To ask you for help to decide if I am neglecting my dc?

(63 Posts)
misspontypine Thu 17-Oct-13 19:21:30

I had an unusual childhood, I would like to describe it as vibrant and haphazard but there are aspects of it that now I have my own dc I see possibly neglect.

For example we didn't own pyjamas, we just slept in our clothes. We were given lots of freedom, I was allowed to do as I wanted, me and my dm were looking through childhood keepsakes and we found a note I had written, it said "at mars bog an brover wif mi luf misspontypine" it should have said "we are at Mary's, my brother and the dog are with me. Love from misspontypine" I would have been 5 or 6 when I wrote the note, my brother would have been 3 or 4, the dog was a huge alsation mix, Mary's house was over a mile away and we rode there by bike (alond a cannal.) Another example is when I was a small baby we lived on a commune which was on a farm. My mum would leave me with the goats and then go off and do her jobs on the farm. We were left in the kids field at glastonbury for hours at the age of 4/5/6.

We were never emotionally neglected, we had lots of love given to us and our interests were supported, it was very much the practical side of things which were less than ideal.

My problem is that I find it hard to judge if the things I do with my son are ok, I would love your honest opinion as to if these things would be seen as negligent.

Licking shoes. We have a shoes off house so we lots of shoes by the door, ds likes to play and sometimes lick/chew the shoes (especially wellies) he has lots of lovely toys but they are not as interesting as the old shoes.

Playing with the pushchair wheels. Same issue as playing with shoes I guess.

Eating things from the floor. We hoover daily but we are doing some baby led weaning so there are often small bits of old food we have missed. Ds finds these bits of food and eats them. I try to get them out but his 3 teeth are very sharp and his jaw is very stron!

Drinking bath water. Ds loves to suck his flannel, we offer him water all the time and try to take his flannel away and give him a sucky cup with water but he only wants the flannel.

Ds co-sleeps, we have his cot attached to our bed with one side taken off and at the same height as our bed, We put him to bed asleep and make a wall of pillows. Ds has a sleepingbag. He could theoretically crawl/climb out of the bed but so far when he has woken he just shouts for us to come in. I think we would hear if he tried to climb out of the bed (we have a monitor --my mother advised us we didn't need one, baby do cry you know, you don't need to hear them--)

All advice appreciated. Sorry if they sound like stupid/obvious questions. It isn't the sort of thing I feel like I can talk to my friends about.

UniS Thu 17-Oct-13 19:26:51

your house sounds normal, yor DS sounds normal. normal life is a bit messy a bit grubby and children do want to play with what ever you don;t want them to. Just keep the dog shit out side and he'll be fine.

AnyoneforTurps Thu 17-Oct-13 19:26:53

How old is your DS? Because, once they reach the crawling stage, I don't think there is much point worrying about what they lick or touch (within reason) but I'd try to stop a small baby licking shoes or similar.

Don't worry too much though. Almost all the infections that humans get are caught from other humans, not from dirt/floors/being licked by the dog etc.

littlewhitebag Thu 17-Oct-13 19:27:41

It sounds like you have a very relaxed attitude to parenting which I find quite refreshing. Lots of children find everyday objects much more interesting than toys. I am sure he will be fine. You sound lovely.

NotMeNotYouNotAnyone Thu 17-Oct-13 19:27:59

The fact that you're concerned about these things tells me you're not neglecting him.

Those all sound like very normal baby things, someone at work was telling me only yesterday that her dd likes to drink bath water off the edge of the bath and from her flannel.

As long as your son is healthy , don't worry too much about him eating or licking some gross things every so often. Just make sure there's nothing harmful where he can get to it. (Eh check shoes for dog poo) and provide alternative toys and activities as well as those which you said you do. he will be just fine!

EricNorthmanIsMyMaker Thu 17-Oct-13 19:28:03

All sounds fine to me. Ds2 (14 months) chews shoes, plays with the pram wheels & sucks his flannel. We only partly co sleep so he's only in the bed when I'm in it.
He also likes to lie in the dogs bed!

misspontypine Thu 17-Oct-13 19:28:19

Sorry, forgot to saw how old he is! he is 10 months.

