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should I confront my s-i-l over her attitude to my baby?

(24 Posts)
IrritableGrizzly Mon 26-Oct-09 13:42:37

My sil (brother's wife) has a strange attitude towards my ds2 (17m) and it's really affecting how I feel about her. We've never been that close but I did like her and thought she did me, but am now not so sure.

I had my ds2 last year, and my sister had a dd 7 weeks after that, so our babies are very close in age, cuteness factor, etc. I live abroad, and the first time I brought ds2 (and ds1 obv!) home for a visit he was 7 weeks old. When sil saw him she said in a very bored voice, "Oh. Is that your baby?" and didn't show any other interest.

A week after this, when my sister brought her dd for a visit, sil practically grabbed her out her arms and sat holding her for hours on end. This happened a few times, each time we visited. It wasn't just me being over sensitive as my sisters said it made them feel very uncomfortable.

Foolishly I told my (over dramatic, interfering) mother all about this on our last visit, and now she is planning a girls' night out <shudder>, which I'm guessing she will use an opportunity to get us talking and sort things out. I can't think of much worse than doing it with my mum chaperoning - would be very contrived and awful.

Am thinking of emailing sil and asking her straight out what the problem is and why she doesn't like my baby. Is this a stupid idea? I think I'm going to find it hard being civil to her if this isn't resolved, but not sure of the best way to do it.

cornsilk Mon 26-Oct-09 13:44:30

I don't really think you can accuse her of not liking your baby based on that - sorry! I wouldn't email her.

crokky Mon 26-Oct-09 13:44:34

perhaps she likes girl babies better than boy babies? could it be a simple as that?

colditz Mon 26-Oct-09 13:45:19

Has she actually done anything that shows her DISLIKE of your baby? Cos all I can see is that she likes your sister's baby.

She hasn't done anything to your baby. there's nothing to resolve.

In the wise words of my mother "He's your baby, naturally you think he's the best thing ever - please try to remember that he is not everyone's baby"

MillyR Mon 26-Oct-09 13:48:00

Maybe she doesn't see a need to make a fuss of your baby as you are family, but she did think she should make an effort with your sister's baby because your sister is not part of your SILs family.

RollCorpseIntoHedge Mon 26-Oct-09 13:50:45

Don't send the email. Just try not to be bothered. You love your baby and your baby is gorgeous and her disinterest does not alter that in any way. I have come to realise that you can't alter anyone elses behaviour you can only control your reaction to it.

My SIL when introduced to my DD for the first time refused to look at her so you are not alone! I have given up trying to work out what my SIL's problem is (apart from the fact she loathes me).

IrritableGrizzly Mon 26-Oct-09 13:55:46

No Milly, she is my brother's wife so has the same relationship with both babies.

So people really wouldn't be bothered by this? I just can't see why someone would prefer one baby over another based on gender - maybe when they're both 2 and the little girl is all cute and ringletty and the boy is all covered in mud <stereotype I know but as I wouldn't do this I'm trying to understand why someone would>, but as babies you can't even tell what they are if they're not dressed in pink/blue type clothes.

However, if I am indeed BU and over sensitive I'll try and be a bit more chilled about it. As you say Colditz, he is my baby (and the best baby that was ever born, of course!)

Baconsarnie Mon 26-Oct-09 14:01:45

IG, I would be bothered by this too, but I don't think it's worth emailing her. What's she going to say? I would probably be more passive-agressive about it and next time am with her and DS, send DS over to her with a book/toy, and say loudly "go on, DS, see if Auntie X wants to play".
That's just me tho.

anonymous85 Mon 26-Oct-09 14:04:11

Hmmm you're obviously suss on her, wait and see if anything else happens then maybe. There isn't much grounds really, maybe you gotta encourage her?

Stigaloid Mon 26-Oct-09 14:05:14

Sorry but sounds like hormones on both sides going off here. You said you visited her when your baby was 7 weeks old - so she would either of just had a baby or was waiting to have her baby - she could have been terrified of motherhood or exhausted. She may have sorted her feelings out when she saw your sister, or it could just be her hormones again coming in to play.

Enjoy your baby and just leave it be - if it continues over a year then maybe say something, but other than that let sleeping dogs lie.

campion Mon 26-Oct-09 14:05:38

Is she a tiny bit jealous because you've got 2 boys and she maybe wanted a boy? No-one is ever going to admit this but it happens.

