So, yesterday was our big visit day. We are staying about 20-30 minutes drive from where the grandparents live but we decided to split up the visits and allow Baby Spouse a nap in the afternoon, which we were very glad about.
Nella and Grandpa came in the morning - while we were on the way (late because we hadn't printed out her photos yet - oops - and because there was traffic - not really our fault) she called to check we knew where we were going but when we got there she was off getting food. Grandpa had suggested we met at his church where there are a few rooms to chat in and that was a good suggestion - it was quiet and Baby Spouse got to move around on the floor a bit, plus there was a piano and his favourite activity is banging on the piano. So he did that with Nella, and she asked us before giving him fries (we said no), and she took off he somewhat smoky coat before hugging him.
He was happy to go to her for a hug (he is OK most of the time with strange women if we are there, but sometimes a little fussy, more often with strange men - there are a couple of male carers at nursery but he hasn't had either of them caring for him yet) but not very happy with Grandpa (who is physically rather unlike anyone he has met yet, too). Nella said "oh I heard babies sometimes..." and I was going to chip in with "are OK with women they don't know" but she finished with "know who their natural mothers are". Mr Spouse was out of the room at that point or I would have heard a snort from him I think. But he asked me later and I realised that he sees Nella's photo probably every couple of days so he may well have recognised her.
She also started to give us a rundown of all the drama in her life over the last while and said "oh, I hope you don't mind me telling you this" - her dad was there at this point - and I did say "that's OK but when Baby Spouse is a bit older maybe not". She seemed distracted, kept answering her phone and saying she had to go, but she stayed till we had to leave. Grandpa also told us some information about her childhood that was interesting, but I think not information you'd share with a verbal child present, and I think he knows that, so will act as a brake on her to some extent.
Later in the afternoon we met both of them plus Grandma and Montana at an Applebees. Nella was late, and again kept checking her phone, calling people, and saying she had to go, but she was waiting for a ride and as it turned out the ride arrived just after we got in our car, having eaten our meal and chatted and said goodbye to the others in a more relaxed way. Montana was just really sweet with him, and Grandma and Grandpa besotted, but in a nice way - last year they seemed nervous of us - we have not been in touch that much but enough that I think they now feel OK about us.
We also found out information about Big Brother that we hadn't known - Grandma says that he has had some developmental problems, and had some severe breathing problems at birth, and that they were happy to see Baby Spouse is doing a lot better. I may have to see if Big Brother's mother will share something of this. Likewise, when no-one else was there, Grandpa told us a bit more about the problems Montana has been having, which he puts down to Nella's care for her when she was small.
We have decided that the jail business will not be public knowledge to our UK friends and family (and I know a few people I know IRL read this, but I also know they are discreet). The story will be that Nella does have a complicated and dramatic life but she managed to show up for a short visit. We will need to warn Baby Spouse when he is older that she may not show up. I am thinking he will get the message she is pleasant, but unreliable and does not concentrate on him, from her behaviour during visits, fairly quickly unfortunately.