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#1 of 94 Old 08-30-2011, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I suppose this is half vent/half looking for feedback.

 

My ex-MIL watches ds 2 days a week while I work from home. Yesterday, I must have heard her say "how big is Lorenzo? sooo big" about 15 or so times. She wants him to put his arms out with the so big.

 

It drives me crazy! I feel like she's trying to train a dog to go get the ball. My philosophy is to let the child lead in his learning. Mostly this means to hang out and pay attention to him while he does his thing and to be involved when he seems to want that...and not to distract or direct him with over the top attention, praise and teaching.

 

I didn't say anything to her. When I came down at one point she tried to get him to perform the trick in front of me and he didn't. I just didn't emphasize it and changed the focus. Really, I'm not sure what to say or how to approach it that doesn't feel to me like controlling her interactions with him. Once a while back when he started pulling to standing, she wanted to have him perform for his dad. I said "no, I don't want to make him do tricks. his dad will see when it comes naturally." So in general she knows my stance.

 

While I do make a point to say what I want with the "big" things (food, no tv, etc), with the day to day interactions I generally feel unsure about my place. I lead by example in how I interact with him and realize everyone will have their own way. Maybe I'm making a bigger deal out of it than it is?

 

I'm actually considering looking into alternative childcare because of the way that she is.

 

Any thoughts or perspectives?


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#2 of 94 Old 08-30-2011, 10:52 AM
 
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I am in the same boat with my MIL, and even to a certain extent with my DH. They both have this tendency to direct play and if the child (baby!) doesn't play the way that they want they get really... just mean. As an example, my MIL will come over and ask my DD what her favorite toy is and she'll bring over a dinosaur or something and play that the t-rex is eating a tree and MIL will say, "T-rexes don't eat trees, they eat other dinosaurs." Then she'll coax DD into making the t-rex eat another one of her dinosaurs and MIL will say, "Good girl!" Then DD will not want to play with dinosaurs for a month. I get that it's not "correct" for a t-rex to eat a tree, but she is only three and not really ready for the whole food-chain lesson. She will learn in due time, but right now she just wants to play with her dinosaurs in her fantasy universe where they are all nice to each other and what is wrong with that? I especially loathe the "GOOD GIRL!" all the time. I counted one time MIL came over and she said it over 50 times. My DH isn't nearly as bad because he doesn't want to be that way but he will revert back into that behavior sometimes (I think because he was raised that way, you know how it goes). 

 

Another example is that DD will take stacking blocks and line them up side-by-side by size and MIL will say. "No, that is not how you play with those. You have to make a tower. Let's make a tower." Then, she'll grab the blocks out of DD's hands to make a tower with them. DD loves her Nana and just lets her do it, but then she won't play with stacking blocks for a while. She'll also have a tremendous attitude the next day, which is out of character for her toothache-inducing sweet personality.

 

So I can commiserate. I don't have a lot of advice but I think you should trust your instincts as far as childcare is concerned. However, even if you do get him another childcare provider she is still going to interact with him because she is his grandmother and you really can't control that. Other than obvious abusive behavior (which you will definitely know when you see it), there is a huge range of ways people interact with kids and even if it disagrees with your fundamental principles there's just nothing you can do about it. 

 

But, like I said, if this person is a huge part of your kid's life and you feel that they are having a negative influence then you should definitely do something about it and look into alternative childcare.


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#3 of 94 Old 08-30-2011, 10:55 AM
 
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I sooo understand, I have to stay with the ILs for a while and my MIL does the same thing, asking DD the same question over and over again until the poor kid gives back the correct reply (DD is just starting to say words and reply when you ask her things) and what I also hate is when she parades the kid around her friends and asks her to perform tricks like a showdog. I do realize it's because she feels pride in the kid being so verbal so early, but still I don't like it.

 

I don't really have any words of advice here, though I think the best course of action would be to try to not make too big a show of what the kid is asked to perform, that might curb her enthusiasm a little. And for me, if you can afford/ choose to have someone else look after the child, prefereably a professional, that would be the best thing!

