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Back to square one

(71 Posts)
Pnwmama1515 Mon 30-Sep-19 00:42:32

Hi, I'm a DIL that needs help with my MIL. To start, I love her and have known her for many many years. She has six grandkids and mine is the youngest. He is 16 months old and since he was about 3/4 months old, he has never liked being held or touched by anyone but me and his father. I know this bothers her because she wants to love and snuggle with him but he has full on meltdowns if someone gets too close or touches him.

He will, however, go up to people and give hugs and cuddle. But he has to be the one who goes to them, not the other way around. After many many visits, I think she finally understood. The last two visits, she gave him space and time and played with him and his toys. He ended up going to her and giving hugs and kisses. I was so so happy to see their relationship progress!

But then this last weekend we saw her at a birthday party. He was already overwhelmed due to noise, and it seemed like all the progress just went out the window. She would loudly clap in his face, push her face against his (and mine since I was holding him and she would come up behind us) and demand kisses. I had to take him into a bedroom to calm him down several times.

The final straw was when she grabbed my shoulders and physically moved me back and forth to "hide" behind me and play peek a boo with him as I was holding him and talking to a family member that I hadn't seen in years. (Thus, interrupting my conversation. I did try putting him down but he would scream and hold onto me.)

We ended up leaving after an hour because my son was so upset, we were unable to calm him down. He normally does so well at other parties and will play with other kids. He's just a very independent baby who likes his space.

My question is, why would she go backwards when we all know what works for him? How can I get her to understand that he's not like her other grandchildren and that by being in his space, she is stressing him (and myself) out? If she just gave him space and time, he would come to her. I truly adore her and I want them to have a wonderful relationship but she's gotta follow his lead.

Gonegirl Tue 01-Oct-19 13:56:19

What was veiled about anything? I believe on this forum, our posts show us for the person we are.

And I do not like estrangement encouragement. And I will always call it out. Loudly and clearly.

Chaitriona Tue 01-Oct-19 14:15:20

To protect children is always right. Sometimes if we have lacked something in our own childhood, we want to ensure our own children have a different experience. But we can sometimes go too far in the other direction. Probably we all tend to do that a bit. If there is abuse it is right to stop it completely. But otherwise, a middle road is often best. Children will model themselves on their parents. It is good for children to see their parents being kind and to learn how to balance their own needs with the needs of others. All of us have got strengths and weaknesses. Within reason, we should tolerate others faults and love their strengths in the hope of being so tolerated and loved ourselves. It is not easy, though.

Caro57 Tue 01-Oct-19 14:48:09

Maybe she got carried away in the excitement of the party........I try to ‘ask’ my GCs if they want a hug / kiss as I don’t think adults pushing themselves onto children - and expecting them to accept the advances - is a good message. I ask my GD, 3, if she will hold my hand and help me across the road / show me where to go. Seems to work at the moment

sarahellenwhitney Tue 01-Oct-19 16:18:49

Chaitriona My very thoughts.

Ooeyisit Tue 01-Oct-19 16:27:49

I think in the atmosphere of the party and because she wanted to be seen as a doting Nannie. She just forgot . Or maybe she had had a few glasses of. wine and had lost her inhibitions . Next time just say now Nannie give him space and all well and if you don’t we will end up going home .

Pnwmama1515 Tue 01-Oct-19 16:32:20

Hi everyone! I would like to point out that my son does great at parties- when people give him space. I'd like to also point out that she has shown to understand him and got on great with him the last couple visits prior to this party.

I do agree that she may have wanted to show how great their relationship has been but may have gone a little too far.

I do protect him, or so I think. I leave the room as soon as he cries and go to calm him down. I have even turned around and said "he's a little overwhelmed." The issue was that she didn't take this hint and continued the behavior every time we could come back.

I do need to use my voice. Is saying something like "let's give him some time to warm up" good?

As for renting from her, she strictly keeps it separate from our relationship. She adores her sons (husband and brothers). She will always help them and she would never kick us out. There's another DIL that she despises (that's another story for another time) but she will drop everything to help their family.

She's a good person, she just has some issues with boundaries. I would never cut her off or put her in time out unless the situation was extreme.

