Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Holidays => Topic started by: Lady Snowdon on December 22, 2012, 06:47:33 AM

Title: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: Lady Snowdon on December 22, 2012, 06:47:33 AM
Some BG: DH and I had originally volunteered to host a family Christmas dinner on Dec. 15th, since we were going to be out of state on Christmas Day itself.  Around Thanskgiving, our niece unexpectedly had to go to the hospital with a bone infection, and was projected to be there for six weeks, or until January 6th. 

We rescheduled the family Christmas day to be January 13th, although one of my sisters in law kept saying we should reserve January 20th as well, "just in case".  DH and I will still be hosting it, and I thought everything was set.

Found out this week that our niece only needed four weeks of treatment, and so was discharged last Friday.  This is wonderful news!  She gets to spend her first Christmas at home with her parents and big sister!  Everybody was pretty excited about that, especially since we were told from the beginning it was always going to be six weeks.

Anyway, I got an email from my other sister in law yesterday, asking if we could move the family Christmas date again, to January 6th.  So now we've agreed on the 13th, but one sister in law wants to "save" January 20th, and another wants to move everything to January 6th.  ::)  I know my social life is a bit dead, but I can't really reserve the entire month of January weekends!  DH and I both have friends who would like to see us in January, and we've already told them any weekend except the 13-14th will work.  In addition, DH might have to go in and do inventory at his work on the 6th.  He's not totally sure though; it could be the weekend before instead.  And, well, I'd like to have a bit more time to clean our house!

Flat out saying "I'm sorry, we can't switch the dates, we have other plans" will unleash a storm of guilt trippiness, from both sisters in law, plus my mother in law.  Guilt trips are surprisingly effective on me, so I'd like to avoid that.  Telling them that DH may have to work that day will be met with "oh, that's okay, we can come over later in the day for dinner then!".  What are some nice, polite ways to say "No, we're having this on the 13th, like we already planned!". 
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we?
Post by: Venus193 on December 22, 2012, 06:59:02 AM
Your house, your event, your budget, your schedule, your rules. 

"Since the first date change we have made other plans for the other weekends.  We cannot make further changes as they impact on other people.  It will be on the 13th."

Then refuse to listen to any guilt-inducing reactions.  Bean dip.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we?
Post by: peaches on December 22, 2012, 07:14:17 AM
Flat out saying "I'm sorry, we can't switch the dates, we have other plans" will unleash a storm of guilt trippiness, from both sisters in law, plus my mother in law.  Guilt trips are surprisingly effective on me, so I'd like to avoid that.  Telling them that DH may have to work that day will be met with "oh, that's okay, we can come over later in the day for dinner then!".  What are some nice, polite ways to say "No, we're having this on the 13th, like we already planned!".

You've already suggested the polite way to express this: "I'm so sorry, we can't switch the dates, as we have other plans. We hope to see you on the 13th. But if you can't make it, we'll understand."

Don't go into detail about the "other plans". That's where people get into trouble; it only leads to endless negotiation.

When someone is kind and generous enough to host a party, it's up to the guests to fit into the host's plans or politely decine the invite. This goes for families, too.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we?
Post by: Deetee on December 22, 2012, 08:57:39 AM
Sorry, we are busy on the other weekends. If someone else wants to host we might be able to come by but no promises.

We look forward to seeing everyone on Jan 13th and are so happy to hear that niece is out of hospital.

Edit: I meant to write the 13th there not the 20th. Sorry about that.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we?
Post by: buvezdevin on December 22, 2012, 09:16:09 AM
Sorry, we are busy on the other weekends. If someone else wants to host we might be able to come by but no promises.

We look forward to seeing everyone on Jan 20th and are so happy to hear that niece is out of hospital.

The bolded is perfect for underscoring that this is an effort you are graciously extending to your family *as well as* a date commitment.  So, it is not only worth stating, but may help limit guilt trips if combined with "so, on (whatever date someone pushes) are you going to host?"
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we?
Post by: JenJay on December 22, 2012, 09:41:06 AM
What ^ they said. A combo of "So sorry, we've made plans with friends on the other weekends" and "If someone else wants to take over and have it another time we'll do our best to be there."
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we?
Post by: Emmy on December 23, 2012, 06:06:21 AM
I would just say that you had planned on the 13th for quite a while and you and DH have plans the other weekends so it won't be possible.  I think people don't always think about other people's schedules when making such requests.  Moving it up would not only change your weekend plans, but others may have already planned their schedule around the family dinner on the 13th.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we?
Post by: Winterlight on December 23, 2012, 07:52:12 AM
I think DH should deal with them!
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we?
Post by: MrTango on December 23, 2012, 09:33:34 AM
I'd just tell them that you'll be hosting on the 13th and if they can't make it, you'll miss them.

If they try to send guilt-trip emails, just hit the delete button as soon as you realize that's their intent.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we?
Post by: JeanFromBNA on December 23, 2012, 07:45:41 PM
This is a perfect time to practice "I'm sorry, but that won't be possible."

Isn't this the kid that your family wanted to cancel all of the holidays for?
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we?
Post by: Lady Snowdon on December 29, 2012, 07:01:43 AM
Update:

So no more has been heard regarding changing the date.  DH and I had tentatively began to plan what we were going to serve, and how much time we'd need to put into cleaning up, did we have enough chairs, etc.  Then I got an email last night.  Sister in law "doesn't feel comfortable" bringing her child anywhere for the month of January, so it should be at her house.  But - we can still bring food over, and cook it at their house, and still host everything!   >:( 

I understand that she might be a little anxious about bringing the baby somewhere crowded or with a bunch of potentially sick adults around, or whatever, but this was going to be a gathering of eight people tops (and that's including their family)!  Still, it's a valid reason to bring up, and if she wants to have it at their house, fine, go ahead.  I am NOT, however, going to bust my butt preparing and serving dinner at their house.  If they want to host, they can host.  I won't do part of it for them. 

I emailed her back, and said, sure, we can move it to your house if you want to host, DH and I can bring a side or salad if necessary.  She wrote me back and told me that was fine, she had just offered to let us host because she "felt bad" about moving it to their house.  So apparently letting us "host" the party at their house was supposed to be some sort of sop thrown to us to make up for yanking this away from us.  Instead, it feels like a slap in the face.  Sort of a "your home isn't good enough to set foot in, but we want you to cook for us because we like your food". 

It's a good thing this is still two weeks away.  Maybe by then I'll have conquered the impulse to confront her and ask why our house isn't good enough for her children...
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: Kaypeep on December 29, 2012, 07:12:54 AM
Lady Snowden, I'm sorry you're upset but I have to say that I think you're letting your frustration with all the recent plan changes color the situation.  The baby was in the hospital for quite a while with a bone infection.  I don't know where you live but I think it's very reasonable for the parents to not want to travel outdoors with her in January and just stay inside.  I don't see this as some kind of "your home isn't good enough" statement at all.  I see it as a very overprotective parent situation.  I think it was a bit inconsiderate to assume you and your DH would simply supply all the food and cart it over there, especially since they have been jerking you around with suggesting various date changes already.  But I think with a sick baby in the hospital and another little one at home, their train of thought and priorities lie elsewhere right now.  I feel for you with all this nonsense, but I think I would give them a pass on this one and not take it so personally.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: JenJay on December 29, 2012, 09:44:09 AM
If germs are still a big risk to the baby she should just cancel and let everyone else continue as planned. If this is important to you I think you should call her back and say "SIL I've already purchased some of the food and begun preparing the house. I was really looking forward to throwing this dinner and I'm going to go ahead. I can assure you my home is clean and there will be no risk to the baby, but DH and I will understand if you still don't want to come. Discuss it with BIL and let us know."

Imagine if someone posted "My SIL has planned a family dinner for my husband's side. My child has been in the hospital recently and I'm concerned about taking her out of the house so soon. I asked SIL to postpone the dinner but she said that wasn't possible. Is it okay if I insist everyone come to my house instead?" I think the consensus would be "No, you can't do that. You need to let your SIL know that your family won't be able to make it, due to the baby's recent illness. If it bothers you to miss out on the family dinner you can offer to host another one when it's safer for your child to have everyone around."
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: Surianne on December 29, 2012, 10:53:57 AM
Lady Snowden, I'm sorry you're upset but I have to say that I think you're letting your frustration with all the recent plan changes color the situation.  The baby was in the hospital for quite a while with a bone infection.  I don't know where you live but I think it's very reasonable for the parents to not want to travel outdoors with her in January and just stay inside.  I don't see this as some kind of "your home isn't good enough" statement at all.  I see it as a very overprotective parent situation.  I think it was a bit inconsiderate to assume you and your DH would simply supply all the food and cart it over there, especially since they have been jerking you around with suggesting various date changes already.  But I think with a sick baby in the hospital and another little one at home, their train of thought and priorities lie elsewhere right now.  I feel for you with all this nonsense, but I think I would give them a pass on this one and not take it so personally.

I agree.  The baby was very ill, and she's scared of taking her outside.  She still wants to get together with you and the family, so suggesting that it be moved to her place seems reasonable. 

I can also see how she might think you were excited about cooking and had dishes planned, so you might enjoy the cooking as much at her place as you would have at yours.  That makes more sense to me than jumping straight to the conclusion of her trying to take advantage of you. 

I don't see any deliberate slap in the face or insult here.  It sounds like a frustrating situation, but I'd try to cut her some slack here and believe her about her motivations. 
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: peaches on December 29, 2012, 12:39:54 PM
The thing that I noticed is that SIL's story has changed. At first, she wanted to control the date, and now she wants to control the location. I can see why OP is frustrated. Entertaining is a lot of work, and it's even harder when the target keeps changing.

