Eight years ago, my boyfriend and I found ourselves unexpectedly pregnant; his sister also became pregnant due to in vitro fertilization after trying to conceive for many years. The girls were born two weeks apart and are very different. I had a roly-poly baby who smiled and slept beautifully. My niece has always been underweight and shy, with a not-so-happy disposition. My sister-in-law has always been very loving—and even possessive—with my child. She makes comments like “She’s the baby I should have had,” “She’s the twin that I lost” (one of the implanted embryos didn’t make it), “A child after my own heart,” etc. It made me uncomfortable, but I let it slide for the sake of peace. Now the girls are in third grade and are in the same classroom. I pack my daughter’s lunch and sometimes leave notes or drawings for her in her lunch box. Lately she has been coming home with notes from her aunt in her bag. She keeps trying to use a nickname for my child that we don’t use and professes how much she loves her. I know it seems harmless, but it really bothers me to see this. My sister-in-law has three children of her own and is taking care of an additional two from her live-in boyfriend. It’s like she wants to parent my child, who has two very competent parents already. I need some perspective here. Am I crazy for letting this bother me? Can I tell her to not send notes?
—Already Has Two Parents