I went to visit a good friend of mine last weekend. Her siblings and her mother-in-law were around, so it was a full house. She also has a rambunctious 2 year old; so as you would expect, there was a lot of “don’t touch this”, “come down from there”, “leave that phone” etc.
My friend is one of those people who are very particular about what her son eats and/or drinks. She meticulously prepares his meals and certain things are outlawed in her house. Matter of fact, her son has not, since he was born, tasted any soft drink e.g. coke, fanta etc.
So you can imagine the comical look on her face when her mother-in-law took a bite out of a piece of chicken, chewed it very well, then brought it out and fed her son (sorry to gross you out). While my friend’s jaw was still open, she (mother-in-law) gave the toddler wine from her wine glass.
At that point, my friend stood up from where she sat and told her mother-in-law not to give the child wine or feed him meat straight from her mouth. Her mother-in-law disagreed, and told her that she raised seven children and fed them food from her mouth and none of them died.
I quietly took my leave. But on my way home, I couldn’t get their argument out of my mind. In fact, it made me remember when my nephew was about 10 months old and my sister had this rule that we should not give her son “pure” water. One of our aunts came visiting and after drinking pure water, gave the left over to the baby. She didn’t put it in his cup, nope. Just gave him directly from where she drank. It was World War III that day.
One of my colleagues said that whenever she visits anyone who has children, she always asks the parents if the child is allowed to eat or drink xyz. This is good and true. You ordinarily should not give any child food/drink without the permission of the parents. Who knows, the child may have food allergies.
To show how important this is, some schools do not allow children celebrate birthdays in school. Those that do, will not share cakes and drinks to the children in class. Gifts and food/drinks are packed and given to the parents when they come to pick up their children from school.
We all know that family members are the worst culprits, especially the elderly ones who are self-acclaimed experts on all things children. So, how do you get them to follow your rules?
My cousin used to have this list of food for her children that she pasted on her fridge. It had so many the dos and don’ts and was strictly enforced by both her and her husband. But when her parents and/or in-laws come over, she said they never do what’s on the list. She has complained and complained, and one day her mum told her that “if you don’t give them these foods now, in the future they will eat it. So, you can’t control them forever”.
If making a list doesn’t work, quietly telling them doesn’t work, what then can a mum do to ensure that “well-meaning” family members don’t overstep their boundaries and give her kids food that is not allowed?
Photo Credit: Yunuli123 | Dreamstime.com