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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wow. I've always had trouble getting along with my MIL, and I know that her parenting philosophies are radically different from mine (and from DH's, incidentally - they are not close at all), but this story really sealed it for me.<br><br>
I was telling her the other day that my DD1, who is 3, is very excited about the prospect of her baby sister starting solid foods because she wants to help make baby food and help feed her. So MIL tells me that, when DH was about this age, she taught him to feed his baby brother. She says that, when BIL would wake in the morning and cry in his crib, DH would often come into her bedroom and whisper, "Mommy, the baby is crying." So she'd send 3 year old DH downstairs to get a bottle of formula out of the fridge and tell him to bring it up and throw it into the crib, so the baby could find it and drink it.<br><br>
So here's this little kid, padding down the (ungated, of course) stairs, getting a cold bottle from the refrigerator, and going back upstairs to toss it into the crib for his baby brother. MIL thought it was great that she didn't have to get out of bed for any of this. Then, she says, when she got up around 9 am, she'd pay for it because the baby, his diaper and the whole crib would be soaked, but at least she was well rested. In fact, she says, some mornings she'd come in to find both kids asleep in the crib, the baby naked, because DH realized that the little one was still crying and would climb into the crib to take off his wet diaper and snuggle with him to help him fall back to sleep.<br><br>
OMG. The image of these poor tiny kids in there, with one trying to comfort the other so their mom could ignore them and sleep, makes me so sad for them. And MIL tells this story all the time because she thinks it's cute and funny - funny that she trained her toddler to feed the baby, funny that she had to deal with the wet sheets, funny that she'd find them in there together. Never occurs to her that some people might hear this and think she was cruel to neglect her infant. Not to mention that I find it really scary to think she left a toddler and an infant unsupervised together (my DD1 doesn't intentionally hurt her baby sister, but she wants to pick her up, and that seems like a recipe for disaster to me), or that she sent a toddler down the stairs into the kitchen alone, to open the fridge and do God knows what else, etc, etc, etc...<br><br>
Anyway, I keep going over this in my head and feeling bad, and I figured you mamas would share my feelings. Some days I don't know how DH and BIL turned into functional human beings - I guess they loved each other and that got them through. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: wow, that's lazy! and poor babies. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>beth568</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Not to mention that I find it really scary to think she left a toddler and an infant unsupervised together (my DD1 doesn't intentionally hurt her baby sister, but she wants to pick her up, and that seems like a recipe for disaster to me), or that she sent a toddler down the stairs into the kitchen alone, to open the fridge and do God knows what else, etc, etc, etc...</div>
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This is a sad picture. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
There was an episode of CSI last season where a toddler was playing with the infant and the infant died. It was loosely based on a true story.
 

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that makes me angry and sad too. Poor little ones. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/disappointed.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="disappointed">
 

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Well besides the obvious <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/angry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="angry"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shake.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shake"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/disappointed.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="disappointed"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/mecry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="crying"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hopmad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hopping mad"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hammer.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hammer"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/splat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="splat"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/soapbox.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="soapbox"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/Cuss.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="cuss"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/banghead.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="banghead"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/censored.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="censored"><br><br>
At least you see your DH was (and I am sure is now) a compassionate and loving person. What a sad story. I knew a lady one time who slept (passed out more correctly) while her 4 year old would climb on the counter and get a box of dry cereal and spill it on the floor to feed his younger brother and sister. It was apalling, I was too young to know to call CPS, but old enough to know it was wrong. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> I still wished I would have done more than fix them breakfast and clean them up and get them dressed. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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Obviously it is a terrible way to go about things, but think of it in this light - the baby had a loving sibling who fed and cuddled him. (Hardly ideal, but thank god your Dh was such a love. He's a special guy).<br><br>
At least the poor babe didn't have to cry alone.<br><br>
As sad as the story is, I'm very touched.
 

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That is a really sad story. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> It would irk me too if someone close to me thought that this was okay. Especially the sheets being wet. And both babies in there together? On the surface sure it sounds cute when they comfort each other would it not be for the sorrounding circumstances! Poor guys.
 