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#4 of 94 Old 08-30-2011, 12:07 PM
 
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I can relate and think you are justified in standing your ground and seeking other care.

 

I have an in-law who is very aggressive in her attempts to get my 1 year-old DC to perform, usually some combination of words and gestures (for some reason she really, really wants DC to wave and say "bye-bye" when people arrive or when no one is going anywhere, among other things. DC says "hi" to greet people and says "bye" and waves when they leave; DC doesn't seem to understand why she is asked to say goodbye over and over and over again to people who are coming rather than going).  This relative is also very into saying "good girl," but it is a question tied to the tricks--"are you a good girl? are you a good girl? then say 'bye-bye.'" This nearly-constant behavior flies in the face of so many things I believe about interacting with children and upsets my daughter, so my solution has been to limit contact in a delicate way.

 

I'd say to go with your gut--Mama instincts are rarely wrong!


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#5 of 94 Old 08-30-2011, 12:11 PM
 
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Based on the example you gave, I don't think it is a huge deal. Kids are trained to count, ABC's etc. I assume there is more to it and if it doesn't feel right to you then that is important. But I don't  think you can avoid it all together and it will probably still happen to some degree in other childcare situations. The difference is that his grandma loves him!

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#6 of 94 Old 08-30-2011, 02:01 PM
 
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Nobody is debating whether children are trained to do things (which they routinely are), or even whether it's possible (which it is), the question is whether it is right. Once you answer that, the question then becomes, "How can I protect my children from this?" I think the answer is that sometimes you can't but when you can, you should.
 

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Originally Posted by pbjmama View Post

Based on the example you gave, I don't think it is a huge deal. Kids are trained to count, ABC's etc. I assume there is more to it and if it doesn't feel right to you then that is important. But I don't  think you can avoid it all together and it will probably still happen to some degree in other childcare situations. The difference is that his grandma loves him!



Also, for the record, my 3 year old knows how to count and her ABC's and nobody trained her to do it. She picked it up from watching me count and watching me write/read. She's not a genius, either, just a normal kid doing what normal kids do - learning. 


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#7 of 94 Old 08-30-2011, 02:23 PM
 
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Okay, let me say it a different way. I don't think training a child to do something is wrong. Especially when it is done with good intentions and love. I don't want my child to be pressured to perform certain tasks but in OPs case it seems like the first example the grandmother wants to the baby to repeat a natural skill because she is proud. The second example is a pretty routine game that people play with children - and children enjoy it too. As I understand OP is trying to strike a balance - I'm guessing childcare is free and there are no other children in the home. Financial and health benefits there as well as all major requests honored by the ex-MIL. In my opinion this would not be a deal breaker.

 

holothuridea, I think your situation is different as you describe your MIL as overbearing. That is unfortunate.

 

 

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#8 of 94 Old 08-30-2011, 02:42 PM
 
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We are in disagreement. For me, it's an issue of personal rights. Once you give yourself the authority to train a child to do what you want, you violate their autonomy, even if you just want them to learn their ABC's. It's the difference between the child saying, "I want you to teach me X," and an adult saying, "I am going to teach you X." I understand that my views are pretty radical and I don't expect most people to have the same perspective. There are many ways adults have for relating to kids and if they are not abusive then there is nothing anyone can do about it. It is important and inevitable for children to be exposed to a wide range of treatment. However, as a parent you need to do what you believe in your heart to be the right thing and when you choose alloparents, or other caregivers, their ideas should be pretty much on the same page, I think.
 

ETA: This is easy for me to say because I stay at home and have never had to choose a care provider. I understand that there are many more issues to take into account and like you said, this may not be a deal breaker in the grand scheme of things.

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Originally Posted by pbjmama View Post

Okay, let me say it a different way. I don't think training a child to do something is wrong. Especially when it is done with good intentions and love. I don't want my child to be pressured to perform certain tasks but in OPs case it seems like the first example the grandmother wants to the baby to repeat a natural skill because she is proud. The second example is a pretty routine game that people play with children - and children enjoy it too. As I understand OP is trying to strike a balance - I'm guessing childcare is free and there are no other children in the home. Financial and health benefits there as well as all major requests honored by the ex-MIL. In my opinion this would not be a deal breaker.

