Major vent-I am so mad at my sister!!

Posted on: Sat, 07/21/2007 - 2:28pm
gw_mom3's picture
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Joined: 02/14/2000 - 09:00

My sister called this evening while I was out. She talked with my dh for a while and then gave him this message to give me: Tell Gale not to drive mom crazy when you all come out here (we are going there in a couple of weeks on vacation). I knew what she was talking about but I was hoping I was wrong.

Well I called and I was right. She says don't drive mom crazy being an*l about food. My mom is Japanese and uses almost exclusively imported foods. There is NO way I am going to trust those when I don't even trust so many foods from the US. I said no, I am the one who decides what my kids eat or not and I don't care what anyone else feels about it-I am not going to put dd's health in jeopardy. She just kept going on and on about how overprotective we are and how we need to loosen up (apparently for my mother's benefit?? like I care if I hurt her feelings by not letting the kids eat her food vs. dd having a reaction??) and she would not SHUT UP! Then she started in about how we let dd eat BK and other fast foods and how do I know what all is in their food and just kept going on and on and I couldn't even get a word in. I finally said I'm not having this discussion with you and hung up. I was half expecting her to call back all infuriated with me for hanging up but thankfully she didn't.

Now I am totally dreading our trip out there and I wish we had the $$ to stay in a hotel the whole time. I doubt that my sister is actually speaking for my mom but she (my sister) will be there along with my OTHER sister who is equally an a$$ about all of this. Another sister is a lot more understanding about it and I know (hope) she'll step in for me but I don't want that to be necessary. Last time we were there my mom and I got in a big fight because I wouldn't let the kids eat her cooking that she did with all imports (other than the meat). But she got over it when she saw I was not going to bend on this. Why can't they let me parent the way I need/want to and BUTT OUT! It's not hurting anyone else if dd doesn't eat their food. And if it's hurting or offending them vs dd having a reaction guess what-I will hurt and I will d@mn well offend. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/mad.gif[/img]

I just have to thank God they live 2000+ miles away and that while dh's family (who all live nearby) doesn't get it in the least, they respect our decisions and do not butt in about the way we raise our kids. Oh and my mom was a control freak about the way we parent before dd was ever diagnosed. I had my third child and all she could do was tell me all the stuff I was doing wrong. Gee, Mom. I managed with two without your help, I'll bet this one will live through my missteps. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img]

Oh and she says "you know mom isn't going to give her peanuts or anything with peanut oil". I said it isn't that simple. There are foods that don't even list nuts in the ingredients that are not safe (btw my dd is PA/TNA and her only reaction was to TN but my family can't seem to *get* this) and she didn't believe me. WTH??

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==============
[b]~Gale~[/b]

[This message has been edited by gw_mom3 (edited July 22, 2007).]

Posted on: Sat, 07/21/2007 - 3:32pm
Peanut Militia's picture
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Joined: 03/06/2007 - 09:00

I know you will stay strong and I know you know we all face this from time to time. And you know this is just my opinion-someone who barely knows you, but loves your posts in the school forum.
Here goes:
My sister and I still are not talking--it started at Christmas with her not wanting to eliminate trace elements from things she was preparing and ended when she wanted all our families to fly to California to stay at a beach house type place, go to a ball game.... all for a 'reunion' (all the family is currently in the Midwest). I talked to my mom about the second 'event.' It was hard, but I am tired of my daughter feeling like she is the missing link or something--always the odd ball that is keeping others from having fun or eating whatever. It isn't like my sister dosn't know--she was there when dd was diagnosed at 5 mths and almost died-its like she has had a lobotomy I didn't know about.
All that ranting to say: I am trying to get away from my personal family or my daughter or anything to do with peanuts being the focus of my side or dh family arguments. They know how I feel, what the doctors have said, the reactions she has had and how close she has come to dying. If they bring up something that we can't do I have started saying "if you want my family to be a part of the 'big family' event you are trying to put together, that is not appropriate." I am also trying to keep DD from hearing the riffraff. That after she asked if my sister still loves her.
Our last vacation we took my parents and some friends to the lake. The cabin was simple, we used air mattresses and it was easy to clean. We brought a simple grill and had the time of our lives---no drama. I'm not saying get rid of family and family attachments, I am saying re-define the relationships on your terms. If your intentions are pure (and I know they are) they WILL come around. It will come-it will just take time. Then you will be able to relax more when you see your extended family--more like true time away.
Keep breathing in and out and focus on the truly important people in your life.
Good Luck!

