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@ WWYD, food allergy and MIL issue. Long.

We have had issues in the past with MIL not respecting our parenting decisions/questioning us. For example "well I don't understand why grandson can't watch TV AT ALL?!?!?!? Sesame Street is soooooooo educational!" Um, not so much for a 6 month old. It is like any decision we make, she just has to argue with it.

Anyway, DS is allergic to eggs, this has been discussed with his pedi and we have decided to eliminate most egg containing foods unless it is something he has had a lot and not had a reaction, then do challenging in 6 months and if there is another reaction he will probably have allergy testing at that point and have a more strict elimination diet, etc. . . . For the record I have serious food allergies and carry an epi pen. DS has had 1 hive reaction, no other reaction before or since.

For some reason MIL refuses to follow our food rules and has for some reason attempted on at least 4 occasions to feed him food that is off limits for him from her plate. Because of this, we do not leave him unsupervised with her, ever. We have discussed the serious nature of food allergies with her, and explained that we do not know how bad the next reaction could be, and that we are really trying to minimize risks. Despite this, she has tried over and over again to feed him things without asking us first.

Well, she wanted to babysit him this weekend. We did not ask her to, we have other plans, but she wants to see him and is insisting that we can do what we had planned but DS does not need to come with us, and instead can stay home for her to watch him. DH flat out said no, went over all the food allergy stuff again, even giving her examples of when she tried to give him food against our wishes. (last time was cake about a week ago) She flipped out said we have "too many rules to remember!", said it is too stressful to even visit us because of all of our rules, then hung up on DH and left the phone off the hook. WTF?  Who acts like that? I don't even know how to proceed from here with her. Any advice would be welcome.

m/c 4/4/11 @11w6d Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker

Re: @ WWYD, food allergy and MIL issue. Long.

  • sorry, I dont know what to say. you are right.  I cannot imagine her ignoring such an important thing.  I also cannot imagine her going against any of your parenting wishes even if they were crazy.  It is your child.

    and how hard is it to cut a few things out of meals? It could be much worse.  

    and the fact that it could be lifethreatening - 

    I have no words.  I just think of my own ILs and how they would go on and on about the crazy rules that BIL and SIL had for their kids but they would NEVER go against the wishes. They just complained. (and not to SIL or BIL) 

    image
  • Is it possible she actually cannot remember? Is it a total disregard for your concerns or a possible memory issue? Her recent reaction almost makes me wonder if she's suffering from some memory loss and is really defensive about it.
  • We don't have kids yet, but I do have a MIL like yours.  My MIL is not even allowed to dogsit for us because she refuses to follow our simple no-dogs-on-the-furniture and no-feeding-the-dog-from-the-table rules.  If she wants to have more time with her grandson, she'll just have to learn that she needs to do it your terms.  Maybe she'll figure that out, maybe she won't and will continue to be a PITA about this.  But regardless, he is YOUR son, and allergies are a serious issue.  You are not the one being unreasonable here.

    Do you invite her over often when you and/or DH are home?  If she's feeling like she never gets to see her grandson, this may be a way to compromise.  You'll be there and will be in charge of every food item that is given to him, but she'll still get lots of grandma playtime.  But if you're already doing this, then stand your ground on unsupervised visits until you're positive she will respect your parenting decisions.

  • she is acting like a child, you are setting boundaries as she has shown herself not to be trustworthy with your kid and she is pushing back against them like a spoiled brat.  

    continue to set boundaries and stick to them for the safety and health of your child.   Clearly she doesn't have respect for other people and their choices to live differently than she does.  There are consequences for her lack of respect and she needs to deal with them.   

    image
    Gretchen Evie, born 7/8/2012 at 35w5d
  • Totally agree with iwaly. 