 

holothuridea, I think your situation is different as you describe your MIL as overbearing. That is unfortunate.

 

 



 

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#9 of 94 Old 08-30-2011, 02:51 PM
 
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I play that game with my DS frequently. He enjoys it. I don't pressure, but there is a good bit of repetition. At this age (13 months), he likes repetition. When he's no longer enjoying the game, we move on, though. I don't really see it as training him to do a trick. It's just a simple game he enjoys. If she quits when he's clearly done, I'd just see it as her playing a fun game with her grand baby. Was your ex-MIL actually pressing him to continue past the point of him losing interest? In that case, I'd see a problem. As for how to deal with it, I won't pretend to know what the best method would be, but what I'd probably do is sit down with her, mention some of the things she does with him that are really great, gently inform her that I really prefer not to push DS into activities/games/tricks instead letting him lead the play, and then praise the great things she does again. I've noticed sandwiching criticism between compliments can sometimes make the criticism a little easier to take.

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#10 of 94 Old 08-30-2011, 03:06 PM
 
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There is a fine line. I've banned "good" and "bad" from the house and it works great. When people are overly "encouraging" I ask them to allow her to discover it on her own. Excessive praise that seeks to control makes me sick. I heard one older girl playing with a group and she kept saying "good climbing" etc. Constant evaluation is no way to live.

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#11 of 94 Old 08-30-2011, 05:14 PM
 
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It would absolutely annoy me.  I know this because MIL does the same game and it really annoys me.  She did the "so big" game with him when he was born in the hospital.  It didn't work then and it doesn't work now (DS2 is 17 months).  I attribute it to her lack of knowing what to do and how to interact. 

 

I find that how I feel about a person frequently impacts how much what they do with or near my child annoys me.  Some of my buddies might say or do something that doesn't bother me--but if another person that I didn't like so well did it?  Not so much.

 

Good luck with deciding about childcare.  An ex-MIL would have to be pretty excellent for me to feel like putting up with, but sometimes finances reign.


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#12 of 94 Old 08-30-2011, 05:28 PM
 
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Honestly, it sounds like she's just trying to play a game with him. Unless it's upsetting to him, I don't get why it's upsetting to you.
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#13 of 94 Old 08-30-2011, 06:54 PM
 
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I'm fine with disagreeing but I find myself wondering if you have/plan to potty train, train your child not to throw food on the floor, etc. Do you intend for your child to leave your home for school? I'm just not sure how that would play out longer term? Of course this is probably the first time I've considered the possibility of absolutely no training. Perhaps our definitions of the term training are different. I'm thinking of it as teaching a skill set, could be physical - like getting dressed independently, social - please and thank you, educational - 2+2=4, phonetics. As a parent I often identify skills that would be helpful to my children and teach them things.

 

If you are willing to discuss this perhaps we can start another thread.
 

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Originally Posted by holothuroidea View Post

We are in disagreement. For me, it's an issue of personal rights. Once you give yourself the authority to train a child to do what you want, you violate their autonomy, even if you just want them to learn their ABC's. It's the difference between the child saying, "I want you to teach me X," and an adult saying, "I am going to teach you X." I understand that my views are pretty radical and I don't expect most people to have the same perspective. There are many ways adults have for relating to kids and if they are not abusive then there is nothing anyone can do about it. It is important and inevitable for children to be exposed to a wide range of treatment. However, as a parent you need to do what you believe in your heart to be the right thing and when you choose alloparents, or other caregivers, their ideas should be pretty much on the same page, I think.
 

ETA: This is easy for me to say because I stay at home and have never had to choose a care provider. I understand that there are many more issues to take into account and like you said, this may not be a deal breaker in the grand scheme of things.



 



 

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#14 of 94 Old 08-30-2011, 06:54 PM
 
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Honestly, it sounds like she's just trying to play a game with him. Unless it's upsetting to him, I don't get why it's upsetting to you.


 

Yeah, I agree.  It is a sweet game played over and over.  If he isn't protesting how can you assume he is not a willing partner in this game?  

