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not to want my children to go to granny's house?

(20 Posts)
keepcalmandeatcake Sun 26-Jun-11 10:39:04

I'm fairly new to MN so apologies if I've posted in the wrong section. I'd really like some honest advice.

My MIL is a kind, generous person and a doting granny. However, she has recently moved to a smaller house which is not child safe. Added to which she has lots of dogs and cats and FIL smokes a lot. She has no real cleaning routine and the house is dirty. Not untidy - we're more untidy - but dirty.She has collected lots of little toys for the kids but they're really dirty too. She has a small patch of grass outside which all the dogs use as a toilet. She always scoops up the poo before we visit but IMHO it still stinks. My DCs are 4,2 and 1 and the youngest still puts everything in her mouth.

MIL is a wonderful, keen babysitter but has always had the kids at her old, bigger house, (which was safer and didn't feel so dirty), or by preference at our house. We only live 1 mile apart. This afternoon she is going to babysit for a couple of hours and has asked us to bring the kids to her. I am loathe to leave them there and am tempted, (cowardly) to make an excuse and cancel. Am I being too precious and if not what should I do/say?

NB - I've popped the DCs in front of the telly to post this but am going to release them into the garden now. I'll have to pop on and off MN while supervising them.

Flisspaps Sun 26-Jun-11 10:40:57


rookiemater Sun 26-Jun-11 10:43:54

YANBU the poo in the garden with a curious toddler would worry me greatly

pjmama Sun 26-Jun-11 10:44:25

I don't blame you for not wanting to take them there, but the fact is that you can't keep making excuses forever. Not going to be easy but if you feel strongly that her home environment isn't suitable for your DCs, then I think you may have to just bite the bullet and tell her why. At least then you're giving her the opportunity to do something about it if she wants to, rather than leaving her trying to guess why you suddenly won't let her have the DCs at hers any more. Could your OH have a chat, may be easier if it comes from him?

keepcalmandeatcake Sun 26-Jun-11 10:51:17

Thanks pjmama. I think this problem is just going to keep coming up unless I do something. The thing is I am rubbish at this kind of thing. I tend to say nothing or too much. I've been asking DH to have a chat for ages but he' been avoiding it too. He works shifts and is sleeping now, As soon as he gets up we're due to drop the kids off, (which he arranged last night from work), so the balls in my court.

keepcalmandeatcake Sun 26-Jun-11 10:53:21

Sorry - 'ball's'.

Yekke Sun 26-Jun-11 10:59:41

Dogs and cats are the most popular pets in the UK. Millions of households own them, a huge amoutn of which are families and another huge amount of which have families visiting. Most go about their business merrily without issue and with no risk to DC whether by dint of "being unclean" or temperamnent.

What makes the cats and dogs so remarkably dirty/dangerous/different in MILs case/

What do you call "dirty"? Maybe you are being precious, no-one can tell without knowing what your standards are compared to MILs.

Oh, and you might like to recommend Jeyes Fluid for the garden, just ensure that the dogs don't ingest it.

diddl Sun 26-Jun-11 11:03:12

Could you just say that it´s easier at your house as everything that she & your children need is there?

<wimping out emoticon>

MadYoungCatLady Sun 26-Jun-11 11:14:01

I would probably be feeling the same way you are keepcalmandeatcake however if there has never been a problem before, tbh I think its unfair on your MIL to think your DCs would not be safe there. Surely your MIL will be watching them whilst they are in the garden?
As for the cleanliness, I would not be happy either - but again I would rationalise with myself that dirt is not the root of all evil. Are the DC's washing their hands there? Could you supply MIL with some anti-bac hand wipes and ask her to wipe hands regularly?
What I could not rationalise away is FIL smoking. If this is in the house, or in front of your DC's, I would find this unacceptable. This may be your key if you do not want them to go to your MIL - tell her you simply do not want your DC's being subject to passive smoking or becoming intrgiued as to what grandad is doing. This way you are not insulting her hygiene which may burn a bridge you can never rebuild.
Good luck!

keepcalmandeatcake Sun 26-Jun-11 11:19:09

Yekke - I like dogs and cats and I like my children being around them, having fun and getting confident with animals etc. What I don't like is worrying that my 1year old might be putting her hand in germs from urine or poo and then licking it. We flush our 'human' toliet each time we use it but I still wouldn't let her run her hands round the bowl so I don't like her crawling around on the grass which is the dogs toilet. I will look into the Jeyes Fluid though. I also admit to cringing when she puts something in her mouth which is covered in pet hairs.

