To be livid almost to the point of feeling like going NC about this?(58 Posts)
Just turned age 3 DD in the bath tonight, playing with her bath toys as usual, suddenly says to me: "Granny says Father Christmas doesn't exist because he's not real".
DH calls MIL immediately after bedtime: MIL says self-righteously in defence of this: "Oh, but I don't believe in lying to children". MIL can be an somewhat difficult character and has a bit of a history of undermining me and DH on parenting issues. She also has high-functioning ASD so can see the world in more rigid terms than most, which we normally try to make lots of allowances for.
Because of a recent period of both DH and me both being quite ill and having work problems and no childcare help and no other options to keep our jobs, MIL has been looking after DD more than we usually like. This has also resulted in some brattish behaviour from DD as she has been indulged much too much. MIL doesn't like to set boundaries for children either, so for example doesn't say anything if DD hits or pushes her or other children - something we aren't that happy about, as though we are pretty gentle with DD we also like to set clear limits on what is and isn't acceptable behaviour. However I appreciate that if someone's looking after my child as a favour then I can't dictate too much how they do it.
MIL does tend to like to feel like she has a special bond with DD that slightly undermine our authority as parents. But this latest has upset both me and DH terribly - she is only 3 and we'd have liked her to have some of the magic of FC for a few more years. My heart breaks thinking of how excited she was last Christmas and how much in awe of the magic and the whole experience. She isn't a child who is likely to forget what MIL has said, and I feel pretty devastated about such a nice thing being taken away from her just because MIL wants to feel self-righteous about "not lying". I hadn't dreamt that MIL would do something like this.
AIBU to be so upset about it? Am I overreacting? It feels like MIL has really crossed a line here. You just don't do that to someone else's child, do you, especially one so young?
I wouldn't be happy about her saying that tbh. Did she say that to your Dh growing up as well?
On the other hand you're using your mil because it suits you to. She's helping you out massively and you're instantly turning on her because you don't like something she's said.
Just be clear with her that you want those childhood fantasies to remain for now. Plus any other issues you may think of.
Thanks Derek I did say something similar, but I know she isn't going to let it go. I hope I'm overreacting. I'm not sure how it came up, but MIL does have a history of saying odd things to her about stuff, and she is also desperate to pretend DD is hers (I am aware that she sometimes pretends DD is her daughter when taking her out, as MIL once let this slip; but DD also recently said "Granny calls me her daughter" which I was a bit about!
We'd much rather put her in for more nursery hours, but can't afford more on top of the free hours and my family live a long way away so we haven't had any other childcare.
I don't understand what your issue is. Father Christmas isn't real. You can make him up into something with your child if you want to, but you can't expect other people to play along.
Really? OP can't expect her MIL to go along with FC for a few more years?
Through yes, I do appreciate she is doing us a massive favour, and we couldn't afford to pay for the childcare otherwise, so it has been a great help up until now. However it's not wishful thinking to say that she actually wants to do it. She doesn't work at the moment and is very persistent about liking looking after DD - she will turn up at 6am every day and sit outside in her car until we she can see from the house lights that we have woken up, so that she can take DD as early as possible. She will often do this even on the few nursery days we have, just so she can see DD before she goes to nursery. It can be a bit unnerving, but we normally accept it as part of her quirks.
You sound like very hard work and full of drama. You want to go nc over that? Get a grip
zoe I do appreciate that, but do people normally tell other people's 3 year olds that Santa doesn't exist? Maybe when she's 6 or 7, but 3?
I think you need to have a serious talk with her then about boundaries and what you expect from her then.
Don't let it get to the n/c stage, that's far too dramatic.
Make a comment like Derek's and your dd will soon forget. Only for you to have to break it to her again when she's 9 or 10
I think you're going to have to be firmer with her. I think sitting outside waiting for you to get up before your DD goes to nursery is more than a 'quirk'. Telling her she's her mother is more than a 'quirk'.
I think you have to find a way to increase nursery hours somehow so that MiL only sees you all as a family or I can foresee bigger problems.
Bit much to go NC but she does sound quite hard work.
I know you say she won't forget but she probably will. And next year you can up the ante with the Elf On The Shelf or some such to make it seem more legit
And just tell DD that obviously Santa comes to your house, but not Grandma's because no children live there.
Maybe have a look at the site Out of the FOG x
PPie10, I didn't say I would go NC, just that I feel like it. MIL has a history of strange behaviour, and DH was low contact with her for a time after DD was born, but we do make lots of allowances for MIL because she doesn't always perceive interpersonal boundaries in the same way most people do -- if she hasn't heard from DH for a couple of days she will call the house 60 or 80 times and keep calling until he answers, for example. Because of this I honestly don't know whether this is something that most people would find upsetting.
We couldn't be less full of drama about it, normally!
Seriously Zoe? Really? I wonder what fucking planet I'm on sometimes when I come on MN. There are honestly people in this world who will argue black is white just for the craic. So you have no expectation that a 3yr olds grandmother will go along with it for the sake of a bloody 3yr old! I can just predict the MIL threads about you in the future Zoe.
I would be fuming about the Father Christmas thing too OP. Completely unecessary and completely not her place to say such a thing. The magic of childhood is fleeting so why spoil it like that? My DD is 7 and I would be pissed off if someone said that to her, she still believes in santa, fairies, the lot, and why shouldn't she when it brings her happiness and excitement? And the sitting outside your house at 6am is weird and intrusive - I couldn't be doing with that.
That would have most definitely annoyed me. However, I can also understand that when someone's doing you a favour it can be hard to tell them you don't like there childminding efforts. I would agree with an above comment of saying than granny doesn't get presents of FC anymore as he doesn't visit grown ups and have a quiet word with MIL about how important FC is to you. My opinion is that the parents decide when its time to stop believing in FC not the grannies.
To be honest I was with you more until you said she has high functioning ASD because if it hasn't come up and you are allowing her sole charge of your dd without setting boundaries around these invisible rules of social behaviour, it's hardly a massive surprise that she's going to say this sort of thing... or that she has a "history of strange behaviour". It is part of having high functioning ASD to view this sort of thing through a different lens - it's not "right" or "wrong", it's just different.
Thanks everyone, it's a massive help to get some perspective on it, as because as I say we tend to accept a lot of things that would be odd in a NT person as just part of MIL, so I don't always know when something is going a bit too far. I agree nanny that we should try to find a way to increase nursery hours instead and we are working on it - the childcare problems with our jobs should be temporary, I hope, so at least that's hopeful.
I really hope that DD forgets! I remember so well the absolute magic of the "before knowing the truth about Santa" time of childhood, and I would hate for DD not to remember that.
N/C over F/C. I've officially heard it all.
Just also seen your post about her pretending your DD is hers.... Wtf??? She sounds a bit mad to me!
No she's not "mad" - she has a neurodevelopmental difference that means she perceives the social world very differently to people who don't have that difference.
Do you speak to her directly asking her not to do things that make you uncomfortable? That's an important thing to do.
Sounds like my 'D'M, first and only time she babysat for us. She had a conversation with 6 year old DS (who had woken up and was a bit scared of the dark) about ghosts and how a lot of people thought they were real and she may have seen one once. We were summonsed home by DM because DS was very upset and she couldn't get him to settle down. I wonder why? (Confused).
We never ever left her alone in charge of DS again.
I think your MIL has lost her rights to be left with your DD again, unless she can see what she did was not acceptable. NC may be a bit extreme though.
I would have been annoyed if my MIL told my kids that Father Christmas wasn't real when they were little. It isnt for her to say that. However I wouldn't get too cross with her as she has ASD as it just may not make sense to lie to her about it
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