October 18, 2007

Something About Fish and Its Appeal After Three Days

With not quite four days done, and more than three days remaining, I am beginning to lose my joie de vivre. The mother-in-law visit is not horrible. But I am counting days.

Tuesday night I had a bad dream that my mother-in-law was visiting. Then I woke up, and I thought, "Whew." Then, "OH NO!!!"

She is getting gradually worse with each day, as usual. Yesterday evening, she told two little anecdotes about pregnancy weight--both after looking at me consideringly. One was asking me if I'd heard Barbara Bush's story about how she gained 60 pounds during pregnancy and unfortunately the baby didn't weigh sixty pounds. Second: "I know why your cat is so fat! She never lost her pregnancy weight!"

She's made several negative remarks about Rob's overbite. Opening sally was "What are you going to do about Robert's teeth?" in the demanding tone of voice a manager might use with an underling who had committed a grave error and was being asked how she was going to fix it. Another day: "Whoooh! Robert's TEETH! My GOODNESS!" Later she said to me, "So Robert gets his teeth from you, I guess?" I wasn't sure what she meant, and I said, "Paul had braces too, right?" She said, "Oh! Yes! But not for anything like THAT! My word!"

She said, "Who drinks HEINEKEN??" the way you might ask, "Who hired this HOOKER??" When I said we kept it for my dad when he was working on the house, she said, "Whoooh! Because I knew PAUL didn't drink it! Har har!" So I guess she assumed it was mine. As if there'd be anything wrong with that. And since Paul hasn't lived with her since pre-drinking age, I can't imagine why she thinks she knows anything at all about it.

She is wearing her coat inside. She keeps saying she should have brought her winter jacket but hadn't realized she'd need it.

We went to Wa1mart and she said she needed to buy antacid. She said she usually doesn't need it at home, but when she eats "so late" she has trouble. We've had dinner twice at 5:30, once at 5:45.

She asked Henry if he is getting spoiled. She asked him, "Oh, is the WHOLE WORLD not paying attention to you?"--when he fussed lightly after an hour of silence in his bouncy seat. She's informed him loudly that his socks were falling off. She asked him if his mother was going to change his diaper in the living room in front of everybody.

Last night she was silent when William mentioned he was out of pull-ups (he wears them to bed). Today she told a story of some CRAZY mother she knew whose child still wasn't fully potty-trained at age four. IF YOU CAN IMAGINE IT.

She was watching me help Rob with his homework. Rob is learning cursive. He and I had to work for awhile on his lowercase B, which he was doing like a lowercase L followed by a lowercase R. Later, my mother-in-law said to me, "Swistle, I heard you telling Rob about his cursive B earlier." I said, "Mm?" She said, "I see YOUR B looks like an H with a line through it!" Merry laughter. Oh, I see: clearly it was ridiculous, then, for me to correct Rob.

I told William to come outside to get his hair cut (I do his with clippers). My mother-in-law called out immediately, "Robert could use one too." Oh yes? Should he also get a real job? Also, perhaps she could notice that he does not have 2 years' hair growth; therefore, we are managing to get his hair cut even when she is not here to tell us he needs one.

She's been telling the kids what to do, and then criticizing the way they do it. She says to us, "They're getting pretty GOOFY," in a hard, disapproving tone. Yesterday at the store she said exasperatedly, "You need a whole grown-up just to take care of Edward!" I'm trying to breathe deeply and remember that this probably will not cover them in emotional scars. She's an old bat, and it's good for children to learn of the existence of old bats.


Jenny said...

"The mother in law visit is not horrible"


Oh. My. God.

Swistle, I can't believe you don't kill her with your bare hands.

All that passive agressive BS would drive to drink. Heinekin, preferrably. Or violence.

Jess said...

That comment about the cat? I would have killed her. On the spot. How can you say this isn't horrible? I would just die!

I am also quickly trying to get Torsten to read this post because I am always telling how about your awful MIL and then he asks for examples and when I go looking the post has already been taken down.

Pickles & Dimes said...

I'm sorry, but this post was too funny.

"Who drinks HEINEKIN?" Priceless.

As was the part about eating "too late." Gah. She'd die at our house; we routinely don't eat dinner until 7:30 or 8:00, depending on how late Jason works and how many "to tide me over" beef sticks I've ingested.

Crystal said...

