Selectively embracing research

We’ve been staying with Frank’s parents for the last week and a half while we beat our own new house into shape.  It’s coming along, and I think we’re actually going to sleep there tomorrow night.  Yay!

One thing I’ve noticed about my mother in-law lately is how she only selectively believes “research”.  Mostly, if something goes against the firmly-held superstitions old wives’ tales beliefs she has, then the research is simply dismissed out of hand.  If, however, she gets junk mail that says eating cream cheese is good for your kidneys, then she would find a way to incorporate cream cheese into her next twelve meals, and insist we all eat it too.

I cannot convince her that:

Cold feet do not cause colds. She makes Jake wear slippers every minute he’s in her house, because he might walk on the tile floor in the kitchen and his feet would get cold, and then he’d get sick.  Even when it’s 80 degrees out, like today.

Sitting too close to the TV will not cause brain damage. Maybe a little temporary eye strain, but it will not give you cancer or brain damage.  She firmly suspects being too close to a TV can cause a variety of ills.

Men determine the gender of babies. She understands the basic science, I think.  But she still insists that the mother must have something to do with it, too.  Like with enough will, their cervixes can block out all Y-chromosome sperm or something?

The slippers thing is the most exasperating.  I don’t really fight her on it.  She buys the slippers for my kids, and puts them on their feet.  And it’s not like it’s detrimental for them to have warm feet.  But I never insist that the kids wear them against their will.  But she’s crazy-insistent on it sometimes.  Because, if they got a cold (assuming even for a second that having non-toasty feet is virus-inducing) it would be the Worst Thing Ever.  But then in the next breath will imply I’m overprotective because I insist the kids use car seats (even in Aruba, where they’re not even required so why would I bother?!?) and didn’t want to use the crib they saved from when Frank was a baby, with every modern crib-safety violation on the books.  These are things that could be the difference between life and death, and I’m silly.  But slippers to prevent a sniffle are requisite.  I don’t get it!


4 responses to “Selectively embracing research

  1. Oh my. Clearly you have your priorities all wrong…

  2. Oh, sister, I hear you! I have the identical problem with my MIL (along with a host of others, some far, FAR more annoying). Feeding children organic produce? A total waste of money! But a cold wind blowing in your ear? SURE TO CAUSE AN EARACHE. Yes, she winces visibly when I fail to cover my girls’ ears, even in the 8 feet from car to door. ah well. But I’m not living with her, either. Thank god. And good luck!

  3. She’s all into over-bundling, too. Lane sweats. A LOT. (I’ll admit it, she gets it from my side of the family… me, my mom, my aunt, my grandfather… there is no such thing as ‘dewy’ or ‘glowing’. We are either dry when we are completely at rest, or dripping once we start moving in any temperature above freezing. It’s not a clinically gross-level of sweating, but enough to be slightly annoying.)

    ANYWAY. MIL will totally bundle Lane up in about six more layers than necessary, and then the girl sweats. So what’s worse… her being a little cold but being dry, or being sweaty-wet in the freezing cold weather?

    It’s seriously insane. When they brought her to visit me in the hospital when Jake was born, Lane had on an undershirt, then a long sleeved shirt, then a thick sweater, then her heaviest winter jacket. She had on tights, then fleece-lined jeans, then her snowpants. Two pairs of socks. Hat and mittens. And she was drenched with sweat by the time they got to my hospital room. And it’s not like they had to mush a dog sled to get there or anything. Walk to the car, drive 20 minutes, walk 30 seconds through the parking lot, then navigate the hospital hallways. Yes, it was February in New Jersey, but it was like 30 degrees out, it’s not like we’d gotten a blast of sub-zero arctic air or anything at that point.

  4. Hilarious posting!
    My mother in law has some whack ideas too. She believes vaccines “weaken the immune system,” and as a result of not getting any, my husband had measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough as a child. Thank God he didn’t suffer the effects of those dangerous vaccines though 🙂

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