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to wonder if PIL will do something for DS' birthday

(36 Posts)
cjt110 Wed 13-Jul-16 12:55:05

-Am setting background out so as not to dripfeed - some may be irrelevant-

My DS turns 2 next month. PIL are currently hosting 5 year old nephew from June-August, on his own - SIL and family live in another non-English speaking country. MIL flew to their home, stayed a week or two and brought DN back with her for the summer. It is DN's birthday 2 days before my sons. We have arranged to go down from a Mon-Weds, the Tues being DN's birthday and the Thurs (when we are at home) is DS' birthday. This arrangement came off the back of MIL saying a while ago (could be as long ago as Christmas) that we should go down in August as DN is over and she can put a party on for both DN and DS.

PIL live 150 miles from us and generally only see us if we travel down there and stay in a hotel or they are on a trip to our area, where we then have to travel to them and see them for the day.

MIL spends alot of time abroad with SIL and herself says it's never a holiday as she always helps SIL with little jobs around the village such as cleaning houses, looks after SILs children whilst SIL is out etc.

MIL sends parcels to SIL for things such as Easter - The country she lives in doesn not celebrate it - with gifts for the children. We have had one or two parcels in the past that have had a hand knitted garment but nothing really to note.

DS for christmas and his birthday got lovely gifts from MIL from Mothercare and ELC.

MIL's facebook at the moment is documenting DN's trip and there are daily updates as to what he is doing. Some are trips to the park etc but some are tacking him away for a week in this country, some are taking him to football matches (local kids ones, not proper ones).

Would you set your expectation of our trip as low so as not to be disappointed, or would you feel a bit <insert appropriate word> if something isn't laid on/done? I know, for example, my Mum has bought DS a play kitchen and accessories and we are pkanning to have a little garden party (me, dh, dm, df and ds) on his birthday at her house, weather permitting.

It could just be that some GPs are closer to one set of GC than the other - My DS being closer to my parents as they live 5 mins away and he is there 3 days a week and the DN and DN being closer to PIL - I just am not sure what to expect and whether to be a bit cross if nothing is done to mark the joint birthday as was mentioned way back.

Sorry if my post is a bit rambly - trying to give all info, come across neutral and also not drip feed.

MoggieMaeEverso Wed 13-Jul-16 13:00:23

I get what you mean about the dynamic and not being sure what to expect. Honestly I would just ask.

"What shall we do for the boys' joint birthday party?" She can hardly say, oh I thought I'd give DN a heap of presents and ignore your DS completely. Get it out in the open beforehand.

MiddleClassProblem Wed 13-Jul-16 13:24:37

A little bit confused. Is MIL there for the birthday time? And is DN away from his parents for his birthday?

I would personally go in low expectations as its DN's actual birthday whilst you're there and an age that some remember as they get older so they prob want to make it something special particularly if he's not with his parents. They probably know you are doing something for DS anyway so I would assume that's his main party anyway. Of course they will get him pressies etc. Just the party while you're there might be more about DN and that's prob his only one, your DS is having one when you get home.

Not sure why the extra parcels worry you. Sounds like she is sending Easter eggs because they can't get any which is lovely and thoughtful. And she made things for DS but it's nothing of note? That sounds a wee bit ungrateful.

Of course MIL is going to post about her trip away. One, normal when they go abroad and two, she's seeing her DGS in another culture, his home environment which is different from hers and yours. That kind of thing can make them feel like they are so far away and you are close even if they end up spending more time with them in the long run. I doubt it's favouritism but more that the distance is on her head and makes it feel like a bigger thing.

cjt110 Wed 13-Jul-16 13:32:14

I don't want to seem forward in asking. We went down a short while before DS' first birthday last year and I asked a similar question "Have you anything planned for DS birthday?" and had a response along the lines of "Nothing planned - will see what happens." If I recall, the weather was good and we had a BBQ and family came too.