I can't believe you have any Heineken left in the house.

Here is a little nugget to let you know you're not alone. When my daughter was a couple of months old and things were very bad my MIL came to visit. She cooked dinner and when she finished I thanked her profusely for going to the trouble. She responded, "Oh, I did it for Josh (her son)."

Peace be with you.

mom of the year said...

I own a pair of shit-kickers and know how to use them. Would you like to borrow them? I'll provide a free lesson on the art of shit-kicking if you'd like. Seriously, I don't know how you are doing it. I think I may have lost some restraint with the beer issue. Like one of those bar fight scenes in a movie (break the bottle on the bar, "you wanna go buddy?")

Melospiza said...

*sympathetic hyperventilating*

What can I say? Clearly you are going to need a Congressional Medal of Honor. I will write my representative at once.

Michele said...

Reading this is making my eyes bleed. She is a real gem. I dont know HOW you are making it. I would have been on "COPS" by now.

LoriD said...

Sooo....many....comebacks. How do you control yourself?

The teeth - make a point of admiring how much Rob looks like his dear Grandma, especially around the mouth.

The coat - you must tell her the story of your crazy old neighbour who wears a coat when it's not even cold. Add, sympathetically, that it must suck to get old.

The beer - if Paul doesn't drink that beer TONIGHT, you will have to kill him.

The "late" dinner - feed the old bat at 4:00 and announce at 6:00 that you're all off to bed.

I can feel this all going downhill.

laughing mommy said...

You are a saint to say that the visit is going well. My blood was boiling after just reading this.

Sadly, I can imagine living it... but cannot go into detail here.

Do you ever wonder if the day will come when you will snap and say something horrible back to her?

Colleen said...

Oh my. And there's still another 3 days???

Welcome to our World said...

my MIL just gives disapproving eye rolling looks... it is my mother who says these charming things. Ah, I hope the next few days FLY by...

Jennifer aka Binky Bitch said...

Wow. Just wow.

You're destined for sainthood if she survives the rest of the visit. Bless her heart, heh.

Kathryn said...

Ohh, I would totally make Paul drink the beer, yes.

Also, if it's any consolation, I'm sure the kids don't notice how evil she is. I know my own grandmother used to do stuff like this to my mom (the comments, and the nit-picking of our behavior), and while I get a good laugh out of it now, I don't remember ever noticing it when I was little.

Two funny things she did, which will hopefully make you laugh and forget all about your aggravating mil:
(1) A few years back, she was going on and on about how wonderful it was to have a housekeeper, and she wished she'd done it years ago, blah blah. She suddenly stops, looks at my mother, and says, "You should do that, you know." My mom was pleasantly surprised, thinking my grandmother was acknowledging how hard it is for a working mother to keep the house running smoothly. She replied, "Well, I'm not sure we could afford it right now, but someday, it would be nice." My lovely grandmother snapped back, "No, I meant you should look into working as a housekeeper. Mine makes decent money."
(2) For my parents' 30th wedding anniversary, she gave them a clock. Nice, right? Except that this one was made out of some cheap, horrible unfinished wood, and the (stick-on) numbers were all jumbled together at the bottom. Across the face was painted, "Who cares, anyway?" Take that how you will.

Erica said...

Oh My God. I want to punch her in the head. Repeatedly. And hard.

Modern Day Hermit said...

That woman sounds like my psycho-mother-in-law...the comments loudly proclaiming that the child's socks are off etc...sent chills through my spine.

I don't know how you do it. I found it hard just visiting the bitch every other weekend or so - actual hours that span days? Prison looks pleasant in comparison.

Marie Green said...

You know, it comes down to this: She is a Miserable Woman, and you are not. She is a Black Cloud, and you are not used to Black Clouds. She makes people miserable wherever she is; no one likes her, and she probably has no/very few meaningful human relationships.

Of course, this is all speculation. (But am I right? I'd be curious to know.) But in the midst of getting SO PISSED at her NERVE while reading this post, I suddenly started to pity her. Can you imagine living like that? GAAAAA.

Artemisia said...

All that passive-aggressive crap would drive me completely batshit crazy.

You are a saint. A SAINT.

Jen4 @ Amazing Trips said...

Oh, she sounds like so much fun. Can you please send her to me next?? I love HEINEKEN. And I still have buck teeth after 5 years of braces. Although, unlike YOU, I kept my retainer when I cleaned out my closet. tsk, tsk.

