Posted by: birdsandsquirrels | November 29, 2009

36 weeks

36 weeks and so much to be thankful for. We had t-day dinner at the in laws, but we brought and cooked all of the food. It was kind of a pain, because we had to cart all kinds of crap over there, but on the positive side, I didn’t have to clean up the house or cook in our small kitchen, and clean up was minimal. MIL doesn’t multitask well (as in most things will be burned, cold, or undercooked), so we said we would do most of the cooking. I hope we didn’t hurt her feelings, but I’m really picky about some things, like using good quality (and unexpired) ingredients, not cutting corners, using real, fresh food (not boxed mashed potatoes), and paying attention to food safety (proper cooking temps, handling, and storage), and also making sure everything makes it to the table hot.

I even brought our own pots and pans over there because I didn’t know what she had or didn’t have. I brought several of our nice saucepans we got for wedding presents and FIL acted as if he had never seen such a thing in his life. One had a steamer insert, and he kept asking me questions about how it worked. MIL made a comment about how she cooks all her vegetables and rice in the microwave. Now, I have nothing against microwaves in general, but if I’m going to go to the trouble of cooking dinner, I’m going to do it right. Microwaves are great for heating things up quickly, but they can also make things rubbery and nasty.

We also have differences of opinion about how long food stays good. Their two refrigerators look like wastelands from the past ten years. There are probably bottles of salad dressing left over from when my husband was in college. They remodeled their kitchen earlier this year, but for some bizarre reason kept their 30 year old small refrigerator. I was looking at it as a chance for them to clean it out and get rid of all the ancient bottles of mustard in there, but sadly, that did not happen. She will eat week or two old leftovers. My rule is 3 days or it’s in the garbage. She once tried to serve us brown, expired bagged lettuce. She leaves shit out on the counter for hours and hourse and then will shove it in the fridge and eat it later.

I know that I’m on the wacko, paranoid end of the food safety spectrum, but after taking several food microbiology classes in college, and working in a health food store deli, I am a food safety freak. I don’t like vomiting and bloody diarrhea. I’d prefer to avoid anything that could make me sick, especially now that I’m pregnant. I’m sure there are people out there whose bodies can handle things massively contaminated with bacteria and have no ill effects, but to me, if there is ANY question that a food might make me or my guests ill, I throw it out. Once something is opened, it has a limited life in the fridge. If a box or can of something is expired, I throw it out. The last time I didn’t, I regretted it. I made some enchiladas and used a can of expired green chilis. It was barely expired, like a month or so. I figured it would be fine, but I got horrendously ill for two days. Never again. I’m sure she thinks that I’m wasteful. I don’t care.

Anyhow, the food was good. We made a tofurky, tofurky gravy, mashed potatoes, vegetarian stuffing, roasted asparagus, cranberry stuff, and some rolls. MIL was going to make a green bean dish but forgot. MIL and FIL eat meat, but they are also fairly willing to eat our weird veggie stuff, which I do give them a lot of credit for.

I’ve been really irritable lately. It seems like everything is pissing me off. I nearly hung up on my mom on the phone the other day because every damn sentence annoyed the shit out of me. The cats have been so whiny and needy lately. S has not been the target of my rage because he has been great lately. He’s been very attentive and happy to rub my back or get me anything I need.

The in laws have been a bit odd lately too. We’ve seen them a lot lately, and while they have been perfectly nice, they don’t seem very interested in baby preparations at all. They don’t ever come over to our house. They have no interest in seeing the crap we have for the baby, or the nursery (which to be fair is nowhere close to being done). A couple of times I’ve mentioned when the baby is kicking and moving a lot, and neither of them want to feel the baby kick.

FIL was asking if our crib was affected by the latest recall (it’s not), and then was lamenting about missing the good old days when nobody put their babies in car seats and there weren’t all these stupid safety rules and that “somehow your generation turned out ok”. It makes me a bit concerned about their awareness of current safety standards. I tried to get them to take a grandparent class that the hospital offers, but they didn’t want to. I gave them the grandparent magazine that you get when you register at BRU. I have no idea if they even looked at it. I’m already concerned about leaving the baby with them. I know they would never do anything intentional to put the baby in danger, but many things have really changed since the last time they spent any time around babies. I have a difficult time being assertive with them, so I’m worried that I won’t be able to be firm about our rules and standards when the time comes. I’m hoping that the mama bear instinct really kicks in and that I’ll have no problem being a bitch if needed.