Anomaly Thu 17-Oct-13 19:29:26

The only thing you do that would worry me is the wall of pillows, in case your baby pulled one on top of him. I wouldnt worry too much about him falling off your bed - he'll be fine. But I have three kids and my standards have definitely slipped.

tinierclanger Thu 17-Oct-13 19:30:20

Ok this could be interesting response wise!

You certainly don't sound neglectful to me. smile Shoes and pushchair wheels are very appealing to babies/toddlers. If it was me I would try and keep them away/distract as I am a bit paranoid about toxoplasmosis etc but I know some people would be less bothered.

Food off floor- we've all been there. Just try and get it away if you see it, but really, not a big deal.

Flannel I think is fine, I remember doing this! I'm sure some will disagree.

Bed arrangement I'm not sure about, I guess it depends how safe your room is?

Mumsyblouse Thu 17-Oct-13 19:30:20

The one of these I would have an issue with is sucking shoes, as they may have doggy do do on so I would remove them- having said that, toddlers do put all kinds of dirty and not very nice things in their mouths and it's very hard to get in there first. If you are hoovering a lot no issue, and I don't really get the bed dilemma, all sounds fine.

Obviously you have already realised that your own childhood has made you doubt what is typical parenting, but with that awareness, I can't see where there is a big issue (and some parents don't seem to mind their children chewing/sucking on dirty old bits of cloth etc and so I know I'm at the more germ-aware end of the spectrum).

'We were never emotionally neglected, we had lots of love given to us and our interests were supported' - sounds like you were very well parented to me. The whole canal, very young dc thing isn't smething I woud do or encourage you to do but your parents got away with it. Not worth stressing over now.

Everything you do sounds well within 'norms' to me.

Mumsyblouse Thu 17-Oct-13 19:32:44

Ok, with the pillows etc- he will be crawling soon, possibly even inside the sleeping bag or escaping from it, so I would anticipate that from now on- I don't think you would hear anything.

hettienne Thu 17-Oct-13 19:32:59

I would discourage licking shoes/wheels/eating crap of the floor but it isn't neglectful. Don't see the harm in sucking a flannel though I do tell DS to stop now he's 3. Bed set up sounds fine.

mrsjay Thu 17-Oct-13 19:34:01

if he is crawling he will get into everything as long as he isn't chewing on dog poo of the wellies he is fine I would make take him away if you are worried but babies put everything in their mouths you sound a lovely mum and not neglecting him, sounds like your parents were a bit out there, oh and the bath flannel thing mine did that too with sponges sigh

mrsjay Thu 17-Oct-13 19:34:24


josephinebruce Thu 17-Oct-13 19:37:37

Your DS sounds lovely, you sound lovely and your DM super cool!!! (I am the child of 2 civil servants!!!)

misspontypine Thu 17-Oct-13 19:39:42

the room is pretty safe and ds knows to get down from the sofa feet 1st so I would imagine if the time came for him to try to get down from the bed he would go feet 1st. i will try to see if I can start his sleep in a travel cot and hope he sleeps there for the evening.

A friend has a handy shoe storage cupbord type thing from IKEA, that culd solve the shoe issue smile

IsisOhIsis Thu 17-Oct-13 19:44:45

Sounds like my house smile

tracypenisbeaker Thu 17-Oct-13 19:45:02

haha when i was little and in the bath, i used to fill up a jug with foamy bathwater, drink it and pretend it was a heady pint and i was in the pub.

Your OP sounds fine, IMO. You sound like a good mum

dogindisguise Thu 17-Oct-13 19:47:07

It all sounds familiar! DD is 9mo and licks shoes, sucks flannels in the bath which we don't wash very often, occasionally grabs pushchair wheels and loves playing with shoes. Sometimes grabs crumbs off the floor too.

