Confrontation time?

Mrs_HJanuary 6, 2002

I am not a parent but act like one (!). I can't wait to be a mother and have been around children all my life. My SIL has a nearly 2 year old daughter, whom I find I end up watching whenever we both come over for visits at my MIL's. She will leave the baby unattended for brief periods of time while she goes and does something else. i.e. She left the baby once in the (finished) basement to watch TV, where there is exercise equipment, etc. and when I came downstairs to check on her, I found the baby trying to STAND UP on the seat of the rowing machine! SIL also gets upset when child gets into things at MIL's (house with breakables, antiques, etc.) and says, "you should put things away when we come." Is MIL expected to do this?? Or should SIL watch her child?? I get so on edge when we are both at the house. I want to say something to MIL but usually say something to my husband and he yells at his sister (at least somebody is saying something). The funny thing is, usually SIL doesn't object to my husband telling her how to raise her child. Most recent episode was when said 2-year-old was weilding our new, expensive wedding photos and SIL did nothing about it. I said to husband, "Does she know how expensive those were?" and he yelled at his sister. Whew. Another disaster diverted.

Should I just say something to her? Or let husband do all the talking? I am concerned for the safety of this child in their own house (although I know I can do nothing about that) There are times when she asks her husband, "So and so, where is the baby?" To me, a mother should know where her infant is at all times. But then that's just me.

Please help, I don't think I could stand another visit.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a friend like that and talking does no good too her, she is so laid back it doesnt phase her. When her kids come to visit I have to disipline them and if she wont I figure in my house I have right to when they are touching breakables. It is worth a try though maybe she will listen.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2002 at 11:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If all your husband does is "yell" at her, I doubt if she will ever listen.

It's your MIL's house. If it doesn't bother her enough for her to put things up, then it shouldn't bother you at all. Learn to ignore. This is between your MIL and your SIL.

If you had children, would you expect your SIL to tell you how you should make them behave?

About all you can do is to remind her that the child is about to handle something that can be broken, or is about to get into something that could be dangerous. There is not much point in getting your husband in on it if all he is going to do is yell.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2002 at 11:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ok, my husband doesn't "yell." Not like shouting and screaming. But you have to understand my SIL (which is impossible). She is almost like a child herself. I can't explain it. But when he says something, she listens to him, so maybe she values his opinion. I don't know that my MIL feels comfortable about saying anything, although she should - you're right, it is her house. I suppose what it all comes down to is that SIL expects other people to watch her children when she is at their house. The last time we were there the baby was putting coins in her mouth, and SIL did not take them away from her. I guess I could see the potential danger in that situation and she could not, hence I took the coins. I just can't stand by and let something happen to the baby (when I'm there). I would feel terrible.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2002 at 11:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If the child is doing something dangerous, then, YES, you should stop it.

However, just breaking or tearing up something that belongs to your MIL is something that your MIL should handle. For example, those wedding pictures. Yes they were expensive, but if they don't mean enough to your MIL to put them up, then your money was wasted anyway, so there is no point in making an issue over them. It's the same with her antiques, etc. They are hers. You can't protect them.

I know what you mean about the childlike woman, we have one too. All you can do is ignore and work around the poor mothering skills and hope for the best. The child will grow older and require less supervision. Save your breath and energy for the safety of the child now. Ignore the danger to the material things. At that age, children want to touch and feel everything they can. They are too young to understand "don't touch." It's like a Wet Paint sign, even adults can't resist touching to see if it really is.

I am sorry to say that it really is your MIL duty to put things up. She should also watch out for knives in the kitchen drawers and medications. Little hands go everywhere. They don't understand why it's OK to touch THIS, but not THAT. Later, as she grows older, she will understand.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2002 at 12:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

i guess MIL should childproof her house. But by the same token, that's how they live...knowing how they live, SIL SHOULD take more responsibility for her child...The thing with the wedding pictures was MIL and SIL looking at the pictures they had just ordered..before we know it baby is flailing the picture about and grandma is asking SIL to take it away from her (which she doesn't). Of course MIL was concerned about the picture...but SIL doesn't like to listen to her mother, which is another issue entirely. (!) I think baby is getting old enough to understand a basic "no," but SIL doesn't tell baby no, nor does she discipline...I mean, you can't reason with a 2-year-old...(can you?)

Anyway, thanks for all the responses. I just know that my husband and I will never trust this woman to watch our future children, that's for sure! I guess I'll just pray to God to make her safe every day and take a Xanax when we go to visit...ha.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2002 at 12:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

i guess MIL should childproof her house. But by the same token, that's how they live...knowing how they live, SIL SHOULD take more responsibility for her child...The thing with the wedding pictures was MIL and SIL looking at the pictures they had just ordered..before we know it baby is flailing the picture about and grandma is asking SIL to take it away from her (which she doesn't). Of course MIL was concerned about the picture...but SIL doesn't like to listen to her mother, which is another issue entirely. (!) I think baby is getting old enough to understand a basic "no," but SIL doesn't tell baby no, nor does she discipline...I mean, you can't reason with a 2-year-old...(can you?)

Anyway, thanks for all the responses. I just know that my husband and I will never trust this woman to watch our future children, that's for sure! I guess I'll just pray to God to make her safe every day and take a Xanax when we go to visit...ha.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2002 at 1:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

sorry Aileen I disagree that the MIL should child-proof her house, its the parents' responsiblity to watch their children when they are visiting others, if they don't then hire a babysitter

my folks never child-proofed their house, it was before "child=proofing" was thought of. We were taught what "no" meant and it was reinforced if we reached for any breakables. Sound like the SIL needs to do that.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2002 at 2:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Confronting the woman will do no good & just cause hard feelings.Just pray that the angels keep protecting this child!

