Hi Clare - thank you so much for getting back to me. He currently has them overnight on a Tues eve (picking them up from nursery and returning them on a Wed morning) plus he has them one overnight and the following day every weekend. He sometimes has them for other ad hoc occasions too.
He is half Italian and grew up in Italy. He's lived in UK since 1997 and his mother and sister also live in UK. Since we met (2005), the only family members residing in Italy have been his father and his elder, disabled brother. His father passed away in Jan and just prior to his death, I did allow my ex to take both our sons to Italy to see his father before he died. His father had never met our younger son. I found it incredibly stressful them being away from me in another country and was anxious the whole time until they returned. I feel I did the right thing however in allowing my children to see their paternal grandfather before he died and I hoped that with now only the brother living in Italy, the issue of going there would come to an end but it has not.
I feel that if I allow him to go this weekend with our sons, it will never end and before long, he will be taking them to Italy on a regular basis.
The other issues I have is that when he goes to Italy, my ex goes out to see his friends in the evenings and will leave our children in the care of his mother. This is not acceptable to me as my ex's mother is not robust or vigilant enough to look after the children alone. I have much evidence to support this.
My other concern is that currently, we have not explained to my elder son (3 and a half) that his grandfather is dead. There seemed no need to alarm him and raise the subject of death when he has no regular contact with his grandfather. However, by taking him on this trip, of course he will ask where his grandfather is. I don't feel comfortable with introducing the subject of death to my son if not necessary. He has already been through enough trauma with his father leaving us.
Your help and advise is much appreciated.