Oi! My DC are the offspring of 2 Civil Servants grin
(Fair enough, actuallygringringrin)

Milkjug Thu 17-Oct-13 19:49:50

I do all the things you do, bar the wall of pillows. Our 18 month old also sleeps in a cot attached to our bed, in a sleeping bag, but though he's perfectly capable of crawling in the bag, he has never rolled or climbed off the bed.

He drank from a puddle yesterday, come to think of it, despite being offered water in a pristine cup...

my two always sucked the flannel no idea why, i would have thought it would taste yuck, and they ate things of the floor, they are both big healthy teenagers now, sounds like you are doing a good job, you are thinking about things. As to the bed, my DD climbed out of her cot at the age of 13 months so we put her in a bed, she never fell out just shouted for us to come, or got out and came to find us.

YouTheCat Thu 17-Oct-13 19:51:20

You sound like a lovely mum. Tbh it doesn't sound like your unconventional upbringing has had a negative effect.

I was out roaming around an airfield everyday (sometimes with my younger brothers) at 5. Riding my bike all over and getting up to mischief.

ILetHimKeep20Quid Thu 17-Oct-13 19:56:13

My son, 18m, sucks wet clothes out the washing machine.

kotinka Thu 17-Oct-13 19:57:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I used to suck the bath sponge till I was about 10 confused
Also had a thing about biting rubber.
I turned out relatively normal smile

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Thu 17-Oct-13 20:10:42

Licking shoes/Playing with the pushchair wheels - I'd try to stop him doing it as they really are revolting, but if there's nowhere else for the buggy & shoes and you can't physically keep him away, then I'd give up & hope his immune system is up to it!!

Eating things from the floor - meh. Once again, I'd try to stop him, but wouldn't stress too much - more of a choking concern than a 'germ' concern - for me.

Drinking bath water/sucking flannels/eating sponges - disgusting & revolting, but all kids do it and after a while you just kind of give up & leave them to it.

Ds co-sleeps etc - sounds fine to me. I'd spend time with him in there when he's awake and 'teach' him to get off the bed backwards.

It makes such a refreshing change to read something like this smile Don't change!!

Your childhood was pretty wild grin but you survived it! You were loved and yes, your parents were ummm relaxed & their parenting style was certainly not of the helicoptering variety, but I wouldn't call it neglect given the era. You should read about Sarah Beeny's childhood - very similar!

misspontypine Thu 17-Oct-13 20:12:24

I worry because one of my pregnancy cravings was to suck freshly washed clothes. I would sit and suck a flannel after every wash when I washed ds's newborn clothes. mmm they tasted so good!

purrpurr Thu 17-Oct-13 20:18:50

Wow, total flannel flashback. Man, they were tasty. Did we all use jam for bathfoam or something?

TheWazzock Thu 17-Oct-13 20:20:19

15mo DD likes to dip her hand in muddy puddles then suck her fingers. Yum smile

purrpurr Thu 17-Oct-13 20:20:51

Miss, my major craving when pregnant was to lick my car's interior. My mouth would water like crazy. I don't think that means my daughter will run around licking cars; although, based on Mumsnet threads it wouldn't be unusual if she did.

SweetSeraphim Thu 17-Oct-13 20:23:49

You are perfectly fine grin I like the sound of your house.

Sounds like my house. I do try to keep them away from shoes (I live in London so really not ideal to be eating them!) but the rest sounds pretty normal. I also rpfrequently forget to wash their hands before they eat. And pick up toys from the pavement and give them straight bepack (to be chewed). Twins are 8 months and the picture of health.

Finney2 Thu 17-Oct-13 20:31:01

All the same things go on here with my 11 months old.

We have the exact same cot side issue and I just have the monitor on, and when I hear him I absolutely leg it up the stairs to keep him from crawling off the end of my bed.

BMW6 Thu 17-Oct-13 20:31:08

You are perfectly normal, don;t fret!

(You triggered a memory on sucking flannels tho - can even taste it now!! - lovely!!)

