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When Grandma Comes to Spoil the Kids, part 2 of 3

Momof3, I feel your pain. Been there.

I could give you my usual responses, but I sense you’ve read the Intro to 12 Steps to Whole Foods, and my further comments on this topic, on this blog. You seem to know my ideas on this subject really well. What I hear is deep concern, anxiety even, for what your children are learning as well as what they’re eating in Grandma’s care.

I remember once being at my mother-in-law’s house many years ago, where the Standard American Diet rules and the Standard Health Consequences inevitably do, too. I walked around the kitchen corner to find her hurriedly shoveling chocolate cake in my toddler’s mouth. She startled, seeing me, since I was the one she was hiding the cake from.

I’m sure I stopped short and frowned. I remember she said something in her own defense, to the effect of it not being “normal” that my kids weren’t fed candy and cake and cinnamon rolls like other kids. Refined and processed foods are so ingrained in us, now, as a culture, that it seems some grandmas feel junk food belongs in the Bill of Rights.

Your family may truly feel they are “rescuing” our children from “deprivation.” My friend Jan told me the other day about her friend who secretly took Jan’s kids to McD’s because she felt sorry for them. She tells people her Down’s son, Jordan, is “allergic” to dairy and sugar. I laughed because I did the same thing when my kids were little and I delivered them to a babysitter or a teacher at church.

Jan says, “He’s allergic because I say he is!”

My MIL and I then went through a period of learning to work with each other. She eventually did respect my wishes even if she never had any interest in nutrition, herself. She was the one who taught me, through her reaction, when I was in my 20′s and first began studying nutrition, that people aren’t interested until they’re interested, and not a minute sooner, and sometimes never.

(I had mistakenly thought, in my own reading and discoveries, “Everyone should know about this! I think I’ll undertake a mission to teach everyone!” Mistake #1! Not to be repeated!)

As strongly as you feel about this, it’s time for a frank talk with your mother-in-law. Being short with her, or rolling your eyes, just builds tension–so you’ve nothing to lose by just talking.

Tell your husband that you intend to do it calmly and with love and every benefit of the doubt possible, but you do plan to do it.

I would do it on the phone BEFORE she comes. Or, write her a letter. That way she can mull it over before arriving and clear the air on any “hurt feelings” in advance. I would cover the points in my blog tomorrow, which I’ve written as if I were you.

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