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MIL giving a bath and playing dress-up - Page 3

post #41 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by BoringTales View Post
If you really feel the need to address anything, you could ask to make sure she knows to never, EVER turn her back on the baby in the tub.

Playing 'dress up' with a baby isn't going to hurt him in any way. So what if he was wearing different clothes, really.
This is my opinion too. I'd make sure she doesn't take her eyes off of him in the tub, not even for a minute. And I understand no pix that are showing anything a diaper would cover. But there are tons of cute bath pix of me and my siblings, and of my kids - as long as they are tastefully discreet (my mom used to put a washcloth or toy boat over our laps) I can't see the issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kryztuh View Post
Again, I guess this is my issue. I feel like I am the subject of subtle dismissals from her very often, but need to figure out if those are my issues coming to the surface or if she is being manipulative.

It honestly NEVER crossed my mind to go over baths with her because never in a million years is that something my dad or mom would do when watching DS. If he had a blow out or something, I know my parents would call me asking about bath protocol.
I really do think it is your emotions about wishing you could be with him more during these months than it is anything to do with gramma. If the bath complaint is a good example, I'd say she isn't subtly dismissing you; she is being a loving gramma. I wouldn't call giving a grandbaby a bath any kind of manipulation - how could it be? This isn't even a gray area IMO.

Your parents would call you at work before giving their grandson a bath after a blowout? That seems way out there to me. Why would they need to be taught "bath protocol"?? I really can't understand that level of control and distrust; it isn't healthy for you or ds or your extended family. You are choosing to tarnish the time you DO have with ds being angry over things that aren't wrong. MIL didn't do anything wrong. It wasn't manipulative. It wasn't subtly dismissive. It was a gramma giving her grandbaby a bath and putting him in clean clothes. No harm, no foul.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rainyday View Post
She's a "self-proclaimed selfish grandma" who wants to hold the baby when she sees him? She gave him a bath so he could play in the water? She wanted to spend some of her week off with her grandson? Every grandchild should be so lucky. Children who are lucky enough to have grandparents who love them and want to spend time with them are blessed.

Why not try to see it as the gift it is to have a grandparent who loves him and wants to see him? The quickest way to destroy that wonderful relationship is to be the DIL who is constantly picking and criticizing everything your MIL does. Of course sometimes you have to say something, but for your ds's sake, I'd really suggest saving those for the things that are really safety issues - don't leave ds unattended in the bath, put him to sleep on his back, no solids before you give the ok, and so on.
(bolding mine) This. My kids have one of their four biological grandparents alive. The other three died before any of my three were born. The one who is still here has dementia to the point that she doesn't always know them. I would cut off my hand to have the wrong baby soap be a grandparent problem. Your son is SO LUCKY. Please focus on that. His grandparents are nearby, love him, and are involved - they WANT to be involved. Pack the right soap, be clear on no naked photos if that is your comfort level, and don't pack jammies if that is part of your special time with him in the evenings. But non-organic soap or a cookie before dinner (when he is older - not saying now) won't hurt him.

I do remember when my dd1 was young, and getting all up in arms because my MIL used a nickname I didn't prefer. I threatened not to let her see us if she continued using it. It wasn't a mean nickname; it was some of the letters in her name made into a totally different but actual girl's name. I am really embarrassed now at how unglued I came; it just wasn't that important. And now that this gramma can't remember much more than her own name these days, I am really sad that I ever made her feel bad for any loving interest in her grandchild.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
I'm sorry it upsets you. I honestly don't see it as a boundary issue, though. I don't think I know anybody who would hesitate to give a baby/young child in their care a bath. IMO, it's not something that most people would think needed explicit permission, or a discussion of protocols.
post #42 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by rainyday View Post
A big : to most of the posts above. You're overreacting.

She's a "self-proclaimed selfish grandma" who wants to hold the baby when she sees him? She gave him a bath so he could play in the water? She wanted to spend some of her week off with her grandson? Every grandchild should be so lucky. Children who are lucky enough to have grandparents who love them and want to spend time with them are blessed.
I agree with a lot of the OPs that maybe you should try to rethink your perspective on this issue a little bit. It really does sound like your MIL was simply trying to have a fun afternoon with her grandchild on her day off, and that is a positive, not a negative. You haven't described anything dangerous or reckless in her conduct that would be concerning, only loving behavior towards your baby by his grandparent.