The kids are learning how to hit golf balls, and in some goofy way, we might be able to use her for target practice.

Devan said...

Oh my god. MY MIL is there?!

You poor, poor thing. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
Make Paul drink that beer and I mean tonight!

Tell a funny little story about your "friend" who has a horrible MIL who butts in and is mean to the children. Say in a whisper "she even had the NERVE to call xyz FAT?! Can you imagine?!"

Then get very busy with the dishes.

Erica said...

I came back just to tell you that I'm STILL pissed. How dare she talk about my, er, your sweet babies like that!!!

Alice said...

i have no. flipping. idea. how this can be considered "not horrible." i'm with everyone else, you deserve a medal/award/REALLY REALLY NICE VACATION after this.

also? devan's suggestion is FREAKING AWESOME. fight passive agression with more passive agression!

Jen said...

I cannot believe the things she says to you! That's horrible. I just sat here reading with my mouth open.

Just think: in case you were ever wondering if you were going to be the crazy old bat to your sons' future wives, I'm guessing you won't be. You have first-hand knowledge of how terrible a MIL can be, and this experience will make you the envy of your kids' friends! I know it's a long time off...

Karly said...

I absolutely love lorid's suggestions. You must follow them all and then report back to us how it went.

So, did she actually get the hotel or is she staying with you guys?

Trena said...

I would have a hard time not sitting there with my mouth hanging open from the utter shock that someone could actually say those things (although I have to say that she TOTALLY sounds like what it would be to have my paternal grandmother as a MIL). You truly are a saint for putting up with it. I think I'd have to come up with some convincing reason why I had to stay in a hotel three towns over if I had a MIL like that and she came to visit, otherwise it would be off to prison.

Deep breathing can do some amazing things--and hey you can always practice rapid breathing and pass out and have a rest from her for five minutes at least.

MrsGrumpy said...

Ohhhhhhh....Hug, because that's really all I can think of. You should write a book (using a pseudonym, of course), and then when you get fabulously wealthy because she is hysterical, tell her you won the lottery.

Corey~living and loving said...

oh my word...I really hope that I am NEVER like that when I am a MIL. seriously, was she always like this.....eeekkkkkkkk

Shelly Overlook said...

If this is not a horrible visit, then I don't want to know what qualifies as horrible.

How on earth did your husband turn out so well growing up with that???

Black Sheeped said...

Swistle! You're pretty! I'm sorry it's all so annoying. Soooo sorry. This all sounds so ridiculous.

Look! I have a new one for you:

The Dogs-1, the Bag of Muddy Potting Soil in the Garage-0.

desperate housewife said...

You totally win the putting up with crazy mother in laws award. But if it helps, I think they ALL say things sometimes that just kind of make you go, "Uh...?" For instance, the other day, when my shirt was lifted to breastfeed and my midriff was partially exposed, my MIL mentioned brightly, "They make cream now for stretch marks, you know!" Um, yes, thanks for the reminder that my belly looks like it was clawed by a tiger!

Katie said...

Ummmm....that is pretty much horrible. What could be worse? She could be beating your children with switches!

I just cannot believe how humdrum you sound about all of this. Did you take the entire bottle of antidepressants at once? You poor dear.

So, is she staying with you?

Katie said...

And, oh my god. I love Lorid.

samantha Jo Campen said...

Yeah, to you, what qualifies as horrible? Setting the children on fire in some Satanic sacrifice? Because really.

I'm pregnant and can't drink, but MAN do I want to down a bottle of wine just THINKING about that shit she's pulling.

The stuff she's saying to you sucks, but when she brings the KIDS into it? I'd kill her. Slowly. . .with some sort of blunt object.

I know you can hear me... said...

I don't think that Heinekin is NEARLY strong enough for the visit that you are currently enduring.

My fingers are crossed that the next few days pass QUICKLY!

jen said...

wait, I thought my mother in law said she went on VACATION, like on a cruise ship. This is impossible.

Misguided Mommy said...

thank you so much. i needed a good laugh!

bubandpie said...

Now, SHE is a Basement Person.

Jenny H. said...

Maybe we should send a WHOLE TRUCKLOAD OF ALCOHOL!

I haven't read all the comments, but you can bet your bippy that I will. They will already be funny and full of juicy outrage on you behalf!