How are you/have you/will you deal with your parents or in laws caring for your child? How have you gently made them aware of what is and is not appropriate and safe these days? Have you had any outright arguments about this stuff? I’m particularly worried down the line about MIL offering the baby food too early without my knowledge, or inappropriate food, or food that doesn’t meet my strict standards for food safety. I anticipate that I’ll always provide baby food that I’ve made myself, but how can you know what they do when you aren’t right there? Why am I already worrying about this stuff?



  1. I totally agree… I am freaked out about the idea of leaving Colby with my in-laws. They drive me crazy and just aren’t on the same page as I am. They offer all this unwanted advice stemming from when they had babies 25+ years ago, they try to wake up Colby when he’s finally asleep so they can see him awake, etc. etc. (I’ve never been their biggest fans) My MIL had a memory episode while I was on bed rest (so just 5 months ago) where she couldn’t remember where she was, what she was supposed to be doing, etc. At first they thought it was brain related, so docs determined she couldn’t drive or babysit and I was elated (Not that she was having the issues, but because babysitting was out of the question). Now, brain related has been ruled out, so she has determined she can drive AND babysit even though the reason for the issue is still TBD. Basically she drives me NUTS and I can’t stand her, but I have to be civil and bite my tongue, but I want her NO WHERE NEAR Colby. Ah, thanks for giving me a chance to vent. I didn’t really answer your question, did I? 🙂 BTW, I’m SO SO SO SO glad you’re at 36 weeks. I cannot wait for you to have your little one!!!

  2. Parents, whether yours or your in-laws, will drive you nuts. I’m not sure there is any getting around it. Although I’m sure they did things I wasn’t aware of when I left DD with them, she’s no worse for the wear. If there are serious issues you are concerned about in terms of safety, you have to say something. If they don’t like it, tough. Do they want to see their grandchild? Hold her? Babysit her? Then they’ll follow the rules.

    For me, the worst was unwanted advice, and worrying that my mom would spank her, which I’m firmly against. When the advice got to be too much, I looked at my mom or MIL and said “You raised your babies, now let me raise mine”. I was also very clear about our rules and that there weren’t exceptions. If they broke them, they simply wouldn’t be left alone with them anymore, not for a minute. They never totallly back off, but if they know you mean business and they want to see that baby bad enough, they’ll mostly tow the line. Just my two cents. 🙂

  3. Wow, you are very nearly TERM! It’s so close!

    I’m 100% with you on the food safety issues. It drives me nuts to go to my inlaws… I eat so unhealthy because they don’t really know how to accommodate vegetarians and my best option ends up being the salad with the questionably old dressing… in fact, I usually eat dressings I don’t like there because my in-laws eat them so I figure they turn over quicker.

  4. Congratulations — 36 weeks is a huge milestone and so close to the finish line! So excited for you.

    My in-laws are the same way re: food safety/expiration dates, so I completely understand. I am sure that when the baby is in front of all of you, your in-laws will be more focused on keeping her safe. I think what’s helping me is to focus on the fact that our parents raised kids and never had anything horrible happen despite their knowing so much less than us. So yes, I will do my absolute best to make them follow the new rules (and certainly some are non-negotiable, like sleeping on the back) but it’s okay to try and trust them and not worry about everything too. We will figure this out!

  5. My inlaws are hoarders. The baby will NOT be cared for by them. EVER. The baby would be safer playing in a box of knives than in their house.

    I am fine with the baby staying with my Dad and stepmom. Their house is immaculate.

    Fortunately, I won’t be working more than one or two days a week so day care won’t be an issue. We are actually not going to bring the baby from about six months till age six to my in-laws house because once I can’t hold him safely/constantly it is just too dangerous. I don’t give a damn what my mother in law thinks about it. If she wants to spend time with her grandson in her house, she can clean it. Otherwise she can drive here.

  6. […] the fuck? I think I have mentioned before that I am concerned about her food safety habits. I admit, sometimes I can be a bit paranoid and overly cautious in general, but does it make sense […]

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