Behaviour of friend's toddler at my house

(131 Posts)
lilyleelee Mon 11-Mar-13 10:51:29

This weekend an old friend and her husband came to stay at my house with her 2-month old baby (an angel) and 2 and a half-year old girl (not so much of an angel).
I don't have children, so I'm not sure when children start understanding 'rules' and 'right and wrong'.
From the moment they arrived, the toddler was touching everything -- taking fridge magnets off the fridge, dropping and breaking them; picking up my mobile phone and pushing all the buttons; picking up a doorstop and pulling buttons off of it. I didn't say anything, because I was waiting for my friends to do that, but they never said a word. My husband did take an item off the toddler on the last morning, telling her she couldn't have it, which resulted in tears and whingeing.
I didn't really speak up (though I wanted to) because I felt it would be rude/unkind to tell off their daughter. I also kind of feel it should be the parents' job, not mine, to supervise her behaviour. I didn't want to cause bad feeling between me and my old and dear friend, but equally I now feel annoyed and would be reluctant to have them in my house again.
I realise that toddlers are into everything, but what about when those things aren't theirs, and they damage them?

adeucalione Mon 11-Mar-13 10:55:48

I think it sounds like normal 2yo behaviour but also think that the parents should have been stopping her from causing actual damage (breaking fridge magnets, pulling buttons off doorstop) or touching anything that could be damaged (your phone). Certainly, my friends with toddlers would not allow their child to behave like this without comment. In my experience they do seem to develop a bit more self control over the next 12 months though, so you might be safe to invite them back next year grin

BigGiantCowWithAKnockKnockTail Mon 11-Mar-13 10:57:03

Everything you say she did is absolutely natural behaviour for a toddler. However, different parents have different boundaries and some blinker themselves when at other people's houses.

I'm much stricter with DD than some of my friends are with their DCs and I make a point of maintaining that level when at their houses. Unfortunately they don't all adhere to my 'rules' when they come to us, despite my reminding DD of stuff (like asking before she gets down from the table, not to-ing and fro-ing during a meal) and I always end up biting my tongue.

If you invite them again I think it would be worth putting away/out of reach anything you particularly don't want to be ruined played with.

CelticPixie Mon 11-Mar-13 10:57:33

Very rude behaviour on behalf of your friends. How is their daughter supposed to learn right from wrong if they are not prepared to tell her off when she does wrong? All toddlers want to touch and play with things, but its the parents jobs to stop them from doing. Sadly though a lot of parents think the sun shines out of their kids and that everything they do is adorable.

choceyes Mon 11-Mar-13 10:59:01

Yes normal 2yr old behaviour, but the parents should have been stopping her from damaging things. I wouldn't let my 2.5yr old meddle with other peoples stuff and damamge them, however much she wanted to. The issue here is not the behaviour of the child, it is of the parents.

WowOoo Mon 11-Mar-13 10:59:03

It's your house, so I would have said something.
This has happened in my house and I've spoken directly to the child, nicely but firmly.
Also, it's best to move anything easily breakable and precious such as mobile phones out of reach.

I don't think they're ever too young to hear 'No, put that down' etc.
Don't feel bad. Your friends should have been a bit more on the ball. Perhaps they are extremely tired from the new baby.

MrsPurple Mon 11-Mar-13 10:59:09

This sounds like typical toddler behaviour but equally did the parents not intervene and stop the child? At that age they do know right from wrong so should have been told no at least. I had similar experince few years back and even though i had children who were a few years older, my friend said they don't understand at this age. Maybe just a case of your friends not realising that their child is of the age that they can be told. They are still learning, as parenthood is a huge learning curve. Dont't let it ruin your friendship and maybe either move things or make a light hearted joke of it by saying " gosh isn't xxxx intelligent she seems to be in to everything, I bet she runs you ragged keeping up with ensuring she doesn't hurt herself or break anything". If you say it as a compliment they may just get the hint smile

lilyleelee Mon 11-Mar-13 10:59:52

CelticPixie: I didn't hear them say 'no' to her once the whole weekend, or raise their voices even a little, but I'm not sure whether this is normal with young children.

FlumpsRule Mon 11-Mar-13 11:00:16

YANBU and should congratulate yourself on great patience. I am a mother of two (older well trained) & would not hold back. Unfortunately toddlers are into everything, which is natural & great, but need constant attention/distraction unless in a safe, breakage free environment. Parents were probably trying to have a break whilst at your house & may be unaware of the stress they've transferred!

HecateWhoopass Mon 11-Mar-13 11:00:37

The child's behaviour is perfectly normal for that age. I'd be more concerned about a toddler that wasn't into everything, tbh. That's how they learn about the world around them.

The parents are at fault here. There's no way you sit back and let your toddler loose in someone else's home!

And you really should have asked them to stop letting her wreck stuff. It's ok to tell them to stop her.

Touching is fine, breaking is not.

AnnIonicIsoTronic Mon 11-Mar-13 11:00:47

Next time - go for a refreshing walk to the park together. Easier on everyone involved.

Eskino Mon 11-Mar-13 11:00:58

I have a 2yo and while he is far better behaved than the young lady you encountered grin. I would have thought it obvious that you don't leave a mobile phone lying where one could reach it. They find them fascinating.

Fridge magnets look like toys to a 2 yo and if one got broken it will have been accidentally.

I'm glad your DH took something off her that's she wasn't supposed to have, you shouldn't be afraid of doing that. But the parents should have been watching her and saying no too.

Maybe they thought that you would have put all the things you didn't want her to get out of harms way already, and that anything left was 'fair game' for their toddler.

Next time eh? wink

HecateWhoopass Mon 11-Mar-13 11:01:22

Saying no is fairly normal. Most parents say it so often the child thinks their name is No wink

everlong Mon 11-Mar-13 11:03:43

Toddlers can be like this and yes it's annoying.

But her parents should not have let her get away with it.

You did well not to say anything.

I think it would be unreasonable to assume that this is a fair snap-shot of your friend's parenting techniques with a very new newborn in the mix. You will probably find they are more on the ball with discipline in a few months time.

javabean Mon 11-Mar-13 11:05:52

Is typical toddler behaviour and her parents should be guiding her away from your stuff. But, it can be very hard work keeping an inquisitive toddler out of everything, the best thing to do is hide away stuff rather than expect to have it on show and for the toddler to leave it alone. And distract with other interesting items that are toddler-friendly.

Also, as the host, you don't have to actually tell off the 2yo. A cheery "oh dear, that's not for you, let's put it away and see what we can find for you to play with" works much better.

LandofTute Mon 11-Mar-13 11:06:44

Entirely normal behaviour for a 2 year old to be touching everything. It isn't naughty. They should have taken the phone off her and stopped her damaging things, but it sounds like you have lots of knick knacks at toddler level so it would have been pretty tiresome for them to be constantly taking things off her the whole weekend. Next time could you move all the bits and bobs above toddler level?