 

I don't think it is ever healthy to adhere so strictly to a pedagogical dogma.  I have read a bit about this parenting philosophy.  At the core it rings true with me, and I have kept it close to my heart.  But, practically speaking, it is just not enough for me.  Babies desire interaction.  They are social little beings.  At this age social interaction is almost everything in learning.  If nothing else I would certainly cut his grandma some slack. 

 

 

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#15 of 94 Old 08-30-2011, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She definitely has alot of great qualities too. Ds has a healthy attachment to her and yes, we don't pay. On top of that the ex would have a big problem if he had to pay someone else when his mother was available and quite eager. We are friends though it's such a fine line to offer up criticism.

 

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It's the difference between the child saying, "I want you to teach me X," and an adult saying, "I am going to teach you X." I understand that my views are pretty radical and I don't expect most people to have the same perspective. There are many ways adults have for relating to kids and if they are not abusive then there is nothing anyone can do about it.

I pretty much have the same perspective.

 

 

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Was your ex-MIL actually pressing him to continue past the point of him losing interest?

He was trying to do his own thing and she continued to try and get his attention. Clearly he wanted to do something else and the "game" kept happening.

 

 

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Unless it's upsetting to him, I don't get why it's upsetting to you.

From what I could hear, he was getting irritated, making "eh" noises and such.

 

What irritates me about it is that she does it because she thinks it's "cute". So it's for her enjoyment and it's distracting ds from doing what he would like to do. I totally get people do it all the time, I see people do it all the time and I think fundamentally it's a subversively controlling way to interact with a child. Instead of them being who they are and us discovering that, folks influence them to do what they want them to do and teach them to respond in certain ways.

 

 

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She picked it up from watching me count and watching me write/read. She's not a genius, either, just a normal kid doing what normal kids do - learning.


Absolutely- it's really neat to see how ds mimics me with no prompting on my part. For example, wiping the table! He grabbed the rag and was wiping things off with it. Haha. Oh and using the keys near the door. Children are totally equipped to learn and it's innate. The best teacher is example.

 

 

 

 


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#16 of 94 Old 08-30-2011, 07:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Babies desire interaction.  They are social little beings.  At this age social interaction is almost everything in learning.  If nothing else I would certainly cut his grandma some slack.

Totally. The social interaction just doesn't have to be led by the adult. Ds lets me know when he wants to interact and we certainly do. He'll come over and get close and we'll hug or play.

I think the perspective difference is either 1) everything is already within or 2) everything needs to be taught.

 

And yeah, like I initially said this post is half vent half feedback. I'm not trying to put her down or bash her.


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#17 of 94 Old 08-30-2011, 07:53 PM
 
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Babies love "so big" and peekaboo and other repetitive, predictable games. It helps them learn about reciprocal interaction. It is textbook child development, perfectly loving and caring and fun. You are too much in your head over this. Relax. 

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Originally Posted by ccohenou View Post

Babies love "so big" and peekaboo and other repetitive, predictable games. It helps them learn about reciprocal interaction. It is textbook child development, perfectly loving and caring and fun. You are too much in your head over this. Relax. 

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It's not hurting him and he sounds like he's having fun so I'd roll with it.  My kids love doing so big, my toddler was the one who taught it to her little sister.
 

 

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#19 of 94 Old 08-30-2011, 08:11 PM
 
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I got the impression in the OP that the baby was not really into the game but grandma was imposing on him to play it. There are ways that babies protest besides outright crying.

 

Out of curiosity, what pedagogical dogma/parenting philosophy are you referring to? If there's one that says that we shouldn't interact with our babies then I am totally not into it! If you are talking about UP and think that children should be praised, if empty praise is the only way we have of interacting with our children then we really need more tools in our toolbox, don't you think?
 

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Yeah, I agree.  It is a sweet game played over and over.  If he isn't protesting how can you assume he is not a willing partner in this game?  

 

I don't think it is ever healthy to adhere so strictly to a pedagogical dogma.  I have read a bit about this parenting philosophy.  At the core it rings true with me, and I have kept it close to my heart.  But, practically speaking, it is just not enough for me.  Babies desire interaction.  They are social little beings.  At this age social interaction is almost everything in learning.  If nothing else I would certainly cut his grandma some slack. 