Grandparents can have a wonderful and important role in a child's life, and that's a good thing! A close relationship between a grandchild and his grandparent in no way undermines his parental relationships, as long as it's a healthy relationship only good things can come from a child becoming well bonded with grandparents. I know that personally it's been wonderful watching the joy and happiness my children have in their relationship with my parents, and I know my parents also feel equally joyful and happy wrt the time they spend with my kids, so in my mind it's a winning situation for all of us.

On the other hand, my FIL and his wife are extremely absent grandparents, despite the fact that they live maybe 10 miles away from us and that FIL works with my husband. My kids adore him, and he seems to like them the half dozen or so times a year that he sees them, but it breaks my heart that he seems completely uninterested in pursuing the relationship my boys would love to have with him. In my mind, he squandering what could be the opportunity to experience unconditional love at its best, and that just seems terribly sad to me.

So I would really encourage you to take a step back and really think about why you had such a negative reaction to the situation you described in your OP. Are you genuinely concerned that she did something harmful to your child, or are you somehow apprehensive about that special time taking away from what you have with him? Unless your MIL is toxic or dangerous, I would strongly encourage you to let their relationship develop with minimal intervention by you. Feel free to make some basic ground rules if you really feel they are important but otherwise just let it be.
post #43 of 167
As someone who has serious MIL issues (as in my DD would never be left alone with my MIL no matter how badly I needed a break, for very real reasons), I still actually think you may be overreacting to the actual event you are describing, and I wouldn't get worked up about it.

I think that as many posters have said you may be reacting to your own feelings about leaving your LO during the day, in which case that's not really your MIL's problem;

or there are things you aren't saying/dealing with and you're reacting to a much more serious problem with your MIL and this event simply set you off.

If your MIL isn't actually a danger or actively trying to interfere with your parenting in what you think is a harmful way, then I would let this one go. But if there is a more serious problem with her, address it now before something happens that really is a big deal.
post #44 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by rainyday View Post
A big : to most of the posts above. You're overreacting.

She's a "self-proclaimed selfish grandma" who wants to hold the baby when she sees him? She gave him a bath so he could play in the water? She wanted to spend some of her week off with her grandson? Every grandchild should be so lucky. Children who are lucky enough to have grandparents who love them and want to spend time with them are blessed.

and

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lolagirl View Post
So I would really encourage you to take a step back and really think about why you had such a negative reaction to the situation you described in your OP. Are you genuinely concerned that she did something harmful to your child, or are you somehow apprehensive about that special time taking away from what you have with him? Unless your MIL is toxic or dangerous, I would stronly encourage you to let their relationship develop with minimal intervention by you. Feel free to make some basic ground rules if you really feel they are important but otherwise just let it be.


Your MIL sounds like my mom.

At first, my husband couldn't understand how excited she was about little things like giving a bath. It was sort of an issue as he would get annoyed with her.

Then I realized, sadly, that he never saw such unrestrainted parent/grandparent child love before and that was why he thought all the little things like sharing a bath time, getting the first hug thru the door, having a pj cuddle, etc. were unnecessary for a grandparent.

OMG - who wouldn't just love a fresh washed baby-in-their-pjs cuddle?!?!

As time has gone by, he now "gets" it and is happy our DS has a close relationship with my mom.

I have a close friend whose in-laws and two sets of great-grandparents are over the moon about their grandkids. She also didn't come from an outwardly loving family and she is constantly annoyed by the grandparent's and great-grandparent's desires to just be with the grandkids.
post #45 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by choli View Post
Wow, they would have to call you about "bath protocol"?! What would happen if they couldn't get hold of you? Your DS would have to sit around filthy till they got the OK to bathe him?

I think you have control issues.
I agree. I also think its partly a 1st time mom thing.

There are things I did with my 1st that I look back on and roll my eyes at MYSELF for.
post #46 of 167
I can understand why you might be upset with your MIL. It does sound like there is some undercurrent of tension between you two that needs to be resolved-by your dh. His mother, his problem, his responsibility to talk to her. It also sounds like there might be some jealousy on your part b/c you can't be home with him more which is also understandable.

That being said, you also sound controlling and seem like you have a lot of "rules" in regards to your son, i.e. lotions/soaps and a "bath protocol" and that's with your own parents. Unless your son has skin issues, I doubt that one or two baths with a mild children's soap is going to give him cancer.