DoJo Mon 11-Mar-13 11:10:08

I think it's up to you to say something too though - I have friends who will let my son play with their phones etc quite happily, so if you wanted yours to be off limits you need to take it away and put it somewhere out of reach. Perhaps your friends assumed you didn't mind her touching things because you didn't say anything.

ceebeegeebies Mon 11-Mar-13 11:12:37

Agree with the others - totally normal behaviour of the 2 year old but the parents really should have stopped her breaking/touching stuff.

I always remember going to visit my DB and his DP just after they had had their DC - DS1 was about 18 months old at the time and particularly difficult to control (he is now 6.5 and still the same <sigh>. Me and DH spent most of the visit telling him to stop touching stuff etc and it wasn't particularly enjoyable but had to be done. I had to laugh though when DB asked if he was always like this and if all children were - I think they were panicking when they realised what their lovely 2-month old baby was going to turn into wink

Tanith Mon 11-Mar-13 11:17:05

Normal behaviour, I'm afraid.

My FIL collects first editions: he has a valuable book collection and treats all books with a care bordering on reverence.

I shall never forget the look on his face when, on a visit, he witnessed toddler DS clearing the bookshelves in his bedroom and dumping them on the floor.

We weren't invited to his house for years grin

LandofTute Mon 11-Mar-13 11:18:03

Looking after a 2 month old and a 2.5 year old is actually very demanding. Rather than being reluctant to have them over again, I'd be thinking of how you can help them. You could distract the little girl by engaging with her and playing with her. Maybe give her some items that you don't mind her playing with, such as kitchen pans, wooden spoon etc. I'm sure they'd be grateful.

bangwhizz Mon 11-Mar-13 11:20:30

Maybe at 18m or even 24m , children would be like you described , but by 2.5 which is the age they start pre-school around these parts, most of them are well past that sort of behaviour- especially girls.

LandofTute Mon 11-Mar-13 11:20:38

It does work the other way though. I stopped visting my neighbour as she had so many knick knacks at toddler height, that it just wasn't enjoyable going there as i had to spend the whole time pulling my dd away from them.

SolomanDaisy Mon 11-Mar-13 11:22:42

Normal behaviour for a toddler. It's difficult to know whether they should have said more, because they may have assumed you were happy with her having the stuff since you said nothing. Some people give my toddler their phone to play with for example. Most toddlers here the word no 100s of times a day, but I would only expect a raised voice in an emergency!

juneau Mon 11-Mar-13 11:31:36

I can see why this has distressed you as a non-parent - I'm sure I'd have felt the same and also similarly uncomfortable with saying anything before I had kids of my own.

However, in future it's fine to say something - but being gentle, smiley and offering an alternative 'toy' will go down better with a small child than taking the thing and just saying 'no' - that will generally end in tears. My 22-month-old loves all kinds of things he's not allowed, but a simple 'Here, why don't you play with this instead?' is all that's needed.

I'm sure your friend was knackered if she's got a toddler and a new baby. I'd give her the benefit of the doubt if she's an old friend and perhaps be a bit more prepared and assertive yourself next time. Put your precious things on high shelves, electronic items out of reach, and have a few things that you don't mind the DC playing with so you can offer those as alternatives.

lilyleelee Mon 11-Mar-13 11:31:39

When my husband did put his foot down and say 'no', we had tears. So maybe it would have been even more stressful if I had said 'no' every time I wanted her to stop playing with something?

Rhubarbgarden Mon 11-Mar-13 11:34:33

Your friends were probably thinking "Our friend is so fab, she's so laid back and child-friendly" because you didn't say anything! They are probably run ragged - dealing with a newborn and a toddler is so exhausting they are probably functioning in a fug. They may also be going easy on the toddler while she adjusts to the new addition. Not saying this excuses it - they should have told her not to play with your stuff, but just trying to see things from their shoes. I have a baby and a toddler and I'm slowly losing my marbles quite frankly.

Lueji Mon 11-Mar-13 11:51:46

With such young children it's often best to leave precious or fragile items out of the way.
It's what I do with children's parties at home too.

lrichmondgabber Mon 11-Mar-13 11:52:44

toddlers will be toddlers

KellyElly Mon 11-Mar-13 11:56:32

I always take things to occupy DD or a film for her to watch as kids do get bored at this age and will try to touch everything - especially in a non child-proofed house grin. Much easier to visit my friends who have little ones as everything that can be grabbed is out of reach. I would move the fridge magnets next time though - they are irresistible to toddlers grin

AlanMoore Mon 11-Mar-13 12:06:53

I think your friends are way out of order. I have a baby and a toddler and my cousin is LP to twins, being tired isn't an excuse to let them wreck the joint.

I would actually have said before we came to hide your breakables etc, I do phone child free friends before we meet and warn them! I or DP would also be supervising our toddler for the sake of your stuff and her safety and there's no way shed have got her mitts on your phone for more than a fleeting second. Be firmer or don't have them back!

Goldenbear Mon 11-Mar-13 12:17:26

I have a 23 month old and she is into everything! I also have a 5 year old and he was the type of toddler to sit and play with puzzles, unlike DD he was not a climber, not a jumper, risk averse so IME toddler behaviour varies wildly. If she is more like my DD and they have a newborn they are probably just exhausted parents that felt relief that you and your DH were relaxed enough to accommodate her inquisitiveness.

You say that they didn't raise their voice to her but I think that's normal with a 2 year old. Equally, some parents make an active decision not to use the word 'No' in response to toddler behaviour because it is quite negative. My DD is younger but I try not to say 'no' too much, instead I will tell her to stop something with a very brief, simple explanation. E.g, 'stop drawing on the table, we draw on paper not tables.' However, not to say anything to destructive behaviour is very laid back.

KitCat26 Mon 11-Mar-13 12:22:09

That is normal toddler behaviour.

The parents may have assumed you'd moved anything precious out of reach of their child and therefore didn't mind! They also should have said no when she was breaking stuff, but you shouldn't be shy about saying it too. Your house, your rules.

I have to say when we visited people when the dds were at that inquisitive stage, I used to do a quick scout round and move anything precious out of the way for the duration of the visit. Saves a lot of hassle. It is much better now they are a bit older (2 and 3).

akaemmafrost Mon 11-Mar-13 12:22:38

"2 month old (an angel)" confused no just a tiny baby. Invite them back in a couple of years and she'll be just like her sibling.

This behaviour is normal. I think because you don't have any dc you don't realise. My dsis (childless) seemed to expect a lot more "discipline" from me towards my toddlers and like practising her "stern" voice on them hmm.

I imagine her behaviour wasn't nearly as bad as you think but you are clueless because you're childless wink.

LadyPessaryPam Mon 11-Mar-13 12:25:21

Were the parents doing that unconditional parenting thing?