Where is the baby's father when all this is happening? Would your husband have better luck talking to his BIL about things?

    Bookmark   January 6, 2002 at 2:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It is not the grandparents' responsibility to childproof their houses, and parents should watch their babies.

However, it is exhausting to parent an almost 2 year old baby. Many grandparents will often choose to childproof their homes, so the babies will be safer and their daughters (and daughters-in-law)will be more relaxed. My own mother put things up when my babies came and she helped me watch them, and I am so grateful for her attitude.

This is just my opinion, but I wouldn't tell my mother or MIL "you should put things up" like your SIL did, their house, their rules. But I hope I am the kind of grandma who DOES put things up without being asked.

As far as a parent knowing where their baby is every second, yes, it should be that way. But in reality, it's very easy for a baby to get away quickly, or for a mom to leave her two-year-old for a brief period of time to go into another room. It would be hard for a mom of a two-year-old to get her laundry done, go to the bathroom, etc., without ever leaving her baby for a second.

I agree with the poster who said to intervene if the baby is in danger, but not if your MIL's property is being destroyed. That's between your MIL and her daughter, in the long run neither of them will thank you for "interference".

Many friends and family considered me an overprotective mother, but there were times I asked my husband where the baby was. My little fella was pretty mobile and apt to get into things, he could get away in a second.

Again, this is just my opinion, but I remember when my husband and I were a young married couple with no kids. Sometimes it got very boring visiting the in-laws with the little grandbaby there all the time. It's difficult to have an interesting adult conversation with your MIL when she is constantly running around with the baby. When we got tired of it, we just went home. We also invited the MIL and FIL to our house, or invited MIL and FIL to do adult things with us, and that helped.

Last opinion - the world is full of mothers who will shove the responsibility of watching their kids off on you. When you get to be a mother yourself, you will see this theme repeated over and over, not just with babies but even with middleschoolers. The way I handle this is just to limit my time in that situation. If I am at a function and wind up getting stuck babysitting all the kids, when I get tired of it I leave. Maybe someone else will have a better suggestion, but this is something you will see lots more once you have kids of your own. Find a way to deal with it or it will drive you nuts.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2002 at 3:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There is a big difference in child proofing a house and being prudent about what the child has access to while they are in the process of learning. It takes only an instant for a toddler to destroy something of worth. Teaching "NO" doesn't always work in time. The child's reflexes are too slow at that age. Something is dropped, or torn in a blink of an eye.

This is not the home of a friend or neighbor, this is the grandparents house. A grandparent has a responsibilty to the child too. If the parent is not capable or does not choose to exercise the proper control, then the grandparent must take the responsibility for damage. We need to assume that since this is the grandparent's home, we want the child to feel comfortable in the home. You can't do that if you have to constantly watch and say no, no, no.

Which is more important to a TWO year old child, Grandmother's comfortable home, or Grandmother's "things"? We are not talking about a six year old or a teenager. We are talking about a child that needs training. If grandmother doesn't care about her belongings, they will be damaged. If Grandmother doesn't remove the pens and magic markers off the table, there is a good chance that there will be a mark on the wall. And then the child is punished for the fact that the grandmother wasn't alert or cared enough.

I just don't think that it is wise to put the responsibility of taking care of grandmother's things on the 2 year old. If grandmother doesn't care, why should the child be punished if things get broken?

I have two DILs. One of which is useless as a teacher for her children. It is MY responsibilty to take care of MY things, NOT the responsibility of the other DIL, the son or the SIL.

Certainly, without any doubt, a child should be taught that somethings should be left alone. But until that child is trained, damage will happen. It is amazing what children can find to destroy. No parent can avoid all accidents. But it is possible to reduce the risk.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2002 at 4:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't think that it's an issue about MIL not caring about her things. Quite the contrary! I do think, however, that MIL does not quite feel comfortable telling SIL how to "raise her child," or to say no to the baby. If this were my house, and I saw that SIL had no clue what her baby was doing, I would say something.

BIL is a little better with the baby than SIL. He seems to watch her a little more closely and has a better eye on what she's doing, although often not by much. I wonder if even after two years they just aren't used to being parents? Or they honestly think that their child can sit through a half-hour TV program? It seems to me that when she leaves her unattended it is not brief (I should correct myself from before) but for several minutes, like 10, 15, 20. There is a lot a kid can get in to in 20 minutes! I do think she behaves this way in her home, as well, by leaving the baby upstairs in their bedroom on the floor to play while she is downstairs doing something else (they have a split level). I just think that when she comes to grandma's she KNOWS what's already in that house and should probably keep an eye on the baby even better. But I've already said that!

Thanks for the postings!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2002 at 5:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'd leave it up to your brother to address the SIL since she does listen to him anyway. Saying something will doubtfully change her and probably cause ill feelings between the two of you. Personally I don't blame her for asking MIL to put some things away. Like others said, children are quick and when you are visiting friends and family it is nice to be able to relax just a bit. When I visit friends and family with breakables in reach, I do the childproofing myself and move things up. Better to do that then to have something of value whether sentimental or monetary broken. No one has been offended by this..on the contrary they are relieved. It may be hard to understand this until you have a 2 year old of your own. I do think she should have said something tried to intervene when the 2 yo had your pictures. Life with a 2 year old IS one disaster averted after another and a few real disasters in between.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2002 at 6:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have that type of problems with my SIL. She just kind of assumes others will watch her two kids. Then BIL most times kind of assumes she's watching them. We have had to step in and yell at the kids and punish them ourselves just because of the stuff they are doing! The kids aren't expected to listen at home and they sure won't when they are out. (Once when our DS was 6 months old we were at their house and SIL wanted to hold our son. Well she took him and then headed to the kitchen to check on dinner. On the way she dropped DS off in her 3 year old's bedroom and left him sitting there on the floor with all these little toys all around him. I NEVER allowed her to take him anywhere again or to watch him.) Talking to BIL and SIL wont' get us anywhere. So we basically now try to aviod them as much as we can so we don't have to deal with all the problems.

