Monday, April 27, 2009

The SIL I NEVER Wanted

The new diet plan went fantastic today! Baked white fish with garlic, curry and olive oil. Broccoli, mushrooms, asparagus, onions and orange bell peppers stir fried in ginger and soy sauce. Okay, my breath was probably a lethal force afterward, but it was delicious!

Oh, and I want to thank Alex P. for the 101cookbooks website. Alex, do you have an email or blogsite...I can't seem to contact you.

Now for the newest jaw-clencher on my horizon: I may have to go visit my sil and fil this weekend.

Ugh. Sil lives only 15 minutes or so from us. I loathe visiting and try to limit it to holidays. Can you say pretentious, know-it-all, preachy, one-upper-about-everything, critical-of-others type of person? She definitely does NOT know about my IF, my m/c's, our treatments or this FET.

Sil is married, has 2 kids from sperm donor. Her boyfriend (now husband) had been "snipped" so she marched herself to the sperm bank and got herself knocked up....regardless of bf's input. And let me tell you, she knows everything about being a perfect parent. Oh yes. And she's happy to share her vast wealth of knowledge.

No TV for her kids. No electronic games of any type whatsoever (one year we gave the then 4 year old daughter a teddy bear that could record your voice and play it back when you squeezed its paw. Sil debated about whether to let the child have it). Neither of them (ages 9 and 5) have any idea who Hannah Montana is. Sil cooks and jars her own jam. They keep chickens from which they get eggs. Did I know that I cannot get a fresh egg from the grocery store? Oh cannot buy a fresh egg from any store. She instructs me how to garden. Her kids have few friends and are spoken to like little adults. Her son is learning to knit.

I thought, these kids are going to grow up to be freaks who know nothing about what their peers talk about. What I really detest, though, is the lack of discipline. Zero. Those kids dictate everything.

You know, I don't mean to judge. Honestly. This is evident by the fact that I have never said anything to her about her dirty house, piles of dishes or unkempt-looking kids. But she preaches...and I can barely stand to be in the same room with her.

The final straw came after I had had my second m/c. I was a mess. She had no idea. We went over for breakfast (what delicious, fresh scrambled eggs we had). From out of nowhere, she looks directly at me (why ME?) across the table and says, "T, did you know that there is a newly published article in the Journal of Something Something Medicine which says that children under the age of 2 years should not watch any TV whatsoever?"

She knows I'm a crap TV-aholic. So sue me. I was working a hardcore stressful job as a lawyer, 10 hours a day. When I got home, crap TV unwound my brain. I admit I watch reality shows, sitcoms and other various forms of crap TV.

So her the fact that I had just m/c'd and didn't have a 2 year old, or any baby for that matter, to sit in front of a TV, put me over the edge. I cried all the way home. Fortunately, my husband is very supportive about this issue (heck, it's his sister...he knows!).

Anyway, after enough time had passed and I gathered my wit, I waited for the right moment. I knew it would come and it did. I'm not one to brag about my credentials, and I think I'm generally kind to others, but oh man, she deserved this!

The topic of TV and children came up again. She went on about how bad TV is and how she won't let her kids go over to the neighbor's house anymore because (gasp!) they let their kids watch TV. Then I said it.

I said, "Hm, P, you know, I grew up on TV. Almost from birth. I watched all the cartoons, soap operas, game shows, sitcoms. Hell, even now I watch hours and hours of reality TV and whatever happens to come on every night! It's incredible, isn't it, that despite so much zombie TV, I've been able to acquire two bachelor's degrees and a law degree, and I graduated with honors for all of them! Go figure."

That shut her up. Oh, the look on her face was priceless.

Unfortunately, it only caught her off guard for a moment. People like that are hard to stop...sort of like a speeding train.

So yesterday my husband said, "My dad is going to be in town this weekend. Want to go to P's house?" I haven't been there since Thanksgiving. I may have to suck it up and go. The only good thing is that I'm feeling happy and positive about this FET cycle. That and the fact that since I was laid off from that stressful law position several months ago, I watch even more crap TV than ever.

That ought to be great fodder for conversation. ;)


Scrambled Egg said...

Bring on the crap TV. I have Gossip girl and 90210 recording weekly on the DVR. And that just skims the surface. Oh, and I have an advanced degree, top of the class, blah blah blah. TV doesn't warp my brain. It's sanity. You tell her! =)

Sandra D. said...