While I'm sympathetic with SIL wanting to protect her child who was recently ill, I don't see how moving the party to her house helps a lot. There will still be people coming in, carrying whatever germs and viruses are going around. If I were that concerned, I'd just say "we can't participate this year".

Anyway, OP has handled it well. If SIL wants to host, she can host, with all that that entails.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: gramma dishes on December 29, 2012, 01:51:25 PM
OP ~~  Isn't the one that was in the hospital a really little baby? 

I have to say that although I understand how incredibly frustrating this is for you, and I do sympathize because I know you've been looking forward to this, I can also kind of understand the reluctance on your brother and SIL's part.  It's pretty darned scary to have a tiny baby so sick and I probably would also hesitate to take the baby on an outing so soon after she'd just gotten out of the hospital.

If this isn't a pattern, I hope you can look at is as not an effort to control you but as just being extremely protective of their child.  Now if it happens again?  That's a whole different matter!! 
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: Venus193 on December 29, 2012, 03:41:48 PM
I completely agree with Peaches and with JenJay.  Your SIL just wants to be in control.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: doodlemor on December 29, 2012, 03:59:55 PM
OP ~~  Isn't the one that was in the hospital a really little baby? 

I have to say that although I understand how incredibly frustrating this is for you, and I do sympathize because I know you've been looking forward to this, I can also kind of understand the reluctance on your brother and SIL's part.  It's pretty darned scary to have a tiny baby so sick and I probably would also hesitate to take the baby on an outing so soon after she'd just gotten out of the hospital.

If this isn't a pattern, I hope you can look at is as not an effort to control you but as just being extremely protective of their child.  Now if it happens again?  That's a whole different matter!!

I second this.

Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: Yankeegal77 on December 29, 2012, 04:02:10 PM
I completely agree with Peaches and with JenJay.  Your SIL just wants to be in control.

As do I. This sounds like SIL wants to control the event and might be using the baby's illness as an excuse. Honestly, if she were truly concerned about leaving the house, illness, etc, the last thing she should want to do is invite  *anyone* over. Germs, possible coming-down-with-something even if someone feels okay, the door opening and introducing a draft...no, if I were a concerned mother, I would have backed out entirely with profuse apologies. That would have been 100% understandable.

The whole deal with "letting you host" was downright weird. I'd be pretty irked, too. If I were you and your DH, I'd either show up with a salad/dessert//bottle of soda (as in, token item) let her host and afterwards, keep this "filed for reference" for future events. (Did you say you had friends you planned to meet? Maybe you can host a gathering for them and a less formal get-together for family as well if you were looking forward to hosting?)
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: Phoebe on December 29, 2012, 04:12:08 PM
I completely agree with Peaches and with JenJay.  Your SIL just wants to be in control.

As do I. This sounds like SIL wants to control the event and might be using the baby's illness as an excuse. Honestly, if she were truly concerned about leaving the house, illness, etc, the last thing she should want to do is invite  *anyone* over. Germs, possible coming-down-with-something even if someone feels okay, the door opening and introducing a draft...no, if I were a concerned mother, I would have backed out entirely with profuse apologies. That would have been 100% understandable.

The whole deal with "letting you host" was downright weird. I'd be pretty irked, too. If I were you and your DH, I'd either show up with a salad/dessert//bottle of soda (as in, token item) let her host and afterwards, keep this "filed for reference" for future events. (Did you say you had friends you planned to meet? Maybe you can host a gathering for them and a less formal get-together for family as well if you were looking forward to hosting?)

Assuming the SIL just wants to "control" the situation is cruel.  I've been in a very similar situation to SIL, I had a newborn in ICU for 3 weeks before he was even allowed to come home.  This isn't about control beyond the fact that BOTH of the parents (stop blaming SIL!) want to keep their new baby healthy and, you know, ALIVE.  They wouldn't be having people over if the doctor hadn't OKd it.  Trust me.  Good grief, people.  We're talking about a life here.  It's a little more important than where dinner is held.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: Venus193 on December 29, 2012, 04:20:53 PM
If I recall correctly, this SIL has a history of attempting to control these situations.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: Phoebe on December 29, 2012, 04:26:58 PM
If I recall correctly, this SIL has a history of attempting to control these situations.

Even if she does, it doesn't matter where a (recently) critically ill baby is concerned.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: JenJay on December 29, 2012, 04:32:18 PM
If I recall correctly, this SIL has a history of attempting to control these situations.

Even if she does, it doesn't matter where a (recently) critically ill baby is concerned.

Personally, if my child was so sick I couldn't take her outside of my home without risking a relapse, there is no way I'd want a bunch of people coming over.

Sticking to etiquette, I don't think an ill child means SIL gets to call OP up and inform her the dinner will now be at SIL's house. She can ask, certainly, or decline the invite due to concerns about taking the child out of the house, but not commandeer an already planned and partially prepped-for dinner party.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: penelope2017 on December 29, 2012, 04:38:32 PM
I completely agree with Peaches and with JenJay.  Your SIL just wants to be in control.

As do I. This sounds like SIL wants to control the event and might be using the baby's illness as an excuse. Honestly, if she were truly concerned about leaving the house, illness, etc, the last thing she should want to do is invite  *anyone* over. Germs, possible coming-down-with-something even if someone feels okay, the door opening and introducing a draft...no, if I were a concerned mother, I would have backed out entirely with profuse apologies. That would have been 100% understandable.

The whole deal with "letting you host" was downright weird. I'd be pretty irked, too. If I were you and your DH, I'd either show up with a salad/dessert//bottle of soda (as in, token item) let her host and afterwards, keep this "filed for reference" for future events. (Did you say you had friends you planned to meet? Maybe you can host a gathering for them and a less formal get-together for family as well if you were looking forward to hosting?)

Assuming the SIL just wants to "control" the situation is cruel.  I've been in a very similar situation to SIL, I had a newborn in ICU for 3 weeks before he was even allowed to come home.  This isn't about control beyond the fact that BOTH of the parents (stop blaming SIL!) want to keep their new baby healthy and, you know, ALIVE.  They wouldn't be having people over if the doctor hadn't OKd it.  Trust me.  Good grief, people.  We're talking about a life here.  It's a little more important than where dinner is held.

Yeah, a lot of these replies are really surprising to me. Whatever the SIL's past, this is a fragile new baby that was very ill. Not having to take the baby out in the elements alone is a reason to have the event at the SIL's house.

I realize the OP is frustrated but I really have a hard time believing that someone who's new baby was deathly ill is really going to spend time creating this devious plot to "control" a family holiday celebration. Even parents of a healthy new baby are often encouraged to keep the baby home initially during cold winter months. It is totally reasonable and makes sense that the OP's SIL wants to do the same.

It is no indication that the OP's house "isn't good enough" and I do actually think the SIL was trying to be considerate by saying since you had planned to host, that you could just continue your plans but at their house.

OP, is this also a SIL that previously lost a child, or am I thinking of someone else? If so, it makes even more sense that she is overprotective. I think in these cases we might realize people are extremely concerned for their baby's welfare and be a little sensitive to that. I really think writing off this situation as "using the baby as an excuse to control things" is pretty callous way of looking at it.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: Deetee on December 29, 2012, 05:03:10 PM
If I recall correctly, this SIL has a history of attempting to control these situations.

Even if she does, it doesn't matter where a (recently) critically ill baby is concerned.

Personally, if my child was so sick I couldn't take her outside of my home without risking a relapse, there is no way I'd want a bunch of people coming over.

Actually, I can totally see a situation where I wouldn't want to take a child out, but would be fine with people coming over. In fact, that is what I plan for next Christmas when I will have a second young child. When people come over, the child still has the same bedroom and crib and changing table. If they are tired, they are more likely to take a nap in familiar surronding. If they are nursing and not comfortable (mom or baby) in front of others, they will eat better in familiar surrondings. If mom or dad or baby are a little overwhelmed, they can retreat for 15 minutes into a bedroom that is theirs.

Comfort and health concerns are not just about the number of people the child is exposed to. It is about the entire environment.

Lady Snowdon, I know there is some backstory and a history of hard feelings, but this is not the time or place to make a stand or be upset. Your SIL's request is perfectly reasonable and is really not about you or your place not being "good enough". It's about them not being the baby's home.   
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: NyaChan on December 29, 2012, 05:10:01 PM
I completely understand that you are upset OP.  I would be irritated by them trying to humor me by "letting" me cook everything and serving it out of their house.  I don't see what purpose it served to have her even point it out to you that she was just offering as a favor/out of guilt beyond getting it across that their true preference was to host the event entirely by themselves.  That said, I would do my very best to let it go in this case.  Yes, your event was changed and ultimately taken from you and that wasn't right.  However, under the circumstances, I don't think you should let this weigh on your mind.  I don't think it is crazy to think that SIL wanted this holiday to be all about her family, i.e. they are in crisis, everyone should accommodate us!! and then having a hard time letting that status go once the crisis has past.  But she is a mom & her baby was sick, and giving her the benefit of the doubt in this limited case would be the generous thing to do.  Granted I'm still mad that my friends took Thanksgiving away from me in a similar fashion so I guess I'm not really in a position to say anything lol  ;D
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: JenJay on December 29, 2012, 05:12:22 PM
If I recall correctly, this SIL has a history of attempting to control these situations.