With the way you are coming across with all these rules and such, you sound like one of "those moms" who it's not even worth it to watch your child b/c you seems like you would have problem with the least little thing that someone did that you wouldn't necessarily do. JMO, take it or leave it.
post #47 of 167
Jumping back to add - assuming all her intentions are good and there isn't some undisclosed real cause for concern - think about the relationship you would like to have with future grandchildren. Someday you may be walking in her shoes.

In full disclosure, my MILs (2, one step and one bio) are WHACKED and I would never let them watch DS, which is maybe why I am more willing to give grandparents/ILs a break when the spouse has what appear to be small/contolling/minor/petty issues with them.
post #48 of 167
You are overreacting.

She sounds like a loving, involved grandma . . . which is more than my kids have on their dad's side of the family. What is the harm in her bathing him? Even taking pictures of him in the tub? Dressing him up? How is this hurting him in the slightest? My mom does/did all these things with my kids when they were small . . . she even bathes with the kids sometimes.

Take a step back before you attack her for providing your son with loving and affectionate care. If you don't want her to use certain bath products, that's fine . . . but she isn't doing anything wrong!
post #49 of 167
I would not have a problem with MIL (or my mom) bathing and changing the kids' clothes In fact, I'm usually very grateful they come back clean. saves me time!

This from someone who is careful about checking our skin care products on cosmetic database and sticking only to safe soaps/lotions. But... to me, it's not a big deal for an occasional bath in Johnson & Johnson.

And I agree, if you do not want MIL to give baths you need be very up-front about it before she spends her free time caring for your child.

ETA: oh, and my mom has quite a bit of bath and naked bum baby pics of her grand kids. It's cute, it's harmless, it would never occur to me to be upset about it. In fact, she often gets extra copies of bath-time photos for me to have (and I frame them!).
post #50 of 167
I don't think it sounds like your MIL did anything out of the norm. Giving a baby or child a bath is not something that people normally think twice about. I was a nanny and I never thought to get permission from the parents before I bathed their son. And it's up to you to pack special products or make it known that no products (or no bath) be given. I wouldn't expect someone to know that.

As a mom I enjoy taking photos of my kids and my SIL's enjoy it even more. They photograph my kids every visit with them (just about) so I'm having a hard time seeing the problem there as well. If she photographed him nude just ask her to delete them and not take any in the future. It sounds like your MIL adores your son and that is something you should be happy about.

I think saying anything to your MIL could make things tense between you, if it's not already. And if she's not your childs regular caregiver you have to ask yourself if it's really worth it to bring these issues up.
post #51 of 167
To the OP, are you paying these people to babysit while you work? If not I don't think you should say anything, they are doing you a favor.
post #52 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caneel View Post
At first, my husband couldn't understand how excited she was about little things like giving a bath. It was sort of an issue as he would get annoyed with her.

Then I realized, sadly, that he never saw such unrestrainted parent/grandparent child love before and that was why he thought all the little things like sharing a bath time, getting the first hug thru the door, having a pj cuddle, etc. were unnecessary for a grandparent.
Wow, I think you've really hit on an important point here. Not to be too nosey, but what kind of relationship, if any, did you have with your own grandparents, kryztuh? If you were close with them then I would think you would want the same for your kids, but if not then I might understand why you have a difficult time wrapping your brain around this whole situation.

I had a very close relationship with my maternal grandparents, especially my grandmother when I was young. She was a rock for me growing up, she loved me unconditionally, she always had a kind word to offer and she gave freely of her time and affection. She had a very dysfunctional relationship with my mom while raising her and into adulthood, and I'm so glad my mother was still able to take a step back from all that and just let our relationship be what it was. The reason I tell that whole story is because I truly feel that not only did my relationship with my grandmother contribute a great deal to me being who I am today, and it also made me understand just how beautiful a grandparent/grandchild relationship can be.
post #53 of 167
I had to learn to let go of control when it came to people with my kids. Their grandparents love them, and though they don't do things just the way I would, they do things that work for them, and the kids love their grandparents.

I don't say that dismissively (for my daughter's first 3 years I wouldn't let anyone else do anything because they didn't do it 'right'.) I get it, but even though I've BTDT- it wasn't the right way for any of us to go.

Even now, my mom will sometimes do things with my kids that drive me batty. I've learned to let it go because the relationship they share is such a positive thing in my kids' lives.

I'll also say that my second is nearly 9 months old, and was sick this past week- I was really happy to see grandma giving him a bath when I came home from work. He had fun, she had a chance to relax because he stopped fussing, all around it worked well. I keep the supplies we use for him at home at their house as well- that way I know there won't be irritation issues.