No, it is not up to your MIL to totally child proof her house! Your SIL should teach your niece to leave the things alone. We didn't put everything up at our house and never asked others to do it when we visited them either. We taught our son what not to touch and taught him to only touch gently and have had no problems. I think it's better to do that than to keep everything hidden so they have no clue what to do when they go to others houses.

I always remember my Gram telling me about the time her SIL came over to her house. My Gram had 4 kids running around the house and they were all pretty close together. My great aunt comes over and it moving everything off the stands and things and then she moved the couch over in front of the stairway. She totally rearranged the whole house just so she didn't have to keep her DD our of stuff. It just seemed like she didn't want to do the work to teach her child right and keep her safe.

Good luck! Maybe you need to try and ignore stuff. If niece breaks something, let MIL handle it.


    Bookmark   January 6, 2002 at 6:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I can certainly relate to your feelings!! BUT...since I have 3 kids of my own, please let me offer a piece of advice to you:) careful what you might say about when you have your own kids....I can tell you from true experience that I have EATEN many a words:). GOSH I wish someone would have warned me...LOL:). But in any you should handle things, keep your thoughts to yourself, but for your own piece of mind, watch the little one when your around if it makes you feel better and just know that you're doing a good deed. How refreshing to bolster your karma!

Good luck to you!!


    Bookmark   January 6, 2002 at 8:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I TOTALLY agree with Leslie. I have a sister who is the exact same way in that she expects everyone else to put all their "stuff" away, so she does not have to take charge. I have a very active 13 month old DD who gets into things and we do not childproof our home for the most part, nor do we expect friends and family to do that to their home when we visit. We work with our DD and tell her "no" when she is getting into something she should not be. At 13 months she definitely understands "no"!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2002 at 10:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

hire a babysitter while you go to grandma's? Do you know a grandma who like that idea? All of them I know want their grandkids to come as often as possible. That being the case, I think they have some responsibility to either childproof to some degree or help out with watching the children closely.

My MIL has very little out anyhow. But when the kids come, she does things like lock her bedroom door, lock the treadmill so little ones can't accidentally turn them on. My mother has lots of stuff around. She doesn't put any of it up. But, she knows it's a risk and helps out with watching the kids closely. My DD is 2 and loves Grandma's snowglobes and little dishes of candy. She is learning what not to touch, meanwhile, if I see a danger to DD or mom's things, I move it higher myself and let mom know I did it.

Visiting a rarely seen relative or friend is different. But when visiting grandparents and other frequently seen family I think the host does have responsibility to help protect the child and their own things. Not total responsibility, but lighten the load on mom and dad watching kids in a less childfriendly environment.

You also seem to disapprove of her parenting style. I think you just have to let that go. Unless the child is in physical danger, until you have children of your own, you just have no idea. It is easy to have an idealistic view of how to be a parent before you are one. I have a childless friend who often criticizes her SIL's parenting. I tell her the same thing. Whether or not you are right, cut the woman some slack, it's a hard job.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2002 at 11:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am in no way saying that parenting isn't a hard job. And yes, I disagree with her "parenting" style because for the most part there isn't any! She just doesn't have any common sense, that's the big thing. Wouldn't most parents take coins away from their 2-year-olds, rather than just walk right by? She could at least keep her child confined to a particular area (which is entirely possible in MIL's house, this being the area where most of the "living" is done and people are anyway) but instead lets her wander aimlessly. Oh well, I guess there's no way to win this one! But thanks for all your replies.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2002 at 11:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

People can 'tell' others anything. Doctors for example know a lot about physical and mental health and how to foster it and about things that harm it. They can tell people to get regular exercise, eat sensibly, and quit smoking until they are blue in the face. More information, or being 'told' doesn't seem to have an effect on some people. Some people even take offense, and feel patronized or insulted.

Telling people how to be a good or better parent is not likely to go over well, ever. It implies that you 'know better' and people tend to feel like the teller has taken it upon themselves to be judgemental as well.

Has your SIL 'always' seemed to be like she is? Is it at all possible that she's doing the best she can with her abilities and personal development such as they are? Sometimes, if you can be supportitve, and if you can empathize in such a way that the person feels that you understand they will be more likely to listen and respond well.

In general, any adult who can see a problem like that described, and who can interpret it as a problem then has an obligation to step up and watch the child in question. It's extraneous, the issues of who 'should' or who should be told or made to do what. At the time, if it's known that a SIL has a 2 year old roaming the house _some_ adult has to be supervisory for basic safety reasons. The burden of knowledge, and the capacity to understand perhaps more in this area than the SIL in question creates the obligation to step up. Confronting the SIL is not likely to help. She's probably been 'told' all her life that she's lazy, crazy, stupid, or otherwise simply not measuring up to the expectations of others. She probably knows she's not 'normal.' She probably can't help it, or would need to both want to change and find effective support to help her.

