Inlaws or Outlaws…


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….)


The saga of the carseat…


Essentials for having a baby:

  1. somewhere to sleep (tick – moses basket duly acquired from Freecycle)
  2. something to feed the baby (tick – boobs, but just in case a sterilizer set and bottles purchased from Kiddiecare)
  3. nappies, a good supply whether you reuse or sposie
  4. a carseat

My mantra whilst pregnant was “you need a car seat to show the midwife or they won’t let you take the baby home.”  Everything I heard/read indicated that I would physically have to show the child strapped into its car seat before I would be allowed to go, hence I took the view that only one of the little carrier type seats would be appropriate.  Fair enough, you can get one for around £30, but naturally that’s not how I go about buying a car seat…oh no.  You see I like to research…and I like a spreadsheet…

Hence I set out to do my research (hey, I’m a lawyer, it’s been drummed into me).  My conclusion from research is that unless I buy a car seat with an isofix base it will not be safe.  First task, buy a car with isofix attachments, easy enough, most cars have them…mine didn’t…but that’s because I had a 2 seat Vauxhall Tigra, it doesn’t need Isofix, because it doesn’t have a seat suitable for a baby…

Anyway, we buy new car, big enough to accommodate baby (and incidentally our 2 cats, this is a real bonus because we had been driving up and down to my parents for a year with the passenger carrying the cats on their lap…fun was had by all.

Now Isofix car seats are expensive, but not prohibitively so.  However when you add in the car base, it’s a bit pricey.  Plus if you factor in that you may well need a new seat and potentially base within a year that’s a problem (well actually it’s only a problem if, like us, you have no money because you live in a money pit).

We attend Toys R’ Us to view car seats.  I painstakingly explain to the Turk why we need this type of car seat, this base and then at 9kg we will move up to this car seat.  Now if we opt for the expensive base now we can keep that base for the next car seat, at 9kg.  Yes well after that car seat we move to the next one, no that doesn’t have a base, it faces the front…it’s different…yes well that’s the way it is…

This conversation goes on for a long time.  The Turk turns to other car seats and begins extolling the virtues of saving the pennies.  He points to a particularly ugly car seat which is extremely reasonable at £60 which advises it can accommodate children up to the age of around 8 (or something, I can’t remember).  I am pretty convinced that this seat is effectively a death trap.  We enlist a staff member in our argument who quite reasonably points out that all car seats have to meet the same standards…

…time passes…

Essentially it ends with me storming out of the store in tears…it’s not my proudest moment.

We decide to give car seat shopping a rest for a few weeks…

Post Script:

We end up buying a Britax First Class Plus (suitable from birth to 18kg) chosen because it can be rear facing up to 13kg.  I conducted further research and concluded that actually being rear facing for longer was more important for us…plus it was less than half price in Kiddiecare…ok and it’s cowmooflage – hilarious – we love it.