 

 



 


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#20 of 94 Old 08-30-2011, 08:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Honey693 View Post



yeahthat.gif

 

It's not hurting him and he sounds like he's having fun so I'd roll with it.  My kids love doing so big, my toddler was the one who taught it to her little sister.
 

 

 

Yes, I remember playing it with my baby sister when I was 5...I was tickled because it made her laugh.  Relax, OP!  You and your baby are so lucky to have a grandma to watch him, I wouldn't make other arrangements over this kind of thing. 
 

 

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#21 of 94 Old 08-30-2011, 08:14 PM
 
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Maybe you could let her know what his signs are for moving on and not wanting to participate in an activity any longer. And.or show her other things that your son enjoys doing and playing that will also be fun for her. That may at least give her more fun and show her that the one game isn;t all he van do and also help her to read his cues. Some people are not great at reading childrens cues, Hopefully she will then play a wider variety of games with him and allow him the opportunity to express his "skills" more,


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#22 of 94 Old 08-30-2011, 08:24 PM
 
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If the baby pays attention and cooperates when you try to teach them something, it means they want to learn it.  You aren't stealing their autonomy by teaching them something they didn't ask to be taught.

 

What the heck kind of baby is there that could even say 'hey, I hear there is this 'so big' game where you ask how big I am and I raise my arms and then you squeal SOOO BIIIIIG like an idiot... I want to learn that and play it!'

 

believe it or not.. babies can't tell you what they want to learn.  You just teach them things til they stop paying attention.

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#23 of 94 Old 08-30-2011, 08:33 PM
 
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Again, I don't expect a lot of people to agree with me, but I don't expect this level of venom, either! Sheesh!


You clearly don't understand. I don't know why you are defensive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by treeoflife3 View Post

If the baby pays attention and cooperates when you try to teach them something, it means they want to learn it.  You aren't stealing their autonomy by teaching them something they didn't ask to be taught.

 

What the heck kind of baby is there that could even say 'hey, I hear there is this 'so big' game where you ask how big I am and I raise my arms and then you squeal SOOO BIIIIIG like an idiot... I want to learn that and play it!'

 

believe it or not.. babies can't tell you what they want to learn.  You just teach them things til they stop paying attention.



 

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#24 of 94 Old 08-30-2011, 09:29 PM
 
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Grandma is providing free childcare and you are kvetching over "so big," a game gazillions of happy babies have played with parents and grandparents. I don't get it.
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#25 of 94 Old 08-30-2011, 09:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by treeoflife3 View Post

If the baby pays attention and cooperates when you try to teach them something, it means they want to learn it.  You aren't stealing their autonomy by teaching them something they didn't ask to be taught.

 

What the heck kind of baby is there that could even say 'hey, I hear there is this 'so big' game where you ask how big I am and I raise my arms and then you squeal SOOO BIIIIIG like an idiot... I want to learn that and play it!'

 

believe it or not.. babies can't tell you what they want to learn.  You just teach them things til they stop paying attention.


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I do not read this post as defensive at all. in fact PP you sound very defensive yourself. Not every adult initiated interaction is detrimental to a toddler. I'm sorry that your MIL is overbearing, but I don't see the same situation happening in the OP. Just sounds like an excited grandma that is proud of her grandson.
My DS is very very good at limiting games and interactions to the ones he wants. Unless you were to physically restrain him you couldn't force him to "learn" anything he didn't want. He would just ignore you no matter how loud you got.

OP, I find that for some reason witnessing the interactions between my MIL and DS makes me irritated too (I have to stifle the need to micromanage and keep the "you're doing it wrong" comments inside). I'd limit my fights to the big things, but otherwise, try to find a place out of earshot to work. This way you won't feel compelled to fix things. They will find their own balance. If your toddler is anything like my toddler and your MIL is not an evil authoritarian, he will soon put her in her place himself.
Good luck!