Posted on: Sun, 07/22/2007 - 12:21am
Carefulmom's picture
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My advice is this: don`t engage. These controlling types can`t stand it when you control something that you really must control, because your child`s life depends on it. If it were me, I would say "I need to do ________ in order for dd to be safe" and not go any further. If they argue, repeat it like it is the only sentence that you know. If they say it hurts your mom`s feelings or whatever, I would still repeat the same sentence above. I absolutely would not engage in this situation. If your mom/sister want to feed your child some unsafe food, I would say "I can`t allow that because it isn`t safe for dd". Then they will give you some excuse you should allow it because you let dd eat Burger King. You ignore the specifics of what they said and just repeat "I can`t allow ____ food because it isn`t safe for dd." Just repeat it over and over and don`t address why you give Burger King or whatever else they try to drag up. I would set limits with these people. You don`t even owe them any explanation as to why Japanese food is unsafe and Burger King is safe. It`s not like they actually want to be educated.

Posted on: Sun, 07/22/2007 - 12:52am
mistey's picture
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Joined: 01/18/2004 - 09:00

Both of my parents are gone, but I can tell you that life goes on without family. My father's side of the family no longer speaks to me and at first I was CRUSHED but I can honestly say now that perhaps it was the best thing for me. No drama. No fighting. Only love.
It's sad that your sister has to be like this, but if it wasn't the PA, it would probably be something else. Negative people are just negative people.
I hope your stay can be as plesant as possible!! I'm sending warm wishes you way!

Posted on: Sun, 07/22/2007 - 1:07am
momll70's picture
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Joined: 09/26/2006 - 09:00

Sending you big hugs (((gw_mom3))). They so need to but out of your life. They need to understand that it's not about you controlling them, it's not about you at all, it's about their granddaughter/niece.
This is a control issue that they have. I don't get along sometimes with my sister, but she understands PA/TNA or else asks me if she doesn't. I had this problem in the beginning with DH and MIL. We live with in-laws. I remember screaming about DS could die and everyone walking out of the room as if I was a paranoid freak. Thankfully things are much better. (Not perfect - but so much better).
I know you are tough and can handle yourself but one time this worked for me:
Staying calm and just say no and let them do all the screaming as if they were crazy. And in a calm tone as if you were a psychiatrist (remember that you are above them because you are far more educated on this subject then they are) ask them "Do you realize what you are saying? You want to risk your grandchild/neice having a serious allergic reaction?" And if they keep pressuring you just tell them in a calm manner "I'm not discussing this any further". And then don't. That worked for me once. Let them keep going on about it. As long as your DD understands that you are sticking up for her and that she should not eat their food. Speak to her in advance which I'm sure you do. She can say I don't want it which may help them take the blame off of you.
I don't understand what it matters to people what we or our children eat. I go through this too as I am PA/TNA & MFA. It drives me crazy. People have to see me or my son eating something or else they might just die. I don't get it. People will even lie to you saying I've been to that bakery they don't use nuts. They are clean. I've seen the kitchen. Or my favorite. I read the box and it didn't say anything about allergies. Then I find the box and it does in bold state the peanuts and treenut allergy info.
I'm sorry you are going through this. Is it worth going there to get all upset? I know it's family but sometimes family can be so mean. I hope all works out o.k. for you.

Posted on: Sun, 07/22/2007 - 1:20am
hollys2funboys's picture
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Joined: 06/12/2007 - 09:00

I can totally understand your frustration and anger.
I agree with the PP - you don't owe anyone an explanation. Your responsibility is the safety of your child.
I think it's so unfortunate that severe food allergies can create such a rift among family members, but ultimately, you have to keep your dd safe and bypass all that other stuff (hurting someone's feelings, etc.).
We've been there. And believe me, even those who say they get it, may not! For example, my sil ordered a cake chock full of nuts for my mil's birthday when she knew we would be there. Just because my ds brings his own cupcake doesn't give others the green light to purposely serve nuts especially when they know how we feel about it!
Anyway, my best goes out to you.
Holly

Posted on: Sun, 07/22/2007 - 1:43am
Gail W's picture
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Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

Do you think that some of this is unrelated to food allergies? My mom would get very anxious about family get-togethers because she was just stressed out about providing meals for a large group. . . cooking for 12 people was just a lot of work for her. And putting a food allergy on top of that sorta put her over the edge. It did "drive her crazy" because it was too much for her. That was the situation for her/us.
Plus, add to that the normal stress of the usual 'family dynamics', and it can be too much for anyone. (I'd bet there are other 'control' issues with your sisters.)
I take a little different view point. I'd separate all the &r@p your sister said from the reported stress that it seems (maybe) your mom is feeling. I'd try to step out of how your sister is presenting it but glean from it whatever truth you can. . . because I think they are two separate issues. First primary issue~ how to make things less stressful for your mom. Other issue~ how to keep your sister(s) from trying to parent your children. Maybe your sister(s) is trying to reduce your mom's stress by changing what you need. Obviously that won't work. But I think you can address the issue of reducing any stress this may be creating for your mom. Right?
Plus, I wonder if any of this may be an issue for your mom about not being able to impart her culture to your children? Maybe? <>
Maybe this is too over the top, but could you send an e-mail to your family just stating upfront what your children need regarding food and what you will do to help lessen some of that burden from the family. No apologies, no justification on why your child needs what she needs, just the ground rules clearly provided so that they know them upfront and can have the opportunity to understand them (if they so choose).
And you could tell them what [i]they [/i]can do to be helpful. Again, not a demand, but some concrete direction that they can do to be helpful or ignore (e.g. don't offer your child any food and instead let you give your children food, don't ask your children questions about what is safe and let you answer those questions, etc). If this has anything to do with instilling culture, I'm sure there are several other ways your family can do that without involving food, or involving food in a safe way.
Anyway. . . maybe [i]some [/i]things can be negotiated while, as Carefulmom suggests, you don't engage them regarding food parameters. You can set those limits clearly and upfront, offer your help to make this less stressful, and give them the opportunity to help you.
[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited July 22, 2007).]
[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited July 22, 2007).]