I grew up on (and LOVE) crap TV too! And I have two degrees. Jerry Springer practically got me through my undergrad :-) If I were you, I'd talk about reality TV non-stop. As for the parenting, I totally agree - especially knitting for a boy. I don't like to be harsh, but that kid might as well stuff himself in a locker.

Lucky Jones said...

I LOVE that you stood up to her like that... I grew up on TV too, I have quite fond memories of my brother and I watching The Muppet Show. My sister and I knew every single word to Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Annie by the time I was 5.

I am a very established professional. I wouldn't change my choldhood for the world :)GL this weekend... watch some TV!

Best When Used By said...

I thought I was being so harsh on my sil...and I was going to delete this post, but you all are cheering me up and making me laugh a lot, so I'm keeping the post up for a while.

Maybe next time I'll tell her that I even suckled the TV knob (yes, there were no remote controls in those days).

IVF 40+ said...

What a pile of crap!
There are NO viable studies to suggest that TV watching has any effect on the behavior of growing children. The studies were discredited because they failed to measure parent/child instructional content.

On the other hand, it is well documented that parents that fail to set consistent and contextual discipline rules do the kids no favors at all. Its got nothing to do with the tv or the radio or books or movies!

Give the kids computers - really freak her out!

Scrambled Egg said...

Oh, leave it up. This is the stuff of life. And I cracked up. And I'm sure others will too. =)

tireegal68 said...

wow - relatives - especially in-laws - the stuff that nightmares are made of. Mine have opinions but only about the most uninteresting things.
I say do whatever you have to do to remain sane if you have to go. Hey at least they live close by so you won't be stuck there.
How about bringing a portable tv with headphones and plonking it down wherever you park yourself at the SILs? Or talk like a character from your favorite tv program?
That is a tough one. Good luck!
Can't wait to hear how the visit goes. How about bringing a laptop and blogging furiously the whole time you are there? Does she approve of the internet?

Lorraine said...

One of my the things my daughter and I do together to unwind is watch cheesy TV. We like reruns of "What I Like About You" (which is mildly inappropriate for a ten-year-old, but oh well) and "What Not To Wear".

Her IQ is unmeasurable since she tested over the "ceiling" of the current IQ test. She is going to one of the Johns Hopkins CTY genius camps this summer. And I'm pretty sure she'll be watching TV there, too. (It's at Stanford, not out in the woods somewhere.)

I totally get the experiential childhood movement, and it's great for kids to develop their own interests instead of being programmed by marketing campaigns to beg for Hannah Montana pillowcases or whatever. But my question is always this: Do your kids just not know what Hannah Montana is? Or are they full well aware of it and have chosen, of their own free will, not to really participate?

I am so glad my kid isn't into it, but it's not because I've kept her hidden from the "evils of popular culture." I genuinely admire her ability to make choices that reflect her own character, regardless of overbearing media influences OR overbearing parenting influences. After all, the whole point of parenting is to give kids the ability to make good choices about life in the real world.

Okay, enough ranting! Good luck with your SIL!

Anonymous said...

Oy. I must admit, I was like her too once upon a time. You are right, there is no stopping women like that. Ugh.

When it's over, I'm sure you'll have some good stories for us, though. :P

good luck. xoxoxox

Lisa said...

I totally disagree with her parenting sytle, her kids are going to grow up and REBEL against her one day...she'll see. You cant gaurd your kids from evertyhing, thats not healthy for them! Glad you told her!!

Happy ICLW :)

Mrs. Gamgee said...

I learned my letters and numbers from watching shows like Sesame Street, and Reading Rainbow (love that Levar Burton) inspired a life long love of books in me. Bring on the the TV! Good for you for speaking your mind.


Jill said...

hooray for crap TV! I learned about "the birds and the bees" from soap operas, and I spend my nights camped in front of my tv set and de-stressing.

Your SIL sounds like a piece of work. At least it's entertainment, right?

Anonymous said...

Great comeback! I always think of those WAY after the fact, but that was perfect. I also have 2 degrees (honors) and I feel that crap tv is one of the best parts of my day! I love the Biggest Loser (I'm so embarrassed) and My Name is Earl. Also all those letter shows (NCIS, CSI etc). My 7yo watches some of it with us (depending) but he loves documentaries on ancient warfare (go figure). I can get him to do any chores for an hour of tv or computer game. Moderation is the name of the game.

I feel sorry for you SILs kids.