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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.

NapaCab Sat 20-Jul-13 20:25:56

Some people are just so ungrateful. I live abroad away from any family support and I would nearly die on the spot of gratitude if someone took care of my DS for me a day or two per week. In fact I'd almost be embarrassed to get that kind of help and wouldn't know how to thank them enough!

She should be paying for you and your DH to have a meal out once a week to thank you for the free childcare, never mind her son's food. Heck, she should pay for your DD bouncy castle while she's at it!

Sounds like she has had too much of her own way up to now and needs to grow up a little. I feel sorry for her poor child though, god help him.

Iaintdunnuffink Sat 20-Jul-13 20:39:59

What should you do? Send one of yours over to her once a week, during meal times. Because she would be so pleased to spend that much time with one of her nephews, or nieces. Then leave an odd list of only things to eat. Ok that would be unfeasible but she does need to grow up.

I would start to request baby sitting duties back and not be available all the time. She has no idea how lucky she is.

thefuturesnotourstosee Sat 20-Jul-13 20:44:09

Blimey. Well its obvious where the poor child is getting is attitude from.

Stick to it OP. NO MORE NUGGETS. Serve him exactly what the others are having and if he won't eat it then tough. He's not likely to fade away to nothing as presumably sil will feed him nuggets in the evening

Trigglesx Sat 20-Jul-13 20:45:54

YANBU. Make what you normally make, offer it to him, and if he doesn't eat it, he'll have to eat at home later.

I'm not unsympathetic to the child, really. I have a 6yo with SNs who has major food issues and if there is a food offered (or touching something he might normally eat) that he cannot eat for whatever sensory reason, he will refuse to eat rather than touch it. I have worked hard to introduce basic food that most everyone eats just to get him by these types of situations (bread/butter, apples, cheerios, corn flakes). And if it's an issue, I will make sure he has food packed in a lunch box that he can and will eat. I certainly don't expect others to go out of the way to buy special food for him.

Your SIL sounds a bit nutty (and rude).

Redcliff Sat 20-Jul-13 21:09:20

Well done OP - I think handled yourself really well and she sounds like a nightmare. My son has a friend with similar eating issues and although I know money is tight for his family his mum always sends over the thing he likes in a pack lunch box and I think most people would. Good luck and stand your ground - you are doing the right thing.

RobotBananas Sat 20-Jul-13 21:15:12

Does you SIL have food issues herself? Sounds like she's got a very strange attitude if she objects to normal healthy food.

Notcontent Sat 20-Jul-13 21:27:23

Ha, ha - this is almost funny. Not for you OP, of course, but your SIL's style of parenting almost sounds like a send up of crap parenting!
Horrible processed food and constant TV! She would hate my house! grin

I think you should just tell her that it's against your principles to have that sort of food at home!!

SlimePrincess Sat 20-Jul-13 21:34:19


SIL needs a refund from her finishing school. That should pay for plenty of nuggets.

zipzap Sun 21-Jul-13 08:47:59

She knows she is in the wrong and is using attack as the best form of defence to try to make you feel that it is your problem, not hers.

But I'm not surprised that she basically said no and still expects you to fork out for dn's special food. After all if she is entitled enough to think that you and PIL should provide free childcare and that in doing so she is the one doing you a favour, it follows that she would expect you to feed him on the expensive food that she dictates.

Maybe she is getting you to fork out for them as she is finding it too expensive to buy them all the time - heaven forbid she should have to pay for childcare and pay for her child's food. Sounds like she just wants to dump and forget but still exert her control.

Soon she'll be asking you and PIL to pay for the privilege of looking after her son!

I would also talk to PIL about what you are doing and get them to make a stand too about being paid for food or it being brought with him. Or he eats what they are having. And between the two of you - and maybe even involve him and you dc (to say their favourite foods, so dn can say what out of your usual meals he would like to try when he comes over). So say he might want to start with cheese toasties for lunch and chicken salad for supper or whatever, then you are giving him a tiny bit of control back by choosing what you eat (albeit from your shortlist) on the day he is over with you. And if he doesn't make a good attempt to eat up then next time he doesn't get any choice. If he gets on well with your dc then really use them to encourage him to try their favourites. Maybe even the first time he tries a food bribe him with mini sweets - one mini smartie for each mouthful (and obviously your dc would get one per mouthful too, up to 10 or whatever so he can see them getting the reward and want it too). Or bribe with the promise

SnailsInMyPaddlingPool Sun 21-Jul-13 09:56:14

Slight update:

SIL posted a status on Facebook (I know, I know) along the lines of 'feeling so upset and let down, blah blah'. I'm taking a wild guess that it was about chicken nugget gate.
That was it for me, I really dislike FB being used for personal stuff and all that passive aggressive asked DH to phone PILs and explain the situation. Told PIls that we obviously still wanted to see DN but that the expectation that he could come every weekend would have to be stopped due to SILs behaviour. The issue of PILs then taking on too much came up.

