AIBU about visiting DC and food?

(131 Posts)
SnailsInMyPaddlingPool Sat 20-Jul-13 14:49:30

I look after DNephew (3) unofficially, usually 1-2 days a week, though it varies. As a result of SIL and BIL's working hours, DNephew is usually left with PIL for most of the weekend (11am-11pm). Poor PIL are going through a really hard time at the minute, and to give them a break and for the benefit of my own DC, I often bring DN to our house to play. Sometimes I am asked and sometimes I offer, it's nice for the cousins to see each other, etc,etc. This has been going on about 6 months plus.

The only issue is that DN will eat nothing but chicken nuggets,potato waffles, and bananas, and will only drink fruit shoots. This means that I have to buy all of the above specifically for DN's visits, as we do not eat them (except for bananas). We are on a very tight budget and cook from scratch. Living in an area with limited shops means we often spend a fiver or more on foods which are only for DN, while my DC eat the food which I have budgeted and planned for. I know it doesn't sound a lot, but it is to us. The chicken nuggets have to be a certain type- made and sold by the local butcher, so 3.50 for a box of about 10- the issue is DN will easily eat the lot in one day, as he has them for both lunch and dinner and they are quite small. The potato waffles and fruit shoots are less of a problem, because they will keep until the next time, but even so I still end up having to buy them every other week at least.

I don't often get to supermarkets, but I have tried to buy cheaper substitutes to keep for DN, but SIL found out and I got the impression she was not happy as it was poorer quality and apparently DN can tell the difference. Also tried saving the fruit shoot bottles and filling with dilutable squash, but DN refused to drink it.

For a few weeks I tried giving DN no chicken nuggets and offering him what my DC were having. He refused to eat it and was apparently up most of the evening "sobbing with hunger"- SIL kicked up a bit of a fuss and was derogatory about my own family's diet.

Basically...AIBU to expect SIL to therefore send round food for her son or accept that he will have to eat as we do? I feel as though I am being horribly petty and tight, but we really are poor at the minute and have to be so careful with our own food budget.

fuzzpig Sat 20-Jul-13 15:40:23

From your updates, SIL sounds scarily and unhealthily controlling. How is it normal to control what other homes have on their telly confused (and what would she do if she visited us without the Disney channel?!)

fuzzpig Sat 20-Jul-13 15:44:14

It is ridiculously hypocritical that SIL is slating your lower quality nuggets when her DS eats such an appalling diet.

Inertia Sat 20-Jul-13 15:52:01

SIL is taking the piss. I would tell her that you can't afford these specific items so DN can either share family food or SIL needs to provide the food she wants .

usualsuspect Sat 20-Jul-13 15:57:47

Tell her to provide his food.

Ignore the rest of the smug bollocks about his diet on here.

Tanith Sat 20-Jul-13 16:02:12

I can tell you that I don't know any childminder who would allow a restricted diet like that once past the settling in period.

I have weaned kids off Pesto pasta (and only pesto pasta!), Waitrose fish fingers (chilled section), and Ella's Kitchen purees (for a 2 year old).

Definitely she should provide food if she doesn't like what's on offer.

Unless she pays you, she should complain about the food you feed her dd. infact i would expect her to be a bit more greatful and maybe drop by some food now and then!
Fgs there is no real difference between brands and shop brands, most of it is the same stuff, made in the same factory but packaged differently!

*shouldn't complain

exoticfruits Sat 20-Jul-13 16:13:07

Even if I was paid as a childminder it would be on the understanding I did it my way- otherwise they could go elsewhere!

ouryve Sat 20-Jul-13 16:14:08

Extremely limited diets in small children aren't entirely unusual, particularly if they have obsessive or sensory issues for any reason.

What is unusual is your SIL's reaction to it. Tell her that if she finds your normal diet so shocking, then she either needs to provide the very specific and expensive foods he needs or find someone else to provide her childcare.

I have 2 kids with ASD, one of whom does have a limited palate, the other having a tendency to go off foods in phases until he's bored by his own diet. We constantly and gently push their boundaries. At 3, we found it very difficult to get anything but brown carbs into DS2. At 7, we have to eat our meat first, or else he finishes his and begs for (or helps himself to, if we're too slow!) ours! At 3, he'd reject a whole plate of food if there was any trace of veg on it. At 7, he'll just move the offending piece of food out of the way (or onto my plate where he considers it belongs!)

SnailsInMyPaddlingPool Sat 20-Jul-13 16:51:20

PIL are both in poor health but will not do anything to upset SIL. I can understand why- SIL had two m/c before DN and was of course devastated. I get the impression that the whole family have always been in the habit of treading carefully round her even before that, though. DH says that if PIL are adults and can stand up to her if they like. I think it's not as easy as that and meanwhile, hate to see them exhausted with looking after DN so much.

DN is here at the moment- I made pasta with a really plain tomato sauce, sweetcorn and chicken, which is something my DC will always eat. DN hasn't touched it and is currently on the sofa howling because I did not give him nuggets. Has also cried for an ice lolly because he always has one after his dinner.

I am going to politely ask SIL to send the food with him in future. He was at the dentist last week and his teeth are too soft and he needs fillings, so I can't imagine she doesn't know his diet is a problem.

