I’ve always had a good relationship with my mother in law; from day one she’s made me feel part of the family and has been there in many ways for us since we got married in 2003.
I don’t mind admitting that sometimes I wish we were a little further apart in distance than we are, being 5 minutes up the road sometimes doesn’t give us much privacy – however it does have its benefits for babysitting in an emergency.
Even though we get on well – I do not agree with her choice of food for Addison and it has been like this ever since she was a little baby. From day one every time we would take Addison to mother in law’s we would have to take everything with us. It took her weeks to get her head around using a steriliser and I remember that first conversation when Addison was first weaning and she was given instructions about what to give her and what not to give her, over time I realised she was blatantly ignoring my instructions for a healthy balanced diet for Addison.
I let it slide because after all she constantly nags both myself and my other half about our weight and berates Christopher for being spoiled by his grandma when he was little with bags of sweets and biscuits. It was my stupid assumption that she would have the best interest of her granddaughter at heart and would be keen to make sure that Addison doesn’t suffer the horrendous weight issues that we both do.
Not so, it would seem. Over the last 3 – 4 months I had noticed Addison getting fussy at meal times; favourite dinners were met with “I don’t like that”, “I don’t want dinner I want pudding.” She got grumpy when presented with fruit for puddings and snacks and on several occasions after a day at nanny’s had returned home with a chocolate covered face and the most awful constipation. Eventually I got to the bottom of it.
I started sending food parcels on a Friday with Addison for her lunch and dinner and found out that nanny wasn’t cooking the fish or chicken goujons I sent down with peas and sweet corn. No, nanny was deciding to give Addison jam sandwiches, or tomato sausages or slices of chocolate cake for her meals. And we’re not talking toddler sized portions – when I asked Addison how many sausages she would have she would say 3 and she has obviously got so fed up of them that she now says to me that she doesn’t like nanny’s cooking and that nanny does too many sausages.
This I find very hard to ignore – but I don’t think it is my place to get involved. With my mum I don’t have to have these conversations because the most calorific thing in my mum’s house that Addison gets is an organic rice cake or a homemade fairy cake. My mum is affectionately known as “the food police” but she makes fresh dinners every Monday for Addison and will make her omelettes for tea, when my mother in law can’t even boil and egg. One week she actually phoned me to ask how to cook chicken goujons – since then meals have gone down with instructions such as 20 minutes at 180 – it really shouldn’t be this hard should it?
We had dinner there at the weekend as Addison had stayed overnight as we had the decorators in and the smell of gloss paint was very strong. During Sunday lunch it was let slip that Addison had woken up on Sunday morning and before breakfast had consumed one jammy dodger and one fig roll, then for breakfast had an adult sized serving of Special K and yoghurt and again at 11am was given yet another jammy dodger – all this before we sit down to eat at 2pm and then not surprisingly it’s a struggle to get her to eat her dinner (the portion size of which I had to remove half as it contained two roast potatoes, one giant Yorkshire pudding, 2 slices of meat, mashed potato and parsnips).
I am so careful what I feed Addison – yes she gets a chocolate treat when we get in from school some nights or we will sit together on the sofa and have a slice of toast but she doesn’t eat the same size portions as me and when she has treats they are seen as a treat. I worry about the effect this is going to have not only on her weight, but of her affinity to healthy food groups. Sometimes after a day at nanny’s Addison will suffer terribly from diarrhoea because her body simply cannot process the fat.
I have asked my husband to step in on this one because I’ve said it time and time again to the mother in law and keep getting told point blank that she doesn’t give Addison “that type of food” but yet everything I am seeing and hearing is telling me otherwise. I am not ungrateful for the help she gives us in terms of childcare but I do need to know that when Addison is with her that she is getting proper nutritious snacks and food and not being fed high sugar junk food simply because it makes life easier.