Rosa Mon 11-Mar-13 12:27:15

Toddlers will be toddlers yes but parents should be parents.. sounds to me as these 2 were seriously lacking... They should have distracted the child removed things that were dangerous and not hers to play with and possibly warned you inadvance to remove items that could be dangerous/ broken. Many people deal with a small baby and a toddler and cope.

VinegarDrinker Mon 11-Mar-13 12:29:37

Without being mean, it is obvious you are not a parent. If you don't want toddlers touching your things then leave them out of reach! Or don't invite them round. A house with no toys and loads of accessible forbidden objects would be too much to ask of most toddlers.

I agree with saying no within reason, (eg for deliberate hitting/throwing/breaking) but it is really much easier just to move anything breakable. Touching/playing with things is not inherently naughty.

VinegarDrinker Mon 11-Mar-13 12:31:15

As the parent though, I would do the removing of objects myself if the host didn't.

valiumredhead Mon 11-Mar-13 12:31:58

Sounds completely normal behaviour but it is also usual when staying somewhere to run around after your toddler making sure they don't destroy the house!

prettybird Mon 11-Mar-13 12:34:28

If you don't have a child, then it will have been difficult for you, but in my case I have never had any qualms in telling any visiting child No or Be careful if they were doing something unacceptable. I might hesitate to give the parent(s) a chance to say it first - but only momentarily.

If I wouldn't let my ds do "whatever", then I won't let another child do it. My house, my rules.

In fact, I did the same even before I had my own child.

Fortunately, all my friends have supported us doing that. In particular, my best friends (and her dh), whose example I respected and followed, as she had kids long before me - was always comfortable with me maintaining boundaries with her kids - and likewise, them doing the same with ds when he came along.

ISeeRedPeople Mon 11-Mar-13 12:39:23

I have an 18mo who behaves exactly like this when she can get away with it. As her parent it gets a bit endless saying no all the time, but in someone else's house I'd certainly try to stop her interfering with stuff she shouldn't. I definitely wouldn't have a problem with you saying no to her (kindly, of course!) and probably offer her something else to avoid a massive meltdown.

Every time we visit MIL we call beforehand and ask her to move precious things out of toddler-reach, but lo and behold we will arrive and they're all on low tables and shelves, hearth, low windowsills etc. I have to gravitate them up onto high shelves throughout the course of our visit. Next time we go they will all be back where they were and we start all over again. It's like groundhog day! When I have the new baby to deal with as well I'm not sure if I'll be as bothered about her ornaments so I would be looking for someone else to keep that in check.

OxfordBags Mon 11-Mar-13 13:15:22

LadyPessary, people who practice unconditional parenting do not let their children run wild breaking the property of others without saying anything, that's a lazy and ill-informed stereotype about U.P. (well, the crap ones might, but then again, parents who don't practice would be equally likely to let them run wild too).

OP, most 2 months old will seem to be 'angels'. Whereas most 2.5 year olds won't, ha! It's not naughtiness, it's how they make sense of the world, learn and explore. It's up to the parents to help them understand and respect the boundaries and limits of all that, and to learn what's acceptable and appropriate when and where, etc. (and whilst we're on the subject, U.P. places great importance on that, actually).

MummytoMog Mon 11-Mar-13 13:17:37

I think you're being a teensy bit unreasonable. It drives me nuts when people invite us over and don't remove breakable things from their living room first. Like the friends who invited me and the DCs (2 and 3) over and left a floor level open display case of antique china out. The only safe place in the entire house was the garden. I didn't stay all that long.

I prefer to distract my two, rather than say no outright, because there is less screaming and wailing, but there is a time and a place for no, and that's generally when they are breaking things or each other

And yes, two month old babies are lovely. If only they could stay that way.

mungotracy Mon 11-Mar-13 13:19:49

"I didn't say anything" That would be the problem, they are in your house. Whilst it may not be appropriate to discipline the child directly it is appropriate to raise it with your friend immeadiately.

Pandemoniaa Mon 11-Mar-13 13:27:33

YANBU in expecting her parents to distract her from interfering with stuff. However, it is usually sensible to keep some things out of reach.

I have a 2.3 dgd and tbh, she's rapidly growing out of the need to tinker with everything. But for all that, there are some things that would be an irresistible temptation and they "disappear" when she visits.

I'm not a great believer in just saying "no" all the time either - I'd rather say "let's not touch that, let's do some colouring" but equally, I wouldn't expect floods of tears to result from a simple "no" either. Or at least if they did, I doubt I'd take them very seriously either.

It's more difficult if the parents of the child seem unbothered but equally, it's not U to divert the child into a more productive activity yourself. It doesn't hurt any child to learn that different rules apply in different houses.

Maybe I'm out of order, but I do discipline friends children in my house, I give my friend a chance to do it herself but she never does, so I do.
I won't have someone's child destroy toys, throw food, pull clothes out of wardrobes and let it go unchecked.
What would that be teaching my children?

That being said, im talking about an older child,if you have toddlers visiting, it makes sense to childproof a bit and the behaviour you mention really isn't all that bad given her age.
Her parents should have been more on the ball and I think that people should be able to tell parents that their child's behaviour is unacceptable.

Beamae Mon 11-Mar-13 13:36:16

I have just had a weekend at my PIL and they refused to move any of the breakable, precious things within reach of my toddler twins. It was such a stressful environment for me to have them in. Anything I moved to higher ground for safety was immediately moved back. I couldn't relax for a second. The children wanted to touch everything because it was all new and exciting.

My feeling is that if you invite a toddler to stay for the weekend you should remove anything breakable so that there is no temptation. You can't toddler proof your home completely but you can make it as safe as you can. Saves the parents having to go into active parenting overdrive on their weekend, during which I'm sure they would rather be chilling out.

ChairmanWow Mon 11-Mar-13 13:38:45

I would never expect my friends to toddler-proof their house. My child is my responsibility, especially when it comes to friends who don't have kids themselves because they won't necessarily understand what my 2 year old will be into. However saying that I really don't mind if someone asks my son to stop messing with their stuff, unless they shouted at him. I'd be horrified if he broke something at a friend's house. I'm usually pretty on it with him though.

One of my close friends has a child the same age who gets away with absolute murder. She is literally allowed to sit there and empty the fridge and cupboards and throw things around and her mum picks up after her without saying a word. When they're here i have no qualms in asking her to leave things alone, in a calm way of course. Unfortunately she is so unused to being challenged that this leads to the most unbelievable screaming fits. her mum knows I won't put up with things being chucked around and accepts this.

Curiosity is natural and to be encouraged but boundaries are absolutely vital.

lilyleelee Mon 11-Mar-13 13:47:27

ChairmanWow: I think this is part of the problem -- because her parents never say 'no', I feel I can't say it, and then when the DH does, there's a meltdown. You're right though I should have been more assertive, and I probably should have picked up more stuff and moved it before they arrived -- I just didn't realise she'd want to pick up everything! They stayed the weekend, so it's difficult to move everything from every room (which she explored unsupervised). :-)

ChairmanWow Mon 11-Mar-13 13:56:57

lilyleelee it's impossible to completely toddler-proof a house even when you have a toddler! Anyway I think it's good for them to learn that there are things they can play with and things which are for grown ups or how will they cope out in the real world?

