Call from MIL..ugh

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-24-2003
Call from MIL..ugh
Tue, 09-09-2003 - 10:59am
Well, during our wonderful 20 minute conversation, she said something that really chapped my rear. (as usual).

Now, one of Dh's sisters changed jobs about 6 weeks ago. She was working in some warehouse somewhere. She is now an aide in a special ed class at some school. Now since she was working during the summer, i am assuming this is a special school. In the class, she has a down's child, several Austistics, and some others with severe conditions.

Well, Catie has already had trouble in preschool during her first week. MIL asked me about it, so i told her. Catie isnt transitioning, and she is having severe trantrums where they have to restrain her. And i said i wasn't exactly happy with that.

Well, my mil piped in and said that SIL came to her and said and i quote "Mom, i don't really think Catie has austim".

I got miffed. I TOLD MIL " ok, A) there are all different kinds of autism. Just because you say austim doesnt mean they sit in a corner and rock and drool. There are vice presidents of company out there with high functioning autism. B) SIL has worked at this job for what? 6 weeks? who is SHE is make that kind of a JUDGEMENT? and C) How often is SIL even AROUND Catie?? She sees her ONCE a year? for what? 2 hours? and she thinks she KNOWS this kid and can determine if she has autism or not? D) this child has been in early intervention for 18 months. She has been classified as developementally delayed, socially delayed, at one point her motor skills were grossly behind. She is 3 1/2 years old and still walks on her tip toes 60% of the time. Her speech is of a 2 year old. and she actually has behaviors of a child with PDD-NOS.The state of Utah has delcared her as disabled, and she is enrolled in a special ed class through the state, placing her in free preschool. She may NOT have Autism, but she MAY have Autism as well. We still don't know. Her Psychologist is hoping that with preschool, her social skills will improve, and her Aspie-like behavior will dissolve. So we are on a wait and see schedule at this point."

OOOO, i was fuming. This is one of the problems i have with my inlaws. They live half way across the country and see my kid once or twice a year for 2 hours here and there and they think they not only KNOW her, but know more than WE do. THEY aren't here. THEY don't have to watch her slam herself into walls during a fit. THEY don't have to see her have melt downs in the middle of the street while you are out in public. THEY don't understand how important a routine is to her and how if you change the routine, you set yourself back 6 months and you have to start all over. just because she is cute, and smiles, and will kiss you and make eye contact, doesnt mean she doesnt have PDD-NOS. She is under the care of a Psychologist and HE should be the one who makes that diagnosis. NOT my ignorant inlaws, which half of them have not even finished high school, and they like to beat their kids with shoes.

My mother in law has NEVER supported me with Catie at all. Everytime something happens, she goes out of her way to let me know she is blowing me off and it isnt important. And I am just making a bigger deal out of things. She doesnt even sound or act concerned 95% of the time. Infact, when we thought she was deaf, she even ARGUED with me about it. I got out a set of pots and pans and stood behind Catie and banged them as hard as i could, and at 18 months she didnt even flinch. I said to her "Oh yeah, what is she doing then? Ignoring me??? At 18 months she has decided to be a mute? What do YOU call that??"

MY GOSH, i get so mad. When DH got home, i told him "i think your mom calls JUST to see if she can tick me off. She will ask me about Catie, i tell her, and then she starts to debate the crap with me. I should just tell her, when you start sending money for her care, then YOU can have a say so on what happens to her."



Avatar for littleroses
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Tue, 09-09-2003 - 11:55am
You're right, pretty annoying. Don't hang onto the anger though. It helps to realize they truly do speak from ignorance. They don't understand what they're talking about. The future solution is to no longer offer more information than necessary. If they ask how Catie is doing, say "Fine." If they ask how that 'autism stuff' is going, offer another vague answer. That's what they want to hear anyway. It's not your problem if they don't want to learn more. If they want more details, they can ask DH. Bet they wouldn't shoot him down. Share the real stuff with people who care enough to listen. You don't even have to do it in a spiteful way, just keep conscious that you're keeping the peace. Kind of like when someone asks "How are you?" and you say "Fine" whether or not that's the case. What does it matter if they believe or not? (I know it would be nice...) You're right, they AREN'T there when these things happen. You and dh are the only Catie experts that exists on this planet. Period. Everyone else just has hypotheses. I've had to deal with ignorant statements from my own family. Its hurtful and makes me mad, but I end up letting it go and learned to no longer offer more than exceeds their knowledge of the subject. haha. Believe me, you're the one sitting around angry and spending energy on it and they are over there having already forgotten it. If you are focused on convincing them you're right...forget it. Ever try to convince someone of something when they are determined otherwise? Just call it a draw and be thankful you're Catie's mom and not them so she is getting the right help.

But, yeah, I do know how you feel!

Avatar for suitemadameblue
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 09-09-2003 - 12:02pm
That is also unnerving when people who REMOTELY deal with special needs children feel they have their finger on the pulse of what's going on in your life. As if they really had a clue!! Not to slam your SIL, but someone who is an untrained aide still new on the job has no right diagnosing someone -- about as much right as my daughter's kindy teacher last year had when she insisted that DD was ADD ... because she didn't want like picking up toys! The nerve of some people just surprises me at times!!