You probably will have to set limits with her. She's 'family' so you don't and didn't really get a chance to choose her presence. Socially though, you can decide whether and how you spend any time with her and her child. If you can learn how to work with her that can help. She might have ADD or ADHD (sometimes that can lead to the kind of behavior described, and from women who are primed to be and who want to be the best mothers they can be). She might have other issues, who knows what but if she seems to not act 'normally' then you're probably not going to be as able to accurately predict how she thinks or feels, or what could possibly influence her behavior.

confronting her is likely to increase your stress (talk to your spouse about how he has coped with her, and try to find out if you could use the same techniques or need to work out something else)

    Bookmark   January 7, 2002 at 12:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree, talking with my husband would help. Although I already know how he feels about it - he gets upset seeing the baby all over the place knowing that usually one or both parents has no idea what's going on. I think we think of the "what ifs" a lot - like what if I hadn't seen her on the rowing machine, she could have busted her head open and God knows what. Somehow I think, that while this child is in my presence, that God has made me somewhat of a guardian angel to her because I watch her so closely. When she's putting something in her mouth that she shouldn't, I can instinctively tell - I know it sounds stupid. But it's happened twice now. it's very weird!

SIL has been, to some degree, like that all her life, and I honestly don't know if she realizes it. I think that's just normal for her. When she was pregnant it was a real challenge (and I'm not saying I know more - I value the experiences she went through and I'm sure she learned about herself and her own child) because she honestly thought that whatever she ate during pregnancy or breastfeeding had NO bearing on her child at ALL. She basically thought she could eat whatever she wanted and it wouldn't affect the baby. My best friend's father is a pediatrician and he couldn't believe it either. So I don't know. (although I do think she's learned from that experience) I know that there are SO many things I don't know yet and that your first pregnancy is a real learning experience, but exercising common sense is a key factor, I think.

The person i would like to talk to is MIL to see how she feels. Although I don't think she's necessarily a chummy kind of person, if you get my drift. She has grumbled a bit about SIL basically getting nasty with her about not moving her stuff, to which I commented on. There is also a rift between them that has been there for years and I think this baby is "mending" it or something, like she doesn't want to step in to cause trouble. I don't know.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2002 at 3:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I know you're really frustrated here, Mrs. H. I go through that feeling every time I see my BIL and SIL or hear from them on the phone. They aren't good parents and frankly I don't think they should have ever been allowed to have kids. They don't think of anyone but themselves. SIL has thought from the time nephew was 2, he could play in the yard by himself and would know enough to stay away from the road! Do you know what the kids do at home? They sit in front of the television and playing video games. They really aren't allowed to play with their toys because they make messes. They're 6 and 4 and have ABSOLUTELY NO imagination what so ever. You can't play with them. They want TV and games and that's it. Eric went off to Kindergarten knowing very little of what kids should know when they start school. MIL worked with him every time he was at her house and I remember that 2 yr old telling me exaclty what breed the monkey was in the picture book or it wasn't a bug, it was a centipede and on and on. He wanted to learnd and loved to. But he would go home and nobody would work with him and he never remembered the stuff. At the age of 5 he only really seemed to know that red was the color or his Grandma's car and green was the color of grass but he couldn't tell you the ball was red and green. Here it is halfway through his Kindergarten year and they were told that he has to attend Kindergarten all day in order to pass this year. His parents don't care! It's free babysitting and he doesn't have to go to the sitter's but a half hour a day. I dislike SIL and BIL for how they treat their kids and it drives MIL mad. She tells them all the time but does it do any good~no it goes in one ear and out the other. Nothing gets done. We all fear the same will happen with your SIL. She doesn't have to listen to you or your DH. She can end up just hating you guys and allowing the little girl to do even more just to get back at you. Be careful. That's why I suggested space. That's the only thing that works for us. Good luck!


    Bookmark   January 7, 2002 at 3:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


it sounds like we're in exactly the same boat! i don't think she could be hurtful, mean or nasty - she's just oblivious. I could tell so many other stories that aren't even related to this issue but then we'd be here all day. I just can't wait until I'm pregnant and she tries to give me advice. That will be the day! Although I know some of it will be valuable, I'm sure...but I will just have to bite my tongue. like the time she insisted that she was going to breastfeed the whole time and wouldn't need ANY baby bottles....I said, "What are you going to do when it's 2 a.m. and you're dead tired and hubby feeds the baby? Or grandma wants to feed the baby? They can't breastfeed!" She would feed this kid every three hours or so regardless of whether she needed it or not until the baby was like huge in infancy. One time we came over for a visit and she was already babysitting another couples' child, and DH and I ended up watching BOTH of them throughout the evening! (although that was admittedly kinda fun) OK, sorry, I'm whining now......! i just pray that my children don't turn out like their aunt.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2002 at 3:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Same things happen here! SIL actually decided to join the Army National Guards when her husband did also~Nicole was 6 months old and she left her for two weeks. They always do things and make plans and then worry about the kids and finding a sitter. It's horrible. I could go on and on, too! :-) SIL just tried to compare finace' and I to her and her husband who fight all the time and we can't even tell if they love each other. She also says she can't wait to have both kids in school so she doesn't have to deal with them anymore and all that crap. They're too much for her and she's not the Mom type. Good luck

    Bookmark   January 7, 2002 at 5:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I cant believe some of you actually believe OTHER people should "child proof" their home so your child can visit, grandma or not. wow thats amazing.

My kids are MINE I dont expect my family or friends to change their house because of my kids.

My inlaws use to own a retail store that sold German Grandfather clocks, some cost 7,000.00. Their house was attached behind the store. I cant imagine expecting them to child proof their home or store. Thats outrageous.

