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(my 2nd AIBU post of the day) Great grandparents ..

(31 Posts)
pamelat Tue 14-Apr-09 13:35:18

My grandparents are both in their 80's and fairly fed up and down.

They are dependent on other family members to a large extent. The only thing that seems to cheer them up is to see my DD.

We took her round (try to go at least fortnightly) the other day and my DH was cross because of the lack of effort at baby friendly that they have made.

DD is 15 months and very active.

Their house is very cluttered but its because they are both lacking in energy and can not afford a cleaner. My mum and her siblings do clean for them but my grandma refuses to have anything thrown out so the place is covered with old newspapers etc.

DH was annoyed and said I should have a word but IMO they are just too elderly/poorly/tired to make the effort.

My grandma has a tray which is attached to legs and wheels for her to walk around and she stores medicines on it, obviously to my DD this was a great toy. As she was reaching up I was constantly moving things from harms way, medicines, a knife and half eaten foods etc.

I think leave it be and just be ultra careful whilst visiting. I am sure that they would be very upset if I had asked them to put things out of harms way.

But saying that there was a bottle of bleach stood within the soft drinks rank, I know they have child locks on but it still worried me.

I would only ever say something in a friendly way (of course) and DH wants me to but I am wondering whether it just causes more upset than anything. We arent there frequently and she is never left alone with them.

ZoeC Tue 14-Apr-09 13:38:12

I would leave it, we don't generally stay long at our dd's great grandparents, I think they'd find it too much tbh after a while! Impossible for them to make their house child friendly really, so I would maybe discreetly move the bleach and keep my eyes open.

Nancy66 Tue 14-Apr-09 13:40:05

Your DH is being unreasonable.

Your grandparents sound just like my gran - she sits surrounded by 20 year old newspapers and magazines. If I ever say 'why don't I tidy these up?' she just says: 'NO! I NEED THEM!!" It makes me laugh.

Your grandparents are in their 80s, they've raised their kids and helped with their grand kids - they've earned the right to live how they like and chill out. Old people like clutter.

You just have to keep an eye on your daughter that's all - a bit irritating but worth it for the pleasure she brings them.

pamelat Tue 14-Apr-09 13:40:15

Thanks. It just makes me feel bad as know DH's nana (who is 95!) makes an effort when we see her but she is in much better health than mine and we only see her a few times a year.

I think that to highlight the problems to my GPs (who I am close to) would upset them.

JemL Tue 14-Apr-09 13:40:33

Hazards are part of visiting people who do not have small children in the house! It only becomes noticeable when your little one gets more active though, and then it gets worse grin

As you say, you are not there that often, and you are always there to supervise, so I really don't think it is reasonable to ask them to make a real effort to make their home baby friendly.

piscesmoon Tue 14-Apr-09 13:40:42

You can't expect them to have the energy to do it. It is up to you to keep her safe. I would make the visits frequent but very short.

ruddynorah Tue 14-Apr-09 13:40:56

as long as you're supervising your dd then i wouldn't worry too much. maybe don't take your dh next time wink

LIZS Tue 14-Apr-09 13:40:58

Leave it , presumably you arenlt there long or often and yoiu can supervise. If possible take him outside when weather is good.

troutpout Tue 14-Apr-09 13:42:54

I think you can't expect them to child proof their home when they are struggling to look after it for themselves.

Just do what you have been doing

Maybe if it bothers your dh so much ...he could offer to do a few jobs for them.

BalloonSlayer Tue 14-Apr-09 13:43:12

My MIL's house is like this. I think it is my responsibility to keep DS2 out of harm's way. She needs everything within her reach, because she is barely mobile. That it is also within DS2's reach is stressful but not insurmountable.

pamelat Tue 14-Apr-09 13:43:46

Thanks all. I feel very relieved that I wont have to be asking them!

I might try to encourage us to meet out occassionally (my grandma is on constant oxygen so thats not straight forward) but I think that might be more relaxing for everyone.

I dont think that DH was in a great mood because when we arrived and I walked in (I don't knock) my grandma was sat in the toilet with the door open, directly next to the outside door and I had to ask DH to wait outside for 10 minutes or so.

I know its not ideal but they are old and she is attached to oxygen pipes, lifes not easy for them.

smallorange Tue 14-Apr-09 13:44:17

Sorry, but these are elderly folk and TBH even if someone cleaned up a bit in preparation for your visit you still wouldn't be able to take your eyes off your DD for a minute.

Can you take some toys for her? Or even a playpen or travel cot to put her in (I know this doesn't often work with toddlers, but it might buy you ten minutes of peace.)

