Guest blogger Maggie: My mother-in-law and I have an iffy relationship. On the one hand, she doesn't get in my personal business, doesn't tell me how to raise my kids and never takes sides whenever my husband and I have a disagreement. But on the other hand, she does have things about her that make me bananas -- namely, the fact that she "diagnoses" my children with ridiculous things, as if she were a psychologist and an MD rolled into one.
It would almost be funny if it didn't irk me so much. She just left this morning after a ten-day visit. Every time she comes (this time being no exception), she reminds me how ADHD runs in her family. She says she has it (now, there's one diagnosis I do believe), and that she's pretty sure our daughter has it, too. Oh, you mean the daughter who sits for hours reading a book and who makes straight-A's in school? That one? Sure, she's talkative and she asks a lot of questions, but how does that make her ADHD, as opposed to just an inquisitive 9-year-old? I look at my daughter, how strong and healthy she is -- how she's so clearly NOT hyperactive or attention-deficit -- and the thought of her grandmother playing doctor makes me crazy.
This visit produced two more "diagnoses" as well. My son slipped on the cement by our pool and skinned his shoulder. The wound was just a scrape, but it was perfectly round in shape, about the size of a dime. When his grandmother saw it, she whispered (as if it were something shameful), "He's got ringworm." No matter what I told her -- even when I explained that I'd seen the scrape happen and that it most certainly wasn't ringworm -- she was offended that I was contradicting her. "I was a nurse for 25 years," she said. "I think I know what ringworm looks like." Yeah, and I've been a mother for ten years. So do I.
Then I was cleaning out my kids' closet, and my mother-in-law commented on how a couple of my son's shirts in the throw-out pile had "moth damage" around the collars. I explained that, no, that was where he had chewed on them. (Strange habit, I know, but he had kicked it months before.) I told her it was a common oral fixation; I'd Googled it and found that lots of kids did it and that they usually grew out of it, just like our son had. "No, no, no, it sounds like that disorder tricho-something-or-other to me," she said, pulling this medical tidbit from I don't know where. "It's a form of OCD, which also runs in our family ...." (Please, what doesn't?) Not that I gave her stupid diagnosis any merit, but after she left, I found the disorder she was referring to online, and while it is an "OCD thing," it's an illness where people pull out their own HAIR.
Please God, make it stop -- at least until the next visit from Dr. Grammy. Can't wait to hear about the new crop of diseases she'll come up with then.