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#26 of 94 Old 08-30-2011, 10:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by holothuroidea View Post

Again, I don't expect a lot of people to agree with me, but I don't expect this level of venom, either! Sheesh!


You clearly don't understand. I don't know why you are defensive.


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#27 of 94 Old 08-31-2011, 02:27 AM
 
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Honestly, it sounds like she's just trying to play a game with him. Unless it's upsetting to him, I don't get why it's upsetting to you.


^^This^^ was my thought.

 

I agree with a lot of what has been said here. I would not tolerate, for example, anyone telling my boy it's "wrong" to let a dinosaur eat a tree, or using excessive praise like some have described. People always try to get him to wave bye bye, and he often doesn't and DH and I just say "oh well, he doesn't want to" and people just let it go at that.

 

But the OP's original situation described sounds pretty harmless to me. My MIL does this too and DS plays along and it's *fun*. She does not pressure him and if he doesn't do it she lets it go. So, it's fine by me. I would say, OP, if your ex-MIL is pressuring him or pushing him when he doesn't comply....then maybe step in and say "I know how fun it is when he does it, but I think it's better to just let it go if he isn't into it right now". Otherwise, it gives her joy and I just can't see the harm in it (IF she's not pressuring him and IF he happily does it), so why interfere?


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#28 of 94 Old 08-31-2011, 04:13 AM
 
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Learn to play with your kid?  Seriously!! There are many baby books that teach you games for your toddlers.  This is one of them!! I actually had several books with titles Games to Play wit Baby - because my parents never interacted with me this way.  I had to learn from books how to interact with my kids. 

 

 

It is right up there with playing peek a boo,  this little piggy, making animal sounds, patty cake, or itsy bitsy spider.  

 

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#29 of 94 Old 08-31-2011, 04:58 AM
 
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I think it may help, like a PP said, to kind of show or explain your toddler's signs of being "done" with something to your MIL (mine doesn't get it either, and if you don't stop pretty early, DS gets really frustrated and then no one is happy!) - for example my MIL is a huge kisser/snuggler, sometimes DS tolerates this very well, others he is squirming to get down and away. I have to say (like it's not obvious) - that "hey, let him down to play, he doesn't want snuggles right now" - DS isn't playing with you, he honestly doesn't want kisses/snuggles right now. same with tickling (which is more of a FIL thing, but he reads DS's cues a lot better than MIL)

 

as far as tricks and games - so long as they aren't pushed/forced I have no problem with them. We really haven't done "so big!" but we do pat-a-cake and itsy-bitsy spider, sometimes DS will play along, others not. I try to encourage - but not force - greeting and waving good-bye, and we've started on "please" I think most of everyone here is on the same page regarding the "good" and "bad". I'll admit, we do say "good job!" sometimes, because I want to focus on the behavior.

 

I think as long as your MIL is on the same page as you with the BIG stuff, let the little stuff slide. We live with the IL's at the moment, and I bite my tongue alot. I hate the phrase "he has to learn . . ." - like sitting in a high chair vs. a lap, or having some one else do bed time, or sitting in a cart at the store . . .anyway, I digress.


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#30 of 94 Old 08-31-2011, 06:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holothuroidea View Post

Again, I don't expect a lot of people to agree with me, but I don't expect this level of venom, either! Sheesh!


You clearly don't understand. I don't know why you are defensive.



 



I'm not being defensive at all.  And no, I don't understand.  I would kill for free childcare and you'd get rid of it over a game every single person has ever played with their babies... except you apparently... because it takes away his autonomy?  Just tell her what his signs for being done are if he isn't loud and pushy about it and then be thankful she loves him enough to even interact with him.  Of all the awful things she could be doing that would give reason to end FREE CHILDCARE, this is definitely not one of them.  I could understand if she refuses to do anything besides sit him front of the tv... but she actually wants to play with him.  I can't even imagine telling someone 'hey, I know you play with my kid but I'm going to have to fire you even though I don't even have to pay you because you just don't do it correctly.'  This isn't a get rid of a FANTASTIC opportunity you have type of deal.  You just need to talk to her and explain that she needs to stop if he is showing certain signs.

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