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Or my ILs just need to learn some manners

(55 Posts)
thegirlintheyelllowcoat Fri 17-Feb-17 09:25:42

Let me be blunt and say that my relationship with MIL is not good. I get on really well with FIL.

This is what bothers me. Every time they come and visit or we visit (about once or twice a month), we always have lunch together and throughout the whole lunch, they literally sit and watch DD1 (3yrs old) eat and give a running commentary of her eating!

I'm from a culture that finds this so odd and bad mannered! It really bothers me as I don't want my little girl to grow up feeling self conscious of what she's eating or how she's eating and also I don't want my DD2 to feel left out or for either of them to get a complex.

This is why I'm asking the collective wisdom of MN. Would you consider this odd behaviour too in English culture (or Aibu)? If so how would you approach this without causing any upset.

Gizlotsmum Fri 17-Feb-17 09:27:27

What sort of thing do they say? It does sound odd but my parents and in laws will often comment if one of my children is eating well...

Heirhelp Fri 17-Feb-17 09:28:07

It just sounds like they are fascinated with her. If you want it stop then ask your DH to have a word with them about it.

NoBiggie Fri 17-Feb-17 09:28:39

It's odd and would make me self conscious. I think your DD is not old enough for it to bother her but I would nip it in the bud- just say what you've said here- "I don't want DD to grow up feeling self-conscious of how she eats and what she eats, and don't think her eating is worth this level of analysis!" Then change the subject. Try to keep it lighthearted. Every time they do it drag their attention to something else and show them a magazine or newspaper article or something. YANBU it is weird.

BaconMaker Fri 17-Feb-17 09:29:21

I think we'd need to know what they actually said. I don't think it's unusual for grandparents to give a running commentary on kids doing everyday tasks ("oo look she's drawing a house, oo look she's going down her slide, she's built a nice tower etc etc") but it would be odd to me if it was only focused on food.

thegirlintheyelllowcoat Fri 17-Feb-17 09:43:35

For instance if we were to have a pizza, the would literally count how many slices she's eaten. "Omg look at her, she's already had 3 pieces, this is her 4th piece, that's amazing for her age, she just loves eating, she'll probably eat the whole pizza........"it just goes on and on about everything she eats. Come to think of it, they pretty much do the same with all activities she does anyway but it's the eating that bothers me the most as in my culture this is just not acceptable. (No mention of DD2 at all btw but that's another thread)

I'm scared of saying anything to OH unless I am told AINBU and this is not normal. I just can't be arsed with another convo that ends in an argument on how I'm over sensitive and this is just a loving grandparents' behaviour.

Sung Fri 17-Feb-17 09:46:53

No - not odd - but not good either.

My MIL did this when DS was little too - he would be eating his dinner perfectly well and she would give him instructions and watch him. I still remember being very irritated by it (especially as BOTH her children are fussy eaters as adults).
The temptation to do the same to her was definitely there but I just gently said something like 'he's ok' etc. and she did stop after a while. I really don't think she meant anything bad by it - just thinks this is what you are supposed to do with children maybe or she isn't great socially either, so maybe that played a part.

BrownEyedLady Fri 17-Feb-17 09:51:47

I think it sounds like they are happy she's eating so well and has a good appetite. If It's one or two meals a month so I would let it go.

Aderyn2016 Fri 17-Feb-17 09:55:47

I think I would file this under annoying but not worth arguing about. They sound fascinated by her, so everything she does is interesting to them. Because your relationship isn't great, it is irritating you

BananaLeaf Fri 17-Feb-17 09:58:07

My MIL never shuts up about how much people are eating it drives me mad. I think it's bad manners too and quite ignorant. Re DD she does the same 'ooh she hasn't stopped eating! Ooh she likes her food!' Like you I don't want her to feel self conscious!
She also does it to adults. Monitoring portion size and number of servings - so boring!!

JanuaryMoods Fri 17-Feb-17 10:01:31

Not odd at all.

superking Fri 17-Feb-17 10:03:06

I can sympathise, my ILs are always in my DCs face when they are eating and it drives me mad. Especially as babies - I did baby led weaning with them both which they both took to very well and were (relatively) efficient and tidy eaters. MIL would sit right next to them, talking to them and distracting them incessantly throughout their meal so that they ended up dropping food everywhere, and then she would comment on how the food had ended up everywhere but in their mouths!

