I’ve never really had much of an issue with my inlaws, they live in a different country and don’t speak English…so whilst that creates some problems it also eases many of them.
The only real frustration arose during a visit with our baby, who was 5 months old. It turns out that the Turkish parenting style is
massively slightly different to my own. Whereas in the UK there are several main themes of parenting, people tend to pick a style and then go along with this to some extent whilst incorporating bits of other styles and advice from others so they end up with a system that best suits their own family, because as far as I can see every child is different and there’s no “one size fits all” solution unfortunately.
Before we went away we had a pretty decent bedtime routine, Jem slept through the night or woke once for milk, he still fed a lot during the day but it was manageable and he napped pretty well although did have a tendency to cry when put down. He has a cousin who lives in Turkey who is almost exactly 1 year older which is nice, and although the difference between a 6 month old and an 18 month old is huge it was interesting to see the effect of our different parenting styles.
The first issue was feeding, my inlaws were pretty convinced that I was effectively starving the baby. Every whimper would result in enquiries of “are you going to feed him, he’s hungry”. I found this really puzzling, he doesn’t cry that much but he was in the process of teething and on the verge of crawling so sometimes he would cry for reasons other than hunger…
The second issue was napping. Apparently napping is unnecessary, and there’s no word for “overtired” as far as I can establish. Jem would nap in the car but my inlaws thought I was being cruel by trying to put him down in his travelcot for a nap. “Rock him” they said, taking him and rocking him to sleep. I tried to explain that the reason I didn’t do this was because I was trying to encourage him to fall asleep in his cot so we could nap at home…it didn’t go down well.
If he cried in his cot he would be immediately picked up. If they got chance loud singing and clapping would be employed to distract him from tiredness…whilst I tried to maintain our habit of quiet time. I tried explaining that he often cried for a couple of minutes as he fell asleep, but again I was speaking a foreign language.
As we are about to venture to my inlaws again they are confused as to why we are again taking a cot when he could just sleep in our bed. Issue 3: bed times. In Turkey our nephew goes to bed when his parents go to bed, as they are often out in the evenings and don’t like to stay in. He also has no nap routine but if he’s getting particularly tired they will rock him to sleep and then put him down on a bed. Jem goes to bed at half 7 and as a VERY active 1 year old without something to contain him we are asking for trouble. The inlaws think he can just stay up with us and really that napping is unnecessary so he could manage…I disagree!
Food will be an interesting issue this time, Jem was only just about to wean last time we went and although he will eat pretty much anything I still dread mealtimes there, we will have no highchair and from what I have seen soup is the primary food source for children (not his favourite thing!) and they tend to eat very late whereas I like Jem to have eaten an hour before bed.
It may be find, I may be overreacting – keep your fingers crossed for me!
(and don’t get me started on showering and bathing babies….)