We are here for you and recognize your awesomeness. You can do it!

And one more thing? When your children are old enough I PROMISE YOU they will know what an awful woman she was. Without you having to do a thing.

Jenny H. said...

I was right! The comments were excellent!

And I must agree with the masses-

Pure genius.

Good luck, Bebe.

tulipmom said...

Hey, tell her you "know" an even crazier mother who has a 6 and a half year old who STILL wears Pull Ups to bed.

The fish quote is so true. Two days is the limit with my MIL. Without fail she becomes intolerable on Day 3.

You're almost there. Hang on!

Mommy Brain said...

Oh my. I got a headache just reading this. Hang in there. Your kids need you too much for you to go to jail for murder.

Sleepynita said...

Is it possible to just burn down the one room she sleeps in?
I love that you are giving the kids a nature lesson on the existance of old bats!

The Mommy Years said...

I would have ended up cracking open a Heinekin in front of her after the hair cut statement.

Oh thank heavens she's staying in a hotel ... now to just get her back out of your state!

amber said...

Yeeesh. It's pretty bad when we can all tell how intolerable your MIL is, having never met her personally. I encourage you to breathe deeply, and maybe eat dinner at 6:00 once or twice, and perhaps come up with other passive-aggressive revenge tactics that she can't outright recognize as returned bitchiness, but so that they are just clever enough to annoy the shit out of her. If not, you are a better/stronger woman than me.

Erin said...

Swistle, you should tell her that-- I may be wrong, though I doubt it-- it was Jenny McCarthy who said that about a 60 pound baby & the pregnancy weight. And isn't she a little OLD to know about Jenny McCarthy. OH! But now Jenny McCarthy is a spokesperson for Weight Watchers or Nutrisystem or some such program; perhaps that's how she knows Jenny McCarthy?

Nowheymama said...

I...am speechless.

Thinking of you!

Tessie said...

Well, at least you have these comments, which are all awesome.

The Heineken thing reminds me of the MIL that I narrowly escaped (mother of my college boyfriend). She was "so glad" that he had never had a drink in his life, so he wouldn't have to go to HELL. Meanwhile this is the guy who bought a keg to keep on the front porch when he and I were in town for Spring Break. Just the two of us. We finished the keg. Guess I'll be seeing him in hell.

nikki said...

It sounds like your MIL needs her own special pan of laxative brownies.

stephanie said...

You? Are a saint. That is all I can say.

Joyce said...

I effing hate your MIL. Seriously. I can't believe you haven't killed her. What a witch!!!

Misty said...


You mean...it is usually worse?

Oh my.

You are normal and fine and doing a damn good job. That woman would test the patience of Job and has been sent by the Devil, Himself.

Sara said...

As everyone before me said, Swistle, you are a saint.

1. The pregnancy weight comments----I suppose she is a size 0 and never gained a pound when she was pregnant.
2. What kind of grandmother makes comments about their grandchild’s appearance in such a negative fashion? She makes it sound like you and Paul refuse to provide Rob dental care. I’m pissed off on your behalf!
3. Tell her to stay out of your fridge and way from your beer.
4. My mother wears her coat inside my house and worries constantly that my kids are cold---bringing them sweaters and whatnot. We keep our house at a reasonable 68/69 degrees in the winter. They’re fine.
5. You are supposed to spoil Henry. The whole world should be paying attention to him since he is the cutest baby ever.
6. I can’t remember how old William is, but Eddie is nearly 4 and is in no way ready to wear underwear to bed. Regardless of anything I do, he does not wake up during the night to pee. I’ve read a lot about it and it is normal to take a long time for night training with boys---sometimes until they’re 8 years old.
7. You’d better cut Rob’s hair!! What is wrong with you?? How would you ever know how long it was if she didn’t point it out?? (on a side note, my MOTHER commented anonymously on my blog that Cait needed her bangs cut. Perhaps she’d like to wrangle her and attempt doing it. Until she physically can’t see, she’s all good.)

3 more days to go….you can DO IT!!

And P.S. How did Paul turn out to be so great?

Emblita said...

Ugh, my deepest deepest sympathies. My MIL is made in the exact same mold but thankfully I never have to spend more than a few hours with her at time. I doubt I could stand living with her for 7 WHOLE DAYS! Aaaarrrrghghh.