The fact that she has shown that she can respect his space makes me feel that this isn't an extreme situation.

I did text her and apologize for leaving early, and said that my son was overwhelmed from everyone being in his face and being touched. She replied "no worries" so I'm not sure what to think of that.

Hithere Tue 01-Oct-19 16:36:22

You apologized to her? Why!

She needs to apologize to you! She ignored and disrespected your parenting rules

Summerlove Tue 01-Oct-19 16:38:26

I feel sorry for your mil it is hard to get it right.

How do you figure? It sounds like OP has gone above and beyond to try to facilitate a bond. MIL has has clear guidance.

She chooses instead to act like a show off.

Pnwmama1515 Tue 01-Oct-19 16:40:23

Jefm- I'm not sure what gave you the impression that I have not spoken to my MIL directly about this. I have. I have read articles with her in person, we discussed how others approach him, how I had the same personality as a child and eventually outgrew it. I have offered countless times for her to come over and have one on one time with him. She always has an excuse not to.

Jillybird- you did remind me that she had memory issues in the beginning of her sobriety. She called my son a different but similar name for a couple days after his birth. (Think Rob instead of Bob) and her spouse had explained that there was some memory issues going on since she became sober. I totally forgot about that and feel bad that I have forgotten. This might explain things.

Summerlove Tue 01-Oct-19 16:49:32

She replied "no worries" so I'm not sure what to think of that.

That she doesn’t accept that she was overwhelming.

You’re unfortunately going to have to have another chat with her about expectations and your child’s boundaries.

Just remember, to be clear is to be kind.

Pnwmama1515 Tue 01-Oct-19 16:49:55

Hithere- I'm going to choose to ignore your posts. You are jumping to extremes and seem to have forgotten that my MIL HAS improved and HAS shown respect for myself and my son.

This party was the first time she showed behavior like this since our initial conversations which were over a year ago. Hell, she has even told other family members to give him space.

This is either a memory issue or she thought things had progressed so well that he would instantly be okay with her.

Hithere Tue 01-Oct-19 17:25:24


No problem. I won't bother you anymore.

kwest Tue 01-Oct-19 17:45:01

It is a learning process for all of you. Try to be kind. You will all get there in the end.

Pnwmama1515 Tue 01-Oct-19 18:46:35

So I just got off the phone with her and she apologized. She said she was a little anxious since her sister was there. (I personally think they're always trying to impress or one up each other.) And that she knows how my son is and how bad she felt. She said that this Saturday will be different and that she wants to earn his trust. So I think the convo went good and hopefully I won't have to post again! Thank you for all your advice and words. Was very helpful.

Gonegirl Tue 01-Oct-19 19:01:27


Summerlove Tue 01-Oct-19 19:49:00

I’m glad she apologized

I hope she’s true to her word

Fairydoll2030 Tue 01-Oct-19 20:25:26

Your MIL will probably be more concerned than you are for this coming Saturday,s party. Try to be relaxed and smiley with her so it puts her at ease.

I hope all goes well and please leave an update next week.

TrendyNannie6 Tue 01-Oct-19 21:43:59

Yes totally agree I think she was showing off to the other people at the party, look at me with my grandson, it seems that she doesn’t really listen to what you have said to her, not thinking of the child at all , Some children like their space, she should give him some, she’s the adult here

NfkDumpling Tue 01-Oct-19 22:22:19

So pleased it all seems to have worked out. Enjoy the party.

glamgran2013 Tue 01-Oct-19 22:28:46

I wonder if your MIL is having some memory issues? Strange to behave like that. My mum is embarrassingly over friendly and playful with children wherever she sees them- supermarkets , anywhere. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s afternwenhad noticed this strange over familiar behaviour and playfulness with children. Exactly as you describe but with strangers children. I know this sounds a terrible thing to say but worth considering that she’s feeling uncomfortable in social situation because she herself has a problem? Be kind ( you sound like you will be) She may not realise. It’s how I noticed mums problems.
She suddenly seemed to not understand not to do things like that and still continued after being told by me. What I’m saying is it may not be alcohol, there may be a problem? ( I’m also a MIL and a granny) of course she may just be being stubborn because she won’t be told what to do. That ones in us all sometimes!