I can see why you wouldn't want to challenge her given the screaming fits. I guess it's easier when you have a child and are used to it. At the end of the day they choose whether to visit you and I think parents have to accept this means keeping their child under control (not in a nasty way). It is harder when we go away with DS but that's the choice we make.

Sounds like a very stressful weekend all round! Maybe a little word beforehand would help next time. Hope you can de-stress smile

babanouche Mon 11-Mar-13 13:57:36

Totally normal behaviour. I think if you invite friends to stay you do have to think about their toddler and make the space appropriate. Obviously you were caught off guard here. If you're hosting people you want them to be able to relax. Should they follow their child who never sits still the whole time? You;d probably be on here saying it was a shame you didn't get a chance to chat with your friends because they were so on edge with their toddler! smile

forevergreek Mon 11-Mar-13 14:19:01

I suppose it's normal toddler behaviour but I would have to say something.

I have two toddlers, 20 months and 3. They are told what is allowed and what isn't. How will they learn otherwise? If they were to do something at someone else's house I would hope they would feel try could tell them no or not to do something.

Yes phones are interesting but even little one here knows he's not supposed to touch unless with one of us. We also have glass vases, breakable photo frames and a few breakable sculptures at toddler level. They haven't been near since tiny tiny when they were told not too. If someone else's 3 year old comes around and tries to play/ sit on something breakable I'm afraid I would ask them not to, but would also explain the reason why

prettybird Mon 11-Mar-13 14:31:35

So is the OP expected to make the whole house toddler friendly including her own bedroom (for example) ? I can totally understand why people are saying they should make the place toddler friendly, but it is reasonable to expect that a) only for rooms that the child is likely to go into and b) that as a childless couple, they should be given some guidance from their friends as to what needed to be done (even now, I wouldn't have thought to remove door stops - I'd have even thought that they were a useful safety measure to stop little hands being trapped).

If the toddler was allowed to go into rooms unsupervised, then the parents were not doing a good enough job.

I have friends who have toddler twins who are allowed to maraude explore everywhere and they wreak havoc wherever they go. The parents rarely supervise and often expect other people or older kids to watch on their behalf (without even asking) hmm. I know twins - especially really active ones - are difficult to watch but ultimately it is the parent that is responsible. It's not fair to assume that an 11 year old will watch them (especially if they are doing heir homework)

As a result, we can't have them to visit as we live in a house that is impossible to child proof - not so much ornaments but stairs without stair gates and children that aren't used to steps.

BuggerLumpsAnnoyed Mon 11-Mar-13 14:34:18

Sounds normal. Im sure they didnt realise she was going to break the things. To be honest its a lot of hard work going to a non-child friendly house with a toddler and if i was going to be harsh id say it doesn't sound like you did much to make it easier. And she did also have a very small baby so isnt quite herself yet.

Goldenbear Mon 11-Mar-13 14:46:30

If you are really good friends she may have thought that you'd both help out a bit in entertaining the toddler as they are maybe shattered with their new family set up. Did you go out with the toddler do that she could let off some steam? Personally, I think you have to change the environment a toddler is in if you find they are in pure destruction mode. You therefore reduce the amount of times you are saying 'no'.

CoffeeChocolateWine Mon 11-Mar-13 14:47:36

Yes, this is totally normal behaviour for a toddler...can often be a bit of a shock to people who don't have kids.

The thing is, right or wrong, parents do learn to pick their battles. Toddlers who are told no to everything don't really listen. So some parents tend to only say no when they really really mean it. Plus when they are around this behaviour all the time it's almost so normal they don't realise that it would be perceived as naughty to someone else. You'll probably find that if the toddler started jumping around on the sofa or started ripping leaves off house plants or banging a block against the TV, they'd have stepped in (you'd hope!) But pulling magnets off a fridge...ok annoying that it ended with them getting broken, but it's just normal toddler curiosity.

But if they come to stay again or another couple with toddlers, firstly, where possible, make sure anything you don't want touched you put out of reach or in a room that you keep closed while they're there. And don't hesitate to tell the child not to do something...anyone with their own children would. You have to be kind but firm. Or alternatively distract them...if they are doing something you don't feel comfortable with, sit them down with some paper and pens.

SheepNoisesOff Mon 11-Mar-13 14:58:54

I have to point out that a toddler having a meltdown when told "no" is also quite normal toddler behaviour. It's a stage we all have to go through to realise that we can't have anything we want.

As almost everyone else has said, the toddler's behaviour is totally normal. Almost all kids are like that at a certain stage. However, letting your child play with/break other people's belongings without saying anything is never acceptable. I have a toddler and a newborn and I get friends to come to my house if they don't have children - their houses are, entirely reasonably, not childproofed and we can't have a nice old chat if we're constantly watching that the toddler doesn't damage things, put sticky fingers all over their books or whatever, or worse still get his hands on something dangerous.

Your friends might be totally overwhelmed at the moment or they might simply be thoughtless people, it's a bit hard to say. The child was perfectly reasonable, the parents were not, and you got caught in the middle.

SheepNoisesOff Mon 11-Mar-13 14:59:34

Erm I mean "we can't have everything we want" ... hopefully we can occasionally have the odd thing that we want! grin

GreatUncleEddie Mon 11-Mar-13 15:03:54

Good god - she explored unsupervised? Never let a toddler out of sight in someone else's house! The parents sound a bit lax - if you invite them again I would suggest you put away anything precious/ breakable but also anything that could be dangerous for the toddler - bleach, knives.....

Normal behaviour but your house sounds like the sort of place we just wouldn't have gone when the kids were younger. Often if you take something off a toddler and say no they just pick up the next thing (then the next then the next). Yes I took stuff off them but it was constant. And if you're dangling a baby in the other arm gets a bit tiresome.

I tended to stay friend with people who didn't mind me moving stuff out of reach (some people do, so we just stopped visiting them). I still shut people's windows if visiting with ds1 (and apologise as I do so), but we lost the friendships of people who minded that sort of thing years ago.

huffpuff75 Mon 11-Mar-13 15:05:53

I had a similar experience before I had kids. My friend would allow her 2 DSs to damage things in our house, and when I did say something was told that I and my house would have to change when I had children. Since DS aged 2 arrived, our house looks pretty much the same as it did before. He understands what not to touch, and if we are at someone else's house I would tell him not to touch, or remove the item. This is not a pre v post children thing. I don't spend all my time telling DS 'no', in fact I try very hard to make sure I don't, but he is supervised and gently steered in the right direction and this seems to work well. We also have some family members who think it is funny to give DS a phone or similar to play with when at their house. I always give it back and explain that I don't want him to think this it is OK to play with something so expensive and easy to damage.

