Author Topic: MIL is peeved at me - is she right? (inc. pic of awesome cake!) NEW UPDATE #75  (Read 37566 times)

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Slartibartfast

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Babybartfast turns 4 today (Monday), but we had a birthday party for her on Saturday.  A friend of mine made the cake and it was DELICIOUS.  Babybartfast pouted when she first saw it, however, because it wasn't what she expected/wanted.  MIL took Babybartfast aside and gave her a little talking-to and that was that - Babybartfast never really did tell us what she wanted on her cake, even though we asked several times, so she got a combination of things she likes:

(BALLERINA ASTRONAUT BIKER DINOSAURS IN SPACE!  Cool, right?  She's played with the dinosaurs several times since then!)

Anyway, MIL called this morning - since Babybartfast was so disappointed with her cake, MIL wants to take her out to Baskin Robbins and get her ANOTHER cake today for her real birthday.  I told MIL I would really rather she didn't - I'm happy with MIL taking her out for ice cream, if she wants to, but Babybartfast already got her cake and I don't want to reward her for turning her nose up at it because it's not what she expected or wanted.  I get why she did - she's only four, and hasn't learned to smile politely even when disappointed yet - but I don't want MIL to run out and buy her another one.  MIL said the equivalent of "Fine, I won't pick her up then," and immediately called DH who then called me.  Apparently he had told her it was okay.  He's in favor of Babybartfast getting another cake "since it's her birthday" and just making no connection to her liking or not liking the other cake (which we still have quite a bit of left).

Rather than argue with DH over the phone I just said fine if it's a one-serving thing and is otherwise treated like going out for ice cream would normally be.  However, now I'm second-guessing myself - am I being unreasonably harsh?  DH and I usually don't disagree on parenting things like this (at least, I see it as a parenting thing) so that's making me less willing to blame it all on MIL not understanding our parenting boundaries.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2012, 07:49:58 PM by Slartibartfast »

heartmug

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It seems like more of a DH problem.  He probably should have said "Let me discuss it first and I will get back to you mom."  He might have seen it as not a big deal, but I agree with you because I would also want my kids to know that it is one cake per birthday not cake after cake until you get the one you really want.
One option in a tug of war with someone is just to drop the rope.

dharmaexpress

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First I want to fawn over that cake; I think it's too cool for a 4-year-old to appreciate.  A T-rex with a tutu?  I'd be beside myself for a cake like that, and I'm in my 40s.   :D

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However, now I'm second-guessing myself - am I being unreasonably harsh?  DH and I usually don't disagree on parenting things like this (at least, I see it as a parenting thing) so that's making me less willing to blame it all on MIL not understanding our parenting boundaries.

What I know about parenting would fit in a teaspoon, so I'll just ask how much this particular lesson matters at this age.  I think your DH's idea is a good one - it's another birthday cake, not a replacement for a cake that disappointed her.  She does seem young to grasp being gracious with disappointment.

OTOH, I see exactly where you are coming from - I get your point completely.  But you've said you and he don't usually disagree, so I take from that he's a reasonable guy.  In which case I'd bend a little here, since you are otherwise working on your BabyBartFast's expectations and manners when it comes to gifts and cakes and such.

I really just posted to fawn over that amazing cake.  Someone will have more useful comments for you, no doubt.

Darcy

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The wrong was when MIL didn't get the answer she wanted and went to DH behind your back. Your original decision was fine, and your MIL shouldn't have circumvented it.

bonyk

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I agree that as long as it's treated as another cake, not a replacement cake, it's okay. 

That said, MIL getting huffy over your decision is not okay.  I would call her and explain why you said no, and that you were unaware that DH had already said yes.  Depending on your relationship with her, I might even say something about being more respectful of your decisions in the future.

QueenofAllThings

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I think you're absolutely right - whining (even if it is age appropriate) is not rewarded. Good for you!

Additionally  (and here comes the soapbox) I think that we (the generic, modern parent 'we') tend to overdo the whole birthday thing - from birth 'til adulthood, we teach them that the world STOPS because it is their birthday. Then they reach adulthood. I can't tell you how many young adults I know that fall into a funk when their birthday rolls around because they didn't get cake, balloons, attention, gifts, cards, phone calls, confetti, and the day off from everyone they know. Don't get me wrong - I believe in celebrating birthdays and making them a little special, particularly when children are little - but I do think we go over the top sometimes.

So - ice cream with Grandma? Thumbs up! A second cake because she didn't like the first one - no.

Judah

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The wrong was when MIL didn't get the answer she wanted and went to DH behind your back. Your original decision was fine, and your MIL shouldn't have circumvented it.

I agree and it's the only wrong that I see here.  It sounds like your DH didn't know you'd said no when his mom called him, so I can't blame him for saying yes.  He's allowed to make parenting decisions too.  If he had known you'd already said no, then he's way wrong and needs to fix it with his mom. 

I don't think you are being too restrictive with your DD.  I understand completely where you're coming from. 

a. DD already had her birthday cake and she doesn't get another one just because she was disappointed in the first one.  Cake is cake and if she wanted something specific, she should have asked for it before.  Yes, I know she's only four, but I don't know of any four-year-old that is too shy to state her own preferences.

b. I think too much is made of birthdays.  She's had her party.  A small celebration with only family on the day in addition to the official party is fine, but she doesn't need another cake.
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wheeitsme

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The wrong was when MIL didn't get the answer she wanted and went to DH behind your back. Your original decision was fine, and your MIL shouldn't have circumvented it.

This.