    Parenting means protecting your children where that's needed, and that means from everyone -- grandparents included. I'm sure your MIL is well meaning, but she didn't raise a child with severe food allergies and she's not taking it seriously. Do what you need to do in order to protect your son. Invite her over for a visit while you're there, but until she comes to you and agrees to take this stuff seriously you already have plenty of reason to not trust that she'll abide by your rules, so don't let her babysit without you watching her.

  • She probably thinks what she did for her kids will be just as soon for your kids.  Some parents are like that.  The grandparents think their kids just don't know enough yet.

    If she cannot be trusted, well, there you go.  She just cannot stay with him alone.

    I am sorry that you have to watch grandmother so closely, even when you are there.  It makes grandparent time not so much fun.

  • While I absolutely agree that she shouldn't babysit since she "can't remember" not to feed him eggs, I would urge you to lighten up on the other rules.  Unless someone is a regular caregiver, I don't really bog them down with my newfangled ideas.  If my mom or MIL is watching DS, I just assume that he's going to watch a bunch of TV and eat junk food. 

    I caught my dad putting on a Baby Einstein video for DS when he was 3 months old and started to get upset but then reminded myself that it's 20 minutes of his life.  My grandfather kept a secret bag of fun size Snickers bars for the grandkids.  We were under strict orders not to tell our parents about it.

    This is for non life threatening stuff, of course.

    DS born February 2009 * DD born September 2011
  • We've had similar issues. We recently landed in the ER when we realized my son is allergic to tree nuts. After explanations, epipen demos, giving a list of things he CANNOT have...my FIL tried to feed him chocolate covered almonds. If you don't feel comfortable leaving him with MIL, don't do it. It's not worth the risk.
  • Good god. You are a better woman than I am.

    I would just ignore her. If she wants to be petty and stupid and pull crap like this, then let her. You have more important things in life to tend to. 

    Don't feed into it. 

     

  • I do agree w Willis that letting go of some of the rules can be a good think. I think grandparents should be allowed to spoil their grandkids to some degree. However, at this point, I wouldn't trust your MIL. It could be a memory issue, but that doesn't change the fact that she may feed your child something they can't eat. Memory issues are part of the reason why we don't let my ILs watch DS. They are well meaning, but we just don't feel they can be relied on.
    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • Yes, my grandparents did things my parents may not have 'really' wanted, you know like let me have sweets, cokes, etc, I know grandparents like to spoil the grandkids, but I was not deathly allergic to those things. It's hard to understand how she doesn't get this, but it sounds like you and your H have set good boundaries, just keep it up.

    Sorry she's such a crazy bat. The only other thing I can think is to maybe give her some other ways she can 'spoil' him that don't involve food

     

    image

  • What shocks me is that apparently your H tried to call her back (because you knew the phone was off the hook).  He's a more forgiving person than I am.  If she wants to be able to babysit, she'll follow your rules.
  • Thanks guys, you made me feel better already. She is really manipulative and always makes us feel like we are just so mean to her and she is the victim in every situation, so it is hard not to feel bad sometimes even though I realize what she is doing.

    There is no way I am letting her babysit after this, but we see them about every other weekend (they are 2 hours away) and usually alternate us going there or them coming up here. I think that is plenty of time, but she always complains that she "never" gets to see him.

    In response to everyone that said we could relax other rules, we already have, I just used the TV as an example, it wasn't something we told her not to do, it was something she just always asked us about. She would come over and say "so, has he started watching Sesame Street yet?" and we would just say no he doesn't watch TV yet. I did say she was not allowed to buy him something everytime she visited, and gave that up long ago, so I feel like she does have ample opportunity to spoil him in other ways. She brings him a toy or outfit pretty much every time we see her, that would not be my choice, but if she needs that to show love I decided to go ahead and let it go.

    The only other "rule" we ever really had (besides basic safety stuff like close the safety gate so he can't access the stairs) was to wash your hands before holding him when he was very tiny, the ILs made fun of that all the time too.