Even if she does, it doesn't matter where a (recently) critically ill baby is concerned.

Personally, if my child was so sick I couldn't take her outside of my home without risking a relapse, there is no way I'd want a bunch of people coming over.

Actually, I can totally see a situation where I wouldn't want to take a child out, but would be fine with people coming over. In fact, that is what I plan for next Christmas when I will have a second young child. When people come over, the child still has the same bedroom and crib and changing table. If they are tired, they are more likely to take a nap in familiar surronding. If they are nursing and not comfortable (mom or baby) in front of others, they will eat better in familiar surrondings. If mom or dad or baby are a little overwhelmed, they can retreat for 15 minutes into a bedroom that is theirs.

Comfort and health concerns are not just about the number of people the child is exposed to. It is about the entire environment.

Lady Snowdon, I know there is some backstory and a history of hard feelings, but this is not the time or place to make a stand or be upset. Your SIL's request is perfectly reasonable and is really not about you or your place not being "good enough". It's about them not being the baby's home.   

I have three "babies" so I'm very aware of why parents may prefer to stick close to home with little ones.  :)

I'm only speaking to the specifics of this situation - baby being so ill (or susceptible to illness) that taking baby out might cause a relapse and whether or not it's okay to change someone else's dinner party to accommodate the baby without asking the would-be host first.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: Poppea on December 29, 2012, 05:28:43 PM
Holy Guacamole!  This poor woman has a baby die at 4 days old and then another one in the hospital for weeks as a newborn (all within 2 years) and anyone is criticizing her for being too protective/controlling?  OP she may truly be a horrible controlling  difficult person in normal circumstances, but you have to give her a lot of slack in these circumstances.  Next year when she has a healthy little one toddling around feel free to shut her down, 

In the present circumstances you need to let her host and just bring whatever you want (if anything).  If you balk you will just look like an unfeeling unkind person. 
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: Lady Snowdon on December 29, 2012, 05:37:08 PM
Holy Guacamole!  This poor woman has a baby die at 4 days old and then another one in the hospital for weeks as a newborn (all within 2 years) and anyone is criticizing her for being too protective/controlling? OP she may truly be a horrible controlling  difficult person in normal circumstances, but you have to give her a lot of slack in these circumstances.  Next year when she has a healthy little one toddling around feel free to shut her down, 

In the present circumstances you need to let her host and just bring whatever you want (if anything).  If you balk you will just look like an unfeeling unkind person.

I don't think there's any need to shout that.  Yes, I know that her first child died at 4 days old (3 years ago to be precise), and she was given a LOT of slack for that holiday season, and the next one (when she had a newborn and we all hoped that every day nothing would happen).  Then we had to give her slack last year, when her daughter was a year old, because it's hard for parents of young ones to get around and do things.  Now I need to cut her some slack this year.  Can you see where I'm getting to the point where it's hard to keep doing that?

Also, I said in my update that I emailed her back and told her if she'd like to host she certainly can.  I have not told her she can't host, I have not told her that she's ridiculous, nothing like that.  My email said I could understand her reservations, and if she wanted to host, she was welcome to do so. 
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: Queen of Clubs on December 29, 2012, 05:52:49 PM
OP, I can understand why you're feeling rather annoyed at yet another 'give SIL some slack!' season.  Unfortunately, even if she has a history of being controlling and manipulative, there's no way you can say anything due to the circumstances.  I think your email back to her was fine.  I hope the dinner goes well.

I am surprised that your SIL would rather have the hassle of preparing dinner for all those people though.  With two very young children to look after, especially one who's so very delicate at the moment, I would have thought hosting a dinner party would be too much hassle.  Maybe your BIL will be doing the cooking or they'll buy a catered meal.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: penelope2017 on December 29, 2012, 06:02:50 PM
I can see why it seems like you are giving her a lot of slack but quite frankly she has had a lot of extenuating circumstances. Death and severe illness of children are extremely difficult on there own let alone piled into a few years together. Being asked to reschedule or relocate a holiday dinner might be irritating but I seriously doubt she is using these tough experiences as an excuse to control anyone. In fact I am sure she, more than you, wishes the last few years had gone differently for everyone and that no one had a reason to accommodate her.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: snowdragon on December 29, 2012, 06:57:05 PM
Personally, If I had any worry about taking anything into that household I would be declining, myself. ButI think folks here are being overly harsh to the OP, too.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: Winterlight on December 29, 2012, 07:58:45 PM
Holy Guacamole!  This poor woman has a baby die at 4 days old and then another one in the hospital for weeks as a newborn (all within 2 years) and anyone is criticizing her for being too protective/controlling? OP she may truly be a horrible controlling  difficult person in normal circumstances, but you have to give her a lot of slack in these circumstances.  Next year when she has a healthy little one toddling around feel free to shut her down, 

In the present circumstances you need to let her host and just bring whatever you want (if anything).  If you balk you will just look like an unfeeling unkind person.

I don't think there's any need to shout that.  Yes, I know that her first child died at 4 days old (3 years ago to be precise), and she was given a LOT of slack for that holiday season, and the next one (when she had a newborn and we all hoped that every day nothing would happen).  Then we had to give her slack last year, when her daughter was a year old, because it's hard for parents of young ones to get around and do things.  Now I need to cut her some slack this year.  Can you see where I'm getting to the point where it's hard to keep doing that?

I can see how this would feel like "here we go again" after a while, even if it isn't stuff she could control. It could still feel like she's running your schedule.

I think your response was fine, and I'd leave it at that. Bring a dish if you're asked, otherwise, let it go.

I'd also make alternate plans for next Christmas. In the Seychelles. *g*
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: Poppea on December 29, 2012, 09:24:13 PM
Holy Guacamole!  This poor woman has a baby die at 4 days old and then another one in the hospital for weeks as a newborn (all within 2 years) and anyone is criticizing her for being too protective/controlling? OP she may truly be a horrible controlling  difficult person in normal circumstances, but you have to give her a lot of slack in these circumstances.  Next year when she has a healthy little one toddling around feel free to shut her down, 

In the present circumstances you need to let her host and just bring whatever you want (if anything).  If you balk you will just look like an unfeeling unkind person.

I don't think there's any need to shout that.  Yes, I know that her first child died at 4 days old (3 years ago to be precise), and she was given a LOT of slack for that holiday season, and the next one (when she had a newborn and we all hoped that every day nothing would happen).  Then we had to give her slack last year, when her daughter was a year old, because it's hard for parents of young ones to get around and do things.  Now I need to cut her some slack this year.  Can you see where I'm getting to the point where it's hard to keep doing that?

Also, I said in my update that I emailed her back and told her if she'd like to host she certainly can.  I have not told her she can't host, I have not told her that she's ridiculous, nothing like that.  My email said I could understand her reservations, and if she wanted to host, she was welcome to do so.
1.  Bolding is not shouting.  All caps is shouting.

2.  I'm sure you're tired of giving her slack, but the truth is that she's been in a hormonal and emotional maelstrom for the past 3 years. 
Christmas 2009 - Dead baby
Christmas 2010 - Brand new baby - worried it too may die
Christmas 2011 - Toddler and anniversary of baby's death
Christmas 2012- Toddler and new baby hospitalized for 4 weeks.

This isn't even Christmas.  You and your partner spent Christmas exactly how you wanted.  This is a post holiday get together for you DH's family.  The sick baby is the main focus for the majority of this family (6/8 members).

3.  I wasn't reacting to your email so much as some of the other poster's comments about yoor SIL.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: CuriousParty on December 29, 2012, 10:24:59 PM
So here's my question - who is the driving force behind the get together?

I ask because, Lady Snowden, in the "hill to die on" thread you mentioned that your mother in law originally wanted to "cancel Christmas" because the baby was sick, and you objected to that - understandable, but I'm wondering if this date switching/location switching stems in part from a misunderstanding.

Is it possible that the family with the sick baby is in the "To heck with Christmas this year" mindset, and said that, but then the MIL or other SIL objected "Lady/Lord Snowden would be so upset if we didn't do Christmas" and this is the resulting, misguided attempt at a compromise?

I have sympathy for you, as I have difficult in-laws and it sounds like there's backstory.  However, I also have sympathy for your sister-in-law.  I was hesitant to bring my babies to largish gatherings before they had their vaccinations around two months old (which I think this baby is) and there wasn't the issue of a staph infection in the bone to further compromise their immune system, or an anniversary of a loss, or a recent hospitalization.  Add into that the normal new-mom stuff and adjusting a toddler to a new sibling..I'd be cancelling/going WAY low key for Christmas.  Heck, I might not be getting out of bed.

I hope it all works out better than it seems.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: kudeebee on December 29, 2012, 10:48:13 PM
OP, I can understand why you're feeling rather annoyed at yet another 'give SIL some slack!' season.  Unfortunately, even if she has a history of being controlling and manipulative, there's no way you can say anything due to the circumstances.  I think your email back to her was fine.  I hope the dinner goes well.

I am surprised that your SIL would rather have the hassle of preparing dinner for all those people though.  With two very young children to look after, especially one who's so very delicate at the moment, I would have thought hosting a dinner party would be too much hassle.  Maybe your BIL will be doing the cooking or they'll buy a catered meal.

Re the bolded, SIL was not planning to host the event, she was only going to supply the house.  She expected OP and her dh to bring in all the food and prepare it at SIL's house.  I'm sure SIL would expect them to clean up as well, but leave her the leftovers.