Which ever above poster said they kept their things out and taught their kids no is right on track. When my first dd was born almost all of our end tables, coffee tables and even kitchen table was glass. Kept them for several years. Never had a problem.

Might as well start teaching them at a young age instead of waiting till its even harder.

As for your dilema...I dont really see that either. I mean, ultimately, and Im sorry if this sounds mean, its not your responsibility or business how she raises them, unless they are in your home. Of coarse a dangerous situation should be acted upon, but you cant do anything to make her "see the light".

However, when people bring their kids into MY home, its a different story. I wont attempt to raise someone elses child but I wont hesitate to tell THEM TO DO SO. Meaning if a child is at my house about to do something I dont agree with, I will tell the mom to correct the child and fix it, in a polite way, but firm. No hints. I just say something like "im sorry but could you stop your daughter from touching my grandfather clock, its an expensive and sentimental piece".

good luck but lucky you its not your child so really not your probelm~

    Bookmark   January 7, 2002 at 6:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm really only going to address the first two words of the title of you post: "confrontation time?"

Confrontation is usually a really stupid idea. You're NOT going to change this woman (nor will you change most adults). You certainly won't change anyone through a confrontation. You'll just create an unpleasant scene.

Conversation sometimes works. But only if the person you're talking to has given you any idea that they would give a sh*t what you think--because they love you, because you're their boss, because they've already expressed an openness to change on the issue at hand, because they recognize you as an expert.

None of those things are true in your case. Keep your eyes open when you're around the child, so you can do things like take chokable stuff away from her, keep gates up at your house if you decide to invite them over, and keep your mouth shut.

In fact, if you felt you wanted to do something about the safety factors when the kid is at Grandma's, perhaps you would get somewhere having a conversation w/ MIL in which you offer to help w/ gates and coming over a little early to put the breakables up safely out of the way, and back her up in her insisting on some rules in her own house (not a bad idea for her to do now; get SIL used to it while the baby's young).

    Bookmark   January 8, 2002 at 11:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

DH and I have discussed the issue some more...just as upsetting now as it's always been or ever will be. You're right, confrontation (at least from me) will do no good because she just doesn't take hints, suggestions, or directives very well. Like I said, she's mostly oblivious. I guess when it gets bad I'll just walk away from it, like Daisy in GA said, and keep my mouth shut. I don't want the baby to be in danger, but like you said, she's not my problem!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2002 at 12:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Mrs. H - There are a few things about the breastfeeding aspect that you may want to reconsider.

I bottle-fed my first child, but I breastfed my second child exclusively. She never had a bottle, not even once. The sleepy 2 a.m. feedings are a drawback, but there were many other advantages to breastfeeding that made it worth it to me.

Breastmilk is more easily digested than formula, so breastfed babies may eat more frequently than bottlefed babies. I offered the breast to my own daughter every 2 hours at first, as per my pediatrician's instructions. If your SIL was offering the breast every 3 hours, she may have been right on target.

If the baby was, as you say, huge in infancy - a few years ago I read an article on chubby babies that suggested (and I'm paraphrasing big-time here) that the old thinking that chubby babies would grow up to be fat kids and adults may be incorrect. In fact, the article said that an inadequate amount of baby fat in infancy may correspond to an overweight older child or adult. Your SIL should be taking the baby for regular medical checkups, and if size is a concern a decent pediatrician or nurse practitioner should discuss that with your SIL. My own babies were not chubby, so I have no personal experience here.

Grandmas and daddies do love to feed babies, it is a sweet and special time. However, many mothers feel there are so many benefits to the baby by breastfeeding - the possible protection mother's milk provides from some childhood illnesses and allergies, etc. Also, my children's pediatrician told me the way a child sucks a breast is different than the way a child sucks a bottle. She said the very mechanics of breastfeeding may help protect some children from ear infections. Some mothers prefer to let grandma and daddy bond with baby in other ways rather than bottle-feeding.

I am not a militant breastfeeder, each mother should decide what is best for her baby and her family situation. This post is not meant to convince anyone that they should breastfeed their infant. It's just something for you to think about, as many people are not familiar with breastfeeding. I sure wasn't before I had my own babies!

    Bookmark   January 10, 2002 at 8:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm not knocking breast feeding either but it's a personal choice. Some people just aren't the type who feel comfortable doing that. I never did it and my mother knew I wouldn't and she even said she could not see me doing it. I have other family members who are bottle feeding, too. I recently read that the formula companies are now able to add the extras into formula that come in breast milk and are supposed to be so important for health and other things. The ear infection thing is not always true either. DS never had one until he was 2 and he as bottle fed all the time up until the age of about 13 months. He also has no allergies. I have seen chubby babies that are breastfed, too. The whole problem usually is that the parents got the idea that a baby needs fed every time it makes the slightest noise. Most of those babies are normal sized toddlers and kids today without any weight problems at all. So please allow mothers to make their own choices and decsions with their babies. Don't make a parents feel they are horrible for choosing not to breastfeed. Afterall, that isn't really the issue of this post.


    Bookmark   January 10, 2002 at 11:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I think you are more seeing my point...

Daisy (and potential others),

I'm NOT knocking breastfeeding in ANY way (or those who choose not to do it...) and I certainly plan to do it when I'm a mother...Perhaps I saw this from a standpoint that every mom I knew/know did both, and sometimes I think you may need to give yourself a break and let someone else take over, if only for a few minutes. After like two weeks of breastfeeding (which was very difficult for her) she did do the bottle method as well. Leslie made the point that some parents think every time their baby cries that they need fed, and I think that was the problem...I also think the baby's eating habits were directly reflective of SIL's because SIL gained a lot of weight and has/had in the past an eating disorder. There is direct correlation between the eating habits of parents and the way their children eat when they grow up (probably not very well explained but I think you get the idea)...although this wasn't the original issue of the post I appreciate your viewpoint.