LadyMacbethWasMisunderstood Thu 17-Oct-13 20:31:18

My DS loves to suck a flannel. Thought he was the only one. And he tries to eat the cat food.

Don't have a problem with the odd bit of old food - baby bel crops up often here.

I'd rather he didn't suck/lick shoes though. And I would stop that just in case of dog shit on the shoes. But we have older DCs too who sometimes forget to wipe properly before they discard their outdoor shoes.

LifeOfPee Thu 17-Oct-13 20:36:26

Your house sounds almost identical to my house except for the teeth, my DS has none yet.

DS was interested in my slippers the other day(they have tassels) so I let him have one. It went in his mouth, like everything else he gets hold of - he's a baby, that's what they do.

He has the flannel in the bath if he wants it and that goes in the gob too. His flannel has emolient on it too, lucky DS (bleurgh!)

We also have a bedside cot and use a pillow as a guard against him falling out before I go to bed. If he woke up enough to manoeuvre himself up the lip of the mattress, across into the bed and down towards the edge where he might fall out he'd most certainly have called me by then.

Your childhood sounds like your parents weren't very practical about your physical safety and didn't see the possible dangers they put you in. IMO you're doing fine with your children, the things you've mentioned are in no way neglectful and the fact you're questioning yourself shows you are concerned about their welfare.

I'd be wary of the pillows by the cot and the shoe eating but the rest is fine. Obviously you can teach him not to eat from the floor once he's older!

LadySybilPussPolham Thu 17-Oct-13 20:41:33

My DS is 4 and he sucks the bath flannel when he thinks I'm not looking and still licks the occasional shoe...

lborolass Thu 17-Oct-13 20:43:49

My parenting style is pretty relaxed so don't see anything too wrong in what you're doing but I would be a bit wary of licking shoes and wheels just because either could have animal poo/wee on which is a bit yuk.

bigkidsdidit Thu 17-Oct-13 20:45:03

Sounds normal! I would tidy shoes away if poss as I would worry about dog poo, though. My DS is obsessed with the pram wheels too confused and with drinking bath water. Even straight after telling me he's done a wee in it <sigh>

Loosingthebigkickers Thu 17-Oct-13 20:50:04

everything you describe is how I am with if you're doing it wrong so am I blush

Dawndonnaagain Thu 17-Oct-13 20:50:17

We were clean, not allowed to play in the coal bunker and totally unloved after Dad left. I'd much rather be in your house, OP. It sounds lovely and loving, relaxed and fun. I think you sound like a lovely mum.

misspontypine Thu 17-Oct-13 20:54:37

Thank you so much for reassurance. I don't have any negative feelings about my childhood but I at least want to be aware of the social reactions to the way I parent.

It is so silly, I have huge parental guilt if ds watches an episode of in the night garden ( we had no tv when we were children) but when he uses shoes as teething toysthat feels fine.

gerbilsarefun Thu 17-Oct-13 20:58:12

I don't know how old you are, OP, but your childhood seems pretty much like mine. I would say mine was conventional, for a child growing up in the 70s.I was a services child, one place I lived was in married quarters in a large park, with a river running through it and woods. We would be allowed to go out all day. I was 6 or 7 at the time. We went to butlins when I was about 7. I was allowed to go off on my own all day, although not off the site. It was just a normal way of parenting back then.

I agree with the other posters about your son. It all sounds normal, babies are always putting things in their mouth. It's how they explore and find out about things.

josephinebruce Thu 17-Oct-13 20:59:53

If you want to really worry about icky things going into a a labrador lol!!!

bigkidsdidit Thu 17-Oct-13 21:00:22

I didn't have a tv growing up either and I understand that guilt. I've got over it since having ds2 and needing DS1 to be kept entertained though!

dietcokeandwine Thu 17-Oct-13 21:02:55

I grew up in an oh-so-conventional (but lovely and loving) household OP. But I have an almost identical take on parenting things as you bar the co-sleeping (have coslept periodically in the past but baby now sleeps in his cot).

