How to impress your in-laws

My in-laws just left after a week-long visit. Due to my new stay-at-home status, this was the most time I have spent with them without my husband.

It’s always fun to feel that your in-laws are watching your every move, silently critiquing your parenting skills. It’s extra fun when your spouse is not around to share the spotlight. This was just me and my A game on display.

On day two my daughter jammed her hand up my father-in-law’s shorts, using the exact same maneuver she used on me. I didn’t witness it, but I saw her chasing him around afterward and feared the worst. I asked what was happening, which led to an awkward conversation in which my father-in-law tried to explain this odd encounter by telling me my child did some “penis touching.”

I do not wish that conversation on my worst enemy.

I spent several minutes trying to stop her from doing it again, but she was having trouble taking me seriously due to my giggle fit the first time around. “Mom – remember, this is funny!” Very effective and responsible parenting.

On day five we were packing up after several days at a vacation property. My husband had already left because he had to work, so it was just me, my kids and the in-laws. Both kids were in meltdown mode, but the 4-year-old was particularly saucy. She was demanding more orange juice, which I normally limit, but in my desperation to get the hell out of there, I poured her another glass (#3? or 4?), gave her my iPad, and asked her to stay quiet.

Thirty minutes later I heard her screaming, “I’m going potty on the carpet!” I looked over the balcony and saw her standing still, peeing down her legs, making no attempt to move whatsoever. For some reason I also froze and just watched her with my mouth hanging open.

My mother-in-law sprang into action, shooed her into the bathroom, and then began cleaning up the puddle. As I finally came to, I wiped up my daughter’s legs and asked her why she didn’t go to the bathroom. She explained loudly that she was afraid to leave the iPad.

Next time before I waterlog my child, force her to watch a movie and tell her not to speak, I’ll make it clear that bathroom breaks are allowed.

I appreciate that my daughter saved the most unimpressive parenting opportunities for the moments when my husband was nowhere in sight.

To return the favor, yesterday during the final hours of my in-laws’ visit, I walked out of the room, went upstairs, and pulled a nap attack, leaving my daughter on her own to entertain them.

HA! Take that, you 4-year-old!

As I re-entered the room 2+ hours later, with bedhead, pillow indentations on my face, and only 15 minutes left before they had to leave, I felt confident knowing for sure I came out of that situation looking like the winner. Or notsomuch.

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