BertieBotts Mon 11-Mar-13 15:10:14

YY normal for toddler to scream/cry when told no. Very stressful, because, of course, you still have to say no. Takes another year or three until they learn to accept no without whining about it.

I'm more laid back than most of my friends but I would keep an eye on DS at friend's houses and while I've had a couple of moments where I've let him do something which isn't allowed at that person's house without thinking blush I usually try to clarify, and if anyone says "Oh I'd rather he didn't..." then I would ask him to stop immediately and apologise.

With a 2 month old baby too it's likely the older DD is playing up more than normal (usual on arrival of new sibling) and they're still figuring out adjusting their approach to compensate. A couple of friends have recently had #2 and are finding they have to adjust a lot and it takes time to figure out. Especially with the added stress of going to stay with friends who don't have children and aren't used to children! I think perhaps with all of this put together your expectations were probably a bit high (and perhaps they had higher expectations of their DD too which didn't materialise because of everything.) Just bad timing really.

It varies enormously from child to child. DS2 never fiddled with anything. Model child. I'll pull out two trains and he'd happily sit and play for ages chatting away nicely and smiley. DS3 would grab everything and complain loudly, noisily, tediously and for ever when removed (which it was every time - so in his case we needed friends who could tolerate the whinging rather than their stuff getting trashed). And Ds1 is severely autistic, hangs out of upstairs windows, helps himself to any apple he sees, runs himself a bath, climbs in people's beds and puts their washing on. If people had lockable rooms I advise them to lock pretty much every room going when he's around. Personal space and privacy isn't quite in his understanding yet.

maddening Mon 11-Mar-13 15:14:03

Typical toddler but the parents of a typical toddler would spend a lot of time saying"no, dtoddler these are Lily's pretty things we mustn't break them" again and again and again.

Ds is good once told no but will often chance his arm smile

MummytoMog Mon 11-Mar-13 15:15:04

Huffpuff - aren't you the lucky old thing then! My DD at 3 is pretty good at knowing what not to touch, but we still have a stairgate stopping her getting into the kitchen, and the crystal is still locked away. As are the DVDs, the CDs and the books. I tried telling her no for a year, then I removed the source of the screaming arguments and tension until such time as DD could be reasoned with. Also, two children is a bit of a step change from one, I didn't expect it to be, and it really was. So I guess the OP's friend is probably still a bit shell shocked.

jellybeans Mon 11-Mar-13 15:16:53

When mine were that age and went to people's houses, I was up and down like a yo-yo if they messed with or looked about to break anything. Would annoy me if someone just let their kid trash my things. Rude IMO.

lilyleelee Mon 11-Mar-13 15:17:24

Yes, we did take them out for a long walk, and I bought a sticker book for the toddler (it didn't really hold her attention for very long, unfortunately!), and CBeebies was on most of the weekend. I also put up a couple of stairgates as I have dogs, and they are not used to being around children and I didn't want to take any risks. The idea was dogs on one side, children on the other. Unfortunately I kept finding the toddler on the wrong side of the stairgate, which mum/dad had left open when they went to make a cup of tea or go to the loo. I think I would find it quite stressful to have them stay again, maybe in 10 years' time?!

For example a few years ago we bought a puppy. Breeder is a sensible sort of breeder who wanted to meet the whole family. I explained what ds1 was like and she said it was fine - and to give her credit she was very laid back by him rummaging through her cupboards and handing her a tin of beans and a pan (at that stage I decided it was time to go). Some people get a bit funny about that, but there isn't a huge amount I can do about it (unless they want to see a full on meltdown and rummaging through cupboards is usually the better alternative) so I do my best to warn in advance and give plenty of opportunity for them to back out and then don't feel bad if it goes pear shaped.

Some toddlers are a bit similar. Some are into everything AND stroppy (ds3). Others (like ds2) are absolutely angels - with very lucky parents.

I would have thought I was such a good parent if we'd just had ds2 grin

plantsitter Mon 11-Mar-13 15:23:09

Normal behaviour - maybe they were waiting for you to say something about the phone etc - after all you might not have minded.

However they shouldn't have left a 2.5yr old alone in rooms where kids don't live and of course not saying 'no' the whole weekend is ridiculous. Maybe they were trying to avoid screaming tantrums by giving in to everything just while at your house??

Also I know this is a little off topic - and pure nosiness - but what is your doorstop like? I'm having trouble picturing a doorstop with buttons!

plantsitter Mon 11-Mar-13 15:24:26

By the way, I would not have gone to a childless friend's house to stay when my kids were that age. No fun for anyone frankly!

LoopDeLoops Mon 11-Mar-13 15:30:38

"taking fridge magnets off the fridge, dropping and breaking them; picking up my mobile phone and pushing all the buttons; picking up a doorstop and pulling buttons off of it"

Well...

Fridge magnets - what do you expect?
Mobile - same
Doorstop - not sure I understand this one.

If these are your examples, the misdemeanors are entirely understandable and you sound a bit precious/clueless. Sorry.

maddening Mon 11-Mar-13 15:33:02

I'm afraid your friends were rude.

You shouldn't have been bothered by their dc's behaviour - they should have been the ones watching out and checking the gates.

I actually prefer people to come to me at the mo as it is more stressful taking ds to their houses - especially childless friends who won't have baby proofed - I spend the whole time watching ds like a hawk to ensure he doesn't break anything - and a new house to explore means he wants to check out everything!

maddening Mon 11-Mar-13 15:36:57

But loops - the parents should ensure their ds doesn't do these things.

If there is something particularly fragile I might ask my friends if they could move it out of reach to avoid temptation (have a friend who is an archaeologist so lots of precious trinkets for example) so I can avoid major issues but the rest of the time I keep one eye on ds so I can avoid damaging my friends house.

LoopDeLoops Mon 11-Mar-13 15:37:45

Do you stop your toddler from playing with everything though? Fridge magnets? Really?

lilyleelee Mon 11-Mar-13 15:44:32

I wouldn't mind at all if my friends asked me to move things out of temptation's way.
Maybe it would be easier to go to them in future. But then what do I say to my dear friend the next time she asks 'Can we all come down and stay for the weekend?'

Startail Mon 11-Mar-13 15:46:59

DD1 fiddled with everything at that age, but she never broke anything. Parents most certainly should take things off a child before they are dropped or buttons remove.

I think your friends are BU in two ways:

a) she didn't warn you to move stuff. I have a 3 year old have told my sister before we arrived for Christmas to kneel on the floor, with her legs straight up from her knees (so not sitting on her heels iyswim) and anything she could reach could be reached by a toddler. I'm happy to parent him properly, but please try not to put mobile phones, fragile ornaments, nail scissors within reach

b) not telling their child "no" when she was reaching for a phone etc. Fridge magnets DS has taken off and put back on. I wouldn't expect them to break so easily as yours have, but certainly she shouldn't be pulling buttons off the door prop, and I'd offer to mend it if my child did this.