My gorgeous 9mo DS is a mahoosive fan of sucking flannels in the bath grin Two flannels at once if he can get away with it!

I think a bit of grit and grime should be part of every normal childhood tbh. My mum was a very conscientious mum in many ways but she will cheerfully recount how my DSis as a baby would invariably, even if plonked in the middle of the lawn, crawl to the edge of said lawn and eat dirt! We were also often found bathing our teddies by putting them down the loo grin We have both grown up happy and healthy. I am sure your DS will too.

aturtlenamedmack Thu 17-Oct-13 21:04:42

Your house sounds exactly like mine!

misspontypine Thu 17-Oct-13 21:07:49

I'm in my 20s so mostly it was the late 80s or 90s.

I feel that I had a lovely childhood but I know it isn't ok to parent like that now.

MichaelBoobleBloodbath Thu 17-Oct-13 22:21:33

OP you sound lovely flowers
You don't want my brood do you? wink

aturtlenamedmack Thu 17-Oct-13 22:25:17

The thing is, you love your child and are concerned about his welfare and doing the right thing by him.
That's it. That's what a good parent is.

ShowMeYourTARDIS Fri 18-Oct-13 02:55:04

It all sounds fine and very normal. Just buy him his own clean pair of wellies to gnaw on. I worry a bit about the poo and other ickies otherwise.

When I was little I ate cat food, among other things. I survived.

Sunnysummer Fri 18-Oct-13 03:22:37

The flannel thing came up recently loads of times on a thread about guilty pleasures, seems like loads of us did it as kids! I'd be a bit confused about the pram wheels and shoes, but not totally freaking out.

Agree that the only thing I'd worry about is the pillow wall, falling out of a bed is generally less risky than getting wedged in with a pillow, especially while he's wearing a sleeping bag.

Sounds like your childhood was fun! I was raised by hippies (though ours tended to do the reverse with sleeping and let us spend the day in pyjamas or naked smile)

LadyRabbit Fri 18-Oct-13 16:24:20

Another one along to say you sound lovely OP and you are doing great. As long as the wellies etc. aren't caked in yuk it's no biggie - a reasonable amount of germ ingestion is par for the course with toddlers and helps immunity. (Within reason of course!)

Canthisonebeused Fri 18-Oct-13 18:05:32

What you do with your dcs sounds normal to me. I would just gently discourage the shoe licking and eating off the floor but seems fairly normal things children do and generally come to relatively little harm grin

Canthisonebeused Fri 18-Oct-13 18:07:14

I would say lose the pillow wall tbh though.

CackleCackle Fri 18-Oct-13 18:12:31

My 19 month old loves to

Chew her shoes
Suck her bath sponge
Grab the wheels of the pushchair
Pick up things off the floor and put into her mouth

Of course I stop her when I notice as soon as I can. No harm done. You sound fine, relaxed and responsible.

Your own childhood sounds perfectly normal for a relaxed family upbringing as well (to me.)

strangething Fri 18-Oct-13 18:12:51

You are fine, I think I am quite strict but my two do / did all those things!

Bue Fri 18-Oct-13 18:16:28

This thread has brought back fond childhood memories of flannel-sucking. Why was it so satisfying?!

DontPanicMrMannering Fri 18-Oct-13 18:30:08

Dd2 sleeps with us she's 15months. I have pulled cot right up to the bed to use it as a barrier from fallibg out (side still on) about the only use we have had from it hmm she wiggles down the end of the bed and gets off feet first when she wants, we have a stairgate so she's fine.

she's also fallen out twice before we did the cot thing but bounced

You are doing fine!

HopLittleFroggiesHopSkipJump Fri 18-Oct-13 18:37:23

DD does all these, I stop her licking shoes, but she will play with them for ages. Other than that I let her get on with it. Babies love to explore, as long as what's going in mouths isn't going to make them poorly (eg piece of banana off clean floor just after breakfast as opposed to old meal!) then there's no harm in it.

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