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Can someone please explain to me why my MIL does this?

(27 Posts)
BauerTime Tue 19-Aug-14 20:45:53

Id just like to start by saying i am categorically not complaining about the standard of free childcare I am receiving and I am very grateful for MIL for saving us £200 a month so you don't need to point out to me that she is doing us a huge favour grin.

But anyway, MIL has DS once a week while we are at work. Relatively new arrangement as im only just back from mat leave, however ive come to notice that, similar to other times she had minded him, she always goes on when i get home about how poorly DS has been that day when there appears to be absolutely nothing wrong with him. Apparently today he needed his inhaler as he was wheezy, had terrible teething pain and needed bonjella, and had an upset stomach and was really moaning as he was in pain.
Now, while he is suspected as being asthmatic (why he has an inhaler), and is teething, he seems fine this evening and was yesterday/last night/this morning. We have not yet had to give DS his ventolin pump ever, i only even have bonjella as she went on about it so much one day that i went out and bought some to placate her, DS has never suffered with his teeth, only a bit of dribble. I cant work out if she is making it all up, or over worrying (which i doubt), or trying to make it look like she knows better than us/me or what? Its so strange!

She does also reckon that she taught him to say dad, to walk, to wave etc etc, basically everything he does she taught him apparently. That annoys me but it does no harm so i wouldn't ever mention it but saying he is under the weather all of the time concerns me a bit. Its always minor stuff but there is always at least 2 things wrong.

Any ideas???

justmuddlingalong Tue 19-Aug-14 20:48:31

Ask Dh if she was like this when he was younger?

ThirdPoliceman Tue 19-Aug-14 21:46:24

Ooh I would keep an eye on this. It may(may!!) be an indicator of an unhealthy relationship with your child..... or, possibly she is feeling overwhelmed by the responsibility?
Could you ask her if she feels ok with continuing the child care?

coppertop Tue 19-Aug-14 21:57:08

It sounds as though she's trying to make herself sound as useful and important as possible.

She's possibly hoping that you'll be thinking, "Thank goodness for MIL. She was there to give ds bonjela/his inhaler. And he learns so much when he's with her."

MisForMumNotMaid Tue 19-Aug-14 22:05:55

I think she's just being over attentive and taking her role very seriously. Give it time. My mum is like this. I'll sing a new nursery rhyme with DD for weeks, my mum has her for an hour and insists that she's taught it to her, videos her doing it at her house as evidence etc.

All three of my DC are hot/ cold/ loud so overtired/ pale/ flushed/ dehydrated/ drinking too much(i'm not talking alcohol). At every visit. I have a standard oh yes I'll keep an eye on that, with a smile, response.

A little bonjella once a week wont harm. You know the truth. Hopefully your DS will grow up to have a very loving granny who he has a strong bond with through this special time they've had together.

Let her have her moments, don't let them eat away at you, you'll always know the truth and you'll all be winners from the situation.

BauerTime Tue 19-Aug-14 22:09:25

I think it could be a mixture of those two things third and copper.

I do think that she is often trying to convince us that she knows our child better than or as well as we do which is highly unlikely and have thought that this could be a bit unhealthy.

But then it could equally be that she just wants to be a big part of his life and as useful as possible as she has another grandchild that due to living overseas she doesn't really know other than a skype relationship and maybe she is trying to compensate for this with DS.

I dont get the always saying he is poorly though.

Perhaps DS misses you and is unsettled or doesn't nap well there and she thinks it's caused by feeling poorly?

BauerTime Tue 19-Aug-14 22:11:09

Thanks Misfor that sounds about right!

HallowedVera Tue 19-Aug-14 22:15:31

Does sound a bit Munchausen_y.

What you don't want to happen is for your DS to pick up on this and start becoming psychosomatically ill.

My mum and gran were/are real ones for this. I remember as a child I was always being told I looked 'pale and wan', and they'd always be rubbing Vic on me for my perceived ailments.