Middle Class We are at home for DS birthday. MIL suggested we go down and she would host a joint celebration for both boys. DN is in England (away from his home country) and she is posting about HIS trip - which I think is lovely, keeping his parents informed and also a momento for when he is older too. With regards to the parcels, I can count 2 in my sons lifetime. She never got DS an Easter egg. She also has no idea of our plans for his birthday. Prior to my husband calling her to ask could we go down, it would have been months before she actually contacted us.

eyebrowsonfleek Wed 13-Jul-16 13:32:58

What is your husband's relationship with his parents like? Sometimes childhood roles continue into adulthood. If his sister got the majority of her parent's attention while your husband was independent and did his own thing then it is easy for this dynamic to continue into adulthood.

You sound like you're very close to your parents. Is MIL nervous of stepping on your mum's toes?

Orda1 Wed 13-Jul-16 13:36:22

Your son is one, have I that right?

MiddleClassProblem Wed 13-Jul-16 13:45:38

But he gets Easter eggs from you? And surely he was only just weaning last year so it's only been one Easter... Sounds like DN doesn't get any in own country so not from his parents (other than via MIL)

Lovely that she's sharing his trip for his parents. Again, he is away from his parents on his birthday? And it is his actual birthday whilst you are there? And he's 5? Does that deserve a bit more of a fuss?

Maybe ask if you need to get a joint cake or if you need to make one/get one down there for DS?

cjt110 Wed 13-Jul-16 13:48:59

eyebrowsonfleek He is the eldest of 3. Him, then his sister 3 years younger than him then his brother 6 years younger than him. His sister left home at 16 and worked abroad. My husband moved out from home approx 3/4 years after that. My husband does say that his sister was always the loud one of the three (both my husband and his brother are practically mute in comparison) and she was always spoilt in comparison to the boys - Parents buying her lots of things when she came home from repping and this continues to this day when she gets home. I've never once seen my PIL hug, kiss or show affection in that kind of way to anyone.

I'm extremely close to my parents. I can't see it being that she doesn't want to step on my Mums toes - she never asks things. Eg my Mum asked for ideas for sons birthday and consulted us along the way over her choices. MIL never asks, just buys. Again, this could be the norm, I'm just used to how my Mum does things.

Orda Yes, he turns 2 next month.

cjt110 Wed 13-Jul-16 13:52:36

MiddleClassProblem The cake thing could be a great suggestion - My son has a dairy allergy so asking if I need to make/bring a joint cake/foods would be a good excuse(?) to find out what we are doing.

I totally understand the fuss of DN> Not saying otherwise at all. It must be scary in some ways being so far away from his family and the norm. Thats precisely why we decided to go down so that he could have a fuss made of him on his actual birthday. It's just with MILs suggestion of a joint celebration, but it not being on my sons birthday - we would be down for DN's, would you expect a joint thing to still take plavce? Or to happen for one and not the other. Note, she hasn't seen my son since Christmas (other than on facebook photos) and has seen DN at least twice in that time.

WhereYouLeftIt Wed 13-Jul-16 13:57:50

I can see that you feel your DS is below DN in the family pecking order, but can I just offer up alterntive possibilities?

"... MIL saying a while ago (could be as long ago as Christmas) that we should go down in August as DN is over and she can put a party on for both DN and DS"
So she envisioned a party for BOTH?

"DS for christmas and his birthday got lovely gifts from MIL from Mothercare and ELC."
So she does think of him at the appropriate times.

"MIL sends parcels to SIL for things such as Easter - The country she lives in doesn not celebrate it - with gifts for the children. We have had one or two parcels in the past that have had a hand knitted garment but nothing really to note."
Is the country SIL lives in 'poor'? Are the things PIL send hard to get there? I know people who sent parcels to extended family who lived in a country which had sanctions against it. It was difficult to get children's clothes otherwise. It was not an indication of favour, just the people here doing what was a small thing to them but a big thing to their relatives abroad.

"MIL spends alot of time abroad with SIL and herself says it's never a holiday as she always helps SIL with little jobs around the village such as cleaning houses, looks after SILs children whilst SIL is out etc."
Cleaning houses? As in, not the house they live in? Does SIL work as a cleaner? Although even so, co-opting your mum to do your job is a bit off! But it suggests to me that your MIL feels she has to support your SIL, that SIL needs help.