It turns out that on MIL's last visit to the doctor she was told that she really needs to take it easier. Also, SIL is apparently TTC- PILs were informed of this recently, as SIL told them that she was hoping to time the pregnancy with DN starting school, so PIL could take the new baby during the day and 'only' have the two children after school hours. MIL put her foot down, reminded SIL that she rarely works school hours anyway, and told her that they were simply not physically capable of looking after two children. SIL apparently went crazy, saying she would have to quit her job or stop TTC. She also....I still can't believe this...demanded to see a doctor's note proving that her mother was too ill to look after her children.

PILs then informed her that they would continue looking after DN until he starts school in September (technically preschool, but attached to a school reception class) and then it would be up to SIL to find a childminder, and that under no circumstances would they be looking after a newborn.

So I suppose that explains SIL's attitude to the chicken nuggets grin now that she's going to have to do what everybody else does and pay for childcare.

The best of it is, SIL could easily pay for childcare or become a SAHM as BIL earns very good money. She could pay for the bloody chicken nuggets as well!

CSIJanner Sun 21-Jul-13 10:04:31

I am quite literately sitting here, mouth open.

SIL has some brass balls on her.

RobotBananas Sun 21-Jul-13 10:05:22

Oh ny god, the nerve of some people!
TTC can make the best of us a little crazy, but this is just unbelievable.

MidniteScribbler Sun 21-Jul-13 10:08:15

More arse than class.

ChippingInHopHopHop Sun 21-Jul-13 10:17:53

Thank god your PIL have finally found their backbones!!

She sounds like a terrible user & a stompy little mare.

If I was in her situation I'd be sending around nuggets (enough for everyone if you'd let your kids eat them), apologising for it causing you extra work, thanking you regularly and having your kids over when I could. That is 'normal' - she is not.

Well actually, I wouldn't - because I wouldn't put up with that 'only eats nuggets' shit unless he had special needs or a real diet/food/eating issue - & in either of those cases I would be doing my very best to sort out. But it just sounds like he's pandered to.

The fact they are so well off & yet are being so tight must be bloody difficult to deal with too - they are even better off getting free childcare and they aren't even appreciative.

Id I were you I'd probably have some choice 'status updates' of my own about now grin

OldLadyKnowsNothing Sun 21-Jul-13 10:25:07

I rarely say this, but OMfuckingG! She really thought she could just sprog another one and the GP would raise it? Unbelievable! shock Glad she's been put back in her box.

exoticfruits Sun 21-Jul-13 10:41:29

Well done PIL!

Trigglesx Sun 21-Jul-13 10:54:25

Well done to your PILs for putting their foot down. And by extension, it rather solves your problem as well, doesn't it? grin Very handy.

Oldraver Sun 21-Jul-13 11:05:27

Op I'm glad that your PIL's have stood up to her, hopefully they can have the life that they need.

And to SIL..... just pay for the fucking nuggets....way cheaper than any weekend childcare

AaDB Sun 21-Jul-13 11:12:08

I'd do as chipping; send enough for everybody with dessert AND a great big thank you. I would also reciprocate.

I refuse to get stressed at meal times. As a compromise to 'my house, my rules', I have asked my df to send her DC with packed lunch and tea. They eat masses of sweets in the car on the way here and home. (shrug)

antimatter Sun 21-Jul-13 11:14:43

she would need to pay extra for those chicken nuggets at her childminder as well

unlikely she can find someone to look after her son 11am-11pm on weekend anyway so her attitude may change soon smile

I would be ashamed to insist on anyone to provide certain kind of food for my kids.

LIZS Sun 21-Jul-13 11:43:27

yanbu Sounds as if she has got too used to being pandered to . Stick to your "if you don't send food he is offered whatever we're having" line and mean it. Poor kid is going to find school hard otherwise.

WilsonFrickett Sun 21-Jul-13 12:03:32

Of course a cm isnt going to cover 24 hours of childcare at the weekend. Just watch your step op - I foresee a big drama as she makes it up to you and throws herself on her mercy when she realises PILs mean it and she has no weekend childcare....

Chunderella Sun 21-Jul-13 12:19:34

Blimey, what a douche.

However I think some of the stuff about DNs food preferences on this thread has been written by people who don't really get it. Some DC genuinely do have problems with food, this might be one of them. I realise that he wouldn't know he liked chicken nuggets and fruit shoots if he hadn't been given them in the first place, but we are where we are. So I think the idea upthread about giving him family food with a waffle is a good one.

MrsHoarder Sun 21-Jul-13 12:36:24

Chunderella the OP has said she is struggling financially and has asked the SiL to provide "acceptable" food for the DN or eat within the family's mealplan. That's hardly being cruel to a child with food issues or terribly demanding when the OP is providing regular free childcare.

SlimePrincess Sun 21-Jul-13 13:32:13

O my god. SIL is out of control!

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