It made me a very panicky and anxious child and got to be that I felt like the most attention I ever received was when I was 'ill'. So all the way into my teens I used to be 'ill' a lot. Spent a lot of time off school, etc.

Anyway, you don't need my life story but it definitely was all a little bit fucked up.

Just keep an eye on it. If your DS can shrug it off as he gets older, then it's probably never going to be anything more than annoying and weird.

treaclesoda Tue 19-Aug-14 22:15:53

My MIL used to do this too. I think it's a territorial thing, and perhaps a self esteem thing? She wanted to remind us that (in her opinion) she knew more about childcare than we did, and more about parenthood than we did. It's very wearing.

She no longer does any childcare for us, but when we visit its the same. It's always 'do you not think he looks pale?' and 'is he warm enough? Should you not have long sleeves on him?' etc

HallowedVera Tue 19-Aug-14 22:16:48

I was being really facetious with the Munchausen-y comment btw. Apologies. I'm a dick.

kinkymouse Tue 19-Aug-14 22:19:38

My DM was like this but with all her grandchildren. My db and SIL have since become the same with their DCs and are forever at the doctors as they took her word as gospel. I on the other hand have the three day rule before I will ring the doctor hence lots if hand wringing from DM.

I sometimes thought it was just something to say on hand over if their day had been uneventful.

Petallic Tue 19-Aug-14 22:27:29

My mil is the opposite and will stick her head in the sand when it comes to minor illness/being unwell. However my mum and grandparents (my grandparents esp) are also on the over attentive side and were always telling me DC was upset because he was teething again etc when I didn't think he seemed out of sorts. I would rather that though then my MIL approach which is she never gave her kids calpol so she never thinks my kids are ill enough to warrant it.

BauerTime Wed 20-Aug-14 14:04:45

Dont worry hallowed i know!

Id never thought of the fact that ds might pick up on it tbh, he is a bit young for that atm but ill definitely keep an eye on that if she still does it when he is a bit older.

Yes treacle territorial could be exactly it actually, that makes alot of sense. I think that's what i mean by the thinking she knows him better than we do and she does get a bit jealous of my mum when she sees him (even though its about the same as he sees her).

She is also a bit dramatic about her own health now i think of it. If she has a cold she ALWAYS pretends she has lost her voice even though we can tell she is putting it on. Plus she was recently diagnosed with mild arthritis in her arms but it only ever plays her up when someone else is having a bad time of it, otherwise she is absolutely fine.

I hope she will just eventually stop doing it as it does annoy me and although a squirt of his inhaler once a week when he doesn't need it and the odd drop of Calpol is unlikely to hurt him, i dont like to medicate at the slightest whine from him as id rather not mask an actual problem if there is one.

Fairywhitebear Wed 20-Aug-14 14:09:27

Oh god, I'd be finding paid childcare and pronto! Definitely trying to assert herself as 'knowing better'. As your son gets older, this will only get worse.

This type of thing would drive me nuts!!

Find a professional, trained, setting for him. I never think this type of set up is healthy.

BrucieTheShark Wed 20-Aug-14 14:14:53

I think there are huge differences in families about the correct way to react to minor illnesses.

Some whip out the calpol, cough medicine, bonjella, weird ointments I have never heard of on a daily basis. Not mentioning any names in particular -inlaws-.

Some take to their beds or give a detailed commentary on how they are feeling through the day at the slightest sniffle. Got nobody in mind here at all, honest -inlaws-.

Also the parcelling children and babies up in about 20 layers of clothing at all times, but I think that might be a generational thing.

I don't get it as am very laid back, but am aware that we've been lucky so far, as were my parents, and kids don't get ill much <touches wood>

I try to be conscious that some kids are a lot more sickly and just catch everything going for years. However I've realised that doesn't have a bearing on their health as adults. I know a lot of those kids who are now the healthiest adults.

What would bother me here is the child picking up on it as they got older. Being ill = lots of fuss, attention, tasty medicine, staying off school, treats etc. Not a great association to build up tbh.