Surely it's basic good manners to warn people what they're letting themselves in for, if they're not familiar with toddlers?

iwantanafternoonnap Mon 11-Mar-13 15:49:57

I have a DS very into everything and just saying no once, twice 500 times just does not work and I know other people who have toddlers who are told no once and they listen. It is very different for every child and sometimes parents are just too knackered to constantly say no and follow their child around. I used to politely ask if I could move things out the way and close doors to reduce DS ability to wander. It was either that or leave as it just would not have been relaxing for anyone.

In fact I flatly refuse to go visit some friends because they have that much knick knack stuff lying around and are of the school of 'just say no to DS he should listen' Very stressful for me and really annoying to hear crap like that from people with no kids tbh who don't get that not all children listen no matter how many times you ask.

AmberSocks Mon 11-Mar-13 15:50:20

normal behaviour of most 2 yr olds.dont be scared to say "no we dont touch this its my special "insert precious object here" most parents wouldnt mind you telling her what is andist ok to touch.

maddening it's relatively simple to keep an eye on one child, becomes a bit harder with 2 or 3.

fififrog Mon 11-Mar-13 15:54:13

Rather than concentrate on what went wrong, why not just give friend benefit of the doubt as almost certainly the little girl is affected by new sibling, almost certainly parents are shattered, and look to another visit. It is possible your friend felt comfortable enough with you to think you would say what was/wasn't ok to play with. I agree I would try to keep an eye on DD's inquisitive fingers myself but the new baby is a mitigating circumstance.

If you're really good friends don't let this visit get in the way. Next time, I'd say in advance "last time little girl was really into everything, is she still like that because if so I'll try to move my breakables out of the way but maybe you could keep an eye on her too?" And tell them the gates are for their own kids safety and the dogs need to be kept away from the kids. They should be willing to listen to those very reasonable demands. Don't feel afraid to ask the child not to play with certain things (but do so nicely!)

It sounds like you made a great effort with the sticker book, unfortunately toddlers can be of the persuasion where they get super bored really easily - mine is one - and it's unlikely you would be able to amass enough things of interest. It sounds like you don't minds kids though? We had friends to stay with their 2yr old before ours was even thought of and I was a bit shocked at first where his probing fingers took him (and also that his parents let him wander roun the house - but now I understand!) but in the end we had a great time as he found my teddy bear from when I was a kid and an old phone in a box of junk and he seemed happier having a couple of things that were kind of contraband but allowed.

Best of all, I'd randomly decided to make pasta - total genius! He came and helped and the two of us were busy for hours. We had a great time!

Funny, he was into the fridge magnets too, particularly two like turtles, and next time they stayed was about 2 years later and he said to me "why do you only have one turtle now?" Amazing!

It might not happen again OP. I can usually tell which friends can cope with ds1 and which can't and stopped going to ones who can't - too stressful all round.

If they do come again (if you're happy to have them) then I'd move everything precious out of reach. It's likely to be WORSE next time though if the baby is more mobile. As you noticed 2 month old babies are on the whole pretty easy house guests. If they weren't that clued up on following one mobile child around they won't be keeping track of two.

LoopDeLoops Mon 11-Mar-13 15:55:40

'Can we all come down and stay for the weekend?' Really? She really asked this? Sounds unlikely for the parents of a newborn and toddler.

lilyleelee Mon 11-Mar-13 15:57:58

Loop: Yes, she really did ask that.

maddening Mon 11-Mar-13 16:07:15

Saintly - why is the 2 month old crawling already? Sorry must have missed that - and there were 2 parents there but they must have had to keep their eyes on the miraculously mobile 2 month old.

If I was on my own with 2 children I might have enlisted extra help from the host - eg could you watch dc2 while I stop dc1 climbing the shelves but to comletely not discipline your own dc while it is destroying the home of a friend who has welcomed you in is plain rude.

I didn't say the 2 month old was crawling. I said if they visit again the 2 month old will be more mobile next visit.

The problem with a tiny baby & toddler comes if you are feeding. With 2 adults and only 2 children it should have been manageable for one to follow and one to sit and feed (ds3 was very used to be fed while chasing ds1 up and down stairs on the move) but it soon becomes not much fun for anyone really.

IME

DS1 = nightmare (still is- don't take him anywhere unless our hosts are very relaxed, or very experienced)
DS2 = was a dream - could take him anywhere
DS3 = was a nightmare - although manageable by himself or with ds2 if stalked (but only manageable with ds2 because ds2 was so unnaturally good)

Combination of all 3, or even just DS1 and DS3 - unmanageable unless hosts very relaxed. (And I never sit down in someone's house- am always following the kids around).

Depends on the child/combination of children.

midastouch Mon 11-Mar-13 16:47:39

Normal behaviour but i wouldnt have let my DS do that in someone elses house, or my own for that matter!

KitchenandJumble Mon 11-Mar-13 17:03:20

Normal behaviour for a 2-year-old, every bit of it. However, it does sound as though the parents were extremely hands off and not properly supervising their child. Did they at least apologise and offer to replace the items their child broke?

I also agree that redirecting is a better strategy than just saying, "No." Show the child what she can play with, don't just take away the forbidden item. Also, how did your DH interact with the child? Did he intervene gently or did he just bark, "NO!"?

VenusRising Mon 11-Mar-13 17:09:43

You must get out of the house on their next visit. Especially as I see they have a little baby. Normal into everything behaviour from the toddler, but perhaps too lax from her parents- they could be exhausted though.

Maybe take the toddler for a walk so they have a quiet time with the new baby.

Sorry, but you sound pretty clueless about children!

nailak Mon 11-Mar-13 17:16:02

they probably thought you didnt mind coz you didnt say anything, they are not mindreaders! if i was at your house and my ds was playing with fridge magnets and you looked on and didnt mention it then i would assume you didnt mind.

lilyleelee Mon 11-Mar-13 17:30:06

KitchenJumble: No apologies and no offer to replace. I take on board the redirecting thing -- we'll definitely try that next time. I do hope there is a next time -- I'd like to try to find a way for this to work for all of us.

Lottapianos Mon 11-Mar-13 17:30:27

OP it sounds like you have been very thoughtful and accommodating and your friends have been rude and thoughtless. Yes it is normal 2 year old behaviour but absolutely down to parents to ensure that the little one is not grabbing breaking or damaging your things. It's your home and I don't agree with other posters that you should have 'child proofed' it beforehand. Even 2 year olds should learn not to touch other people's things. I can't believe they left the stair gates open after you went to the trouble of installing them!

Yfronts Mon 11-Mar-13 17:47:50

I think it's normal for a toddler to be interested in things but it's not normal for parents just ignore damaging behaviour.

DS 1, 2 and 3 might have been interested but would have respected any adult direction to leave items alone.

