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  1. #1
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    Default MIL favours DD1 over DD2

    I'm not quite sure where to post this so apologies if this is in the wrong place.
    Kind of a vent and a WWYD.

    We have two DD's, 2 and 4 years old. Twice a week MIL looks after them as FIL passed away two years ago, it gives her something to do and I'd like them to have a good relationship with her. Both my parents are in the UK so its the only grandparent they see regularly.

    I've now realised MIL has a very clear favourite in DD1 and I don't know how to handle it. DD2 isn't aware but it breaks my heart that she can treat them so differently.

    I asked her to get DD2 some toys for her birthday (she's about to turn two in two weeks) and she told me she was buying her clothes and if I didn't like them I could throw them in the bin. DD2 loves books and jigsaws etc and most of her toys are hand me downs....she also has different interests to DD1 so this was a good opportunity to buy something that wouldn't get 'taken over' by DD1, which is what tends to happen when DD2 gets anything new.

    DD1 was four last week and got to go through the Big W book and circle whatever she wanted, which they got her (when I say they I mean MIL and BIL - he is 39 and still lives at home but that's another story).

    Anyway, she told me that she bought DD2 some clothes for her birthday and she also bought some for DD1. DD2 didn't get anything when it was DD1's birthday.

    Also for Christmas she has spend $90 on a Barbie trailer for DD1 (again picked out) and about $30-40 on a Barbie kitchen for DD2. Am I overreacting about the different amounts? Shouldn't you spend the same amount on each if you can? I know that DD1 will claim both of them...DD2 doesn't play with Barbies yet and is too young for imaginary play. When I told her that she said put it away in the cupboard for next year. DD1 will see it and how about you just take it back and buy an age appropriate gift - no that's not do-able because its wrapped up. Whats a 2 year old going to do with a Barbie kitchen? Its like shes just bought two presents for DD1 and nothing for DD2. What joy does a two year old get from opening clothes for gods sake (when her older sister is also being given clothes too?)

    I will openly say we have a volatile relationship and she continually tries to undermine myself and DH. BIL is just as bad and tries to discipline them when we are there. She is a control freak and resents me for taking DH away from her.

    I don't know what to do. I will not have my daughter grow up feeling like she is second best. My dear sweet DD2 it breaks my heart.

    Do I tell DH to speak to her? Every time I try it turns into an argument.

    We are actually getting married in February and DH had an argument with her last night and she keeps sticking her nose in and telling us what we should do. She is a nasty old woman at times.

    Am I overreacting?

    ETA - I have a sister out here and whenever my mum comes over she always spends more time with her and her children than us and ours. DD1 asked me last time why Granny spends so much time at Aunty X and her cousins house and not much time at ours. So I know in time DD2 will notice re MIL
    Last edited by Molros; 07-12-2018 at 11:05.

  2. #2
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    Maybe it would be better that she didn’t care for them so much. It doesn’t really sound like a healthy environment for those little children Also you say your dd1 takes over your dd2s stuff she has just turned 4 which is old enough to know that it’s not hers. We have had to do this with my 2 dds. My eldest has a way of being very domineering and my younger very compliant and willing so I wanted to put a quick stop to that. Good luck

  3. #3
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    Do you have other options for care for your DDs? Who knows what your MIL is like to DD2 behind closed doors? If she’s so blatant about favouring DD1 in front of you.
    As for the presents, I’m not sure at this age it matters all that much if the $ amount is the same or even close, IF both girls are getting an appropriate gift that they will love.
    I wouldn’t let DD1 claim the barbie kitchen as hers.
    Did your MIL buy DD1 age appropriate gifts when she was younger? If she did then this is odd. I was thinking she might just not “get” what developmental stages they’re at.
    I would ask your DH to speak to his MIL and ask that she not buy DD1 anything when it’s not her birthday unless she’s going to do the same for DD2.
    As for the barbie kitchen, put it on buy swap sell and buy your DD2 something she will like.