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Ugh. Horrible. If I were you every single time she asked to watch MY children I would bring up this story. If she did it to her kids, and thinks it's okay- and funny even!, then what's to stop her from doing it to her grandkids? *shudder*
 

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OK, I agree that there is a lot wrong with this type of parenting. But it also seems like you are discounting what kids can do. My 2 YO is perfectly competent to go up and down stairs all the time and we took the gates down a few months ago. Both my 2 YO and 5 YO are capable of getting food for themselves from the fridge and from the pantry and get their own snacks. Heck, my 2 YO can pour milk from carton to cup just fine. No, I don't think they should be taking care of themselves or each other and I don't sleep while they do so. Yes, regular neglect is sad, but you make it sound like having a kid in a kitchen without mommy is automatically dangerous and I don't think that part of the story is a problem at all.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
Evan & Anna's mom,<br>
There's a huge difference between a 2 year old and 5 year old taking care of themselves vs. a 3 year old and an infant.
 

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its so sad that your dh had to take the role of parent at 3 yrs old.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
About the kids being alone in the kitchen: no, in a well-childproofed house, that shouldn't be dangerous. But I doubt my MIL was careful about safety then, based on her story. So my concern stems from the fact that she likely had things in the kitchen, including cleaning products, accessible when she sent DH down there alone as a toddler. And, if she was asleep, he could have wreaked all kinds of havoc without her knowing about it. I think plenty of young kids are capable of basic self-care tasks, and in fact it's something to encourage. But there's a big difference between teaching kids to be self-sufficient and just not caring about what they can reach, KWIM?<br><br>
She has a lot of stories about the trouble her kids got into when they were little and left unsupervised for long periods of time. I just wonder.
 

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That makes me sad too. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
My MIL used to tell me stories of how she could not stand DH's sister (2 years younger than DH) when she was a baby and would put her in the crib, wrapped tightly, prop up the bottle and close the door and leave her screaming...<br><br>
SIL has so many problems as an adult, sadly and mistakenly blames my DH for many of them.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Greensleeves</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
Evan & Anna's mom,<br>
There's a huge difference between a 2 year old and 5 year old taking care of themselves vs. a 3 year old and an infant.</div>
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I didn't imply that either should HAVE to take care of themselves. I only pointed out that I do not agree with the OPs indication that having a 3 YO in the kitchen or going up and down the stairs was automatically dangerous. The idea of having any age child have to take care of themselves because a parent is unwilling to do so makes me very angry indeed.
 

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I'm just curious--how does your husband feel about this story?<br>
I just wonder if he cringes when he hears her tell it, or if it isn't familiar with it (and probably has no memory of it) or etc.<br>
Because if I heard my mom tell me a similar story, I'd probably need more therapy than I've already had! :LOL<br><br>
And one other question--is it possible that she has the age of your dh wrong in the story?<br>
I only ask because my three year old doesn't have the strength to open the refrigerator--although I bet she'd like to!<br><br>
I do think it's sad--and too bad you have to hear it--BUT--you are lucky to know better! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>GranoLLLy-girl</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">And one other question--is it possible that she has the age of your dh wrong in the story?<br>
I only ask because my three year old doesn't have the strength to open the refrigerator--although I bet she'd like to!</div>
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My 3 yr old could do this (she is more like 3.25). Not that I ask her to go downstairs to get her sister a bottle, etc, but she can open the frig and get her own stuff, if it is ready for her. The other day she started feeding DD2 (17 months) as they were both sitting at the table together. Course, I was right there and it was totally ok with the 2 of them. Dh said he watched them yesterday morning as he was taking a shower get DD2's clothes and diaper off (for whatever reason <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug"> ).<br><br>
Anyway, I don't say any of this to condone what the OP was describing, but just add to say that some 3 yr olds can do some of this stuff (and want to!).
 

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That is sad.
 
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