Saturday, December 02, 2006

Attack of the in-laws

Okay, so I've already written about how my mother-in-law has been calling it "our baby" not "the baby" or "my grandbaby" or "it" and has said that she will continue to call it whatever they want. Which raised my hackles a bit, as many things my MIL says usually do. His mother and I don't mesh well.

She has boundary issues. For a long time, Max encouraged her by telling his parents (and his sister, who at 15 years older than him, is like a second mother) every single thing that happened in his life. I would tear my hair out in frustration whenever he got on the phone with them (when we started dating it was three times a week, but that has gradually slowed to once a week or every couple weeks). He would chatter on about how he thought his boss was stupid and his boss knew that and was trying to get him fired or how we were going to put the $600 worth of transmission repairs that needed to be done on his already-carrying-a-huge-balance credit card or how there was a sound outside that was very probably gunshots. His parents would get in a tizzy and spend the next 2 hours lecturing him about responsibility, or financial sense, or authoritatively saying that we needed to move, of course you can afford some place else, anybody can afford to move to the good side of town if they want to bad enough. It took me a very long time (years) to finally convince him that these were not things his parents needed to know. Tell them work is good. Tell them you had a great sandwich for lunch yesterday. Tell them your Sociology professor thinks you're witty. DO NOT tell them every stupid, dangerous, or ill-advised thing you do, because they will continue to think of you as a five-year-old moron and treat you as such. Parents should at least make a pretense of treating you like an adult, but you have to give them something to work with. And honestly, they just don' t need to know about all the stupid or hard things that come up in our lives. Their time for safety lectures and kissing boo-boos ends at some point.

He always accused me of having an insane need for privacy and not wanting to tell anyone anything. It's mostly true. I am crazy about my privacy as far as my family is concerned. I am extremely guarded about what I tell them, because in the past they have taken my trust and used it cruelly. So now I limit what I say, and they don't fish for more. It helps that I can tell my parents I'm working overtime this week to pay for car repairs and they will not feel compelled to give me a lecture about fiscal responsibility and car maitenance; they know that transmissions imploding like a black hole are just a fact of adult life. Max's parents...not so much. They like to dispense advice, they like to meddle, they like to push and pry.

Before I even considered getting pregnant with the child Max wanted so badly, I questioned my ability to deal with his parents when kid was involved. I knew his mother was salivating like the Big Bad Wolf in anticiaption of a grandchild. I knew their insane need to have their stickly little fingers in every aspect of their son's life. They have gotten a little better about it, but not much. And although I thought at first they could be cool about this whole baby thing, I'm starting to doubt it.

Besides laying claim to the fetus, my MIL is convinced it's a boy. To the point where she refers to it as "he" in conversation. At first she'd correct herself:

"After he's born - well, you know, IF it's a boy-"

But now she doesn't even bother:

MIL: "And he's going to do [this and this] and he's going to be like [that], blah blah blah..."
Max: "Mom, you know, it could be a girl. The baby could well be a girl."
MIL: "Hmm? Oh, whatever. Now, where was I? Oh, yes, he's going to [blah blah blah]..."

Those brackets above would be filled in with actual content if I knew what she'd said. My husband claims not to pay that much attention to his mother's phone-call ramblings, but I have a sneaking suspicion that he just doesn't want to tell me what sort of crazy expectations his mother is placing on our unborn child.

She's probably expecting that the baby will look, act, and cry exactly like Max did when he was a baby. She and my sister-in-law keep insisting that I must be craving Peanut M & M's, since MIL ate them all the time when she was pregnant with Max. Seriously, they ask me about it every fricken time I talk to them and ask him about it when I'm not on the phone.

SIL: "So, what are you craving, anything...sweet?"
Me: "Nope, actually I'm rocking the Carb Train right now. Mashed potatoes and oatmeal all the way."
SIL: "You sure you're not craving some chocolate? Like M&M's?"
Me: "Nope, but I do get a pretzel every time we pass a stand at the mall."
SIL: "Really? You don't want sweet stuff? No chocolate?"
Me: "Nope. But if you have some granola bars, I'll take those."
SIL: "You sure you're not eating Peanut M&M's? My mom ate so many of those when she was pregnant with Max..."
Me: "I'm pretty sure. I don't even like chocolate anymore."

They still sent me some in a "care package" with a note that said "I ate so many of these when I was pregnant with Max, I thought you'd probably want some too."

My husband tries to defend them, says they're just excited. I told him I think they're nuts and his mother is convinced it's a boy because they want a male heir so badly. I'm quite sure they are pissing themselves with glee at the prospect of another Sacred Male Scion to carry on the family name and "traditions." They like things to be done the "traditional" way; they harassed me about not changing my name when I got married; there was a lot of talk about how their last name had "a thousand years of history behind it" (umm, if you say so) and much wailing and gnashing of teeth about who would "carry on the family name" were Max to change his last name to mine. I tried pointing out that his father and father's brother married a pair of sisters, so his cousins (who have eight kids between them) were practically exact genetic copies of Max and SIL and seem to be hellbent on re-populating the Midwest, which should solve that whole "family name" issue. I was told that that was not the same, and does not count.

Wait until they find out that the kid's probably not going to have his last name. That should be fun.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So, he (or very possibly she) will have your last name?