I grew up hearing the phrase, 'you get control by giving it up,' and I've slowly come to see the wisdom in that statement.

All of the above said, if there is a real danger to the child, be as mamabear as necessary- for example, my kids will not be exposed to my fil. Ever. He isn't a good person, he's nuts, and he caused harm to other kids in the past. Ifit isn't a real danger, take a deep breath, and be happy the kids are so loved.
post #54 of 167
To me, it sounds like you have a very sweet, loving, and WONDERFUL child care arrangement for your little son right now! How blessed is your baby to be so lovingly cared for while you are at work. A warm bath and water to splash in, a clean change of clothes, pictures, and snuggles. That is a really fun afternoon for a 6 month old baby. And a joy for grandma, too.

I have to agree with other posters that it does sound like you are having a hard time adjusting to the fact that you have to be away from your little one, and that he will be sharing his time with other caregivers.

I don't think that your MIL crossed any boundaries and I am surprised that you would expect your parents to call you for "bath protocol" if he had a diaper explosion. Do you trust these people to love your son and keep him safe and happy? Then take a deep breath, they are doing a good job!

I am a caregiver too and maybe I can give you a peek from the other side. I have watched babies for other first time moms who called every couple hours, hovered over me, panicked, and got upset at everything. Every move, whether it was putting their baby in a playground swing, or going to the zoo, or taking a walk, was met with the suspicion that I was attempting to take away their baby's "firsts" and spend time doing the things with their babies that they wanted to do themselves while they were stuck at work. And frankly, it is unfair. And tiring. We are just trying to have a fun afternoon, nothing more. Barring some underlying issue that you haven't disclosed, it just sounds like a grandma having a great time with her little grandson. Both the bath, the change of clothes, and the PJs.

Best of luck and I hope you are able to work through this. Maybe packing some safe lotions and bath products in the bag would help put you at ease.
post #55 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by kryztuh View Post
Wow, you mamas are quick! Thanks for all of the replys!

I think some of it is my own issues with not being with DS during the day (no choice). The other part is that if she had asked if it was OK first (she had instant access to me via email and phone), I could have addressed the soap/lotion/safety/photo issues and felt like she was respecting me as the mama. Again, I guess this is my issue. I feel like I am the subject of subtle dismissals from her very often, but need to figure out if those are my issues coming to the surface or if she is being manipulative.

It honestly NEVER crossed my mind to go over baths with her because never in a million years is that something my dad or mom would do when watching DS. If he had a blow out or something, I know my parents would call me asking about bath protocol. I am very particular about the products we use and everyone knows it.

As far as the clothing goes, the last time she watched him for a few hours, she put on pjs and 'got him ready for bed'. It was not yet his bedtime and I told my DH to convey that getting ready for bed is my special time with DS after being away all day and it's not OK for her to do this, and that he should come home in the clothes he was wearing unless they are soiled. He said he would tell MIL. I guess I need to find out if he conveyed this.

Overall, you're right, this isn't the end of the world and she's only watching him for a few days. And it's not worth getting stressed out over. Sometimes I just feel like DH's family treats me like an incubator/milk factory and that's it. Need to think about it some more.
Mama, I understand that mama bear instinct. I remember when my DD was a newborn/infant and everyone wanted to hold her all the time. I remember aching to have her back in my arms. I thought I did let my family hold her all the time, according to my mom I "never" let her hold DD.
I also think you are overreacting a bit. While I think it a bit strange she gave him a bath for no reason, I don't think it is a big deal. I would have probably asked if he had recently taken a bath first, but no biggie. I agree with the other folks that are saying one bath with a different soap is not an issue unless your son has skin issues. I would think nothing of a grandparent playing in a baby pool with a baby in the summer, a bath is really not that different.
I would also never expect anyone to call me for "bath protocol" before bathing my baby after a blowout, nor would I call the parents if I was was watching anyone else's baby/toddler.
With regards to the jammies/special time, etc. She is not trying to take away your special time with your DS but have some of her own special time with him. You get to put on his jammies every night, is it that big of a deal for her to do it every once in a while?
I would also think nothing of a grandparent putting my child into another outfit or taking pictures (even naked ones) of them. There are sooo many more issues you could be dealing with - I didn't leave my DD with my mom until she was over a year because I had to worry about her doing things like giving my 6 month old ice cream (with me right there).
I also think since your MIL is not your DS's primary caregiver and is only watching him for a few days I would just let it go.
I also know what other mamas are saying about the passive aggressiveness and the baby just being a prop. I often feel this way about my own mom, when DD was younger it was all about making her perform and then her and the rest of the family would quickly lose interest. Just last month she freaked at the idea of us leaving her house at 8 pm (with an hour drive home) since a certain relative wasn't coming over until 7 pm and she wouldn't get to spend that much time with DD. Never mind DD's bedtime or anything else, it was just about how to fit DD into her plans.
post #56 of 167
I agree with most of the above posters that you may be overreacting just a tiny bit. I think a lot of us go through a stage where we want to control every little thing that happens to our kids, but then eventually realize that this is a battle that we just cannot win. Chilling out a little can relieve a lot of stress. So can picking your battles.