    I just feel bad for DH because she always makes him feel so guilty and he is an only child so he feels so much responsibilty to her. It just sucks that she upsets him, but DS has to be safe and I will not compromise on that. I just wish we could have a better relationship  with her without all the stress.

    m/c 4/4/11 @11w6d Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • My DH will be 33 next week, and his mom still thinks he can have "some" of what he is allergic to "because he hasn't had it in so long, surely a little wouldn't hurt."

    Yeah. His last reaction before a diagnosis had me hauling down the highway at an absurd speed while he sat next to me, swelling by the second and turning red and purple. SO not worth a do-over, thanks.

    Stick to your guns, and until she proves she can be reliable and trustworthy, she doesn't watch your DS. That's it. Harsh to her, but harsher on the little guy if she doesn't follow the rules. If it comes down to it, ask why she'd knowingly want to cause her grandchild pain and discomfort.

     

  • That would piss me right off.  She has no right to disrespect your family like that - sounds like one of those people who thinks the world needs to revolve around them.

    I think you and your DH are right to refuse babysitting, the health and safety of your kids have to come first.  I would do the same if it was my parents or DH's parents.

    I don't know how to deal with her, except to tell her "these are the rules, and until you can follow them, there is no babysitting".  She can cry and pout and act like a 2 year old about it all she wants - pretend like she is actually 2 and ignore her tantrums until she begins to sound reasonable.  If that happens, you win.  If not, well, she's a 2 year old in an adult body I guess lol.  

     

  • She's poisoning your child. I know she doesn't see it that way, but you simply can't let her around him if she's going to feed him things he's allergic to.

    I could see giving you a hard time about the TV thing once in awhile, but in the end, it's YOUR kid, not hers. She had a chance to raise her own children the way she wanted, and now it's time for her to step back and respect you as parents.

    In my family, grandparents are always criticizing the parents, but they still respect their wishes, and don't try to sabotage their efforts.

    I can see if she wants to impart some sort of advice from her experience, but this is not the case. She's literally poisoning your kid.

  • I would not leave your son with your MIL.  However, to add another element to the story, it is possible she is not aware there are eggs in the items that she has tried to feed your son (unless it was something like an omellette).  You are familiar with his allergy, so you are more aware of all the places it hides. 

    You could either give her a list of names they mascarade as, or else offer her a list of foods that he can eat for future reference.  Allergies are not easy to understand for someone who does not have them.  

  • I'm going to be hard nosed here for a moment.  So you won't let her babysit.  That's clear, obviously.  But even the every other week visits - I'd say that if she tries to feed your DS something during one of these visits, that you all stop those visits too. 

     She plays games and manipulates because she gets away with it.  She probably knows your DH feels guilty.  So while you won't let her babysit, now she'll cry even MORE about how she "never" sees DS in order to make you all feel you have to do the every other week visits.

    So I'd pull that from her too if she still insists on trying to feed him.

     

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • Yeah, she's a crazy one.  At first I thought maybe you were being too strict with your rules, but then you clarifed that you never told her no tv. 

    I feel extrememly annoyed on your behalf over the handwashing thing because it's something we insist on and I can't imagine someone making fun of us for trying to protect our tiny babies!  It's absolutely ridiculous that she can't manage to wash her hands, close baby gates, & not feed the baby things he is allergic to.  Confused  Do your best to ignore her when she complains.

    jailbirds Lilypie Second Birthday tickers
  • I agree she's awful and manipulative.  I would make sure you or your DH is holding him when there's food around.

    Not that I want your DS to get sick, but I wish she could somehow see what eggs do to him.  How could someone do that to their grandchild?

    DS born February 2009 * DD born September 2011
  • image thedutchgirl:
    Is it possible she actually cannot remember? Is it a total disregard for your concerns or a possible memory issue? Her recent reaction almost makes me wonder if she's suffering from some memory loss and is really defensive about it.

    I'm surprised no one else picked up on this.  I was wondering the same thing, because it seems like an over reaction to a very simple rule.