OP--let her host and just bring a side/salad--something easy to do.  If she changes the date and it doesn't work for you, reply back that "we are so sorry we won't be able to attend, but we have made other plans for that date that can't be changed."
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: Queen of Clubs on December 30, 2012, 07:12:18 AM
Re the bolded, SIL was not planning to host the event, she was only going to supply the house.  She expected OP and her dh to bring in all the food and prepare it at SIL's house.  I'm sure SIL would expect them to clean up as well, but leave her the leftovers.

Yeah, I know.  That was my suspicion too. :)

But now that the OP has declined that opportunity, I'm sure SIL or BIL will be happy to prepare a hosted dinner for 8, as that's what they want.  Right?
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: penelope2017 on December 30, 2012, 09:38:23 AM
Re the bolded, SIL was not planning to host the event, she was only going to supply the house.  She expected OP and her dh to bring in all the food and prepare it at SIL's house.  I'm sure SIL would expect them to clean up as well, but leave her the leftovers.

Yeah, I know.  That was my suspicion too. :)


But now that the OP has declined that opportunity, I'm sure SIL or BIL will be happy to prepare a hosted dinner for 8, as that's what they want.  Right?

Where are you guys getting this impression? I haven't seen any entitlement from this SIL other than being overprotective of the child. And when the OP said she'd rather not cook, the SIL said she had offered that initially as a courtesy because she knew the OP had been preparing the event and didn't want to take that aspect away from her. I thought that was actually considerate of the SIL rather than demanding.

I know when I plan an event I plan the menu out and part of the enjoyment is the food plan and preparation, so my impression was the SIL wanted to still allow the OP that enjoyment at first but was fine with taking over once the OP opted not to do it.

I am not understanding all the negative attributes to this SIL given the events she's gone through over the last few years as put into clearest terms by Anthera. She's been accused of using the death and illness of her babies and children as an excuse to go on a power trip? She's been accused of now additionally plotting to have the OP make dinner, predicted to not only demand the OP and her DH clean up but also steal the leftovers?

Once again, I understand the OP's frustration but the additional character slams are mind-boggling to me. I can't imagine a parent dealing with what this SIL has had to go through and still is going through having the time or desire to come up with all these Dr. Evil schemes and plots for a free holiday dinner or leftovers. Wouldn't it be easier and less aggravating for her to call and order a pizza?

It is very possible the SIL is self-centered right now and focused on her child and that can be frustrating for others I totally understand that on the OP's part. I totally understand it seems like its been going on for years, but as Anthera pointed out, so have her traumatic experiences with her children. I think there also needs to be some level of understanding for her as well. I don't think considerations for extenuating circumstances mean anyone else is less important.

Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: Venus193 on December 30, 2012, 10:16:56 AM
I can't speak for the OP, but many people aren't comfortable "hosting" in someone else's home.  The kitchen isn't familiar, the stove may not behave the same way, there may not be the same utensils or appliances available.

Or the "hosts" have to bring their own cooking equipment as well as the food?  This came to the point of it being an imposition because they will also need to clean it all up to take it back home.

As to the rest, I'm waiting for 2013's story.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: Lady Snowdon on December 30, 2012, 10:49:47 AM
So here's my question - who is the driving force behind the get together?

I ask because, Lady Snowden, in the "hill to die on" thread you mentioned that your mother in law originally wanted to "cancel Christmas" because the baby was sick, and you objected to that - understandable, but I'm wondering if this date switching/location switching stems in part from a misunderstanding.

Is it possible that the family with the sick baby is in the "To heck with Christmas this year" mindset, and said that, but then the MIL or other SIL objected "Lady/Lord Snowden would be so upset if we didn't do Christmas" and this is the resulting, misguided attempt at a compromise?

I have sympathy for you, as I have difficult in-laws and it sounds like there's backstory.  However, I also have sympathy for your sister-in-law.  I was hesitant to bring my babies to largish gatherings before they had their vaccinations around two months old (which I think this baby is) and there wasn't the issue of a staph infection in the bone to further compromise their immune system, or an anniversary of a loss, or a recent hospitalization.  Add into that the normal new-mom stuff and adjusting a toddler to a new sibling..I'd be cancelling/going WAY low key for Christmas.  Heck, I might not be getting out of bed.

I hope it all works out better than it seems.

I hope it works out better than I'm thinking too!  I had actually never said anything to anyone besides my DH of Christmas being "my hill to die on".  Apparently everyone in the family got completely different messages from what MIL was saying - one sister in law thought we were just going to do everything low key, DH thought she wanted to cancel everything, and an aunt thought we were doing everything just like normal!  So I don't think there'd be "oh Lord and Lady Snowdon will be upset if we cancel" thoughts going on; in the normal scheme of things, my MIL is more than happy to cancel plans on us, if she thinks someone else can't make it.  It's happened multiple times before. 

In semi related news, I actually found out that everyone spent Christmas Day with sister in law at their house anyway.  It almost makes me feel a little better about this whole get-together...it wouldn't have been hosting a late Christmas, it's just having all of us over for dinner and to do a late gift exchange between a few of us. 
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: Phoebe on December 30, 2012, 12:48:50 PM
Re the bolded, SIL was not planning to host the event, she was only going to supply the house.  She expected OP and her dh to bring in all the food and prepare it at SIL's house.  I'm sure SIL would expect them to clean up as well, but leave her the leftovers.

Yeah, I know.  That was my suspicion too. :)


But now that the OP has declined that opportunity, I'm sure SIL or BIL will be happy to prepare a hosted dinner for 8, as that's what they want.  Right?

Where are you guys getting this impression? I haven't seen any entitlement from this SIL other than being overprotective of the child. And when the OP said she'd rather not cook, the SIL said she had offered that initially as a courtesy because she knew the OP had been preparing the event and didn't want to take that aspect away from her. I thought that was actually considerate of the SIL rather than demanding.

I know when I plan an event I plan the menu out and part of the enjoyment is the food plan and preparation, so my impression was the SIL wanted to still allow the OP that enjoyment at first but was fine with taking over once the OP opted not to do it.

I am not understanding all the negative attributes to this SIL given the events she's gone through over the last few years as put into clearest terms by Anthera. She's been accused of using the death and illness of her babies and children as an excuse to go on a power trip? She's been accused of now additionally plotting to have the OP make dinner, predicted to not only demand the OP and her DH clean up but also steal the leftovers?

Once again, I understand the OP's frustration but the additional character slams are mind-boggling to me. I can't imagine a parent dealing with what this SIL has had to go through and still is going through having the time or desire to come up with all these Dr. Evil schemes and plots for a free holiday dinner or leftovers. Wouldn't it be easier and less aggravating for her to call and order a pizza?

It is very possible the SIL is self-centered right now and focused on her child and that can be frustrating for others I totally understand that on the OP's part. I totally understand it seems like its been going on for years, but as Anthera pointed out, so have her traumatic experiences with her children. I think there also needs to be some level of understanding for her as well. I don't think considerations for extenuating circumstances mean anyone else is less important.

Everything penelope said.  Considering what the SIL has been through over the last four holiday seasons, some posters here are being very harsh and judgmental.

Lady Snowdon, I hope it all goes smoothly and uneventfully.  And that next Christmas is peaceful for your whole family  :)
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: miranova on December 30, 2012, 02:45:42 PM
I am not trying to be mean, but the post about getting tired of dealing with your SIL really rubbed me the wrong way.  At most, you have been inconvenienced.  Several years in a row, yes, but that sure beats what she and her husband have gone through.  Honestly, it sounds like you just don't like her and would be annoyed no matter what.  Because if I try to picture someone I adore going through the death of a baby and then another baby critically ill, I'd be doing whatever was easiest for THEM that year, no questions asked.  I don't think you were wrong for making other plans on the other two weekends, as your life shouldn't stop for them, but then again I think I'd personally make allowances for them since the whole point of the get together is to have Christmas WITH them and other family.  It's not like you were planning a random dinner party where they were just a few of the invited guests.  The whole point was to exchange gifts with them so it makes sense to do it on a date where everyone can attend.  I'd definitely cut some slack to a couple who didn't quite know when their baby would be healthy enough to attend.  I'm sure if they had the choice they would choose to have two healthy babies and no reason to inconvenience anyone.

And I could definitely understand her comment about the food.  The fact that she immediately was ok hosting after you declined doesn't scream "I expect you to provide the food!" to me, it says that she was, perhaps awkwardly, trying not to change your plans as much.  Like she knew the change of venue was already inconvenient so she was trying to not make you change your plans for the food as well.  The fact that she is perfectly willing to host means that she knows it's her responsibility at her home and is not trying to push that on you. 

I am either missing a ton of backstory that makes this woman more evil than she appears or I'm just odd, because I don't see anything in this story that would really irritate me (and my husband tells me that I'm easily irritated all the time, lol).  I see a slightly overprotective parent rethinking her initial choice to bring a sick baby out in the cold.  I really can't blame her with the history of a dead baby.  If that's the worst thing she ever does, it's not a big deal.  Go and enjoy their hospitality.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: Surianne on December 30, 2012, 06:05:14 PM
I agree completely, Miranova.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: cheyne on December 31, 2012, 01:30:16 PM
I don't think the OP has stated that SIL is evil incarnate.  I don't think the OP is mean or evil in thinking that the family has been dancing to SIL's tune for 4 years now.

Yes SIL has had some tough times, but it's kind of like The Boy Who Cried Wolf.  Drama and catastrophe can happen to anyone at anytime and most of us are willing to help in any way to lessen the pain and problems for those involved.  However, it is exhausting to have every celebration, get together or family event hijacked by the same people even when there isn't a current problem.  I think it tends to make the rest of the family less prone to be empathetic when there is a true catastrophe.



Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: miranova on December 31, 2012, 02:01:41 PM
There isn't a current problem?  Wasn't there a baby in the hospital, in a somewhat critical state until just recently?  Who just got home to recover?  I don't know what your definition of current problem is, but this qualifies for me.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: hobish on December 31, 2012, 02:43:00 PM
I don't think the OP has stated that SIL is evil incarnate.  I don't think the OP is mean or evil in thinking that the family has been dancing to SIL's tune for 4 years now.

Yes SIL has had some tough times, but it's kind of like The Boy Who Cried Wolf.  Drama and catastrophe can happen to anyone at anytime and most of us are willing to help in any way to lessen the pain and problems for those involved.  However, it is exhausting to have every celebration, get together or family event hijacked by the same people even when there isn't a current problem.  I think it tends to make the rest of the family less prone to be empathetic when there is a true catastrophe.

That's pretty much what i was thinking. When someone is asking for "a little slack" all the time it wears thin. I remember the threads about this lady, too, and the OP has been rather gracious in the face of what sounds like a not-very-nice special snowflake. There is a tendency, not on EHell but in the world in general, to assume that people who have had tragedy befall them are just the nicest, sweetest, most lovely people in the world and that's simply not true. Bad things happen to jerks, too, and sometimes people take advantage of tragedy. It's sad, it's ugly, and it definitely happens. There is nothing to gain by pretending that SIL was an angel before all this; we know she wasn't.

Lady Snowdon didn't yell at SIL, didn't chastise her, and so far as SIL knows didn't so much as roll her eyes. In the bare bones of it all, no matter what the reason, SIL was the one who acted rudely. You don't co-opt someone else's party, even if the sky is falling.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: snowdragon on December 31, 2012, 03:17:41 PM
What bothers me is when does the slack stop.

The baby is out of danger or the doctors would not have released her from the  hospital.  The anniversary of the other baby's death will always be around this time of year - so does SIL get to co-opt everyone's holiday for all time because of that anniversary?  When do the reset of the family get to celebrate without putting this family first and foremost and stop moving things, or holding them hostage from making other plans because they want 3 of 4 weekends in one month saved for them?
  Being in a constant state of sympathy is wearing and the people around this baby's parents need to heal, to get on with life and to be able make plans. SIL has had 4 years of slack, but the rest of the family has had no such consideration. Asking to have control over their own schedule and not have their parties co-opted is not too much to ask.  I feel for the OP - she's in one tough position and she's in the position that gets the least support.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: Deetee on December 31, 2012, 03:23:49 PM
I remember the previous posts about the SIL and while it was beyond horrible what happened to her, I remember thinking that her behaviour was still a bit much (long, public, raging tantrums at events she organised over things that were very innocent)
 
However, I don't think that really has a bearing on this event. You can't request that Christmas not be altered because it will be, but you can choose how to respond (and whether to attend).
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: snowdragon on December 31, 2012, 03:58:52 PM
I remember the previous posts about the SIL and while it was beyond horrible what happened to her, I remember thinking that her behaviour was still a bit much (long, public, raging tantrums at events she organised over things that were very innocent)
 
However, I don't think that really has a bearing on this event. You can't request that Christmas not be altered because it will be, but you can choose how to respond (and whether to attend).

How long do they get to alter Christmas for, for the rest of their family? Does the rest of the family never get to have a "normal" Christmas again because of this part of the family's tragedies?  I think the OP has been more than giving, and sympathetic...but she and her family need to have normalcy return - she not wrong or unfeeling because they are at differing stages than the SIL.  ( not that you, personally are saying that she but some of the posts in this thread have been harsh towards the OP). One can only live in crisis mode for so long.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: mj on December 31, 2012, 04:13:35 PM
The way I read it is that you all are having separate celebrations for the holidays.  This is your husbands family of origin and his sister who has to celebrate at a different time due to complications and some serious issues.  If your husband is upset about waiting to celebrate with his sister, than that's one thing and he needs to address it.  However, I can't understand the OPs frustration because your ILs aren't supposed to be the center of your holiday with your husband.  You and DH are.

At some point, siblings do have to branch out and start owning their own holidays.  If a SIL has the capability to "ruin" it, then something is going wrong.  And I'm saying this with my own set of IL dysfunctions -- DH and I learned how to have our own holiday without needing external support and many marriages do have to learn this.  I think this is where you and your DH should put your focus from now on.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: CuriousParty on December 31, 2012, 04:17:06 PM
Perhaps I missed some posts or read them differently, but I didn't see anyone say the OP was wrong or unfeeling. Several posters who sympathize with the SIL also expressed sympathy for the OP. It is a difficult situation all around.

I do think the posters who suggest the SIL is "crying wolf" or over-dramatizing the situation are underplaying the reality. The SIL may be a drama queen, sure, but a hospitalized two month old with a bone infection in the context of a recent loss of an infant child is pretty dramatic in cold hard fact. Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

The OP and her family of course need to have their own world remain as normal as possible, and I'm glad they were able to travel to the OP's extended family this year (though it seems that was also not drama free, regrettably). But it seems that for the section of the family that involves SIL, the reality is that this year, yet again, will not be normal, and it may be easier on the OP to just flow with that.  It seems she has decided to, and I wish her the best.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: Poppea on December 31, 2012, 04:19:36 PM
I don't think the OP has stated that SIL is evil incarnate.  I don't think the OP is mean or evil in thinking that the family has been dancing to SIL's tune for 4 years now.

Yes SIL has had some tough times, but it's kind of like The Boy Who Cried Wolf.  Drama and catastrophe can happen to anyone at anytime and most of us are willing to help in any way to lessen the pain and problems for those involved.  However, it is exhausting to have every celebration, get together or family event hijacked by the same people even when there isn't a current problem.  I think it tends to make the rest of the family less prone to be empathetic when there is a true catastrophe.

A newborn in the hospital for 4-6 weeks is "The Boy Who Cried Wolf"?  What counts as a "current problem"?  The rest of the family (besides the OP) is more than willing to accomodate the sick baby.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: Poppea on December 31, 2012, 04:25:13 PM
I remember the previous posts about the SIL and while it was beyond horrible what happened to her, I remember thinking that her behaviour was still a bit much (long, public, raging tantrums at events she organised over things that were very innocent)
 
However, I don't think that really has a bearing on this event. You can't request that Christmas not be altered because it will be, but you can choose how to respond (and whether to attend).

How long do they get to alter Christmas for, for the rest of their family? Does the rest of the family never get to have a "normal" Christmas again because of this part of the family's tragedies?  I think the OP has been more than giving, and sympathetic...but she and her family need to have normalcy return - she not wrong or unfeeling because they are at differing stages than the SIL.  ( not that you, personally are saying that she but some of the posts in this thread have been harsh towards the OP). One can only live in crisis mode for so long.

The OP and her DH already had their Christmas just the way they wanted it already.  This is a post Christmas gift exchange with 6 people, 4 of whom are the family with the sick baby, and the other two are the grandmother and aunt of the baby.  Quite frankly, if the OP wasn't willling to accomodate the sick baby she would probably find herself without any guests.

Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: snowdragon on December 31, 2012, 05:04:16 PM
I remember the previous posts about the SIL and while it was beyond horrible what happened to her, I remember thinking that her behaviour was still a bit much (long, public, raging tantrums at events she organised over things that were very innocent)
 
However, I don't think that really has a bearing on this event. You can't request that Christmas not be altered because it will be, but you can choose how to respond (and whether to attend).

How long do they get to alter Christmas for, for the rest of their family? Does the rest of the family never get to have a "normal" Christmas again because of this part of the family's tragedies?  I think the OP has been more than giving, and sympathetic...but she and her family need to have normalcy return - she not wrong or unfeeling because they are at differing stages than the SIL.  ( not that you, personally are saying that she but some of the posts in this thread have been harsh towards the OP). One can only live in crisis mode for so long.

The OP and her DH already had their Christmas just the way they wanted it already.  This is a post Christmas gift exchange with 6 people, 4 of whom are the family with the sick baby, and the other two are the grandmother and aunt of the baby.  Quite frankly, if the OP wasn't willling to accomodate the sick baby she would probably find herself without any guests.

  In my family this would be the "family" Christmas -the celebration with the WHOLE family  - and one group is continually needing to have the others work around them.  That's neither right nor fair.  Nor is it right to for them to reserve an entire month "just in case" - if the situation is that precarious = Cancel it entirely but you don't get to co-opt every weekend for a month or the family get together forever or take over other folks parties - I don't blame the OP for being put out. And if the other guests did not want to come to the party I provided - fine but then they need not be surprised when my part of the family starts decline invites to things with the larger group.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: mj on December 31, 2012, 05:14:06 PM
I remember the previous posts about the SIL and while it was beyond horrible what happened to her, I remember thinking that her behaviour was still a bit much (long, public, raging tantrums at events she organised over things that were very innocent)
 
However, I don't think that really has a bearing on this event. You can't request that Christmas not be altered because it will be, but you can choose how to respond (and whether to attend).

How long do they get to alter Christmas for, for the rest of their family? Does the rest of the family never get to have a "normal" Christmas again because of this part of the family's tragedies?  I think the OP has been more than giving, and sympathetic...but she and her family need to have normalcy return - she not wrong or unfeeling because they are at differing stages than the SIL.  ( not that you, personally are saying that she but some of the posts in this thread have been harsh towards the OP). One can only live in crisis mode for so long.