The parents should have asked if their child was OK to touch items

Dominodonkey Mon 11-Mar-13 19:22:05

"they probably thought you didnt mind coz you didnt say anything, they are not mindreaders! if i was at your house and my ds was playing with fridge magnets and you looked on and didnt mention it then i would assume you didnt mind."

Really even if your child was breaking a number of items.

Unfortunately OP there are a lot of parents in this world who are selfish, oblivious to anyone else's property or both. I agree with the other posters who said redirection is a good idea but for 2 of them to sit on their arses while their child repeatedly trashed your property is terrible behaviour. It's not the child's fault but unless they intervene the poor child is going to find itself a very unwelcome guest at people's houses.

Booboostoo Mon 11-Mar-13 19:25:49

YANBU the fault lies with the parents for thinking that taking a newborn and a toddler to a non-child friendly house could ever go smoothly. Looking after a toddler is a tough at the best of times, they naturally want to explore the world and ideally you want a toddler proof room, loads of toys, patience and time; trying to do it with a newborn and in somebody else's house is not going to work.

piprabbit Mon 11-Mar-13 19:28:33

The child was behaving perfectly normally.
The parents, on the other hand, should take a good look at themselves and start parenting.

fififrog Mon 11-Mar-13 19:49:48

OP I can't believe people are saying you're "clueless" - that's mean! If you've not had them or had lots of contact how on earth are you supposed to know the sort of devilry they get up to! Like I said before, to me it sounds like you made a real effort and were caught unawares. Next time you will know!

I do think OP that a lot of the child's behaviour is normal - but your friends were not supervising closely enough. IME people who don't supervise closely just never do, it's impossible to make them (And if it's my house I step in).

So if you want them to stay again could you cope with the toddler picking up stuff etc if corrected? Because I don't think you can do much about that - he sounds like he gets into everything. You can correct a child yourself if no-one else is but TBH I would just move everything out of the way. It is fairly easy to toddler proof - just put everything high.

I did mean to say earlier sympathy about the dog stuff, I get really stressed when visiting kids are full on with my dog and particularly when parents don't keep them away.

nailak Mon 11-Mar-13 21:18:43

domino if someone came to my house and did that stuff, I wouldn't mind. Lots of people wouldn't mind, my mum for example wouldn't mind the fridge magnet and doorstep, I give my kids and my friends kids my phone, and so do many other parents I know. My 2.5 year old can take the ipad/iphone and put on games or youtube or iplayer, and if there are times we need to distract him we will use this. There are also some people and parents who would mind. If you don't say you mind, then people won't know. It is a simple matter of communication with the parents, the behaviour of the child, and the parenting methods don't really come in to it.

BratinghamPalace Mon 11-Mar-13 21:26:24

Op I have three DCs. Soon to be six, four almost five and two three days ago. It is very rare for me to visit people's houses with the DC's. I prefer to go by myself. Some friends insist and it never goes well for me. I am uneasy all the time. I watch. I try to make that unhappy compromise between tears and touching. Everything is no in other people's houses! The conversation suffers. I much prefer to go alone or invite people to mine!

nailak Mon 11-Mar-13 21:28:04

I agree, one of the reasons I do not visit in laws often is that I cannot relax, so i prefer not to take them. Instead of talking I am just saying "no, no, no". One eid there was tears all day as sis in law gave playdough as a present, but they weren't allowed to play with it.

Goldenbear Mon 11-Mar-13 21:32:28

I agree with Nailak. I would not mind that type of explorative behaviour and neither would a lot of people I know. My MIL does mind but is not afraid to say so. People have different expectations in this kind of situation but I don't think it is the same thing as saying some people are selfish others are not.

bumperella Mon 11-Mar-13 21:32:36

Why the heck shouldn't the OP be clueless? She doesn't have children, why should she be an expert on how to deal with toddlers?? And if she claimed she was, would the MN jury not swoop down and tomp on her???! I have one of the terrors, and she mystifies me sometimes.
Anyhow....IMO the parents SHOULD have said "our angelic toddler <ahem> is fascinated by everything <Destructor>, neither she nor I know what she is and isn't allowed to touch in your house. Please feel free to tell her not to play with anything you'd rather she kept away from, and feel free to tell us too". I do think some people are more than happy for other peoples little kids to play with their keys/phones etc, others would hate it - is v difficult after there's a problem, but if you can set expectations before anyhting untoward happens then it makes life easier for everyone.

maddening Mon 11-Mar-13 21:58:46

saintly - I was replying to your post of : maddening it's relatively simple to keep an eye on one child, becomes a bit harder with 2 or 3.

not your subsequent post about possible future issues.

as I said 2 parents and 2 children only one of which was mobile should not have been difficult for the parents to watch considering the op had made some adjustments to accomedate them

And I was replying generally to your but the rest of the time I keep one eye on ds so I can avoid damaging my friends house.

Because it is harder to keep and eye with more than one child. Even a newborn plus toddler is hard if you are feeding the newborn. I used to run around with ds3 dangling off me (prob why having fed 2 successfully for years I never managed to establish a milk supply with ds3) but it's not particularly easy. (Not hugely relevant to this case as there were two adults, but a general response to your general comment)

Floggingmolly Mon 11-Mar-13 22:15:58

It's perfectly normal behaviour for the two year old. But I don't know why so many posters think you should therefore have to accept the parents sitting watching said behaviour without actually attempting to deal with any of it confused
YANBU.

MrsOakenshield Mon 11-Mar-13 22:31:53

the way this should have panned out is, firstly, as you don't have kids, they should have prepped you, if you like - suggested you move anything precious / breakable etc out of reach. Second - they should have brought plenty of toys to distract. Thirdly, mum (your friend) could have looked after non-mobile, mainly feeding and sleeping 2-month-old, whilst drinking tea and catching up with her friend (you), dad should have been on supervision duty with toddler with your DH mucking in. But, that didn't happen, so, in all, YANBU.

The thing that astonishes me more than anything is that they were so slack that they allowed their toddler to get on the wrong side of a gate with dog(s?) that are not used to children. Keep that up and they'll be more than tears all round.

Goldenbear Mon 11-Mar-13 22:34:05

'said behaviour' when you put it like that it sounds like the 2 year old is heading for Borstal!

Floggingmolly Mon 11-Mar-13 22:38:24

Oh, don't bloody start, Goldenbear hmm. Child's behaviour was perfectly normal, parents were a bit lax in allowing it to go unchecked when necessary.

nailak Mon 11-Mar-13 22:55:18

well maybe the parents arent used to dogs!!!

Bullethole Mon 11-Mar-13 22:56:00

YABU but you dont have kids so its understandable. That sort of stuff pissed me off before I had kids too!

In fact. It still secretly pisses me off when its someone elses kids.

