Wednesday, December 27, 2006

It's A Holly,Jolly Hausfrau

Things are getting back to normal here at Hausfrau Haus. We had a delightful Christmas, but I am eager to take down our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree and vacuum the corner where it has been living for the past month.

Christmas was somewhat simple this year because the only family who came to visit was my mother-in-law. She is very easy-going, so I don't have to stress about the way my home is decorated or if the children have dirty faces when she arrives. It's also easier when she comes because I don't have to make sure to have four bottles of bourbon on hand for an eight day visit like I did for my mom last Christmas.

This year, Ella actually understood the glory of Santa. I previously struggled with the idea of explaining Santa to her. I went ahead and did it and proceeded to use the "Santa Card" whenever she was acting up. You know the card: "Ella, Santa can see you when you are having a temper tantrum." Or, "Ella, Santa can see you when you are pushing your sister. My personal favorite was, " Ella, Santa's not going to come to our house if you keep picking your nose and eating it." You get the idea. The mere threat of Santa not coming over the night of the 24th really set her on a path of good behavior, with the exception of the nose picking stuff--she just became sneakier about it. Ella was excited to decorate some cookies for Santa and had carrots in a bowl for the reindeer. The look on her face when she came down on Christmas morning and saw that the cookie plate was empty was one of such happiness and wonder. It was one of those moments that you want to bottle and keep forever.

The present opening circus was fairly well contained. I should first tell you that the kids got a lot of presents. A LOT. None of the presents under the tree were from us. The kids got no less than 30 packages under the tree. Each. Twenty-five of which were from Grandma. This is an issue I have struggled with since Ella was born. I should first mention how much I LOVE my MIL. I thank God every single day that I have the MIL that I have been given. I am truly lucky to have a MIL who drops everything to help her family. She doesn't intrude. She doesn't interfere. She makes the most kick-ass Beef and Noodles EVER. She is generous, sweet and kind. Her generosity, however, is her weakness. Grandma loves to buy stuff for her grandkids. I get it. But she is so worried about being fair to all of her grandchildren, that she will purchase all kinds of unneccesary crap to make sure all the kids are on a level playing field. It doesn't matter that we don't even see the other three kids at Christmas. I have asked her on more than one occasion to stop buying so much. I have asked her to spend just $50 on each child . Herr informed me that was "ludicrous" and not realistic (WTF?!?!). I have asked her to take half of the money she would spend and put it in the kids' college funds. I have asked her to just give the girls a hand-knit sweater and a doll quilt (she makes INCREDIBLE handmade stuff. She.will.not.stop at just that. Grandma always claims that, "this was only $7.00" or "books don't count." What she doesn't understand is that we don't WANT the girls to get a brand new life-size teddy bear every year for Christmas.

It's not just the money that she spends, however. My mother is not financially sound and often doesn't send gifts because she just doesn't have the money to do so. I asked my MIL a couple of years ago to stop spending so much on Ella because I didn't want her to ever notice that one grandmother gives her more "stuff" than the other. I told her that I didn't want Ella to EVER feel that one grandmother loves her more than the other because of the amount of stuff she gives her. Her solution to that issue at the time was that she would just buy extra presents and we could tell Ella that they were from my mother. That is probably the only time I ever lost my temper with her. It's obvious that it has done no good.

This year I decided to videotape the opening of the presents so that I could send it to my mom. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to edit out 80% of it because almost every present was from my MIL. My mother sent one gift to each girl. I can't have my mom looking at Ella hugging Grandma for each and every one of the 25 presents she got from her and only one,"Thank you, Busia" directed at the camera. It would break her heart. Herr said that his mother went overboard and that it has to stop. Good luck with that, Herr. In the meantime, I told Herr that Ella is old enough to understand that in the future, when something comes into the house, something needs to leave the house.