I guess it's just hard to really explain...I think Leslie understands because she's got a person like this in her family too...thanks for listening, everyone!

    Bookmark   January 10, 2002 at 12:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Leslie, I hope that you will reread Mrs. H's original reference to breastfeeding, then reread my post. You and I probably think much alike - that whether or not to breastfeed is a personal choice each mother must make, considering her family situation. There is no need for any mother to feel horrible, or have to defend, her decision to bottle feed. I myself was a bottle fed baby, my son was a bottle fed baby, we both are turning out just fine.

Mrs. H - One beauty of the internet is that there are many things we can ask here that would hurt or offend our families. I am assuming you are bringing your concerns here because you are interested in the opinions, information, and perspectives that other people have. Asking for information and perspectives here could possibly help you keep peace in the family and help your little niece or nephew as well. Also, if you are planning on breastfeeding yourself laster, you may be curious about your SIL's breastfeeding decisions.

First, if you're concerned about breastfeeding exclusively - many moms do it. It is sweet of you to be concerned about how tired your SIL was, and hope that she could be helped by her mother and her husband. There are medical reasons why some women choose to breastfeed exclusively without bottles, I would be happy to elaborate if you like. There are many aspects of the decision. My point about the ear infections is that some people believe that not only are the contents of the breast milk beneficial, but the actual mechanics of sucking the breast.

Second - your concern that she was feeding the baby too frequently, every three hours. Again, that's not uncommon for a breastfed baby. In fact, pediatricians often will advise moms to nurse more frequently.

Third - your concern about the baby's size. Leslie is correct, there are many chubby breastfed babies and chubby bottle fed babies, too.

My post was not meant to start a breastfeeding war. Mrs. H raised some concerns about some choices her SIL made regarding breastfeeding. My intention was to address, explain, and reassure her concerns.

Leslie, your statement "please allow mothers to make their own choices and decisions" is very true. Mothers should be free to make the choices and decisions they feel are best for their families. This is an ironic situation - the original poster is asking questions and expressing concerns about the 'choices and decisions' her SIL made about breastfeeding. When I respond giving reasons why her SIL may have made that choice, I am accused of not allowing mothers to make their own choices. Just as you do not have to feel horrible about or defend your decision to bottle feed, Mrs. H's sister also does not have to defend or feel horrible about her decision to breastfeed every three hours without bottles.

It is natural for the original poster to be curious and concerned, hopefully she will be reassured that some of the choices her SIL made were not bizarre, they are decisions many normal, dedicated mothers make.

My own normal, dedicated mother choose not to breastfeed - not even for a single day. I am not knocking a decision to formula feed - I am explaining why Mrs. H's sister may have made her decision.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2002 at 2:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm not sure how we veered off onto this topic...I think my original idea with the whole breastfeeding issue is that she might want to give herself a break from it occasionally, or have things like bottles around when the baby got older and was no longer being breastfed.. I don't know, I'm afraid I've forgotten what my original point was too. About feeding the baby every three hours..or whatever it was...I think that is something that she learned to figure out over time (just as any new mother would in adjusting to life with baby), to her credit. i do think she was a bit unrealistic about certain things (not just in pregnancy but in general) but that is just her nature...again it is impossible to really explain. I still can't help but feel that she overfed her child, and the baby's eating habits are not spectacular now, either. Do you feed your 2-year-old Vienna sausages? Yuck.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2002 at 3:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You may have wondered off topic, but I find I do that when I'm frustrated, too. You sound like you have your mind on when you do have children and you're thinking about things, which is great. There are a lot of people without kids that never even think about these things and just don't care. But you can't change your SIL's parenting style, just like I can't change my SIL. I would love to because she really is harming her kids in ways but my opinion doesn't matter to her. You'll probably be doing things with your kids that your SIL doens't apporve of too. Just so you can say your child is cared for and watched, you will be the better parent out of the two of you.

A 2 year old can eat Vienna sausages if you choose to give them to them. They're like hot dogs. They're is nothing wrong with giving a kid a hot dog or something like that here and there. Just don't give it to them daily! You'll often find they dont' like all the healthy stuff and sometimes food is better than nothing at all. Kids can eat stuff that really isn't good for them just like adults do. But again, you can't tell SIL what to feed her child and what not to. When you have your child, you can figure that stuff out for yourself. Worry about the stuff that is hurting the child, like not being watched.

Hope you're not feeling as stressed as you were! If you need to talk more, you can e-mail me. I think we have a lot of the same stories and I was really hoping there wasn't another person in the world like SIL! LOL We always say she's an orginal and I guess now we were wrong!


    Bookmark   January 10, 2002 at 4:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for your response, Leslie! :) It made me feel a lot better. I know I get easily upset by these things, I can't help it! The thing with the Vienna sausages...I'm laughing. I know what they are (my dad loves them! :P), MIL and I noticed how high in sodium they were and were surprised the baby was eating them. She always feeds her junk food when we're around for some reason...maybe it's the convenience. Ah, just another nitpicking argument. Oh well. But I still can't understand how when my DH asked her to keep an eye on her child she just shrugged it off..

ANYWAY, I'm sure in a year or so I'll have the insight that all of you have..I'll check back then!! :)

    Bookmark   January 10, 2002 at 7:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"But I still can't understand how when my DH asked her to keep an eye on her child she just shrugged it off.. "

Perhaps because she sense the constant condemnation, and it pisses her off?