The OP and her DH already had their Christmas just the way they wanted it already.  This is a post Christmas gift exchange with 6 people, 4 of whom are the family with the sick baby, and the other two are the grandmother and aunt of the baby.  Quite frankly, if the OP wasn't willling to accomodate the sick baby she would probably find herself without any guests.

  In my family this would be the "family" Christmas -the celebration with the WHOLE family  - and one group is continually needing to have the others work around them.  That's neither right nor fair.  Nor is it right to for them to reserve an entire month "just in case" - if the situation is that precarious = Cancel it entirely but you don't get to co-opt every weekend for a month or the family get together forever or take over other folks parties - I don't blame the OP for being put out. And if the other guests did not want to come to the party I provided - fine but then they need not be surprised when my part of the family starts decline invites to things with the larger group.

Thats the thing, though.  This is the OPs husbands family culture that the OP is trying to change.  There is already a dynamic there that for years the OP has been beating her head against.  There is the MIL and 2 SILs who all seem to be in agreement, but the OP is not.  From the other thread, the MIL wasn't up for celebrating this year due to the baby's illness.  And from this thread, both SILs are worried about the dates due to issues with the baby. Those 3 family members cannot say it any clearer - their interests lie in what's best for the baby, not celebrating. 

If you look at it from another angle, wherein this holiday has had a repeated pattern for the OP in that her husbands family is not as interested in it as she is -- maybe they are the ones who feel they are "cutting slack" for the OP. For as much as throwing around the term "cutting SIL slack", most members of this group likely feel they are doing it for the OP in light of the entire situation starting four years ago.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: Poppea on December 31, 2012, 05:31:51 PM
I remember the previous posts about the SIL and while it was beyond horrible what happened to her, I remember thinking that her behaviour was still a bit much (long, public, raging tantrums at events she organised over things that were very innocent)
 
However, I don't think that really has a bearing on this event. You can't request that Christmas not be altered because it will be, but you can choose how to respond (and whether to attend).

How long do they get to alter Christmas for, for the rest of their family? Does the rest of the family never get to have a "normal" Christmas again because of this part of the family's tragedies?  I think the OP has been more than giving, and sympathetic...but she and her family need to have normalcy return - she not wrong or unfeeling because they are at differing stages than the SIL.  ( not that you, personally are saying that she but some of the posts in this thread have been harsh towards the OP). One can only live in crisis mode for so long.

The OP and her DH already had their Christmas just the way they wanted it already.  This is a post Christmas gift exchange with 6 people, 4 of whom are the family with the sick baby, and the other two are the grandmother and aunt of the baby.  Quite frankly, if the OP wasn't willling to accomodate the sick baby she would probably find herself without any guests.

  In my family this would be the "family" Christmas -the celebration with the WHOLE family  - and one group is continually needing to have the others work around them.  That's neither right nor fair.  Nor is it right to for them to reserve an entire month "just in case" - if the situation is that precarious = Cancel it entirely but you don't get to co-opt every weekend for a month or the family get together forever or take over other folks parties - I don't blame the OP for being put out. And if the other guests did not want to come to the party I provided - fine but then they need not be surprised when my part of the family starts decline invites to things with the larger group.

One of my cousin's has a DH with MS.  We always have to work around his disability when there are extended family celebrations.  We can never ever have an extended family celebration at my house because it is not wheelchair friendly.    Same with another cousin's little boy with the severe peanut allergy, if that branch of the family is coming menus need to be peanut free to protect him.

Its neither right nor fair that the SIL has lost a newborn and had another one hospitalized for 4 weeks.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: snowdragon on December 31, 2012, 05:40:14 PM
I remember the previous posts about the SIL and while it was beyond horrible what happened to her, I remember thinking that her behaviour was still a bit much (long, public, raging tantrums at events she organised over things that were very innocent)
 
However, I don't think that really has a bearing on this event. You can't request that Christmas not be altered because it will be, but you can choose how to respond (and whether to attend).

How long do they get to alter Christmas for, for the rest of their family? Does the rest of the family never get to have a "normal" Christmas again because of this part of the family's tragedies?  I think the OP has been more than giving, and sympathetic...but she and her family need to have normalcy return - she not wrong or unfeeling because they are at differing stages than the SIL.  ( not that you, personally are saying that she but some of the posts in this thread have been harsh towards the OP). One can only live in crisis mode for so long.

The OP and her DH already had their Christmas just the way they wanted it already.  This is a post Christmas gift exchange with 6 people, 4 of whom are the family with the sick baby, and the other two are the grandmother and aunt of the baby.  Quite frankly, if the OP wasn't willling to accomodate the sick baby she would probably find herself without any guests.

  In my family this would be the "family" Christmas -the celebration with the WHOLE family  - and one group is continually needing to have the others work around them.  That's neither right nor fair.  Nor is it right to for them to reserve an entire month "just in case" - if the situation is that precarious = Cancel it entirely but you don't get to co-opt every weekend for a month or the family get together forever or take over other folks parties - I don't blame the OP for being put out. And if the other guests did not want to come to the party I provided - fine but then they need not be surprised when my part of the family starts decline invites to things with the larger group.

One of my cousin's has a DH with MS.  We always have to work around his disability when there are extended family celebrations.  We can never ever have an extended family celebration at my house because it is not wheelchair friendly.    Same with another cousin's little boy with the severe peanut allergy, if that branch of the family is coming menus need to be peanut free to protect him.

Its neither right nor fair that the SIL has lost a newborn and had another one hospitalized for 4 weeks.

And how long does the OP have to pay for the fact that the SIL has lost a newborn and had another get sick? The rest of her life? After four years I would be questioning it, too.   
 We don't know that the MIL and the other SIL are ok with this or if they are feeling put off but putting up with it for another year -there not here to say either way -but I don't think hte OP deserves the harshness that she has gotten here, either. 
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: penelope2017 on December 31, 2012, 05:48:21 PM
I don't think the OP has stated that SIL is evil incarnate.  I don't think the OP is mean or evil in thinking that the family has been dancing to SIL's tune for 4 years now.

Yes SIL has had some tough times, but it's kind of like The Boy Who Cried Wolf.  Drama and catastrophe can happen to anyone at anytime and most of us are willing to help in any way to lessen the pain and problems for those involved.  However, it is exhausting to have every celebration, get together or family event hijacked by the same people even when there isn't a current problem.  I think it tends to make the rest of the family less prone to be empathetic when there is a true catastrophe.

A newborn in the hospital for 4-6 weeks is "The Boy Who Cried Wolf"?  What counts as a "current problem"?  The rest of the family (besides the OP) is more than willing to accomodate the sick baby.

Just agreeing with Anthera in this entire thread. I'm curious as to what counts as a "current problem" if this doesn't myself.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: Poppea on December 31, 2012, 06:18:43 PM
I remember the previous posts about the SIL and while it was beyond horrible what happened to her, I remember thinking that her behaviour was still a bit much (long, public, raging tantrums at events she organised over things that were very innocent)
 
However, I don't think that really has a bearing on this event. You can't request that Christmas not be altered because it will be, but you can choose how to respond (and whether to attend).

How long do they get to alter Christmas for, for the rest of their family? Does the rest of the family never get to have a "normal" Christmas again because of this part of the family's tragedies?  I think the OP has been more than giving, and sympathetic...but she and her family need to have normalcy return - she not wrong or unfeeling because they are at differing stages than the SIL.  ( not that you, personally are saying that she but some of the posts in this thread have been harsh towards the OP). One can only live in crisis mode for so long.

The OP and her DH already had their Christmas just the way they wanted it already.  This is a post Christmas gift exchange with 6 people, 4 of whom are the family with the sick baby, and the other two are the grandmother and aunt of the baby.  Quite frankly, if the OP wasn't willling to accomodate the sick baby she would probably find herself without any guests.

  In my family this would be the "family" Christmas -the celebration with the WHOLE family  - and one group is continually needing to have the others work around them.  That's neither right nor fair.  Nor is it right to for them to reserve an entire month "just in case" - if the situation is that precarious = Cancel it entirely but you don't get to co-opt every weekend for a month or the family get together forever or take over other folks parties - I don't blame the OP for being put out. And if the other guests did not want to come to the party I provided - fine but then they need not be surprised when my part of the family starts decline invites to things with the larger group.

One of my cousin's has a DH with MS.  We always have to work around his disability when there are extended family celebrations.  We can never ever have an extended family celebration at my house because it is not wheelchair friendly.    Same with another cousin's little boy with the severe peanut allergy, if that branch of the family is coming menus need to be peanut free to protect him.

Its neither right nor fair that the SIL has lost a newborn and had another one hospitalized for 4 weeks.

And how long does the OP have to pay for the fact that the SIL has lost a newborn and had another get sick? The rest of her life? After four years I would be questioning it, too.   
 We don't know that the MIL and the other SIL are ok with this or if they are feeling put off but putting up with it for another year -there not here to say either way -but I don't think hte OP deserves the harshness that she has gotten here, either.

The baby has been dead for three years, not four.  The new baby is still recovering from her very serious infection.  If by "pay for" you mean not have SIL's family attend holidays at the OP's house my guess would be that they will always put their children's health before social obligations.

The OP is welcome to have Christmas with her own birth family (as she did this year).  She and her DH can do whatever they want.  In this case the OP and her husband are the ones that wanted the post Christmas party.  The two SIL's did not want to commit to a date and the MIL wanted to cancel it altogether. 