She'll get over it - meanwhile grit your teeth and don't make matters worse by asking her about it ( is just my advice smile)

Stigaloid Mon 26-Oct-09 14:05:58

ah - he is now 17 months - been a while so i guess you could say something but it would probably be very awkward.

kitkatsforbreakfast Mon 26-Oct-09 14:09:03

It would annoy me too.

Just an idea, but maybe she's jealous of your ds? Could be way off the mark there, but my sil never acknowledges my younger 2 dc but was fine with my eldest. It transpired that she was really jealous that I was able to pop out babies with ease while she had trouble conceiving. She was also desperate for a boy, and I had 2.

Still a crap attitude and my dc get the brunt end of her crapness, but at least I know where she's coming from.

MatNanPlus Mon 26-Oct-09 14:09:45

IG it is her loss, you and your DS2 can live happily without much input from her.

2rebecca Mon 26-Oct-09 14:10:14

Even if she does prefer her niece to her nephew I don't see there's much you can do about it.
I had favourite aunties as a kid so don't see having favourite nephews and nieces as that different.
If when they are older she snubs him then I'd have words, but the kids sound too young to care at the moment. I had an uncle who obviously preferred my brother when we were small, which was OK as I wasn't keen on him, although he's my favourite uncle now we're older and I find my previously fav uncle a bit creepy as an adult.

minimoonumbertwo Mon 26-Oct-09 14:10:59

oh no how horrid, I would be upset too. I am not sure how much my mum likes my ds (almost 2)- it used to really bother me and i came very close on a few (drunken!) occasions to asking her what her problem was with him & me since having him - BUT I can't see what I would achieve with that conversation, she would only deny it, your sil is not going to come out and give you a straight answer, even if there is an issue. I try to look at the things my Mum does do for my ds and forget about the weird things.

IrritableGrizzly Mon 26-Oct-09 14:14:54

No Campion, sil has got a boy and a girl. My mum has it in her head that she favours her own dd and isn't as keen on her ds, but I'm not sure about that. She does treat them differently but I don't want to start judging how she brings up her dc.

So I'm getting the feeling sending the email would be a bad idea..grin Maybe I'll try Baconsarnie's suggestion instead!

Niecie Mon 26-Oct-09 14:17:38

It is a bit odd. Have you asked your DB about it? Are you close enough to engage him in conversation about it, in as light-hearted jokey way as possible? Perhaps he would know.

I wouldn't email her though. She isn't going to come clean about it because of an email.

SolidGhoulBrass Mon 26-Oct-09 14:18:35

Confrontations, especially over things like this, are a really good way to make the rest of the family think you're a total whanger.
If someone is persistently rude to you, avoid them as much as possible, otherwise just remain civil and don't give them much thought when they are not actually there. It;s their problem not yours, but doing the big self-help-manual Confrontation Scene never makes things better. The other person either won't engage with you at all (Oh don';t be silly, etc) or gets annoyed and runs bleating off to the rest of the family and then you've got a 20-year feud over some semi-imagined insult that didn't matter anyway.

IrritableGrizzly Mon 26-Oct-09 14:32:40

Lots of voices of reason here! I have shelved the email idea and am going to take the high road and stop worrying about something that I can't change and doesn't really affect anything anyway. Thanks so much for all replies. I feel a lot more relaxed about our upcoming Christmas visit now!

(Will never understand it though..)

Lavenderfleurs Mon 26-Oct-09 14:35:08

Well as a big fan of the "confrontation to clear the air" way of doing things, I think SGB's advice is the best I have heard with regards to this and so very true.

Ignore your SIL op. I am sure your ds has many people adoring him and won't notice her lack of enthusiasm. I wouldn't even give it another thought if I were you. Personally I would be civil towards her and thats about it. I certainly would not go on the big arranged night out. That can only end in alcohol fuelled tearful disaster.

FoxyLoxy9 Tue 27-Oct-09 01:54:42

Oh dear, I think I might have been a bit like this when my husband's brother and his wife had their twins. It wasn't that I didn't like them - I was desperate to have a baby of my own and felt awkward about my own feelings. Now that I have 3 of my own, I'm completely different.

Hope it works out for you.


Tortington Tue 27-Oct-09 02:18:44

god does she really mater that much?

IrritableGrizzly Tue 27-Oct-09 04:39:02

No she doesn't matter all that much, Custy, which is why I said I wasn't going to let it bother me. Thanks for your very to the point reply though.

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