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zarfkitty

Rant About The In-laws

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Husband, daughter and I just returned home from being houseguests at husband's sister's home. She just graduated from college after 10 years of slaving through part-time school while birthing three boys (who are all under the age of 5!) and working full time. It was definitely a day to celebrate!

Well, we arrived at her home on Wednesday. She was very conscious of our dietary needs but wasn't very knowledgeable. At least she was gracious about it, as was her husband.

Her parents (also my husband's parents) were also houseguests. There were also friends staying in hotels and other people to worry about feeding. So we all came up with a plan for cooking and eating out so that everyone could do a little and sister-in-law didn't have to do anything but relax and enjoy.

For my part, I made a melt-in-your mouth pot roast on Friday. It happened to be gluten-free, of course, but I didn't make a huge deal out of it since it was my turn to cook. I just did my safe kitchen practices quietly.

On Thursday, my FIL barbequed. It was clear from the beginning that he wasn't going to change his routine to cook safely. (He balked at scraping the grill clean, even in a small spot. He was willing to set aside some beef for me to broil for myself, but he handled it with glutened hands so I had to decline; he was using a gluten containing dry rub.)

I brought enough gluten-free food to feed an army, so even though I was disappointed that I couldn't have BBQ, daughter and I were going to get enough to eat and visit family at the same time. No biggie.

UNTIL....

FIL (using his joking Grandpa voice) tells daughter, "too bad you can't eat this because it's soooooooooo good!"

Well, I gave him the benefit of the doubt that he just left his brain in the car or something, and told him "gosh, that was mean!" in the most gentle but serious voice I could muster. Of course I wanted to go ballistic on his ass but it wasn't right venue for that at the moment.

He proceeds to defend himself. To make it worse, daughter (who could care less about BBQ) decided it wasn't mean and said so. I'm sure she would have been hurt if it were chocolate cake, but I digress.

His point of view is that he should be able to joke around with her like he always did before and that he didn't think he said anything wrong so he doesn't have to apologize to me (apologizing to her is moot because she wasn't offended in the first place). Family drama quietly ensues, but luckily it was my husband defending the celiac nation against his parents; I didn't have to get involved. Never got that apology, but I'm glad that my husband had my back in any case.

Then, today, at the graduation party (at which no gluten-free food existed whatsoever -- but don't worry, I was prepared because I knew ahead of time and it was really SIL's day anyway!) FIL and MIL picked up the catered croissant sandwiches and decided at the last minute they wanted them cut in half before serving them on the buffet.

THEY ACTUALLY ASKED ME TO CUT CROISSANT SANDWICHES IN HALF. Unbelievable. I replied, "I'll get [husband] to do that but I won't do it." MIL asked husband why I wouldn't help. (I always help with anything; if she had asked me to scrub a toilet I actually would have done it.) Apparently, she had misplaced her sense somewhere. He told her a little white lie about even cutting bread would make me sick. The truth of course is that I didn't want to torture myself. At least MIL felt bad about forgetting. FIL is still in some sort of denial about the seriousness of the whole thing.

Now I'm wondering about daughter's annual "week with grandma." I'm going to type them a manual before daughter stays at their house. Daughter is ridiculously bright and will keep MIL honest, and I don't want to deny them their special week together. FIL doesn't cook at all so that's no worry. I already told them not to take her to any restaurants without me, and I'm sending cheap but un-glutened cookware with her.

Thanks for reading, if anyone got this far. I feel better already. I've never posted without reading new posts before, so I'll go do that now.

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Some relatives seem to have a weird sense of humor, or a streak of meanness. My SIL and my family were having a party for my inlaws 60 th anniversary. She was having it at her house, I said I'd fix the food for it . Well, she went ahead and ordered....sandwiches for the party. Witch.... My inlaws are very considerate and my MIL cooks everything gluten-free. If they all were as nice as she is it would be great. Let's say I always bring my own food to my SIL's house. B)

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Sorry your inlaws are being so difficult. They will eventually learn how to nehave around gluten, but it may take a while. Good luck.

Gotta love the bright child dumb grandparent game...My oldest, 6yrs old, manipulates and tells bold faced lies in order to avoid eatign fod she doesn't want or to get the grandparents to buy something she does want. Of course I am only talking about foods that are offlimits due to her nut allergy. This is the same child who recently told a parent that she was going to eat a peanut soon and just keep an epi-pen really close. She knows her allergy well and tells everyone, but every now and again she makes a comment like that which is terrifying because adults listen to her and assume that she is correct.

I actually put off putting the 2 yr old on a gluten free diet for 2 weeks just so I would not have the daily fight with the grandarents. To their credit this is the first trip in over 4 yrs that they actually tried really hard to understand and behave regarding food in my house with the grandkids. But still, weekend at grandparents...no way!

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Hi Zarfkitty -

How awful that experience must've been for you! I applaud your restraint at giving Grandpa a gentle reprimand (and his comment WAS mean!) I'm going through a similar kind of struggle with my in-laws. They don't want to believe that this disease is real and so they refuse to talk about it or educate themselves about it in any way. I even offered to buy my m-i-l "Living Gluten Free for Dummies", so that she could figure out how to make all the dishes that my kids love in a gluten-free way. You would have thought that I'd offered to buy her a pet cobra! This whole experience is damaging my relationship with my in-laws in a BIG way, but I'm not sure how to handle it differently. I tried being nice, helpful, informative, sympathetic....and met with no success. I've now decided that I'll be pragmatic, and simply draw lines for them that will NOT be crossed, under threat of....well, I'm not sure about that part....not seeing their grandkids much, I guess. I used to be close to my m-i-l....but she's choosing to preserve her false, rose-colored reality instead of facing up to facts, so I don't think it's possible for us to be close at this point. I hope it will be different in the future. Anyway, just wanted to offer moral support. I'm glad that your dh has it in him to speak up for the "celiac nation"....I'm not sure that my dh does, at this point. He's not been much help in dealing with his parents on this issue. It's no fun to have to be the heavy all the time, but it's my kid's, and my, health that we're talking about....so it's necessary. Good luck to you! I hope the week with the grandparents goes well....it's good that your dd is smart and can speak up for herself.

Rho

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I still think, that was mean, what grandpa said. It doesn't matter, if it offended your daughter in the end. Just the fact, that he said something like that, ticks me off! He COULD HAVE offended her. Why does he even take risk in offending her like that, if he loves his grandchild? First switching brain on... Then talking, please! <_<

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The common thread to this thread seems to be that the requirements of the gluten-free lifestyle can spark an almost violent reaction in those around us. My guess is that the idea that something so familiar as bread is a (possibly widespread) health hazard is a violation of their world-view.

These folks are ususally staunch supporters of the status-quo. They refuse to examine their own actions, emotions and stubborn sensibilities. Most harbor the often harsh lessons of their childhoods without question

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Okay, I'm shocked at your in-laws, and sorry about the rough time you had to go through, but what hits me is, DANG, GIRL-- YOU ARE A GREAT WRITER!!!!!

You should send this to a magazine and see if they print it.

Wow, thanks! I wonder which magazines my in-laws read....

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