ETA I think the OP has been handling this situation just fine.  Its okay to be frustrated with all the plan changes, and your responses have been perfectly polite.  Maybe next year you and your DH should take a vacation somewhere far away from relatives.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: cheyne on December 31, 2012, 08:50:56 PM
1.  Bolding is not shouting.  All caps is shouting.

2.  I'm sure you're tired of giving her slack, but the truth is that she's been in a hormonal and emotional maelstrom for the past 3 years. 
Christmas 2009 - Dead baby
Christmas 2010 - Brand new baby - worried it too may die
Christmas 2011 - Toddler and anniversary of baby's death
Christmas 2012- Toddler and new baby hospitalized for 4 weeks.

This isn't even Christmas.  You and your partner spent Christmas exactly how you wanted.  This is a post holiday get together for you DH's family.  The sick baby is the main focus for the majority of this family (6/8 members).

3.  I wasn't reacting to your email so much as some of the other poster's comments about your SIL.

About the "crying wolf" comment I made upthread, SIL had legitimate crisis in 2009 (death of a newborn) and this year (newborn in hospital with infection).  I don't think having a baby in 2010 or having a toddler in 2011 qualify as a crisis.  My point was that if SIL hadn't hijacked the celebrations in 2010 and 2011, the OP would have an easier time cutting slack and helping all she could with this crisis.*

I have no dog in this hunt, I just wanted to point out that many people, myself being one of them, cannot or will not operate in a state of perpetual drama or crisis.  I do believe that SIL had legitimate reasons in 2009 and 2012 and should be accorded all the good will possible, but that her actions in 2010 and 2011 would make it difficult for me to keep up the goodwill indefinitely.

*Not to speak for the OP, these are my thoughts projected onto the OP.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: Lady Snowdon on December 31, 2012, 09:15:31 PM
I remember the previous posts about the SIL and while it was beyond horrible what happened to her, I remember thinking that her behaviour was still a bit much (long, public, raging tantrums at events she organised over things that were very innocent)
 
However, I don't think that really has a bearing on this event. You can't request that Christmas not be altered because it will be, but you can choose how to respond (and whether to attend).

How long do they get to alter Christmas for, for the rest of their family? Does the rest of the family never get to have a "normal" Christmas again because of this part of the family's tragedies?  I think the OP has been more than giving, and sympathetic...but she and her family need to have normalcy return - she not wrong or unfeeling because they are at differing stages than the SIL.  ( not that you, personally are saying that she but some of the posts in this thread have been harsh towards the OP). One can only live in crisis mode for so long.

The OP and her DH already had their Christmas just the way they wanted it already.  This is a post Christmas gift exchange with 6 people, 4 of whom are the family with the sick baby, and the other two are the grandmother and aunt of the baby.  Quite frankly, if the OP wasn't willling to accomodate the sick baby she would probably find herself without any guests.

Anthera, a couple of times in this thread, you've mentioned that I got to have Christmas "just the way I wanted it".  I wish you wouldn't assume this.  I spent Christmas with my family, this year, true.  It was not the way I wanted it to be.  I posted one of the funnier bits of horribleness in the "Special Snowflake" thread.  My uncle was arrested on Christmas Eve, my father's Alzheimer's has deteriorated to the point where he occasionally doesn't know who I am or who my DH is (that was a fun discovery on Christmas Eve), my grandfather has lost the use of one of his hands over the past few weeks (at least he was home and not on a day pass from the hospital the way it was the previous three times I was home)...if that sounds like a Christmas "just the way I wanted it", then you're made of stronger stuff than I am. 

This party was going to be Christmas the way I wanted it; to be with family, to create, prepare and serve a meal that people would enjoy, to give gifts that I thought would be meaningful and appreciated.  I'll go along with the new plans, and my IL's won't know how hurt I am by what's happened.  It still won't be Christmas "the way I wanted it to be".
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: sammycat on December 31, 2012, 09:23:36 PM
I have no dog in this hunt, I just wanted to point out that many people, myself being one of them, cannot or will not operate in a state of perpetual drama or crisis.  I do believe that SIL had legitimate reasons in 2009 and 2012 and should be accorded all the good will possible, but that her actions in 2010 and 2011 would make it difficult for me to keep up the goodwill indefinitely.

*Not to speak for the OP, these are my thoughts projected onto the OP.

I agree.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: kareng57 on December 31, 2012, 09:32:36 PM
I remember the previous posts about the SIL and while it was beyond horrible what happened to her, I remember thinking that her behaviour was still a bit much (long, public, raging tantrums at events she organised over things that were very innocent)
 
However, I don't think that really has a bearing on this event. You can't request that Christmas not be altered because it will be, but you can choose how to respond (and whether to attend).

How long do they get to alter Christmas for, for the rest of their family? Does the rest of the family never get to have a "normal" Christmas again because of this part of the family's tragedies?  I think the OP has been more than giving, and sympathetic...but she and her family need to have normalcy return - she not wrong or unfeeling because they are at differing stages than the SIL.  ( not that you, personally are saying that she but some of the posts in this thread have been harsh towards the OP). One can only live in crisis mode for so long.

The OP and her DH already had their Christmas just the way they wanted it already.  This is a post Christmas gift exchange with 6 people, 4 of whom are the family with the sick baby, and the other two are the grandmother and aunt of the baby.  Quite frankly, if the OP wasn't willling to accomodate the sick baby she would probably find herself without any guests.

  In my family this would be the "family" Christmas -the celebration with the WHOLE family  - and one group is continually needing to have the others work around them.  That's neither right nor fair.  Nor is it right to for them to reserve an entire month "just in case" - if the situation is that precarious = Cancel it entirely but you don't get to co-opt every weekend for a month or the family get together forever or take over other folks parties - I don't blame the OP for being put out. And if the other guests did not want to come to the party I provided - fine but then they need not be surprised when my part of the family starts decline invites to things with the larger group.

One of my cousin's has a DH with MS.  We always have to work around his disability when there are extended family celebrations.  We can never ever have an extended family celebration at my house because it is not wheelchair friendly.    Same with another cousin's little boy with the severe peanut allergy, if that branch of the family is coming menus need to be peanut free to protect him.

Its neither right nor fair that the SIL has lost a newborn and had another one hospitalized for 4 weeks.

And how long does the OP have to pay for the fact that the SIL has lost a newborn and had another get sick? The rest of her life? After four years I would be questioning it, too.   
 We don't know that the MIL and the other SIL are ok with this or if they are feeling put off but putting up with it for another year -there not here to say either way -but I don't think hte OP deserves the harshness that she has gotten here, either.


This is not a newborn "getting sick".  This is a newborn who was ill enough to be hospitalised for several weeks, and the previous infant death was only a couple of years ago.  If it was 20 years ago, that would be different.

I too agree that OP simply does not like SIL.  She may be justified, but ought to simply opt out of the post-Christmas celebrations rather than painting SIL as "entitled".
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: MizA on December 31, 2012, 09:33:44 PM
I agree with Sammycat.
 
And given the update with regard to Lady Snowdon's current family situation, I agree more than ever. It's utterly terrible when one's children are sick, true, but to discover that one's father is showing early signs of dementia is equally as distressing.

Holidays are *always* loaded occasions. Having to constantly acquiesce to a friend or family member can become tiring after a while, and may begin to lend to a feeling of abandonment or unimportance for those being asked to accommodate. I am by no means discounting the stress that the family with the sick child must be feeling, rather, trying to express that this does not occur in a vacuum; Everyone who is affected has the right to feel how they need to feel given the circumstance.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: snowdragon on December 31, 2012, 11:35:56 PM
I agree with Sammycat.
 
And given the update with regard to Lady Snowdon's current family situation, I agree more than ever. It's utterly terrible when one's children are sick, true, but to discover that one's father is showing early signs of dementia is equally as distressing.

Holidays are *always* loaded occasions. Having to constantly acquiesce to a friend or family member can become tiring after a while, and may begin to lend to a feeling of abandonment or unimportance for those being asked to accommodate. I am by no means discounting the stress that the family with the sick child must be feeling, rather, trying to express that this does not occur in a vacuum; Everyone who is affected has the right to feel how they need to feel given the circumstance.

ITA - and it has to be hurtful to be the one that is always shoved aside and expected to support someone else with no regard for one's own feelings.   OP - next year make a Christmas for yourself, your DH and your kids - and let the rest of them  be,, obviously they are not willing to give you the same support as they demand from you.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: penelope2017 on December 31, 2012, 11:42:17 PM
I agree with Sammycat.
 
And given the update with regard to Lady Snowdon's current family situation, I agree more than ever. It's utterly terrible when one's children are sick, true, but to discover that one's father is showing early signs of dementia is equally as distressing.

Holidays are *always* loaded occasions. Having to constantly acquiesce to a friend or family member can become tiring after a while, and may begin to lend to a feeling of abandonment or unimportance for those being asked to accommodate. I am by no means discounting the stress that the family with the sick child must be feeling, rather, trying to express that this does not occur in a vacuum; Everyone who is affected has the right to feel how they need to feel given the circumstance.

ITA - and it has to be hurtful to be the one that is always shoved aside and expected to support someone else with no regard for one's own feelings.   OP - next year make a Christmas for yourself, your DH and your kids - and let the rest of them  be,, obviously they are not willing to give you the same support as they demand from you.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I dont think the OP has children, and as per the bolded, where are you getting that? Has the OP indicated she lacks support in similar circumstances?
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: snowdragon on January 01, 2013, 12:00:41 AM
I agree with Sammycat.
 