    Bookmark   January 10, 2002 at 10:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

LOL Talley, my thoughts exactly! :)

    Bookmark   January 11, 2002 at 8:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree with Peaches and Tally. My guess is that your MIL wishes you would butt out too. Why cause stress in the family?

    Bookmark   January 11, 2002 at 8:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

POssibly it pisses her off...and no, I don't think my MIL wants me to butt out...she talks to me about it only because she can't have a decent conversation with her own daughter. I think SIL is too dumb to realize that her kid might be in danger.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2002 at 9:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I mean it pisses off your SIL--I think Aileen misread my post.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2002 at 10:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Can't you get your MIL to help you with this then? Since she's the child's grandmother and has expressed to you that she wants to change things~she would be the better one to do something. You're the aunt and she may get just mad if you or her brother say something but the grandparents sometimes have better say in things that pertain to the grandchildren. Especially, you would think, since this is her mother. Your SIL may also not listen to you because you and your husband don't have kids. A lot of things that you think when you don't have kids, change when you do. That's when you realize some things aren't so bad. Especially in moderation. But I would be worried if she's not watching the child when you guys are around because odds are she's not watching her when nobody is around, too.

SIL expects everyone to watch her kids when we're around. She lets them do whatever really while she's standing right that. For example, last summer we were at FIL's for a party. My fiance's step mother just got one of those chimenea's for her birthday from her daughter so they had it burning. My niece was over at it trying to throw things into the fire that didn't belong in there and was practically sticking her hand in it. SIL was standing there watching her! I yelled at Nicole to get out of it and so did Jer. SIL didn't flinch. Then one of FIL and MIL's friends said something and SIL thought maybe she better tell her daughter to get away then. The girl is 4 and is allowed to do whatever she pleases. She's very bad and now nobody wants to be around her. Pretty bad when your child is so bad that the grandparents really don't want a thing to do with her.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2002 at 11:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Forgot to finish what I was saying when I started saying about how SIL doesn't watch her kids when others are around. We also know she isn't watching the kids at home because of some stuff that has happened. She'll claim she just left the room for a second and came right back but the kids had enough time to drag the chairs from the dining room to the kitchen, get dishes out of the cupboards, put them in the sink, fill the sink with soap and water and overflow the sink before she caught them! Or they fell asleep one day and the kids walked outside (they were 18 months and 3) and we're outside in the yard long enough for a neighbor to realize something wasn't right. She took the kids to the house and knocked on the door and saw their mother asleep in the chair. They've gotten into cleaners and things that they shouldn't be able to get to. They've colored on their walls numerous times and we're talking big pictures here. Their son went outside and walked to the neighbors and got in his car and turned on the radio while they were standing in the kitchen preparing dinner and they never looked out the window once (he shouldnt' have been outside unsupervised anyway). Those kids are in dagner from their own parents stupidity. I can't say anything to them but believe me, Grandma has had some interesting talks with her son and told her DIL what she thinks of her and her parenting. SIL just thinks they're big enough to know things they don't.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2002 at 11:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh Leslie, now I'm scared!! I hope it doesn't get this bad with my SIL....although I remember a time this past year when niece fell down the steps (thank God they only have a split level house). We were all wondering where SIL was at the time....She used to wipe her poor baby's butt with paper towels (after going #2) instead of baby wipes sometimes to save money...It's when they get quiet that's really scary, like the time I caught her with a lamp plug in her mouth and no one else was watching, even though they were in the same room....I could go on and on and on....

I think you're right; if there's another incident like the one where she was left alone in the basement, I might have DH say something to his mother...we'll see what happens.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2002 at 12:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes, I agree with Talley again, LOL, it pisses the sil off.

Again, not to be mean, but this simply isny ANY of your business unless the child is in YOUR home and only then to the extent that you stop it in your home. You are wedging yourself into a situation that you shouldnt be in. Just wait until you have your OWN kids, LOL

    Bookmark   January 11, 2002 at 5:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi everyone,

I have a 9 years old daughter recently receive a radio as a gift. I would like to ask any of you as parent out there. Should we need to concern about what channel the child listening to, if we should, do you have a effective way to make sure they use the radio in a good way?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2005 at 2:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Kuiporng...Absolutely. I have made comments on your other post.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2005 at 5:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

MY thoughts on several of the subjects mentioned:

Childproofing a home can be defined as a lot of things. To me doing it is mainly a safety and a convenience issue. Tot Loks on the cabinets means that my children couldn't reach chemicals and I didn't have the storage space to move them somewhere else. Chemicals, knives, sharp objects, special plugs in walls. Anything from the waist down was dealt with.

Precious tchatkes were put up merely because they can walk before they can really understand 'no' consistantly. Not precious things can be killed in an instant with you standing right there. Did you know that a portable baby monitor can fit perfectly into a coffee cup? No? My son did that to my husband. My hand was inches away from it. He was mighty durn fast, that kid.Faster than me. Monitors don't like cream and sugar. ;)

You're right about the exercise equipment. No toddler should ever be left alone with it. Kids have ripped off fingers, have fallen from them in a moment. Serious injuries have resulted.

CP for your MIL would be about her saving her personal sanity. If SHE wants to work with her daughter about it, then that is on them to work it out. But if it's happened more than once, and the daughter is unresponsive, it seems silly to me to watch destruction happen and then tsk tsk about it. If you can see the train coming, do you get off of the tracks?

