A little background: My 2.5 year old daughter is still breastfeeding. I have a 9 month old as well, breastfed too. My in laws are very critical of my decision to tandem-feed our daughters and have been telling me since DD1 was 6 months old that I need to wean her.
My 2.5 year old is kind of picky with her eating and is made worse when made to feel pressure. We eat dinner every week at my in laws and every single dinner is a huge ordeal, her grandmother literally forcing her to eat and chastising her for not eating. She is not mean, per say. She more begs my daughter to eat and whines and makes a huge deal when she feels my daughter is not eating. Grandmother has also started making comparisons with my daughters, "See baby is eating very well. She loves vegetables..." And then she goes on about how beautiful the baby is and how she's growing and is plump and blah blah blah. . My mother-in-law has also made many comments about how the baby crawled earlier, walked earlier and she whispers that the baby is prettier/smarter... It makes me absolutely sick. I don't think my oldest daughter has heard the comments about prettier/smarter.... I worry she can sense it though and I'm getting very concerned about the open campaign my mother in law has at the dinner table to manipulate my oldest daughter into doing what she wants her to do.
Tonight I demanded that my husband say something to his mother when the comparison comments began. It was a very uncomfortable confrontation with his mother saying, "They are your children!" But still pretty much saying that she doesn't agree with what we are doing and she will do what she wants. He has in the past asked his parents to not make comparisons because we are worried about increased aggression from the toddler to the baby. Tonight my husband did speak up. But then it took me standing up too and it was very uncomfortable. From what I understand, it is not appropriate for a daughter in law to confront the mother-in-law. I just couldn't take another minute of it. I have had to deal with her constand disapproval on every single issue (vaccines, when to start foods, not having my daughter in pre-school yet...) Tonight, my mother in law said that competition is good and what am I going to do when they go to school. I didn't want to tell her that I'm seriously thinking of not sending them to school but that's another story. She's gonna flip out when she finds out I want to home school the girls.
I'm just really concerned about the competition my in-laws seem to be trying to encourage between my daughters and the fact that they think it is healthy to do this. I don't understand that way of thinking. I think competition between siblings is a difficult but natural fact of life and that we don't need to encourage more of it because we will have (already do have!) enough. I'm wondering what others would do if faced with this kind of situation. I do not leave my mother in law with both of my daughters alone. My oldest daughter goes to her house alone for a couple hours a week. I'm concerned about what grandmother is saying to my daughter when I'm not there. I'm also concerned because my mother in law may be taking care of both of my daughters if I return to work in the fall. It makes me almost sick to think of it because I feel I have to be there to protect them from what I consider to be foolish old fashioned manipulation tactics. I know my mother-in-law loves my daughters and I want her to have a relationship with them but this is becoming a serious issue and it is causing me problems with my husband and with the whole family of in laws. My father in law and my sister in law take the grandmother's side on everything and are constantly going against me on every issue... I just can't take it anymore. What would you do if you were in my situation? I do want to keep a good relationship with my mother-in-law. Cutting ties is not an option but the welfare and well-being of my daughters is at stake. I feel I must do something.
Thanks in advance for your advice.