The In-Law Stories

They left this morning, so I feel free to gripe about them now. On the bright side, the last two days or so weren’t nearly as bad as I was expecting. They were both good about doing things our way while they were here. I think they realized quickly that we weren’t doing anything stupid, just maybe different from the way they did things with their boys. Frankly, that sounds like a good thing to me.

Let’s start with the worst story from their visit. More than once I heard MIL make a Freudian slip. When talking to PJ, she would slip and call herself Mommy and have to catch herself and change it to Grandma. I don’t think she knows I heard, and I’m not about to tell her. I’m also not about to tell her it bothers me. M’s dad made the same sort of slip on the phone with him a week or so ago. Clearly, my in-laws at least on some level consider themselves PJ’s real parents, and we’re just substitutes in the meantime. I’d suspected this was the case already, but the repeated Freudian slips have convinced me I was right.

I also noticed what it is about my MIL’s regular behavior when she’s around us that annoys me so much. It’s not as much that she’s obsessive about PJ; I’ve learned to cope with that. She’s just so immature. She insists on being the center of attention, and she will go to extremes to make sure she is. The other day she hit M, and not a play hit, to make a point. She tried to get PJ’s attention before she did so too. It was entirely inappropriate, and I was glad that M called her on it. She also feels the need to chastise M if he doesn’t obey her immediately. I really wanted to remind her that he is now almost 26 years old with a kid (and a half) of his own. Even as his mom, the time for being able to tell him what to do has long passed.

Another great story from ages ago hits me on this topic. The second night I was in the hospital after PJ was born, M called me to let me know he was in the ER downstairs with his parents. His mom was having stroke-like symptoms. Eventually, the doctors decided it was an accidental bad reaction to some medications she had taken earlier. M suspects it was more of a not-so-accidental overdose. We both recognize her need for attention, and she clearly hadn’t gotten enough in the last few days. PJ and I had been the center of attention, and for good reason. She had to go to extremes to make sure everything was about her again. Seriously, it’s like dealing with a selfish child sometimes.

While I’m ranting, here’s one more story only kind of related to my in-laws. Yesterday when they stopped for lunch with PJ, a lady in line with them was raving about PJ. “How old is he? About nine months?”

“Um, no. He’ll be eighteen months in a few weeks,” my MIL answered.

“Oh. I’m usually pretty good at guessing. Does he have any disabilities?”

For once, I completely agree with my MIL’s reaction. I don’t know that I could have answered her as gracefully as my MIL did. How in any sense is that question considered appropriate? For the record, other than his prematurity, he has absolutely no problems. He’s tiny, partly as a result of his prematurity, partly because both M and I are tiny, and partly because he’s inherited my insane metabolism. (Seriously, the kid ate a whole BK kid’s meal yesterday for lunch. The whole thing. And he still doesn’t quite weigh twenty pounds.) He’s a little behind developmentally, but not because of any real issues. He just doesn’t care to try new things like walking. I’m sure if we were able to have him around more other little kids more of the time, he’d be more motivated, but his slow development is a result of motivation, not disabilities. Why should some anonymous person in Burger King need to know all of this? Is natural human curiosity severe enough that she should care?

I’m glad my MIL simply answered, “No, he’s perfect,” and moved on.

8 Responses to The In-Law Stories

  1. Hoping says:

    what a great response by her!

    your MIL is one unique lady that is for sure.

  2. Emily says:

    HOLY CRAP! I seriously would have ripped that lady in BK a new one.

  3. Kristin says:

    OMG, the “accidental pill” story is just…insane. Wow.

    But, I do have to give her credit for her answer at BK.

    And who the hell asks that kind of question??? This person obviously never learned that just because something pops into your mind, it doesn’t mean it has to come out of your mouth.

  4. Heather Noel says:

    Your MIL is a very interesting lady. And how you put up with her is beyond me. I admire you for that. Kudos to her for the quick comeback.

  5. Amy says:

    Unbelievable that someone would ask that. I agree that her response was perfect

  6. Lizzy says:

    okay, i just tried to post a comment…but i got some kooky script error. so if this posts like 5 times, sorry.

    and it’s not even a good comment…

    “perfect, indeed. take that BEEYOTCH!”

    *whip sound!*

  7. Emma in Canada says:

    Just to play devil’s advocate for a moment…when Taylor and Liam where very little my mother often slipped up and said mummy instead of nanny. It was an honest mistake, just like me calling Sophie Saoirse and vice versa. I’ve heard a lot of other grandmothers do it too.

    But then she is your mother in law and past stories probably prove that it may very well be on purpose!

    However, kudos to her on the comment. I probably would have been speechless.

  8. Erin says:

    Wow our inlaws really do sound alike. My MIL is the exact same way…she’s in her 50’s but she’s SO immature and it’s really quite annoying. The 2nd day I was in the hospital after having Hailey the inlaws came by to visit and a couple of my friends were there–very shy friends–and she announced her presence to the whole room “I’m the GRANDMA!!” and of course nobody said anything. When it came time for me to try and breastfeed Hailey my inlaws left the room–something I’d told them before I had her that I wanted them to do, as I’m not comfortable enough around them to flash my boobs to them and my MIL did not breastfeed her kids–and my 2 friends who had breastfed their kids stayed. Well my FIL stormed back in the room, grabbed their camera and left. Later, while I was trying to do the sitz bath and take care of my aching crotch I heard D on the phone w/ his mom yelling, WHILE HE WAS HOLDING HAILEY. His mom was yelling and cussing at him, and this woman does not cuss. She was saying “well if she doesn’t want us to be there we just won’t f*ing come!” Which I had never said I didn’t want them there, they left on their own accord. I was FURIOUS. She turned what was supposed to be a happy joyful time in our lives into a drama-ridden crying mess. I will never forgive her for that. And this mess lasted weeks after we came home from the hospital! Ok this comment has turned into a trading of stories, so while I’m on the subject…when my SIL was going into the hospital to give birth–a planned c-section–my MIL was talking about how she had to get her bag packed. Her OWN bag packed. As if she was going into the hospital to have a baby herself. Can we say NUTS??? Then after my SIL had the baby my inlaws camped out in her room from dawn til dusk, every single day she was there!

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