Posted on: Sun, 07/22/2007 - 2:21am
notnutty's picture
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Joined: 03/15/2004 - 09:00

I agree with Carefulmom...don't engage. Just let them know where you stand...end of story...period.
Sorry you are going through this. Been there. That is why our family gatherings are much different now.
Hugs to you.

Posted on: Sun, 07/22/2007 - 3:46am
gw_mom3's picture
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Joined: 02/14/2000 - 09:00

Thanks everyone. I knew you all would understand. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] I spoke with my nicer sister last night and it seems I do have an ally. She doesn't completely understand but she respects our choices and knows that I know more than they do about this (I am SO not a know-it-all but on this, I am, compared to them). She was going to call my oldest sister and talk to her about it. I am going to stand strong and be calm about it while I am there. I'm not going to let them gang up on me-if they do we will leave for a while. I would just forget about it but my kids have been looking forward to seeing their grandparents for over a year and we are also doing solo stuff there (disney, zoo, beach) so it's not just going to be family all the time. I am going to let them know that I will not budge on this. That I know more than they do about keeping my dd safe. And that dd already feels bad about being the only one allergic (other two kids tested negative last week) and that I don't need her feeling like she's in the middle of, and the cause of, a bunch of stress and drama. I am actually more nervous about the trip and eating on the road, but now I'm wondering if that is the real danger. At any rate I have a couple of weeks to strengthen my resolve and be prepared with what I'll say in different situations (hopefully-you never know what will come out when it's crunch time).
eta: in response to Gail W's post-yes I think it has to do with more than food. They think I am overprotective with my kids because I stay home with them, they never go to babysitters, etc and they (my sisters) were never worried about leaving their kids with someone else, even for days. That is just my parenting style and it seems to drive them crazy. Well too bad. Even before dd was diagnosed we didn't leave her with anyone.
AFA my mom cooking for a group-I don't think that is a stressor for her. She doesn't think anything she makes is unsafe so she isn't worried about the allergy side of it. She simply thinks I am going overboard and how could anything SHE makes possibly be unsafe? I think she's actually offended by the thought. The culture thing might be a factor though. We grew up mostly in Japan and Okinawa and my mom is first generation Japanese so we did grow up in a very *Japanese* household.
I have tried the email approach with my sisters (my dad never reads his email, I don't think) and all I got back were nasty emails from them.
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==============
[b]~Gale~[/b]
[This message has been edited by gw_mom3 (edited July 22, 2007).]

Posted on: Sun, 07/22/2007 - 4:38am
smudgesgarden's picture
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Joined: 02/26/2006 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by Carefulmom:
[b]My advice is this: don`t engage. These controlling types can`t stand it when you control something that you really must control, because your child`s life depends on it. If it were me, I would say "I need to do ________ in order for dd to be safe" and not go any further. If they argue, repeat it like it is the only sentence that you know. If they say it hurts your mom`s feelings or whatever, I would still repeat the same sentence above. I absolutely would not engage in this situation. If your mom/sister want to feed your child some unsafe food, I would say "I can`t allow that because it isn`t safe for dd". Then they will give you some excuse you should allow it because you let dd eat Burger King. You ignore the specifics of what they said and just repeat "I can`t allow ____ food because it isn`t safe for dd." Just repeat it over and over and don`t address why you give Burger King or whatever else they try to drag up. I would set limits with these people. You don`t even owe them any explanation as to why Japanese food is unsafe and Burger King is safe. It`s not like they actually want to be educated.[/b]
EXCELENT ADVICE!
i totally agree! dont explain! just dont let dd eat the food.
im sorry your sister causing so much stress for you and your family.
stick to your guns!
good luck
erin

Posted on: Sun, 07/22/2007 - 5:40am
lilpig99's picture
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Joined: 12/22/2005 - 09:00

Sorry you are dealing with some real 'know it alls'...especially difficult when they're in your own family! How frustrating. I agree...don't engage. Pick your mantra and stick with it. You certainly owe NO one an explanation.
I hope your time spent with your family is met with more compassion than it is right now. HUGS....

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