I understand those mothers who don't CP. I understand the idea that some things shouldn't be touched. But I take exception with things that are dangerous, no matter who's home it is. Close that bathroom door, a kid can drown in a moment. Their center of gravity is high and if they fall forward, they cannot pull themselves back out. Chemicals under a sink. A tightly wrapped bungee cord around the handles will do it. Enough that you can hear the kid attempt it and stop them. My own mother used to keep one in an adjacent drawer for when the grandkids came to visit. Simple. On and off in a matter of seconds for an adult.

Purses. Please put them up. Especially older women. Oftentimes people without children are giving prescription drugs that do not have childproof caps. I personally know of a family that lost a toddler one Easter. Grandma came to visit and the two year old found her blood pressure medication. Child died. If a particular room is really dangerous, just shut the door and don't allow the kid in there at all.

As to breastfeeding? I breastfed two children, three years each. My best advice to you is to read up on the subject, take at least one class if there is one in your area (demonstration is very helpful) and learn about the physiology of the process. (Not just you, but any woman interested in actually doing this.)

Breastmilk is digested in approximately one and a half hours. Much faster than formula. That is one of the reasons why you see BF babies being fed much more often. Breastmilk production is a neurological feedback loop. Supply is based upon 'demand'. The more the mother nurses, the more milk is supplied and vice versa. The less that she nurses, the lesser her milk supply.

This is an important point because often a new mother who BFs frequently has a lot of milk, and then the body slows down and basically makes what is demanded. For SOME women, skipping a feeding means a bit less milk later and a baby who is not satisfied. This means that giving a bottle isn't necessarily a simple thing. Breasts are not faucets. Some women don't experience a dip. No way to know what your breasts will do until you literally do it.

Some babies also experience nipple confusion, especially the very young ones. The mechanical action of sucking on a human nipple is different than a synthetic one. Some kids can easily flip back and forth. Some will give up BF entirely and stick with the bottle becuase the milk flows faster. Some will never ever take a bottle, no matter how and when it's offerred. My first child was like that. She would NOT do it.

When babies go through normal growth spurts (which is frequent during the first year), nursing increases. Baby nurses more to stimulate the breast to make more milk. Another reason not to give a bottle during that time. Without the stimulation, milk supply may not keep up with the demand.

So it's really not as simple as "I'm tired, give him the bottle".

I seriously advise new mothers (especially first time nursers) not to give a bottle or anything else like a pacifier AT LEAST until the kid is four weeks old and then occasionally here and there. For most of us, nursing is established by then, so is supply, and the baby is still young that they MIGHT go for the rubber nipple. But never during a growth spurt so as not to mess with supply nor the baby. (You know when that is, you nurse constnatly for three or four days.)

There are many ifs ands buts and ors in this process, specific for different unique situations. In no way does this tiny post address everything that a mom needs to know. I just wanted to add this because there is a lot more going on than just hooking a child up.

Breastfeeding is a particular kind of commitment. It does mean that you are the one that is feeding that child, morning noon and night. It comes iwth the territory.

And yes, sometimes those BF babies can look chubby. My son had three rolls on his thighs and two on his butt at six months. He's now four years old and is in the 50/50 club for height and weight. Right dab smack in the middle. If the baby isn't walking or grotesquely misshapen, I would wait to see what the kid looks like about two or three months after he/she starts walking. They start to shoot up and slim out. And then somewhere in their second year they can really start getting to be a picky eater and it's about trying to get them to EAT at all...and so on and so on...

I would also add that 'fatigue' also comes with the territory of motherhood. Especially sleep deprivation in the early years. It's part of the package. And even if a child is bottlefed and Daddy takes over here and there, I just don't see that making a darn bit of difference in the overall scheme of 'tired'. Being tired is what happens.

But no one ever died of sleep deprivation. There are merely some days that you don't drive or play with sharp objects. ;)

Finally I wanted to comment on the person who mentioned eating their words. That made me smile. I was an aunt to nine before I had my own. I had many opinions and made many statements...

And when someone asked me what I had learned after being a mother for about a month, I said "the first lesson of motherhood is humility. My only regret is that I have so many words to eat". Or as I said to my best friend "How many words did you say or think?" and she moaned and said "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall of them! sob!" (oh hugs to her!)

I told her "well, then break out a spoon, you've got a long road ahead of you". :D

I say this for entertainment purposes, but I do want to kindly say that you will certainly find something in your passel of opinions to 'eat'. We all do it. It's a rite of passage.

Kindness and compassion in your words and thoughts will come back to you.

Btw, I told my own sister while pregnant with my first "I just HAVE to find a way to get EIGHT hours of sleep. I can do anything if I have sleep. Somehow, I'll figure this out!!" (One of those Gone with the Wind, 'as God is my witness' moments...)

I said this to my sister, a mother of three (who also had four stepkids). Years later I said to her "My God, why didn't you say anything?" and she dryly said "I figured that you would figure it out soon enough".

It's GOOD to have answers to theoretical questions. I means that you care about the subject matter. It's good to think about these things, but it's also good to know that you will change something in your thinking. You won't know what that is until it happens. And a lot of mothering is punting. Because there are definitely days when you say "my kid is not in those books and neither am I!"

    Bookmark   November 20, 2005 at 11:47PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Normal Behaviour?
I'll keep this short... is it normal that 10 year olds...
Mothers of estranged children....part II
I thought it might ease the posting if I restarted...
mothers estranged from adult children
Hi Ladies. I'm new here and there was a post at the...
Adult daughter says actions speak louder than words
My Daughter and I have not had the best relationship...
Please Help !
I have 16 yrs old daughter she move out and live with...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™