Also, remember, some of their stuff will be left out so they remember where it is and can get to it easily.

BTW well done for taking her to see them - so many people don't bother when relatives are elderly.

MIAonline Tue 14-Apr-09 13:46:40

I agree with everyone else, we visit my GP's and wouldn't expect them to move things for a visit if I was staying with my DS. Just take toys etc with you to keep your DD entertained, or grab a few things from their house (always more exciting to them imo!) that are safe to play such as pans and spoons and a few 'bits 'n' bobs'

tessofthedurbervilles Tue 14-Apr-09 13:54:03

I would leave it, talking to them would be very upsetting and hurtful to them, I agree with the op they are old and have earned the right to live as they wish.

tootyflooty Tue 14-Apr-09 13:57:48

tricky, maybe when the other family members help out they could try and gradually find better homes for some of the things which might be dangerous. Is it possible for you to collect them and bring them to your house occasionally, it would be more relaxing for all of you, and they would get a change of scene too.

vaRIAtyisthespiceoflife Tue 14-Apr-09 14:02:08

My gran is now sadly not with us, but when I used to take DS1 as a baby/toddler he used to play with brass bells and mini copper kettles etc, off her shelves of ornaments. (He now has these in his bedroom as prized possessions, and a long-broken wind-up lion that she used to put on a tea tray for himsmile) maybe you could keep a few books/small toys there so they are there especially for DD when you visit? of course his favourite was the sheltered housing emergency cordsblush

I wouldn't say anything, except maybe about keeping bleach with soft drinks, because I would worry about them getting mixed up in the dark for example.

It is harder work than somewhere baby-friendly, but it is worth it. (and even in my parents house which is as baby-friendly as it could be, DS3 still finds something to cause havoc with!)

2rebecca Tue 14-Apr-09 21:08:45

I think you just have to supervise your kids. My bleach is now in a low cupboard in the kitchen and no child locks as I ave no young kids. If people with young kids visit it's up to them to supervise their kids and keep them safe. We were never allowed in my grandmothers kitchen as children, it was only when she got older she'd let my mum help, and we knew not to touch anything without asking as there were ornaments. They did have some good toys though and there were usually plenty of family members there when we visited to keep an eye on us. At 15 months in someone else's house I'd have kept my kids in sight.
I'd just keep on doing as you are. Why should they rearrange their house for your benefit?
Keep the visits brief then take the kids somewhere they can roam a bit, like a playpark.

junkcollector Tue 14-Apr-09 22:49:10

They can't be expected to baby proof their house every time you come. My Grandma (85) wouldn't and doesn't, partly cos she's too stiff to tidy much now and partly cos she is from a generation that believes the kids fit in with the adults and not the other way round (she would probably move the bleach though). We just follow the DCs around and take them stuff to play with. She also has a little box of 'old lady goodies' (that's what me and DH call it) she let's them play with. Wierdly my DCs love her very much even though she mostly just sits in a chair and gossips when we visit.

It is great that your DD has the chance to know her great grandparents. Following her around for a couple of hours is surely worth that.

Dillydaydreamer Tue 14-Apr-09 23:03:40

Why not offer to have them over to yours for sunday lunch every couple of weeks, DH go and collect them and take home after. Hey presto! Child friendly house without you on edge and GGPs have a lovely meal smile

vixma Tue 14-Apr-09 23:08:24

What a hidious position you are in, and can see both sides. I think you should be trusted more, you are clearly on ball and are not going to allow any harm to the child. You are doing a great job and should be respected for that. You are a very good mediator between the two, it just a shame you are getting made to feel guilty whatever you do. Good luck!

pamelat Sun 02-Aug-09 19:39:26

All, my very very very loved grandma died 6 weeks ago. I am so glad I never made anything of this issue.

I miss her so much and would do anything to nip round to her medicine and bleach kitchen one more time.

sad

roulade Sun 02-Aug-09 19:45:06

I'm so sorry pam sad

golgi Sun 02-Aug-09 20:00:48

Last time we visited my grandparents my son pressed "the big orange button on the phone".

Luckily the nice lady on the other end was very understanding.

My children have six great-grandparents - they are all very old (obviously!). We don't visit often as they live too far away but when we do I don't expect any effort to have been made on our behalf. I take toys for the children and let great-grandmas feed them as many biscuits as they feel like eating.

KIMItheThreadSlayer Sun 02-Aug-09 20:03:48

sad so sorry for your familys loss

ZacharyQuack Mon 03-Aug-09 02:15:03

sad so sorry for your family's loss. How lovely that she had a relationship with her great-grandchild.

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