BrucieTheShark Wed 20-Aug-14 14:15:38

Oh god did the strikethroughs wrong and now they will know wink

Idontseeanyicegiants Wed 20-Aug-14 14:16:16

My MIL says the same about all of her grandchildren - they look pale, cold, hot or whatever whenever she sees them but she's very 'into' other peoples illnesses in general tbh.
The vest issue has been ongoing for 16 years...
The problem is that 2 of the GC's really do pretty much take to their beds now whenever Grandma says they look poorly, even if they've been fine before. It's one reason why we distanced ours from her a little and basically taught them that Grandma worries and if they feel fine then they are actually fine no matter what she says.
I would look to paid childcare in all honesty and take the financial hit if you can.

BrucieTheShark Wed 20-Aug-14 14:17:33

Oh and LOL at pretending to lose her voice. That is a bit nuts. Some people DH need lots of acknowledgement that they are ill or their symptoms become louder and more dramatic until someone gives them sufficient and appropriate sympathy.

Thistledew Wed 20-Aug-14 14:32:51

Where does MIL look after him - your place or hers?

Could you have a very earnest conversation with her about how worried you are getting about him constantly being ill when he is with her- maybe he is reacting to something in her house? And that you are planing to keep a close eye on things but of he doesn't stop getting ill, then you will have to find alternative child care as it only happens when he is with her.

The threat of losing contact might stop any tendency to exaggerate.

ToriaPumpkin Wed 20-Aug-14 14:50:43

Sounds just like my MIL. Drives me bananas. In her case it's definitely to exert her authority over me. Fortunately DH and I see things the same way and ignore her when she's telling us how to look after our son. Did you know she potty trained him yesterday? The last four weeks of effort on our part are apparently not relevant. She did the hard work...

HolyQuadrityDrinkFeckArseGirls Wed 20-Aug-14 14:51:38

I love thistle's idea. Perfect.

BauerTime Wed 20-Aug-14 15:22:28

He does go to nursery for 2 days a week too. She offered to have him 1 day per week and we asked many times whether she was sure she wanted to do it and if at any time it becomes a problem to let us know as we will put him in nursery for the extra day. Basically she wants to have him 1 day a week rather than she is doing us a favour, although she is doing us a massive favour IYSWIM. She has him at ours and takes him round to see her mother on her day and they both love it. I wouldn't take that away from them over this but if it carries on ill have to think of a way of diplomatically nipping it in the bud.

The cold thing is hilarious, i think that's generational. When DS was tiny and we went everywhere in the car, MIL couldn't understand why i refused to let her buy him a snow suit and didn't ever put a coat on him. I did try to explain that he didn't need one and coats were rigid and a pain to get on him so a thick stretchy jumper plus blankets were all he needed but anyone would have thought i wanted him to get hypothermia the way she carried on.

treaclesoda Wed 20-Aug-14 16:29:16

Bauer you are describing my MIL so accurately there, she too is dramatic about her own health, right down to the fake losing her voice thing. It's exhausting to have to listen to.

She is also really overbearing about the most trivial of things eg constant reminders to lock our doors before we go to bed as if somehow we are so totally idiotic that it would never occur to us to do it unless she told us to confused

Lovelydiscusfish Wed 20-Aug-14 16:40:20

Not quite the same thing, but both my dm and my dmil are obsessed with dd being cold all the time, and are actually quite savage with dh and myself when alleging that we under-dress her, don't have the heating on etc etc. Dmil will even lie and pretend dd has asked for a coat, when I know damn well she hasn't - that girl would go out in short sleeves in a blizzard if we let her (which, apparently, we would). It has got to the point that, on the (obviously rare!) occasions when I do offer dd a coat, she complains that I am being "like granny".
Apart from this and a few other little foibles they are loving grandparents, though. Dmil does tend to baby dd and not want her to grow up, I sometimes feel - on the other hand dm sometimes expects more maturity from dd than I think she is capable of (with regards to potty training, eating all her dinner etc). Nonetheless, on the fact that we freeze her they are agreed. But we put up with it because on the whole they are very helpful, and they really love her!

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