  • I know it's water under the bridge, but your DH should have just said you guys wanted to take your DS with you, but maybe next time. And just put her off until you get things sorted out. Going into the allergy thing sounds like it made it into more drama than necessary.

    I'm not sure how to proceed. Maybe your DH needs to call her, explain that your son could die from a food allergy, and you really don't want any outside people (so it doesn't sound like you're singling her out) taking care of him until you get this under control.

    A friend of mine had issues with her daughter's allergies and her MIL like this. They just didn't let her babysit or feed the kid.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Our little Irish rose came to us on March 5, 2010
    Don't drink the water.
    Disclaimer: I am not an MD. Please don't PM me with pregnancy-related questions. Ask your doctor.
  • My MIL is the same way. And, she is doing the same thing w/DD, except sub tree nuts in for eggs.

    I do not understand, and her defense is "i gave it to her before and she was fine". Which is absolutely unacceptable. I've given her list upon list of off limit foods, told her to read labels, actually had to physically grab her hand to stop her from giving DD something. Yet she still does it behind my back. Because essentially, she does not believe the allergist and her test results.

    I'm really trying to limit the visits. And I filled her epi pen scrip (which I had not filled before because honestly, I thought that everyone that watched DD read labels as crazy as I did. Clearly not the case.)  I know for a fact that MIL is pissed that I started sending it with her but I dont give a crap.  She watches DD every tuesday (which will stop shortly because of work commitments and DD starting preschool) and after that i'm really hoping to cut down on weekend visits as well.

    DH had a talk with her about it which also pissed her off and she has barely talked to me since. (it's like a vacation!)

    image Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • image Dr.Loretta:

    I know it's water under the bridge, but your DH should have just said you guys wanted to take your DS with you, but maybe next time. And just put her off until you get things sorted out.   This is what DH said, she said that DS didn't "need" to go with us and she should watch him instead. DH said that we were doing something as a family and DS was going with us. She responded "your father told me not to even try,you probably think I will feed him a chicken bone."  That is how they got to talking about her actually feeding him things he is not supposed to have.  This was all by email so I actually saw some of them and them and she went on and on about how we should leave him with her even though we already have other plans.  Going into the allergy thing sounds like it made it into more drama than necessary.

    I'm not sure how to proceed. Maybe your DH needs to call her, explain that your son could die from a food allergy, and you really don't want any outside people (so it doesn't sound like you're singling her out) taking care of him until you get this under control.

    A friend of mine had issues with her daughter's allergies and her MIL like this. They just didn't let her babysit or feed the kid.

    The problem is she kind of "sneaks" the food to him. She just takes things off of her plate and puts them in front of him, quickly and usually while we are not looking. DH has always caught it before DS ate the food (except one time with a french fry at 8 months old, and that is a whole other story), she will not be allowed to sit next to him at meals from now on. Even though that seems so crazy to even have to do.

    For those who have suggested she can't remember, she remembers. She even said "well he had cake on his birthday", when we took away the piece of cake she put in front of him. It was an egg free cake that I made him on his birthday, which I even mentioned multiple times because friends asked about it at the party. She then said multiple times "but it was just a crumb!" and complained that I feed him mac and cheese (which I make, egg free) and noodles can contain eggs. She is just fighting us on everything. I even tried to give her our pediatricians number, because he said he was willing to talk to her. But of course she won't call.

    Again, thanks everyone, I just feel like a jerk, even though I know I am not in the wrong here.

    m/c 4/4/11 @11w6d Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • Wow, I would be LIVID. My kiddo has a milk allergy, so I understand where you're coming from. Have you explained to MIL that your DS can't even eat foods that have eggs as an ingredient, like baked goods? If she knows that information and is ignoring it, I would be extremely blunt and say, "Why are you intentionally trying to harm your grandchild? You know kids with egg allergies can die if they eat them, right? Do you want to be responsible for sending him to the hospital and possibly even killing him because you didn't take this seriously?" Maybe being that blunt will get the message through.


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