I did drop a few hints about how I was too busy to sit with them and so left them to it, but she never picked up on them. Still, it's not really worth making a scene about, just one of those annoyances that fades away as they get older.

ohtheholidays Fri 17-Feb-17 10:04:04

No not normal and I'd nip it in the bud and as soon as possible!

I grew up with an eating disorder partly due to my Mother's obsession with being on a different diet every couple of weeks and the fact that I was very thin compared to her.

There's no way I'd put up with it around my DC,it could end up making your DC feel shame about how much/what they're eating and there's never good.

Foldedtshirt Fri 17-Feb-17 10:04:30

Not the point of the thread, but what culture doesn't talk about children eating? She does sound irritating though.

putputput Fri 17-Feb-17 10:07:02

She sounds like she's excited an interested in her grandchild. I really wouldn't sweat it, you will come across as controlling.

pictish Fri 17-Feb-17 10:08:52

I'd probably ignore it. I can see why it is annoying you I suppose, but it's not worth falling out or having tension over. You are her parent so her strongest and most enduring influence is you. If you are dismissive of it, so too will she be. Everyone has foibles other people ignore. This is one of those imo.

diddl Fri 17-Feb-17 10:09:02

We talk about our meals (me, husband & our kids)-it's usually do we like this meal more or less than something else, does anyone thing x/y is under or overcooked.

It's just conversation usually.

The example that you give sounds OK to me, but I think that it could easily tip over into criticism.

retainertrainer Fri 17-Feb-17 10:09:14

Hmmmm not sure I understand the relevance of culture,I think it's down to the individual.

They sound enthralled by her,i doubt they mean any harm but a gentle word might help.

Gertrudeisgerman Fri 17-Feb-17 10:11:28

I can see why you are irritated by this. We have it in the office from our line manager. There are 7 women in our team and her office is adjoining ours and she makes a point in coming in at lunchtime, asking each individual what they are having (including timing them on how long it takes for them to buy it/heat it up). She then comments on how big each portion is and how healthy the lunch. It's maddening & really uncomfortable when you feel like you are being judged. Some of my colleagues are 21/22 (I'm an old goat , 37) and it worries me that they will start to obsess in the same way.

Inertia Fri 17-Feb-17 10:12:53

I'd say something to them before they next eat with you, but try to keep it as light as possible.

Olympiathequeen Fri 17-Feb-17 10:14:46

Unless they are dropping hints that the DD is overweight? 3-4 slices of pizza (unless a tiny pizza) seems a bit excessive.

If not I too would be very annoyed.

Pacha11 Fri 17-Feb-17 10:15:46

When I was a child, every day my grandma would make breakfast for us. She wouldn't have breaskfast herself, but would sit at the table with us, watching us eat and admiring us. I felt loved and cared for.

Hellochicken Fri 17-Feb-17 10:17:02

I dont think they are that odd. More interested.

I think my family talk about the youngest DCs eating /relatives children eating but only at this age, not when they get older. I bet they will talk less next year.

Feeding is one of the main toddler topics of conversation! I try not to bore people with it but give parents/GP a chance and they will tell you all about what they do and dont eat. What they dont like. How fast they eat. Anecdotes about them eating. When they are ill, how little they eat etc

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 17-Feb-17 10:17:40

YANBU and their behaviour is bordering on the obsessive.

Raise your boundaries higher with these people; if they cannot stop talking about DD1's eating then do not eat in their presence or provide lunch for them any longer. I would also start to limit the number of visits they make; make yourselves more unavailable to them.

Your man here is also key; what is his opinion on his parent's behaviours?. Does he regard it as normal because he grew up with them?. Do not be afraid of saying anything to him; these are his children as well.

Why is DD2 being ignored here; that is also a problem too.

AddToBasket Fri 17-Feb-17 10:21:04

YABU. You need to address you issues. This is benign - you've agreed they do it about all activities not just food. So what?

Do you have food issues?

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