Oohhhhhh.....don't toss in the money "you pay, you have a say" option!! lol We threw that at my MIL when Tristan was diagnosed in '99 as partially deaf -- and she sent money and told us EXACTLY how to spend it, and then assumed we were lying to her when the resutls *still* weren't what she wanted to hear!! Baaaaaaaaaaaad idea!! ROFL

As you can imagine, I know EXACTLY where you are coming from!! It all started with his hearing loss ("he's not deaf, he's just being stubborn like his father used to be" -- well you know what, HE'S got a hearing loss, too!!), and it only got worse when the dx of PDD-NOS and ADHD came along. She sees him a few times a year, and just like with you, she assumes she knows better. Yes, she may have raised a special-needs chlid (my BIL, now in his 30s, is severe bipolar, but wasn't dx'd until his late teens, so until that point they had every dx under the sun), but she isn't raising MY son and seeing him day-in, day-out.

Last summer, she took the kids for a week-long vacation. This was just a few months after the PDD dx, and she absolutely denied that there was anything wrong with him. It was quite a hassle to convince her to give him his meds EVERY SINGLE DAY, without missing it. After all, it was a med intended for high blood pressure, therefor a heart medication, and could seriously do damage if he just stopped taking it for a week or so. That did the trick, but she wasn't happy. Then, after that week, she said that the meds were making him moody and sleepy and that we should just stop giving it to him. Ummm, no -- she was just seeing him being himself, not a hyper space cadet!!

Then, this summer, she had both the kids for two weeks, and went down to VA with some extended family, and they were ALL convinced that he is "no longer autistic." Yeah, two docs and a psychotherapist, along with his IEP team, teachers, and friends are ALLLLLLLL wrong. Whatever. These people, who I used to think were quite intelligent, just blew me away with they categorizing of what they thought he should be acting like with a dx of something on the Spectrum. Absolutely amazing. It's like they were expecting him to all of the sudden go from being Tristan to acting like Rain Man or Simon (the little boy from 'Mercury Rising').

Now, I will play Devil's Advocate for a moment and admit that this does all come from an ignorance of Autism Spectrum Disorders. But upon our dx last summer, I did alot of research, both in books and online, and sent it out to most of our family - even the ones that we don't see very often, just so they were "enlightened" when we did see them. So, for them to act this way was just shocking.

But, that's why I come to plces like this board -- I can vent, you can vent, and we ALLLLLLLLLL understand!! ROFL


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2003
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 12:25am
Okay, I was comming on the vent about my aunt, who is a newly licenced teacher and now thinks she is an expert on all things pediatric, and low and behold, a thread has already been started on such topics.

I'm sorry your MIL and SIL are being so absolutely narrow minded. But, like has already been said, they are ignorant. My DH likes to quote "A little knowlege is a dangerous thing". Why? Because those who only have a little knowlege on a subject too often believe they are experts and usually end up causing problems for the very people they say they are trying to help.

My aunt refuses to believe that my kids are Autistic and is doing everything in her power to convince everyone she knows that they are fine and it is me who needs the help. She won't even look at the dx paperwork on them. In her mind she 'knows' what Autism 'looks' like and my kids don't fit into that steriotyped 'Rainman or worse' picture. But then, she is also one of those people who thinks only people who are highly educated are quallified to make parenting decisions and if anyone with a 'lesser' formal education than her has kids they need to ask people like her for instructions on how to raise them. Also, if your degree doesn't come from a school she approves of then it isn't valid and you are full of hooy, no matter what topic you are speaking on.

Wel, I tell you what.......I will agree not to linch my aunt if you agree not to offer your MIL that money deal. Don't open any doors for her, even if you think she would NEVER go there. People are nuts and have a way of suprising you at the least oppertune times. I like Litteroses suggestion, just give vague answers from now on. Personally, I am starting to fel sorry for my aunt. Her self-esteam must be incredably low for her to treat others the snobbish way she does.

Keep the faith, Sweety. You're doing good.



iVillage Member
Registered: 05-24-2003
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 10:00am
I agree with all of you. The only reason i would have asked her to contribute to her care is because she is a dead beat MIL who aleady owes us over 1,000 bucks and has never bothered to even cosider paying us back. She owes her brother 4,000. She is a user, and is an oppertunist. SHE and another sister in law is WHY we moved 1500 miles away. too far to drive, and most can't afford to fly. My mil has free flight benefits because my husband works for an airline, but she has only used them ONE time to come up here and visit. And don't get me wrong, i dont really want her here. She is rude when she is in my home, and takes over and acts like she has a right to be here. But she hasn't been on Catie's turf but ONCE in 18 months. She DOESNT have a clue what goes on in Catie's world.

And i totally resent it. I wish they would either come or go. Be here, or stay away. But they try to be involved just enough to say they are involved and i think it is bull.

You guys are right, i won't go into any details at all with them anymore. I will only say that she is fine, school is good and change the subject. If they ask for more specific details, then i will just tell them the truth. They aren't really interested in them, they are only interested in passing judgement and coming to their own conclusion. So, speculate all they want with out my input to help them now.

His mother always buys her toys that are not age appropriate, usually for a baby or a small toddler, where as Catie is already using computer software and larger books and puzzles. So, if she asks me again what to get her to Christmas, i will tell her to talk to DH. I will let him handle it. She never listens to me anyhow.