Nina Diane said...

Bless your heart......you have a lot more patience than I would have! I would be popping Heinekin's open all over the place!

mdvelazquez said...

Delurking to sugget...
The coat - (a twist on Lorid's) tell her about a news story you saw about a person who attacked someone at the mall and that the interviewees all told how they knew she was crazy because she was dressed in a coat, which was inapproriate for the weather.

The "late" dinner - either spit in her food before you serve it to her or add laxatives to her portion

I think this calls for itching powder on her sheets and on her hairbrush. Itching powder sprinkled in her purse would also work.

Pack a "ripe" fish in her luggage when she departs. A sardine in her purse would be a nice touch too.

If you have a black mug/cup, coat it in black shoe polish before handing it to her.

Sign her up to receive information from AA groups.


mdvelazquez said...

Sorry, I forgot to add that I think you deserve a special award for holding it together through all of this.

el-e-e said...

erin -- well done!

And yes, the kids need to know about Old Bats, especially so close to HALLOWEEN!!! Badum-bum CHING.

Good lord, woman, you are a SAINT a SAINT a SAINT. Praise god for hotels.

clueless but hopeful mama said...

Where to start? I have to say I agree with marie green about this woman being a very sad individual. I can't imagine how unhappy you have to be with yourself to say such things to your daughter-in-law. The people I know who say things like "ooh, is no one paying attentiont to you?" to a crying infant are so sad and lonely on the inside. To come into your home and insult you takes not only a lot of nerve, it takes a lot of .... pathetic-ness (yep-I'm sticking by that word).

What you are showing your kids is how to rise above. And possibly how to git her with a lorid-style comeback.

rebcram said...

You are a model of restraint. I can only imagine how fuming mad I would be with two or three of those comments, let alone all of them!

You're a saint, woman, a saint.

Chelle said...

I have to call my MIL and ask her if she wasn't possibly a twin who got separated at birth.

Hang in there!

Stacie said...

Oh. My. God.

Right now I am being very very thankful for the bundle of reasonably sane irritation that is my MIL. I shall bookmark this post. I shall reread it prior to her visits. I shall remind myself that I HAVE IT GOOD.

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Hey Swistle! My sister's MIL is working on giving yours a run for her money from what she's told me. I feel awful for both of you.

How many children does she have that she can "afford" to berate her grandchildren?! That's just not right and grounds for kicking her out right then and there, in my book. It's one thing to put up with the constant passive-aggressive insults about oneself, but once she starts tearing down your kids? NUH UH, bitch!

And 8 is clearly old enough to remember a grandmother's cutting remarks about teeth.

I'm so sorry you have to go through this.

Mommy Daisy said...

All of this is so so horrible. I can't believe you're not in the nut house yet. I know I would be. Yikes. Stresses me out just hearing about it.

Farrell said...

OH my god. 62 comments already. I am so late.
You KNOW what we will say.
And this is MIL on her best behavior?
Oh. My. Word.
Yet ANOTHER thing to add to my "Why I'm Never Getting Married Again" list.
What's your favorite adult beverage? I'll send you A TRUCK FULL because clearly, you need it. (by NO Fault of your own!)

Kelli in the Mirror said...

You need fudge. Send me your address and I will send you packets of five minute fudge. I would offer to send brownie mix too but I doubt it's better than the stuff you make.

And also a Heineken. Or twelve.

Diane said...

Wowee! I'd go nutsos, but it sure provides all of us with some great reading. All I can say is, thumbs up to my in-laws, none of whom speak English.

Jacquelyn said...

My goodness. Charming, isn't she?

Phat Phannie said...

Next you're going to be telling us that she thinks Bud is the King of Beers. Sheesh.

Seriously, I'm with everyone else. You deserve a medal. I would have gone bat(erm)poop crazy on her already.

JMC said...

Hole. Lee. Crap. I think I would have killed her.

the new girl said...

You'd be better off if YOU hired a HOOKER to pretend to be your Mother-in-law.

You could all lay back in the cut and drink your HEINESKINS together.

One big happy family.

mom huebert said...

Oh my goodness. I have been fuming today about my sister-in-law, but I think you have me beat by a mile, by five miles. I'm feeling two things at once: incredible heat over the horrid things your MIL is saying to you, and immense relief for myself. It could be SO much worse. I think I'll stop complaining....