In other news, I have been searching for a new daycare for the girls. I have found one that has a fantastic facility and curriculum. I had planned on waiting to see if the new facility was feasible with my new commute that I will be making to King of Prussia, PA starting next week. That plan suddenly moved up this evening when Herr came home FUMING because, yet again, Ella was fed a sugared cereal for breakfast this morning. When Herr approached the employee, she stared at him like he was from outer space when he asked if she had been told of our request to not feed Ella stuff like Lucky Charms. She said that she hadn't but that they have an alternative--Honey Nut Cheerios. I am assuming that he stormed out of there because the Director of the daycare called us while we were eating dinner and swore up and down that Ella has not been fed Lucky Charms since I spoke to him last. He also indicated that they are at the mercy of their food supplier (WTF?!) and don't always have plain Cheerios, etc. At this point, it isn't the cereal that is the issue. Quite frankly, I am probably sounding like my kids live in a bubble and we feed them only organic food. That is so not the case.We are tired of paying a sub-par daycare $1100/month for 3 days a week to be ignored. I will not be ignored.


AdventureDad said...

1100/month. Holy shit. I didn't know it was that bad. You need to come to Sweden. I pay $1100/year with everything included. Full time(although our son only goes 9-3).
The funny things is that each parent receives a check for $1800/year from the state which more than covers it.

Don't be ignored but don't kill yourself over some cereal :-))


Kara said...

The Lucky Charms won't kill her, but being ignored by someone so essential to a child (and family)'s well-being is not cool at all.

Not at all.

Good luck

Anonymous said...

If the care they are getting is good, get over the cerel thing already. A change may not be the best idea.

adria said...

I am so happy you are standing up to the daycare regarding the food issue. I would totally have problems if that was happening to me.
So frustrating.

The June Cleaver Diaries said...

It's not about the cereal. It's that your wishes regarding YOUR CHILD aren't being followed. Whether it's cereal or corporal punishment, your rules go, so long as they're within reason. If the daycare is too busy to get that, they're overloaded--- yet another reason to leave.

I went to four different preschools, and I'm fine---- switching won't bother her. I know Ella well---- she'll jump into it all excited about all the new friends she'll make.

Anonymous said...

If the care they are getting is good??? Here is an idea: Making decisions for your children is called parenting. Bobby and Susie don't get to decide if they are happy somewhere. Hausfrau is right on. So many people believe that daycare and school is the caregiver, provider and rule maker once the parent drops them off for the day. NO!!! Parents need to be involved every step of the way including what they put into their mouths.
In this country everyone complains about our educational system not doing its job, well parents are part of the problem and yes this starts in day care and preschool. Children are the sole resposibility of their parents believe it or not and no it does not take a village to raise a child. It takes parents with a genuine interest in how their children will grow into adults. Frankly I know Hausfrau wants excellent care, not just good.


Andie D. said...


I agree with June - they are not respecting your wishes and are probably too overloaded to do so. Great reason to bail.

When's Herr going to confront his mom about the present thing? Can't wait to hear how that flies.

kimmyk said...

Sounds like Christmas this year was a hit. I wish I could use the Santa card but my teenagers know differently and well that sucks.

I understand your desire for the daycare to listen. It's hard. Especially when you're shelling out mad cash. I can't get over the price of daycare these days. How can anyone afford to pay that? You'd think with that kind of money coming in they could get a new supplier, huh?

Happy New Year to the Hausfrau Haus!

The German Girl said...

Hausfrau, your MIL sounds 100% like mine. It's almost scary. My own mother lives in Germany, so here of course my kids get only one present from her... and many many many from my MIL. Plus my kids love everything from MIL much more, because it's usually fun American stuff... and not boring German stuff. I don't send videotapes... Just pictures. ;)
We chat via webcam, that's video tape enough.

Happy New Year,
German Girl

merseydotes said...

I meandered my way over from Sweet Juniper's blogroll and just had to comment on the MIL/presents thing! I struggled with almost exactly the same situation this year, except that my MIL doesn't have other grandkids and my mom does have money. She just chooses not to throw it at my child for shits and giggles. Anyway, I made my MIL go through all the boxes and put half in our garage for future holidays. Yikes - I'm so bitchy!