"PIL are currently hosting 5 year old nephew from June-August, on his own - SIL and family live in another non-English speaking country."
That's potentially quite unsettling for your nephew, being away from his mum and dad. This could make your MIL fuss over him more to 'make up for' this. Also, given other details - would SIL struggle to manage the school holidays otherwise?

"PIL live 150 miles from us and generally only see us if we travel down there and stay in a hotel or they are on a trip to our area, where we then have to travel to them and see them for the day."
Do you invite them much? Would they be be to stay with you, or would they have to go into a hotel? Could they afford that? Flying to support her daughter regularly would be expensive, if she feels she has to keep going over, money might be a bit tight for other things.

"MIL's facebook at the moment is documenting DN's trip and there are daily updates as to what he is doing. Some are trips to the park etc but some are tacking him away for a week in this country, some are taking him to football matches (local kids ones, not proper ones)."
Could the FB updates be for SIL's benefit, to see what her son is doing? And maybe for her husband's family to?

What does your husband say about his sister? Is her life in need of propping up from their mother?

Optimist1 Wed 13-Jul-16 13:58:48

Sorry, OP, but it sounds as though you're setting MIL up to fail here - almost wondering if you don't mention anything about your DS's birthday she'll acknowledge it in any way and mentally preparing a new thread about how vile she is . Small wonder she appears to be closer to her daughter than to you!

Put your jealousy to one side and you could make this an enjoyable visit for all concerned. Call her and ask whether you can bring a cake, or for suggestions for a present for DN or whatever it takes to ensure she knows you're looking forward to a family celebration.

MollyTwo Wed 13-Jul-16 14:00:47

Sorry op I wouldn't ask her if she has anything planned for your ds. That would be very rude and 'grabby' I think. If she has anything planned it's a gesture not something you ask of a person. Maybe being closer to her DD makes her closer to dn. You have a good relationship with your parents so your ds isn't really missing out.

MiddleClassProblem Wed 13-Jul-16 14:02:57

Bring up the cake but tbh I'd go in with low expectations of it being joint. The cake(s) might lead to more answers.

Someone bring in another country can make it feel like a much bigger gap so that might be why their DD got more but also maybe it was a gender thing? Either way, you will have s lovely day when you get back so I would just focus on that and what happens when away, happens. Just make sure whatever gift you get DN it is one that's not too heavy and easy to transport on the plane.

TopiaryBun Wed 13-Jul-16 14:04:46

I'm not entirely sure what you are asking, and some of this does sound a bit as if you are obsessively counting all the things your MIL does for your nephew, and implicitly not for your son, who, you seem to feel is not high enough on her list of priorities. Why all the listing of what she does for your nephew and his mother - is it a contest? What do you actually want from this relationship?

If she mentioned a joint birthday party to be held for both boys while you visit, what's to stop you just reminding her, and asking whether that's still on or not, because if it is, you may treat his actual birthday at home a bit differently, or want to bring him a present to open at the party, or something? Surely you can easily phrase it so there's no pressure?

cjt110 Wed 13-Jul-16 14:12:48

WhereYouLeftIt Some very valid points there that I hadnt seen from another POV. I know for example, SIL has mentioned say fisher price toys would cost £10 here but £40 where they live so the parcels - very valid point.

I used to be very close to SIL but after she had her first child she became very distant and more so when she had her second child - bother older than my son. She did mention to me not long ago that whilst DNeph is with MIL, Dnei would get quality time with her - that Dneph is less of a handful than Dnei so it wouldnt be a break as such for her.

Optimist - I have no jealousy whatsoever. I dont mind if they do/don't do anything for my son, however, I would object to one being treated very differently than the other. But, having seen the POV that WhereYouLeftIt offers, the treats and being spoilt could well be "making up" for the lack of opportunities DNeph gets at home. To be honest, the vists have made us as a family feel quite ousted - we usd to go down quite happily satying with IL'#s but now, when SIL and her family are there we are told there is "no room at the inn" and we'd better book a hotel.