As for the rest of the dirt I may be being too precious. My parents were neat freaks so it's hard to say. How harmful is smoking residue to kids? FIL very kindly goes outside to smoke if the kids are visiting but most things things in their house are stained yellow and a bit greasy - is this actually harmful? It's the idea of nicotine/ tar on stuff which worrys me more than just some dust.

Also there are very steep, wooden stairs with no banister which come straight off the front room. It's a challenge watching all 3 kids all the time so this worrys me too.

diddl - this is exactly what I have been saying but I think MIL wants a change and thinks it would be nice to have the kids at hers for once.

lesley33 Sun 26-Jun-11 11:22:43

I understand how you are feeling - I would feel the same about a dirty house. But actually children need to be exposed to dirt to get their immune systems working properly. This is why farmers kids statistically are much less likely to have asthma and allergies. Only being in clean environments is not good for children.

So ask your FIL not to smoke inside the house with the kids and then let her look after them. If the house is really filthy then you need to say someting. But you can always dress it up as I know I am probably over worrying, but I like to sterilise/clean everything before the kids touch them - can you do this too.

In terms of not being safe for children what do you mean? If you mean no stair gate then YABU as I am sure she will supervise them very closely.

keepcalmandeatcake Sun 26-Jun-11 11:26:43

Madyoungcatlady - you're right the kids have always been safe in her care and not sick but I have been kind of managing the situation a bit. Looking after three pree schoolers is a big ask and I'm grateful she is up for it at all. to pop off. DC2 has stripped naked and put on one welly which is now irritiating him and making him cry...

lesley33 Sun 26-Jun-11 11:28:16

The smoking residue is foul and I wouldn't want to live with it, but it won't harm your kids. Smoke could harm your kids lungs.

Lots of children play every day on grass used as a dogs toilet either in their own garden or in a park. But if you are worried about it talk to your MIL about it and ask her to put blankets on the grass for your children to play on.

TBH I would be more worried about Jeyes Fluid. This is a very strong disinfectant that is good if cleaning where poo and urine was, buit I wouldn't want to risk my kids ingesting any.

In terms of the stairs tell her you are worried about them. Although she doesn't have a stairgate she may have already planned something to block access to them.

keepcalmandeatcake Sun 26-Jun-11 11:38:27

Lesley33 - Thanks for this. Is that the general consensus then - that smoking residue is yucky but not harmful? That would make me much happier. Also I'd never thought about blankets on the grass. I must be a bit dense! That could be sorted easily. I guess I do just need to chat about the stairs. I do love my MIL but she can be a bit scatty and distracted easily. She gets lots of chatty phone calls and people dropping by, (because she is lovely), and this is when I worry about my DCs taking a tumble. However if we chatted I hope she would be vigilant about this issue.

Teapot13 Sun 26-Jun-11 12:16:18

It's my understanding that the components of cigarette smoke that are harmful to children remain in the air for several weeks, so refraining from smoking when children aren't around does absolutely nothing. You can't smell the harmful stuff, either.

FWIW, this was a public service announcement I heard in the US a few years back -- I assume it wasn't a bunch of lies, but I'm no expert. Also, if the children just visit for a few hours a week, I don't know whether that's enough to be harmful.

Crossssssshairs Sun 26-Jun-11 12:17:04

"that smoking residue is yucky but not harmful?"

Do a google search? (Somethings are outdated and you need to take them with a pinch of salt)

spiderlight Sun 26-Jun-11 12:22:51

Jeyes fluid is deadly poisonous to cats (it's a phenol - anything that goes cloudy in water isn't cat-safe and can be absorbed through the paws if they walk on the treated ground) so please don't use/suggest that!

lesley33 Sun 26-Jun-11 12:47:26

In terms of cigarette smoke, there may be small residues in the air afterwards. But as your kids don't live there, I wouldn't worry about it. Traffic fumes are probably more harmful than the tiny amount of smoke residue there will be in the house.

If she is easily distracted, I would talk to her about the stairs. You can always present it as you know you are probably worrying about nothing but...

Crossssssshairs Sun 26-Jun-11 13:21:38

I thought she was worried about smoke being in/on sofa's and carpets ect.

lesley33 Sun 26-Jun-11 13:57:46

There will be small residues on sofas and carpets. But the children don't live there, so I really wouldn't worry about it.

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