I would tell MIL that if she ever tried this again with Babyblartfast there would be consequences.  And then I'd make sure there were.

Slartibartfast

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Clarification: from what I understand, DH had said "I see no problem with it" already, before MIL called me.  DH didn't tell me that beforehand, so it's not like she snuck around behind my back to go to the other parent.  However, I think she should have been willing to say "Oh, okay, would it be okay if we do ice cream instead then?" instead of getting in a snit about it.  I could see her wanting to get a cake if she and FIL had missed the birthday party - but they were there with us!

wheeitsme

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Clarification: from what I understand, DH had said "I see no problem with it" already, before MIL called me.  DH didn't tell me that beforehand, so it's not like she snuck around behind my back to go to the other parent.  However, I think she should have been willing to say "Oh, okay, would it be okay if we do ice cream instead then?" instead of getting in a snit about it.  I could see her wanting to get a cake if she and FIL had missed the birthday party - but they were there with us!

Oh.  That does make it a bit different.  So she asked your DH, he said "I see no problem with it" and then she called you to see if you were okay with it, too.  Only you weren't.  So she called your DH back and complained.

1.  I think you made a reasonable and rational case for not giving her another cake
2.  You da Mamma.
3.  MIL should not ask your permission and then complain because she didn't get the answer she wanted.  If she felt it was important enough to get both parents permission, she needs to accept the answer she gets.



(edited to add:  Awesome cake)

Judah

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Clarification: from what I understand, DH had said "I see no problem with it" already, before MIL called me.  DH didn't tell me that beforehand, so it's not like she snuck around behind my back to go to the other parent.  However, I think she should have been willing to say "Oh, okay, would it be okay if we do ice cream instead then?" instead of getting in a snit about it.  I could see her wanting to get a cake if she and FIL had missed the birthday party - but they were there with us!

Ah, that makes a difference.  You are right, she shouldn't have gotten in a snit about it. 
Ask for what you want. Let's be clear on this one:
Subtle hints don't work.
Strong hints don't work.
Really obvious hints don't work.
Just say it!

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TootsNYC

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On the parenting note, I would want my child to learn how to deal with disappointment, and to learn that  there isn't a consolation prize for every disappointment, and their SURE isn't a "do-over."

And if this disappointment is what it takes for her to learn how to be more vocal about her preferences, that would be a good outcome, to me anyway.

(She may have had this image that you'd *surprise* her, that it wasn't as much fun to "order" her birthday cake; my son thinks similarly about presents, thought not about the cake. If that's the case, this is a good time for you to explore the b'day cake problem and figure out a way that she can drop you hints, or that you can "catch" any hints she does drop.)

Etiquette-wise, I wouldn't say or do anything further. With MIL, I think it's much the same as w/ a little kid--preserving your authority is worthwhile. She felt she needed your permission, and she thought you wouldn't give it, so she went to Dad first (OK, he's her son, so maybe it was just that). Then she called to get your permission.

Both she and DH thought that you should be the final choice, right? And you made your choice. Changing your mind now will be just the same as giving in to a kid after they've thrown a tantrum. So don't change your mind.

I'd be sounding out DH about the "coordination of authority" business--did he think he'd given permission? What things does he want to be the final decider on, etc.? I wouldn't want him to think I was shutting him out. So I'd try to explore that.

I think the fact that she got in a snit about it actually tells something about her motivation. She doesn't want to just take your DD for ice cream; she wants to be the "fixer" who does it right, and a part of her knows that her motivation isn't the right one. That's why she asked, and it's why she's upset that she doesn't get to do it.


Harriet

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Oh my gosh, that cake is TEH COOLEST!!!!!!! Tutu biker astro dino! I am dying!

I agree with wheeitsme. I don't think four is too young to start on that lesson, either. Snit is not warranted.

A thought: you say your mother in law gave BabyBF a talking to at the birthday... could that possibly have consisted of "Don't cry honey, I'll take you out for a better cake next week"?


RooRoo

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The wrong was when MIL didn't get the answer she wanted and went to DH behind your back. Your original decision was fine, and your MIL shouldn't have circumvented it.
My POD is parked right next to Darcy!

So MIL talked to Dad, who "didn't have a problem" with it. That sounds to me as if he was giving you the final say. Then she calls you, and you do have a problem with it - and quite correctly, IMNSHO.

Then she calls Dad back and gripes, to get him to override your decision. I believe that's called "playing both ends against the middle," and it's usually the kids who master that technique!

PODs also to those folks saying too much is made of birthdays these days. I don't recall any family birthday parties with invitations and such; my sister and I would get a cake after lunch or dinner, and open presents then. Only the immediate family was there. So when I grew up and left home, I didn't expect anything from anyone.

Update: Big poddity pod pod to Toots, who has put her finger right on it.

OT: I did just throw myself a birthday party - ooh, bad RooRoo! But it was my 60th*, and consisted of my very DH, and my best friend that I hadn't seen for 23 years... I paid her lodging, and she paid her airfare. Best birthday present EVARR!

*That's always been my "line" between middle-aged and old, so I was pretty depressed about it. The idea was to cheer me up - and it worked!
"Someday we must write a book of Etiquette for sensible people," said Mrs. Morland, "though apart from a few rules it really boils down to an educated mind and a kind heart." ~ Angela Thirkell, Never Too Late

Donovan

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What did MIL say to BBF when she drew her aside and gave her a talking to? 

I have a sneaking suspicion it was 'don't make a fuss BBF, I'll get a you a better cake for your birthday on Monday.'

(in which case, MIL would be told NO)