Molly That would be very rude and 'grabby' I think. that's exactly how I don't want to come across. Far from it. I wouldnt want my sons birthday to overshadow my DNeph's in any way as it's his actual birthday when we are there. Its just the suggestion of a joint party/celebration that's thrown me. I don't want us to expect something and nothing happen, or expect nothing (be unprepared in getting food/cakes etc) and something happen confused

MiddleClassProblem Wed 13-Jul-16 14:20:30

But SIL spends the money to fly home so then asking her to pay for a hotel too when you come to stay (and maybe you are there for less time) is a bit much.

Also is SIL a single parent as you haven't mentioned a DP?

I'm not sure if you found this yourself but when I had DD I was exhausted and going out was daunting and you are busy all the time so that might be why SIL because withdrawn from you. I know that I was worried as I had nothing to talk about with people as my world became very small. And with two you're even busier.

branofthemist Wed 13-Jul-16 14:20:58

Why can't you or your dh ask her what the plan is? Or rather why did you need to come here to have that suggested?

You aren't sure what's happening. So ask.

It does sound like you are setting her up to fail. Or sort of hoping she will.

You are very close to your own parents. And not to them. They are closer to their Dd than they are to you. So it's swings and roundabouts.

My pil live 2 hours away and aren't very involved. My parents are 10 mins away and are very involved. If both sets of parents wanted to be as involved as my parents, my life would be a nightmare.

cjt110 Wed 13-Jul-16 14:41:18

MiddleClassProblem PILs pay for theitr flights, food etc when they are over here. Again, reverting back to the points that WhereYouLeftIt made - food for thought!

Yes, she has a husband and her herbands family out there. Is fluent in the laguage and has infact lived out there for at least 12 years.

YY to the withdrawn thing - I definitely did feel it myself and I guess, hoe on the other foot, being in a foreign country away from your family would be a strange thing with a newborn.... Thanks again for this perspective.

branofthemist Not setting her up at all. I dont want to ask her and seem rude, but also, don't want to not ask and be unprepared, especially with my son's allergy.

MiddleClassProblem Wed 13-Jul-16 14:47:59

Maybe just ask " you mentioned at Xmas maybe doing a joint party? Do you still fancy it or just want to do one for DN?"

wwyd123 Wed 13-Jul-16 14:52:24

I don't think it is fair to expect a 5 year old to share his birthday with a 2 year old he hardly knows. Especially when it is his actual birthday and he is away from home/parents.

I know it was MIL idea but in hindsight she may now not think it's I good idea.

Can you not stay till Thursday/Friday so both boys can have a celebration and then do the party with your mum when you get back?

wwyd123 Wed 13-Jul-16 14:54:42

You did seem resentful I your op about the parcels but it is understandable that she would send easter eggs to them if they can't buy them there but not to you as you can buy them. How men easter egg do you want for a 1 year old?

cjt110 Wed 13-Jul-16 14:56:38

My husband is at the end of his tether with his parents and is withdrawing contact slowly with them - maintaning it as and when required - such as when he called to ask were we ok to visit.

Have just drafted a text to MIL saying ^"Hi J, Hope E is having a fab time with you and isn't too cold! Have you any plans for when we are down with regards to the boys birthdays?^" Is that kind of text ok - not too pushy etc? Or would you just leave be altogether?

cjt110 Wed 13-Jul-16 14:58:41

wwyd123 Sadly not - we are going away on the Friday for the weekend and are going out during the day with DS on his brithday. It was DH who said we were to be home for our son's birthday.

I don't want, at all to piss on DNeph's parade - for the reasons he's awya from home and also more aware than my son - but also don't want to be unprepared.

MiddleClassProblem Wed 13-Jul-16 15:01:54

Sounds too pushy like you want a joint thing

cjt110 Wed 13-Jul-16 15:02:37

wwyd123 re Easter eggs - It's more that the DNeph and Dei who live abroad get them, as does the Dnei who lives down the road from her yet my son doesnt. My brother and I were always treated the same by our parents - if one got, so did the other and as such I guess I just expect it to be the same with others. Dnei who lives down the road from PIL is only 4m older than DS so was 12m at the first Easter and got Easter eggs.

It's just an example I can bring to mind. He's now diagnosed as having a milk allergy so I would encourage her NOT to get him one as dairy free ones are far too costly!

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