<bad mood>

Goldenbear Mon 11-Mar-13 23:01:18

Maybe their bloody shattered and thought their friend would tolerate a more casual approach than she was prepared to tolerate- a simple misunderstanding rather than a serious parenting failure on their part. Perhaps they were too tired to care and took liberties in that sense.

aurynne Mon 11-Mar-13 23:42:37

"Just a fridge magnet" may be a much-loved memory of a honeymoon trip for a person, with or without children. "Clueless" is every one of us who has no experience of something, and it is not a justification for despising someone. A person, with or without children, has no obligation to "child-proof" his or her house because some guests are coming: it is the guests' duty to make sure none of them (child or adult) damages or breaks anything in the host's house.

I thought these were pretty obvious courtesy rules, but it seems that having children gives some people the right to dictate what others have to do in order to "prepare" their house for the arrival of their precious offspring.

The parents sound a bit bonkers to me though. Who in their right mind invites themselves to stay at a childless couple's house with a newborn and a toddler. Unless you had reason to think the couple were very laid back surely it's not something you do

Kytti Tue 12-Mar-13 00:08:23

Er... I can see why you were not pleased, but it's very normal behaviour. I would let mine toddle about but would draw the line at damaging things. In fact, I avoided a few friend's houses because of this very problem!

Why are you on Mumsnet if you don't have children? hmm

Although AIBU can be addictive.

Floggingmolly Tue 12-Mar-13 00:13:33

Did you mean to be so rude, Kytti?
hmm yourself.

Goldenbear Tue 12-Mar-13 00:50:41

Or, looking at another way aurynne, the OP could show greater empathy towards the friend and friend's husband's predicament. The friend has a newborn and a toddler, they are probably shattered, adjusting to their new family set up. It is no so much a belief that common courtesy shouldn't be practiced, more that such formalities require a lot of energy- maybe they just kind find the reserves at the moment and were hoping that they could relax a bit around a good friend and not have to keep up the pretence.

No one should expect a couple without children to child proof their home but a little consideration for a friend just makes life easier for all involved in these situations.

aurynne Tue 12-Mar-13 01:27:35

Goldenbear, so are you suggesting the OP should grin and bear it while her possessions are being broken and damaged?

Goldenbear Tue 12-Mar-13 08:54:56

No I don't think that. Toddlers are not being purposefully reckless. I think it is necessary to draw a distinction between their behaviour and the way older children behave otherwise people have unreasonable expectations. When I didn't have children I wasn't able to understand that distinction. I used to commute on the train and if there was a toddler causing mayhem on the train I would have thought, 'why can't the parent just tell the child to sit still and look at a book?'. I was familiar with toddlers as I had a niece toddler at the the time and I still thought this. In fact when we visited my brother and SIL, if we stayed over at the weekend, my brother would lead my niece in to our room to entertain so they could get have a lie in. At the time I thought that was a bit off considering both my boyfriend and I had been working all week. Little did I know how much they deserved a lie in when they were sleep deprived and we were getting our 8 hours a night! If I could take myself back to those child free days now when I visited my brother I wouldn't hesitate to offer to be more helpful with my then toddler niece.

Pulling magnets off fridges is what toddlers do, it is not the end of the world. If you see this happening and you're the only adult present just guide the toddler towards an activity you find acceptable in your house. I don't see why the parents, who probably won't be at their most alert with a baby in tow should be expected to have eyes in the back of their heads. Equally, your tolerance for behaviour changes otherwise with some toddlers you would be constantly saying, 'no'. In a different setting some see this as lax.

LoopDeLoops Tue 12-Mar-13 13:00:30

Seriously though, it's fridge magnets. Is the world really a worse place without a few fridge magnets? What is their function?

ISeeRedPeople Tue 12-Mar-13 13:10:33

I'd be lost without my fridge magnets - they keep stuff on the fridge.
But I let DD play with them as much as she wants - it's science, innit!

Lottapianos Tue 12-Mar-13 14:07:49

I'm shocked at all the boo hooing about the poor parents who must be shattered and can't possibly be expected to have eyes in the back of their heads etc. It sounds to me like OP was very welcoming but I don't think she was prepared to be used as free childcare nor should she have been

Lottapianos Tue 12-Mar-13 14:09:59

And it's for OP to decide how important her fridge magnets are because... you know.... It's her house!

nailak Tue 12-Mar-13 14:34:26

yes and she should have told her friends how important they were, instead of expecting her to be a mindreader!

lottieandmia Tue 12-Mar-13 14:38:01

As others have said, all 2 year olds do what you describe. It's understandable you don't want all your stuff broken, but what you should do is put everything breakable up out of the way before she comes.

Goldenbear Tue 12-Mar-13 14:47:50

Lotta, why is it shocking that parents of very young children especially a newborn and a toddler are shattered? Are you speaking from experience? It is not about an expectation of free childcare, it's about being a friend and being considerate. Rather than criticising their parenting technique, which is very easy to do when you only see a snapshot of the situation for a weekend, the OP could think, 'this looks hardwork, I wonder if I could occupy the toddler for a bit rather than judging the inadequacies.'

Lottapianos Tue 12-Mar-13 17:22:09

I haven't seen anyone criticising their parenting technique, just how rubbish they were at managing their toddler in a friend's house during one particular visit.

Goldenbear Tue 12-Mar-13 18:24:26

Well if you're being pedantic - how they chose to look after their toddler on this weekend, the methods they used or lack of them- their parenting style are being criticised, you have just said yourself that they sound 'rubbish' at handling their toddler.

Lotta Why do you think being shattered with 2 very young children has no bearing on their behaviour at the OP's house. You're quick to dismiss what is probably the major factor contributing to their approach?

Lottapianos Tue 12-Mar-13 18:52:34

I can see that lack of sleep may be a factor, but I don't think that it's an excuse for not managing their toddler's behaviour. I think OP has a right to feel narked at how her friends responded. I don't know if OP likes children - not everyone does - and she is friends with the adults, not necessarily the children. She may not feel comfortable spending time 1 on 1 with the 2 year old. I accept that the parents have their hands more than full but then what were they thinking of asking to come and stay with a 2 year old and a 2 month old? confused

I would feel very peed off in OP's position and I absolutely love little children and have worked with 100s so would be more than happy to pitch in with entertaining the toddler, but would still be annoyed at the parents not saying anything to her if she was touching/breaking my things.

Goldenbear Tue 12-Mar-13 19:07:02

Well sometimes lack of sleep- sleep deprivation is a very good excuse for being slack as a parent. IMO having a newborn is quite a valid reason behind being a less than ideal parent to the other child.

GiraffesEatPineapples Wed 13-Mar-13 00:09:05

Possibly they thought you would be uncomfortable with them discipining their child constantly during the visit, esp as you didnt say anything. Sometimes the parent's attempts at discipline are harder to watch than the childs innocent explorations! maybe they made comments when you were out of the room but the child ignored/ forgot because of their age. A parent whose eldest child is 2 and youngest is a newborn are at one of the most difficult stages i think. Having said all that i would have been saying no to my child!

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