Long time readers would probably remember various posts of me going off my nut over the past few years with regards to my mother-in-law’s flagrant disregard for our personal privacy. It was something that I guess I sucked up over the years as for the most part, it was only a temporary arrangement where either we were visiting, or they were.
If you remember, she’s walked in on me having sex, naked, taking a shit, and probably every other conceivable circumstance bar catching me hunched over my keyboard debasing myself. Perhaps that’s the problem… maybe if she did one day catch me meat in hand, she’d learn to knock and stop barging in like the fucking gestapo. The only way things could get worse would be her tossing a flashbang into the room as a prelude to her surprise entry. Or so I thought.
Generally, I tolerate the situation as much as I try to get Erica to explain the rocket science of common courtesy to her. Granted, it’s not easy. You know what they say about old dogs / new tricks and all, and so I kept my calm for the most part and restricted my rants to this blog. For after all, knocking before entry is ranked somewhere up there with quantum physics in terms of both comprehension and application.
However, shit tends to change and change fast when you have a baby. In a nutshell, it’s one thing to inconvenience me. I can live with that. It’s a whole other game to interfere with someone else that I’m both completely responsible for and care about. I already had aired my concerns with E with regards to her parents as to how I know for certain that they will run interference with my game plan for K. They are the sort whom are generally based on instant emotional gratification, not giving two fucks about the consequences as long as someone else has to deal with them. They simply cannot control impulse, which leads to all sorts of problems. They act emotionally and not logically for the most part, and I’m the complete opposite… for the most part. Short term gain, long term pain seems to be their MO.
So when they arrived a week after the birth of K, things were as I expected. MIL barging in unannounced as per usual, but everyone was still on a high after K’s arrival that I looked past it. The first episode which got my hackles up was when I was in the computer room and my MIL asked me about Erica. I said she’s in the bedroom expressing milk and not to go in. She just ignored me and went “never mind never mind” and barged in. That pissed me off because obviously she doesn’t give a shit about her daughters privacy, and completely ignored what I had said. Anyone remember my post when she barged in on me taking a shit in the toilet and said “never mind never mind” when I yelled at her while she continued to gather the laundry oblivious to my shitting endeavors?
The next episode had me seeing blood. I was asleep one morning when I thought I heard someone in the room. I groggily looked up, saw the nursery curtain still drawn and the bedroom door still closed, and just thought it was my imagination, and fell back asleep. Later on, a noise stirred me again and I decided to check the baby monitor on my phone. WHERE’S MY FUCKING BABY??!! My MIL had taken it upon herself to sneak into the room when we were sleeping, and simply just steal the baby while she was asleep so she could give it some sun. I was absolutely livid! That crossed every fucking line that there was in my books, and I let Erica know as such. Tell your mother to NEVER, EVER intrude upon or wake the baby unless per our implicit instructions. Thank god I made the decision to have the nursery in our room as opposed to ourside.
The latest incident took place yesterday. I was in the computer room after putting the baby to sleep in her cot. It was 11pm and her bedtime. My MIL goes into our bedroom and I thought she was just going to find Erica, and then I see a light cast upon the face of my baby on the PC, where I have a window permanently open with a live feed of her in her cot. WTF??? I head into the bedroom to find that my MIL was FUCKING FACETIMING THE BABY to my sister-in-law and woke the baby up!!! To say I was pissed was an understatement. I was nuclear! I COULD HAVE MURDERED HER!!! How fucking *insults redacted* do you have to fucking be to wake a sleeping baby just so you could fucking facetime it at 11pm when the curtains are drawn and the lights are off!!!
I let Erica have it. I threw the baby monitor and smashed my keyboard, I was so fucking mad I swear I was tempted to put my fist through my computer monitor. I let her know in no uncertain terms what I thought of her mothers actions, and honestly, if anything like this ever happened again, I’d be tempted to pack my shit up and head back to AU. I told Erica before we had K that I will not tolerate ANYONE running interference with the way I bring up my kids. I’ll put up with a lotta shit from my in-laws, but my kids… no way. They are too precious.
Now, for my second rant. And this is probably going to polarise some of you, especially those whom have interfaced with me one way or another on this topic. I hope you understand that I’m still pissed over the above saga and that I’m going to sound like a sarcastic and insufferable asshole right now. I apologise in advance, but know that I mean no offence. FUCKING SINGAPOREANS AND THEIR “USE A DOOR LOCK” ANSWER TO EVERYTHING!! What the hell is up with this? You all say it like it’s the answer to the meaning of life! And not only once, but repeatedly, and condescendingly. “Oh why don’t you use a door lock”, “that’s what door lock is for!”, “DOOR LOCK!”, and many other variations. Again, no offense, but this is just a ridiculously stupid and simplistic answer to all of the above problems and doesn’t fix shit but just inconveniences ourselves.
First, there is a simple matter of logistics. There are 2 people staying in this room. By constantly locking the door, the other party is likely going to be locked out on multiple occasions, which I assure you, is inconvenient. Secondly, the steriliser is outside and we have to wake up every 3 hours to get things we need to feed the baby. Remembering to lock the door at 4am when you’re groggy as hell is also not that easy.
Secondly, there is the matter of principles. FUCKING COURTESY! I grew up in Australia were most houses do not have locks on bedroom doors, but yet, everyone knocks! It seems to me that some would think not knocking is acceptable common behaviour. Well I disagree. The inculcation of good habits should work bilaterally, both parents to kids, and kids to parents. Though it seems in asian culture, children, regardless of age, seem completely impotent when it comes to taking a stand against their parents even when it’s for the greater good.
Thirdly, behaviour modification. Locking the door doesn’t fix anything. She’ll just try and if it’s locked, she’ll move on. Next time, locked, and move on. This just continues until it opens. The root of proper behaviour modification in humans is logic and reason. We’re not fucking dogs, we’re people with high levels of cognitive understanding. The best way to shape a behaviour is to change root cause. Again, some people can’t seem to comprehend the concept of root cause analysis and resolution. I understand that my MIL is old, so that’s one factor which makes resistance to change higher. Second, habit… this habit has been set for the entire life of her children, and possibly before that. Third, continuity. Because their stays are constantly broken up over the course of the year, this makes it harder to inculcate and remember. Its a heuristic that needs time, reminders, and repetition to enforce.
The matter is made additionally hard due to the language barrier. Because she can’t really speak English, and I can’t speak Mandarin, we can’t really communicate. Erica has to act as that medium. And because Erica can’t stand up to anyone or sound demanding/commanding to save her life, her mother may not fully comprehend the gravity of the situation. So time… changes do happen. I can see it. The frustrating thing is those changes are so damn specific. It’s like, we tell her not to do something. So she doesn’t do that exact something, only to do something similar but slightly different. It’s progress, but slow progress. I understand that her heart is in the right place, but unfortunately, my patience doesn’t stretch wide enough to cover that right now. As I’ve said before. The little patience I have right now is solely dedicated to my daughter and my wife. It’s been a stressful few weeks with non-stop assignments, now exams, lack of sleep, and the in-laws.
I know this post may sound harsh and disrespectful and that it’s probably not kosher or good form to post it. But that’s my blog. Most of what I type is emotionally driven and captures what I feel at the time I’m posting it. In this case, it’s anger and frustration. I do respect my in-laws, I really do, but only in certain regards. Full respect has to be earned with actions, and not merely by title. Just like I try my hardest to earn their respect, because it means so much to me. They too, have to earn mine.
Edit: Oh gosh this post was cathartic. I so needed to get this off my chest. Feel much better now. Whew… Thank god for these rant channels.