where I take a Dear Abby column, and add my own brand of advice. I started by calling it Dear Crabby, but that's taken and JERKASS seems more fun.