And given the update with regard to Lady Snowdon's current family situation, I agree more than ever. It's utterly terrible when one's children are sick, true, but to discover that one's father is showing early signs of dementia is equally as distressing.

Holidays are *always* loaded occasions. Having to constantly acquiesce to a friend or family member can become tiring after a while, and may begin to lend to a feeling of abandonment or unimportance for those being asked to accommodate. I am by no means discounting the stress that the family with the sick child must be feeling, rather, trying to express that this does not occur in a vacuum; Everyone who is affected has the right to feel how they need to feel given the circumstance.

ITA - and it has to be hurtful to be the one that is always shoved aside and expected to support someone else with no regard for one's own feelings.   OP - next year make a Christmas for yourself, your DH and your kids - and let the rest of them  be,, obviously they are not willing to give you the same support as they demand from you.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I dont think the OP has children, and as per the bolded, where are you getting that? Has the OP indicated she lacks support in similar circumstances?

 The OP has her own family issues going on and is still expected to cave to the SIL and family.  There seems to be no consideration for that at all. Just this is what's good for SIL and family, So you need to change what you planned to suit them.  The fact that SIL wanted he OP to change venue - but still bring all the food and do all the work, says there is very little concern for adding more stress and work to the life of someone already going through a lot and finding out that a parent does not know you any longer and a grandparent lost use of a hand means you are facing your own crisis.  The baby died three years ago - the OP is facing the loss of her father NOW. And make no mistake having a parent/grandparent no longer recognize you is a loss as great as a death ( at least it was for me when my paternal grandparent no longer knew me, even tho she lived with me) - in many ways the physical death is easier for the families of Alzheimer's  patients and it's an on going acute crisis.  And it really seems that this family could have been more considerate of the OP and her family's needs.
   The OP has been accommodating the SIL and family for a few years, now when the OP is facing her own family crisis - she's asked to give more, that she likely does not have to give.  I don't blame her for her feelings here. I admire her for being able to put them aside and go to the SIL's house once again.  I think that as her father progresses in the course of his Alzheimer's that she will need to put herself and her family first and when the rest of DH's family wonders where  the OP and her DH and family are - they will only have to look at themselves for the answers.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: Poppea on January 01, 2013, 07:44:43 AM
I remember the previous posts about the SIL and while it was beyond horrible what happened to her, I remember thinking that her behaviour was still a bit much (long, public, raging tantrums at events she organised over things that were very innocent)
 
However, I don't think that really has a bearing on this event. You can't request that Christmas not be altered because it will be, but you can choose how to respond (and whether to attend).

How long do they get to alter Christmas for, for the rest of their family? Does the rest of the family never get to have a "normal" Christmas again because of this part of the family's tragedies?  I think the OP has been more than giving, and sympathetic...but she and her family need to have normalcy return - she not wrong or unfeeling because they are at differing stages than the SIL.  ( not that you, personally are saying that she but some of the posts in this thread have been harsh towards the OP). One can only live in crisis mode for so long.

The OP and her DH already had their Christmas just the way they wanted it already.  This is a post Christmas gift exchange with 6 people, 4 of whom are the family with the sick baby, and the other two are the grandmother and aunt of the baby.  Quite frankly, if the OP wasn't willling to accommodate the sick baby she would probably find herself without any guests.

Anthera, a couple of times in this thread, you've mentioned that I got to have Christmas "just the way I wanted it".  I wish you wouldn't assume this.  I spent Christmas with my family, this year, true.  It was not the way I wanted it to be.  I posted one of the funnier bits of horribleness in the "Special Snowflake" thread.  My uncle was arrested on Christmas Eve, my father's Alzheimer's has deteriorated to the point where he occasionally doesn't know who I am or who my DH is (that was a fun discovery on Christmas Eve), my grandfather has lost the use of one of his hands over the past few weeks (at least he was home and not on a day pass from the hospital the way it was the previous three times I was home)...if that sounds like a Christmas "just the way I wanted it", then you're made of stronger stuff than I am. 

This party was going to be Christmas the way I wanted it; to be with family, to create, prepare and serve a meal that people would enjoy, to give gifts that I thought would be meaningful and appreciated.  I'll go along with the new plans, and my IL's won't know how hurt I am by what's happened.  It still won't be Christmas "the way I wanted it to be".

I'm sorry that you had such a bad Christmas.  By saying you had Christmas just the way you wanted it, I was not commenting on what happened with your family, but that you were able to spend Christmas with your natal family and that your SIL did not attempt to alter or control your holiday.

I've looked at some of the other threads about your SIL and the underlying problem here is that you see your SIL as a spolit "golden child".  "SIL gets her way in everything in this family."  Your MIL will cancel plans with the rest of the family if SIL can't attend.  Its very hurtful to see your efforts and your DH marginalized.  From what you've written I imagine that if all three of MIL's children were drowning and she only had two life preservers it sounds like she'd throw both to SIL1. 

Also in a previous thread you stated that she "She's always gotten whatever she wanted/needed, whether it was high grades, marrying the "right kind" of guy, buying a house in the "right" neighborhood, etc. "  So I'm sensing that the family culture may also be that SIL is considered to have made more "right" choices or have more "right" things than you and DH.

Because you see her as an entitled brat, any reasonable requests she makes may seem to you as just additional manipulations.  In this instance, she requested that the gift exchange be held at her house.  Her infant had just come home from a month long stay in the hospital.  She also has a toddler.  Quite frankly, it would be exhausting to just watch a two year old at a non childproofed home.  Its not unreasonable for her to make this request.  She only made the request after her baby became sick.  Before that she was willing to come to your house.  Of course, you both know that if you don't agree that the entire event will be cancelled.  SIL may not care at all if its cancelled.  She's more concerned with her children.  You care because you had been looking forward to hosting and also to a nice gift exchange and had spent considerable time selecting presents.  She awkwardly offers to let you host in her home, it comes out wrong and you are miffed "your home isn't good enough to set foot in, but we want you to cook for us because we like your food".

Her wanting to have the gift exchange at her house is about her needs (not taking sick baby outside, child proofing, access to cribs if the babies fall asleep, changing tables, etc).  But you are feeling it as a "slap in the face".  You feel "our house isn't good enough for her children..."  You both have the right to want what you want, but she has far more power than you in her family.

The truth is many families will bend over backwards to help out the members with very young children or health issues.  I think your DH's family will also brnd over backwards to accommodate your SIL whether she needs it or not.  You are frustrated by her special treatment.  But there is nothing you can do to change how your ILs treat her.  All you can do is either stand your ground or give way.  In this instance, you very correctly gave way.  That doesn't mean you have to do it the next time.  Or the time after.  And it certainly doesn't mean you ever have to like it.

I'm going to suggest that next year you come up with some really fun activity (decorating cookies?  Movie and lunch ? Ice skating and hot cocoa?) that you and DH could do with niece1.  Tell SIL that you wanted to give her a break (ie she is NOT invited)  Make it so much fun that MIL begs to be included.  Add niece2 when she gets older.  This could become your Christmas tradition that SIL wouldn't be able to touch("We wanted you to have a chance to go Christmas shopping/get a manicure/groom the cat").  I might just start going on vacation every other Christmas, because as SIL's kids get older and if there aren't any other grandchildren the holidays will become more and more SIL centric with your ILs. 
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: Hmmmmm on January 01, 2013, 09:12:56 AM
I'm sorry you've had such a difficult holiday season.  I understand your desire to "cook and serve a meal that your guests will enjoy and give gifts they will appreciate".  You want the chance to host your inlaws and sort of highlight your hosting skills and are being thwarted every year because of accommodations for your SIL your DH's family all agree is reasonable.  I think if that is your desire, it might be that you need to change the guest list for your Christmas celebration next year.  It doesn't sound like your DHs family is interested in making your desires a priority.  From your Posts, it doesn't sound like your side of the family would be able to join in so maybe your DH and you should start developing close friendships with other couples who will grow into your holiday "family". 

Your situation reminds me of a family I met through my DH.  The family had one son and a daughter 2 years older.  The parents coddled the daughter and even as an outsider it was always apparent that the sons desires came second.  They truly were a nice family, but I was always bothered by how much control the daughter had in the family.  They would even joke about it.  If the daughter needed help with the rent because she wanted to live in a nicer apartment than she could afford, then the parents supplemented her income.  But the son would never have asked his parents for financial help because he should be able "to stand on his own".  If the son suggested going out to one restaurant, they always ran it by the daughter first to make sure she was good with the resataurant chosen.

 The sister never liked any of her brother's girlfriends, they were never "good enough" for the family.  (i will admit that he did pick some of the most dimwitted dates and I was never overly fond of any of them). We always knew who ever he married was going to have a horrible time in the family, which she does. So now, they have little to do with his family and the mother and sister blame his wife.  They can not accept that they drove him away by making his wife a second class citizen.  Distancing themselves from his family was probably the healthiest thing they could have done for their marriage.
Title: Re: Let's just reserve the whole month of January, shall we? Update post 10
Post by: gramma dishes on January 01, 2013, 09:14:43 AM

...      The OP has been accommodating the SIL and family for a few years, now when the OP is facing her own family crisis - she's asked to give more, that she likely does not have to give.  I don't blame her for her feelings here. I admire her for being able to put them aside and go to the SIL's house once again.  I think that as her father progresses in the course of his Alzheimer's that she will need to put herself and her family first and when the rest of DH's family wonders where  the OP and her DH and family are - they will only have to look at themselves for the answers.

Eloquently spoken!