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Family Help

It has been exactly one week since J’s parents arrived from Hong Kong to help me with the last few weeks of my pregnancy. They will stay in the U.S. and continue to help out for the next few months which will undoubtedly be tremendously difficult with two babies that are only 13 months apart.

I have stated before that I don’t have the best relationship with my in-laws. It’s not that we don’t get along — we do, but we are far from being BFFs and I still feel a bit uncomfortable around them. Add to that the language and cultural barriers, and the fact that I am a highly private person…

HOWEVER, this time around I could not be happier to have them around. They clearly love Claire, and just seeing their faces light up every time they interact with her makes me so happy that we were able to provide a healthy grandchild for them.

And despite the fact that my MIL and I aren’t that close, she is one of two people in the world — the other being my own mother — whom I fully trust to take great care of my children from the moment they are born, to love them from day one, and do everything in her power to raise them well.

(J comes a very close third. I know he loves his daughters with all his heart, but a motherly/grandmotherly touch is just different, KWIM? Besides, he never even changed a diaper before Claire was born! :-P)

The first week was a bit rough on all of us. Just three months ago, when our nanny started, Claire needed only a few hours before she became comfortable with her. Now that she is older, with full-on stranger anxiety and a firm grasp on object permanence, it took almost a full week for her to even let her paternal grandparents hold her. (During this transition period, J, my SIL, and I all took turns as the “buffer.”)

Yesterday was the first full day that I was alone with my in-laws and Claire. As soon as I put her down for her morning nap, I retired to my bedroom to take a nap for myself…and woke up with a start to realize that it had been an hour and a half since Claire fell asleep — she must be awake now! And previously, when she awoke from her naps to find her grandmother greeting her, she would cry and cry…

I hurried out to the living room to find my MIL feeding Claire a bowl of congee, my FIL sitting at the same table, and all three members of the family clearly enjoying themselves.

And the day continued just so. They played with her and made her laugh, they took her out on two long walks, and they insisted that I relax and rest.

I must confess that I was a bit resentful of my in-laws during the first few months of Claire’s life, because at times it really seemed like they were hogging her, and taking away from me precious bonding time I could have had with my daughter.

Only with recent events have I come to realize that I should have spoken up if I wanted more alone time with Claire, and that they truly, genuinely want to help. Additionally — as morbid as this sounds — I know that their (as well as my own parents’) time on earth is limited. Why should I deprive them of something that gives them so much joy when I benefit from it as well?

My in-laws could not have come at a better time. Our nanny’s own mother has fallen ill, so she is no longer available. My parents’ stores are keeping them busier than ever before. My sister is currently out-of-state taking a class, and then she will go to Paris for 3 months. Lastly, J’s brother and his wife, who have been such a tremendous help to us in the past year, will be moving to Shanghai next month!

I wish I had a picture of our entire family, but I don’t. :-( Hopefully we will be able to get one at Claire’s first birthday party later this month…but in the meantime here’s one of Claire playing with — and in — her aunt’s LV bags! (Notice how she’s using the little pochette as a purse…it fits her perfectly!)