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    Little Miss Sunshine  (07-12-2018),Molros  (07-12-2018)

  5. #4
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    No way in hell I would let someone who called DD2 a little ***** look after her alone.

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    No you're not overreacting. I wouldn't let her mind them. My mother is toxic like this as well and always favoured one of my nieces over the other. As Mod said, who knows what she is like behind closed doors. For me it would far too risky to continue this arrangement as a child's mental health is not something to play around with. She WILL pick up on it eventually and it may even create a toxic relationship between your two daughters as DD1 might think that she can override what DD2 wants because grandma always favours her behaviour.

    Do you have any other options for care?

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    Default MIL favours DD1 over DD2

    Without your background story I wouldn’t think *too* much of preferring one over the other- reason being that 2 can be a difficult age, I know even I and dh went through phases of enjoying one child more than the other, my dad didn’t like dd1 much as a 2 year old but now she’s older they are very close....

    HOWEVER- we never blatantly showed our preference.

    The presents thing *is* difficult as you can’t tell your mil what to buy, and at that age they still have no concept of price, I know there were tones we spent more on one or the other just aimed for what they really liked/wanted.

    Usually I’d advise to let it slide and see if this pattern continues as they age.

    With your background of a strained relationship however it does change my view, I’d have to ask if you really need her to continue to have such close contact. I think you’d also need to consider the impact on your dd1 if you remove yourself from this arrangement...
    it’s a tough one.

    Ask your dh on his perspective and see if he feels the same way or whether your feelings on her are influencing how you are feeling. (For the record I don’t get along well with my MIL, all communication goes through him so I’m not perceived as the bad one, and i suck it up for dh and the kids, but understand not everyone should do the same)
    Last edited by Little Miss Sunshine; 07-12-2018 at 06:35.

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  10. #7
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    The whole set up is changing in February as DD1 starts kindy.

    I also don't think I have articulated myself properly. I have no issues with how she looks after them and they both enjoy going there. When DD1 was born she asked me to explain how we wanted things done because she knew they were different from when she had kids. She doesn't give them chocolate or junk food and reinforces the same values that DH and I have.

    She doesn't treat them different as in how she interacts with them, in fact DD2 probably gets more of her time as DD1 is more independent. I kind of assume the preference because she buys more stuff for DD1.

    My vent was about the present/cost issue and getting DD1 stuff for DD2's birthday when nothing was done for DD2 when it was DD1's birthday, and also the Christmas issue. I am a bit calmer today having talked it through with DH last night and knowing her, she would have gone clothes shopping for DD2 and seen something that she knew DD1 would like and bought it. As long as it is not given to DD1 at the same time as DD2's birthday.

    DH is going to handle that one. Its more about nipping it in the bud before it becomes an issues.

    I am super conscious of this because I am one of four and my mum very much has a preference, and still does, and it hurts.

    This year is the first year she has bought presents for either of them, in the past it has always been money, so I do think she has issues with what is age appropriate. Our DD's play together A LOT so she may well think she has done the right thing in buying Barbie stuff. When I said I didn't think DD2 would play with it she seemed genuinely confused.

    LMS I do try and suck it up and generally communication does go through DH. I find it a hard relationship to navigate as I know she means well but she comes across as being very controlling. Sometimes I think the language barrier doesn't help - she is Greek - but I think we just clash personality wise. She didn't acknowledge my existence for the first ten months as she wanted DH to marry a nice Greek girl, I am an outspoken English girl but now if we talk about that she gets very embarrassed.

    DH had a brother that passed away when he was two so I know thats also why she frets a lot and I do try and take that into consideration sometimes.

    Since FIL passed she has changed and come December she gets a bit more argumentative with us. Hence the argument about the wedding. she likes things to be done her way so we just pick our battles with her.

