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Fun with the in-laws (griping about inane stuff ahead)

Last night we went to my in-laws' place to celebrate my MIL's 60th birthday. She was talking about how 60 is kind of a big, scary number, which led into a conversation about how 60 today seems different (younger, healthier) than 60 a generation ago. This got her into talking about how healthy their lifestyle is, while I sat there and kept my mouth shut and pictured this lady in my head:

They have the least healthy lifestyle of anyone I know! It is 100% sedentary— no working out, no walking anywhere despite living in Manhattan. They mostly eat restaurant food and take-out, and when my MIL does cook (if you want to squirm, mention my FIL cooking and watch him laugh dismissively at the very idea), she smothers vegetables in so much cheese, butter, and other delicious/unhealthy stuff that you can't even really taste the veggies. The other major topic of conversation last night was my FIL's various health problems, which sound pretty serious, just to put it in perspective.


The real reason this was so eye-roll worthy, though, is that they are the smuggest vegetarians I have ever met, and I know that's what my MIL was thinking of when she was waxing rhapsodic about their healthy lifestyle. (Disclaimer: I know many lovely vegetarians and recognize that most are not smug about it; this isn't an indictment of the group as a whole.) One Thanksgiving she made a comment about how her Thanksgiving must be a nice change from my mother's, because "it must be nice to see vegetables on the table." When she said that I must have looked like this lady:

You don't say that, even if the person in question serves up nothing but cheetos and mallomars for Thanksgiving dinner! But also, it is a total bizarro-world version of my mother based solely on the fact that she eats meat. She's a nurse; she's super health conscious; she runs every day and is in amazing shape; and she cooks and eats vegetables like she actually enjoys them (i.e., in copious amounts and prepared so you can actually taste them). I aspire to be as healthy as she is, like, now, let alone when I'm in my 60s. This was the Thanksgiving that my MIL literally (no exaggeration) had THREE separate dishes on the table that were variations on the theme of potatoes smothered in cheese. THREE. (There were also sweet potatoes covered in butter and sugar, in case you didn't get enough starch from the regular potatoes.)

There were also the predictable annoyances about my son. They make a big show about being involved, loving grandparents, when in reality they'll come over for an hour and spend half that time showing him videos on their phones because apparently interacting is too taxing. (This gets my goat because we try to follow his doctor's recommendations about screen time and the TV is a last resort I'd like to have available to me when I need to cook dinner or whatever and he's being particularly difficult.) They were very excited last night because since our last visit, they got a twin bed for their spare room so now he can spend the night. That's lovely in theory, but in reality they've babysit for him once (he's over 2 years olds and they live 15 minutes away) when my husband had to be out of town for work, I had to teach an evening class, and our babysitter was busy. As soon as I walked in the door they handed him to me and said, "Oops, we forgot to change his diaper, tee hee." (Which was basically the only thing they had to do, besides make sure he didn't get injured.) So I don't see an entire night over there as making much sense for quite some time. Their idea is apparently that now they can babysit him at their place and "get him used to sleeping in that bed" and after we eat dinner out we can come pick him up; then eventually he can start spending the night. Yes, because what absolutely makes sense is for us to take him over to their place, go out to eat, and then have to come back later, wake him, take him home, and then get him to go back to sleep at home after his routine has been totally interrupted. As opposed to them coming over here and just letting him go to sleep in his own bed like every babysitter ever?


When my husband pointed out that pretty soon there's going to be a new baby to look after, my MIL said, "Yes, that's true, I'm really going to need a refresher about all of that stuff. It's been so long!" I wanted to be like, "Lady, you are already a grandmother! Do you experience any cognitive dissonance about the fact that you put on this sanctimonious grandmother of the year act when you haven't even changed a single diaper in the past 30 years?!" (Another disclaimer: I don't believe that they, as grandparents, owe us free babysitting or anything like that. Babies/toddlers aren't everyone's thing and believe me, I totally 100% get that, but why pretend otherwise? And why keep talking about some time in the mystical future when they are going to start being super involved?)


Finally, last night our son picked up, threw, and broke a ceramic dish that was sitting on the floor of the kitchen while both my MIL and FIL stood within two feet of him. I get that people who aren't used to be around kids might not anticipate something like that, but they've had two years to be around and get used to what babies/toddlers do, and it doesn't exactly make me feel comfortable leaving him there for a 12 hour stretch. Then later he was sitting at the table throwing napkins on the floor while my MIL laughed and laughed about how cute he was, egging him on, until I stopped it, reprimanded him, and pointed out that we need to teach him not to throw things and that he was only continuing to do it because she was giving him the reaction he wanted. Fortunately she didn't seem pissed that I said that, so that's at least something positive.

Ok, thanks for letting me whine about silly stuff here, GT. I try not to say this stuff to my husband and helps to get it out somewhere! Does anybody want to join me? Are there people/things that bug you more than they should?

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