I know that my DS could stay in the bath for hours. Even at 6 months, he *loved* the bath. Maybe your MIL had similar experiences with her children, and wanted to do something fun with her grandson. There is only so much you can do for fun when they are that little.

If the bath product thing bothers you, I would go out and get a little basket, fill it with some yummy natural bath products,cute washcloths, etc and give it to your MIL as a little "for bathtime with Grandma" gift.

It sounds like she has good intentions and genuinely cares about her grandson. Pick your battles.
post #57 of 167
Thread Starter 
Wow. I didn't expect so many replies. I guess I am overly sensitive. Honestly, I never envisioned anyone other than me or DH giving baths. And it has never come up since I've been back at work, and I hadn't given it a second thought. When I said "protocol", that was way too strong of a word. I just meant that my Dad would not give DS a bath without calling first (and he wouldn't want to give a baby as young as DS a bath anyway, so he would probably call me to ask if it was necessary for a specific reason, not just the joy of bathing a baby). We don't use soap very often, so I wouldn't pack it.

Anyway, thanks for the feedback. DH mentioned to MIL that we aren't comfortable with baths at her OR my parents house. He agreed with me about the pics and asked her to delete any nekkid photos. The clothes thing I told him to just let it go (although it does feel like she is judging when he consistantly comes home in brand new clothes down to the socks). If I don't like the clothes, I just take them off when DS gets home and I can continue to do that.

Going back to work and dealing with DH's odd schedule has been a difficult transition, mixing in to that a strained but polite relationship with MIL over many years, including what I perceive as much interfering in our marriage. DH and I are in counseling to deal with many of these issues.

It's hard to explain nuances online, and being a mother for such a short time, it's hard to know what the right thing is to do sometimes. But I guess I should be prepared for all kinds of responses when I put myself out there online.
post #58 of 167
I think you have other issues with your MIL so this mole-hill turned into a mountain because of your feelings for her (trust me, I've been there with my FIL)

honestly, from what it sounds like your MIL wasn't playing "dress up" she probably was thinking "whats something fun I can do with ______?" and a bath is always fun and then put clean clothes on him afterwards. When you see her just say "hey MIL, I noticed you gave DS a bath the other day I just wanted you to know that next time you do can you make sure you use the lotions and etc that we use?".
post #59 of 167
Adjusting to motherhood and how it changes your relationships is no walk in the park, eh? It does sound like you are trying to control a lot, but there are probably underlying reasons for that. I ended up seeing a therapist because my personal issues with motherhood were starting to become a family affair. My therapist is a working mom with 2 young kids and it's such a relief to talk to someone who really gets what I'm feeling. (Plus, it's so relaxing and quiet there!! I wish I could go more often!!)

Good luck. Your son is young, you've only begun your journey as a parent. Most new moms are wound incredibly tight. Learning to let go and let others build their relationships with your son will come with time, if you give those relationships room to grow. Honestly, I'd saw off an arm to have involved, caring grandparents for my kids. Keep in mind that if you see great things in your husband, that crazy MIL probably had something to do with cultivating those qualities. And, she probably bathed her own kid(s) a time or two. Now that my kids are getting so big so quick, I can only imagine how wonderful it would be to hold another baby again and how incredibly special it would be if that baby was the child of my own child. We should probably give those "selfish grandmas" a bit more understanding. One day, if you're lucky, you might be one, too.
post #60 of 167
Honestly hon, I think you should try to lighten up just a little. I know how hard it can be to have to leave your little one with someone else, but they love him too and are trying to build a relationship with him as well.
If the issue is bath products, just explain to them that. If the issue is something else....well, that needs to be dealt with, whatever it is.
Also, if I wouldn't trust someone to give my child a bath, I wouldn't trust them to watch my child period.
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