a tale of two grannies

May 23, 2011 § 8 Comments

“You’ve cut your hair off?” greets Mother In Law, when I see her for the first time since Easter. “It suits you better longer.” I am a little hurt by this, and don’t pretend not to be. I am heavily pregnant waddling into a gastropub full of quite attractive people and feeling more than a little unattractive. “What?” she says, noticing the look on my face. “Would you prefer me to lie?” At this I giggle. “Well, yes!” I reply, truthfully.

You see the thing is, I’ve long learnt not to be offended by my MIL’s bluntness. She means no harm. When I saw my own mum, about a week ago, she was the polar opposite. I was glowing, I was beautiful, and yes, my hair really suits me short. I learnt a long time ago, pretty much as soon as I had children, that the truth of the matter lies somewhere in between what I’m told by the two grannies. So in truth, my hair probably looks OK, not bad, but not amazing either.

Never was this tale of two grannies more evident than when becoming a mum myself for the first time. Feeling pretty clueless I was open to advice from those who had been there and done that. MIL’s advice was pretty much “give up breastfeeding, start drinking more wine, get the child into a routine.” Mum’s advice was along the lines of “breastfeed long past the stage that strangers start giving you disapproving looks in public, don’t worry about bedtimes, let the child sleep where it falls.” I soon learnt, running the gauntlet of parental advice, that if I plonked myself somewhere in the middle of these two approaches, it would pretty much work out fine.  

Now I know that both grandmas love their grandchildren very much, and would do anything for any of us. Just their manner differs somewhat. Take my children and their accomplishments as an example. Mum coos and says things like “ooh aren’t they advanced for their age.” MIL’s first comment about 1yo yesterday? “He’s not talking much, is he?” On this basis I conclude that 1yo is about average and doing fine. What would I do without them?


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