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Thursday, 19 April 2007


My mother-in-law Grandma Elizabeth, has just telephoned to say that she will be arriving on Friday (tomorrow) afternoon for a long weekend. OHMYGOD!

Soon she will pull up outside our home, her enormous old Rolls Royce creaking under the weight of six packs of Fruit Shoots, great multi packs of Monster Munch crisps, Haribo jellies, and those little pastel coloured flying saucer type sweets that are filled with sherbet and feel like polystyrene on your tongue (where does she get them?).

Grandma Elizabeth will no doubt have one of her 'special little gifts' taking up the entire back seat of the car. On her visit last month, she brought a ride on Motorised Thomas Train with its own tracks that took up half of our lawn. What will it be this time, life size stuffed ponies? Soon there will be no room at all for James and I in the house, and we shall be confined to the games room above the garage next to the au pair.

Grandma Elizabeth always finds the children 'hard to handle' when she visits, but then she does insist on feeding them a diet of pure sugar and E numbers. It takes me about seven days to completely detox them after she leaves.

I cannot bear to allow her to take the children to the park anymore. On a previous occasion, I decided to join them all in the park after a dental appointment, and when I eventually found her reading the paper and sipping lemon tea in a quiet corner of the coffee shop, the children were no-where in sight.

"They will return when they are hungry," she cheerily informed me!

"But Freya was not yet four, Max is only five, you should not let them out of your sight," I exclaimed in horror.

"I raised two lovely boys," she said coldly, "and we had The Moors Murderers in my day. The papers exaggerate the danger" she told me dryly turning the pages of her paper.

I frantically searched the park for my darlings, and found Freya at the top of the climbing frame and eventually Max too, helping the man in the bicycle shop on the other side of the park. Yes they were alive, but it was more luck than judgement.

Grandma Elizabeth constantly sends me up for my choice of organic and fresh food and low salt/low fat foods. She throws cups full of salt into my boiling vegetables. James and I are so careful when it comes to salt consumption.

It is so hard to be assertive with my mother in law, I cannot bear it when she complains that the children are swinging from the light fixtures - filled with her E numbered and sugar drenched confections. Fruit Shoots are nothing but rocket fuel for kids, Monster Munch taste vile and cause the children to be monsters. She has no real experience of children, James and his brother were raised by nannies after all!


mcewen said...

Ah I hear the little tinkling bells of familiarity! [However, that's not the 'in law' side, rather my own ancestry! eek]
Thank you for the link to your chum. You're right Heidi has a great perspective.

Drunk Mummy said...

Dear Dulwich Mum,
I see we are both due for a little bit of purgatory this weekend - I am off to visit my MIL tomorrow. My kids had never seen anyone peel a vegetable before they stayed at Grandma's house - and they told her so.
In addition, I have to seriously curb my wine intake in case she discovers what a lush I really am.

antarctichousehusband said...

Dearest DM, it never ends does it? Grandma Elisabeth must be stopped. Can I suggest valium in her cup of tea to encourage frequent deep naps? It's very dispersible when crushed, and has little flavour if put in the cup before the boiling water. Apparently...

dulwichmum said...

Dear Mcewen, I knew you would like Heidi. She is a great mum!
Sweet Drunk Mummy, Have you considered a thermos flask under your bed? That way you can keep your stash cold and slowly anaesthetise yourself without your secret being shared!
Dear Antarctichousehusband, as always I can rely on you for a sensible suggestion. Thank you all.

rilly super said...

dulwichmum, the e-numbers in monster munch are surely the least of your problems. What concerns me is that your children be seen at school consuming a lower-middle or even working class snack. Imagine the horror should their Tyrrels munching schoolmates tell their own parents what max and freya have apparently been supplied by their mother. How will you ever face them at the tennis club again dear? You must be firm with grandma Elizabeth. She is only visiting, you have to live there.

dulwichmum said...

Super Rilly,

I forgot to mention that I would never allow my darlings to be observed in public eating that "swill" - clearly. But thank you so much for your kind support. I fill up just thinking of you - up north!

Nunhead Mum of One said...

Darling, we should continue to ensure that our respective MIL's never ever meet. Just think of the destruction they could wreak! E numbers and random childcare. It fair boggles the mind. Try and find some time for yourself dear one x

dulwichmum said...

Sweet Nunheadmumofone,

You know I was thinking just the same thing myself, it is time I found some time for myself!