    Come Feb she will get some one on one time with DD2 which she has never had yet and she's excited about it. She talks about taking her to the shops and rhymetime.

    Also, she will call her a little skatoola (I know thats not spelt right) to us when we laugh about DD2's behaviour - she is a thug god love her, definitely the more dominant of the two; so the name talking is very much in jest, I just said last week I didn't like it. Its not said in a nasty or cruel way.

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  12. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soon2be4 View Post
    Maybe it would be better that she didn’t care for them so much. It doesn’t really sound like a healthy environment for those little children Also you say your dd1 takes over your dd2s stuff she has just turned 4 which is old enough to know that it’s not hers. We have had to do this with my 2 dds. My eldest has a way of being very domineering and my younger very compliant and willing so I wanted to put a quick stop to that. Good luck
    She is only just four and is starting to get a bit better. It was bad when she was just three but now she is starting to understand. They are opposite though, DD2 is the dominant one and DD1 is the compliant and willing one!

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    Default MIL favours DD1 over DD2

    Quote Originally Posted by Molros View Post
    She is only just four and is starting to get a bit better. It was bad when she was just three but now she is starting to understand. They are opposite though, DD2 is the dominant one and DD1 is the compliant and willing one!
    Yeah same with my dds. I think it’s because dd2 had to become dominant growing up as the second child battling for attention and toys, dd1 never had to do that so can be a push over and gives in way too easy to dd2 lol.
    @Molros, it sounds like a similar situation with mine, I have 2 dds with a similar gap and similar personalities.... the dynamic has changed for sure with my mum (who babysits 2 days a week) since dd1 started school this year- dd2 and her are much closer now whereas before it was always dd1 and Nanna.

    I always joke that dd2 is the trouble child lol, heaps more dominant, argumentative and independent.

    They are (almost) 6 and 3 and still mostly share their toys, it’s almost impossible to separate the toys and tell one not to touch something that’s not theirs, and they prefer to play together any way nowadays. Our rule is if its not in their room and they aren’t actively playing with it they can share and let the other one play with it. Otherwise to keep it away in their room- but I do encourage that toys are best shared. They are incredibly close now.
    Last edited by Little Miss Sunshine; 07-12-2018 at 12:02.

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  16. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Miss Sunshine View Post
    Yeah same with my dds. I think it’s because dd2 had to become dominant growing up as the second child battling for attention and toys, dd1 never had to do that so can be a push over and gives in way too easy to dd2 lol.
    @Molros, it sounds like a similar situation with mine, I have 2 dds with a similar gap and similar personalities.... the dynamic has changed for sure with my mum (who babysits 2 days a week) since dd1 started school this year- dd2 and her are much closer now whereas before it was always dd1 and Nanna.

    I always joke that dd2 is the trouble child lol, heaps more dominant, argumentative and independent.

    They are (almost) 6 and 3 and still mostly share their toys, it’s almost impossible to separate the toys and tell one not to touch something that’s not theirs, and they prefer to play together any way nowadays. Our rule is if its not in their room and they aren’t actively playing with it they can share and let the other one play with it. Otherwise to keep it away in their room- but I do encourage that toys are best shared. They are incredibly close now.
    Thanks for understanding

    We joke the DD2 will be the bully and push the kids over and DD1 will be the one who looks after them. She is very caring. DD2 is funny, she watches what DD1 is doing and will go and grab it and run off so DD1 will chase her. They really do love each other, we love watching them together. DD1 is absolutely DD2's most favourite person in the world and I know DD1 watches out for her at daycare and will tell us if anyone has been mean to her. DD2 atually plays with the older kindy kids at daycare when she can, rather than her own age group!

    And I think it will change once MIL can spend time with DD2 on her own, she had that with DD1 but not DD2 yet.

    I was in a bad mood about the present thing yesterday. She moans that my mum always buys nice gifts and I'm like but that's because she gives me the money and I buy them! Then you ignore our suggestions!


 

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