SIL will be here in about an hour, so am busy preparing polite request for chicken nuggets....she may take it badly or she may not, it's hard to know with her

MortifiedAdams Sat 20-Jul-13 16:54:35

Sorry but the options for dinner should be the meal.you cook or hungry. He will soon come around. Kids know where and with whom they can be demanding and eventually he will adjust.

MrsHoarder Sat 20-Jul-13 17:03:37

Well presumably you have only just eaten dinner and your SiL will be there in an hour, she can get him some food if he really hasn't eaten anything. And make it clear that either she provides the food, he eats your food or she feeds him when they get home (presumably she's going to eat anyway).

Just tell her straight that you can't afford the "good" chicken nuggets etc that her ds needs, but you are happy to have a box of his food that she has supplied to feed him with.

And give her a decent children's recipe book for christmas

JohnnyUtah Sat 20-Jul-13 17:09:51

My younger boy is really fussy, but the rule always was - if you don't like what there is, you can fill up on bread and fruit. But you sit at the table while everyone else eats. (Plus, when he was older, you have to try a bit.)

What does this lad have for breakfast - is there no bread he will eat?

hermioneweasley Sat 20-Jul-13 17:10:04

BTW, OP, I think you're lovely to care about your PIL's health and well being.

I don't suppose there's any chance of your DH speaking to his sister and saying that caring for DN is too much and she needs to find an alternative?

pigletmania Sat 20-Jul-13 17:25:55

Your SIL is taking the piss and being totally ungrateful. Imwould buy the cheaper ones tough shit. Mabey serve him what your having, I he does not eat it, than cereal toast

pigletmania Sat 20-Jul-13 17:27:56

Tough your SIL should be bloody grateful, you tell her to provide the chicken nuggets, tats the least she could do

fuzzpig Sat 20-Jul-13 17:29:00

I think she may see providing the nuggets as preferable to 'forcing' her DS to eat different food. It's a shame in a way as of course it would be much better for him to eat a more varied diet. But even so, it's better than you having to spend money you really can't afford.

Ifcatshadthumbs Sat 20-Jul-13 17:30:11

My DS is a fussy eater, also has a gluten intolerance I always send him with meals where ever he goes. Would never expect anyone else to be out of pocket because of his food issues.

atrcts Sat 20-Jul-13 17:31:19

When in Rome do as the Romans. That applies to visitors like young nephews!

There is no way you should be expected to pander to someone else's good preferences. You're already giving enough by having him!

It would be a different matter if it was a food allergy but it's not, it's food snobbery/fussiness and should not be adhered to, especially if it's at your own cost. But even if they were prepared to being their own food for you to cook separately, that's unreasonable of them too, so either way they have no leg to stand on I'm afraid.

Good for you for not falling for such a mugs game!

IvanaCake Sat 20-Jul-13 17:33:48

You are absolutely not being unreasonable. Your sister either needs to provide his food or accept that he will have to eat the same as your dc. Only drinking fruit shoots is bloody ridiculous...its squash ffs!!

Is your sister doing anything to try and widen his range if accepted foods?

WilsonFrickett Sat 20-Jul-13 17:34:58

Well you could look at this two ways. Should she provide the food? Of course she should. But you do actually have the opportunity to improve his diet if she doesn't send in food with him, iyswim.

I would can the nuggets and get some waffles, then for every meal I would serve a small portion of the waffles and a small portion of what you are serving your other DCs. Make no fuss and don't get drawn in to a drama. But put the food down, tell him that's what's for lunch, and crack on with normal table conversation.

When everyone else is finished, lift the plates. Repeat as necessary.

This means a) you are not beggaring yourself on expensive nuggets b) he is getting something he likes at every meal (waffles are cheap and freeze) c) you are exposing him to new foods. If as you say he is hungry, he'll try them. If he doesn't, it's fine, no harm done. Maybe he will tomorrow.

And can the fruit shoots. Just don't even be drawn on them, he can drink water or milk or nothing.

I think if there's a drama with SIL that will lead to more conflict and controlling behaviour round his food.

I have a food refuser/restricted eater and it's really hard. But you could potentially be the person that makes a difference to him.

Nanny0gg Sat 20-Jul-13 17:38:26

I love the statements people make about 'pandering to someone's food preferences' and how you must make them eat what is offered or go hungry.

Some children would go hungry. They wouldn't eat food they disliked for any reason. People who make those statements do not differentiate between 'fussy' and food avoidance. It is in no way snobbery!

However, I think it would be more than reasonable for the OP to ask her SiL to provide his food.
Otherwise SiL can cook his tea when she takes him home.

Theas18 Sat 20-Jul-13 17:45:43

He's 3. You are providing free child care ( and dare I say it a normal loving, none pfb environment for your nephew, which can only be good).

he needed his diet improving, but till sil can see that she provides his food and drink. don't take the money for it-that could be seen as payment for childcare if someone wants to get arsey about it, and you wool have to faff around getting it!

it's be tempted to keep offering a bit of everyone else's meal too though

thefuturesnotourstosee Sat 20-Jul-13 17:59:11

Well either SIL backs you up and tells her DS to at least TRY the food that's put in front of him OR she provides all the food he'll need when he's visiting. She can't have it both ways. It sounds to me as if his problem stems from his parents giving in to him and possibly only eating a restricted diet themselves (no idea if this is hte case)

If they're hungry enough they'll eat and if they won't you have to assume they're probably not really hungry

MinimalistMommi Sat 20-Jul-13 18:17:04

SIL should provide food ? YANBU

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