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to not take my nephew sightseeing? Sorry it's long.

(53 Posts)
Rosesinautumn Sun 09-Aug-09 22:58:01

O.k so a bit of background. Towards the back end of last year we were visiting my bonkers SIL in Germany for a couple of days and I had a conversation with my DN whereby he was saying he was really excited about coming to our place and listing all the places he wanted to go in London. I was a little bemused by this as I wasn't aware of any impending visit so I asked DH about it and he had no idea what he was talking about either. So we asked SIL who laughed and said that DN had 'ruined the suprise' and went and got their flight details to show us. They had booked flights to London for the half term holidays on the assumtion that they would stay with us and we could take them round to sightsee. Except that, not knowing that they were even thinking of coming, we had also booked a holiday that week. All was not lost however as they were arriving on the friday night and we were flying the saturday morning so we offered them the use of our house and they would just have to do the sights on their own.

A few weeks later they arrived (and were monumental arseholes on arrival, but lets not rake that muck) and I was asking DN what they were planning to do first, to which SIL answered that they wouldn't be sightseeing as she had 'seen all the places before and didn't want to see them again' and 'taking children round a city is too much hard work' (her DS's are 9 and 14 btw) and she and BIL wanted to go shopping. It did cross my mind that this was a little selfish but it's their life, their kids so whatever.

Right, so a couple of weeks ago SIL rang up to give me DN's(14) flight details....eerr say what? SIL had booked flights for DN to come and stay with us for 10 days, again without bothering to ask us whether it was it was ok. I can't say I was thrilled by this prospect as I have two DS's of my own who are 4 and 2 and have no idea how to entertain teenagers and can't imagine why said teenager would want to hang out with toddlers for over a week but in the interest of familial harmony I thought 'suck it up and get on with it, it will be good for DS's to spend time with their cousin as we don't see them all that often'. He arrived on Friday night. Saturday we went to the park, today we've been swimming, all normal activities for us but DN is not happy. He complained to DH this evening that he was bored and said that he had 'plans' for his time here and when were we going to start doing the things he wanted to do? Namely, sightseeing - the London Eye, London Dungeon, Museum's, Buck Palace, etc, etc. A couple of problems with this....

One, we are brassic at the minute and I'm not talking 'just don't really feel like spending the money' skint but 'just cancelled my mobile phone contract, sold some jewellrey, set up a ebay account to sell crap desirable items from round the house', skint! Excluding our weekly swimming trip, DH and I had already decided to have an ice cream summer. Basically if a trip out cost us more than the price of some ice creams, then we're not doing it. This is no real hardship to my lads as they're at the age where a trip to the city farm or climbing trees in the park is the stuff of dreams anyway. Yes, I know, stop shouting that 'there's plenty of free sightseeing to be done Museum's etc' because this brings me to the second problem.....

DH works 2 jobs during the week and has to catch up on paperwork at the weekends so hasn't the time and I am 5 months pregnant, have chronic SPD and just don't feel I could physically cope with both DS's in the crowds, on public transport and chasing round museum corridors (I'm blessed hmm with the kind of lads who would much rather be running, climbing, hiding blah, blah, blah, than looking at stuff) for several hours, on my own. Infact I'm positive it would cripple me, a couple of hours down the park had me almost in tears so a whole day would be agony.

The only other person who could do it is my BIL but he doesn't get on with his sister and had already said that he's not even going to visit DN, nevermind take him out. DH is going to ask round at work and see if anybody would help out but we're not holding our breath (I mean why would they?). I can't help feeling a bit bad for DN (even though he's being a bit of a shit typical teenager wink) but DH reckon's I shouldn't as we didn't promise him anything and it's SIL who is BU by expecting us to do something that she wasn't prepared to do herself.

So I ask you, is it reasonable to tell DN that he's just going to have to hang out with us and if he's bored, he's bored or should I brave one trip to the ninth circle of hell city centre?

Tommy Sun 09-Aug-09 23:02:26

YANBU at all shock

he'll just have to fit in with what you are doing.
if he complains, I would say honestly to him that his mother aranged his trip without asking you so he'll just have to put up with it

smile

nancy75 Sun 09-Aug-09 23:02:41

so its too much like hard work for your sil to take her own 2 oldish kids around a city, but you can show around and pay for her son, whilst dragging 2 toddlers along just for the fun of it and thats ok?
i think you know the answer really your sil is taking the piss, and your nephew is going to have to take it up with her when he gets home, in the meantime he is going to have to have fun at the farm !

hester Sun 09-Aug-09 23:05:34

Oh dear, that is really difficult. I would have suggested that when SIL told you DN was coming you should have explained the situation fully to her - and said no - but he's here now. It is rough on you, but he is only 14 and shouldn't be punished for the sins of the mother, so you are going to have to find a compromise. You're not in a fit state for sightseeing, but somebody needs to take the kid out for a couple of days. Can your dh take two days annual leave and really pack in loads of sightseeing on those days? Is your DN mature enough to take himself off on a couple of simple trips? Could you ask your SIL to pay for an organised sightseeing excursion?

Really rough on you, but also really rough on DN. He's already had one crap holiday in London; looks like he'll now get two! I do hope you can find a solution.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Sun 09-Aug-09 23:09:28

How much of a hassle would it be for DN to do the sight-seeing himself? Are you anywhere near the things he wants to see? Is it a complicated journey?

roisin Sun 09-Aug-09 23:12:40

YABU, but

IME a 14 yr-old German is usually pretty independent. Is he not willing and able to go off sightseeing on his own?

When I was around that age I visited a penpal in Berlin, and we spent virtually no time in the company of adults, and often I went off on my own (including going to East Berlin unaccompanied - we are talking 25 years ago.)

letsgostrawberrypicking Sun 09-Aug-09 23:13:22

I know your BiL has said he isnt going to even visit his nephew, but surely if your DH rings and explains how hard it is for you (even if you had the money it would be physically too much) he would take him out for a day? Cant believe he would hate his sis that much to not help you all because of it!

roisin Sun 09-Aug-09 23:13:24

Does he have any money with him?

Bathsheba Sun 09-Aug-09 23:13:41

I think if I was you I'd carry on making him very much a part of the family, and if he brings up the expensive events again just let him know that

a - you cannot afford it - these things might be right on your doorstep but they are very expensive

b - you can't do it with the little ones in tow.

c - his Mum didn't let you know he was coming, and as you can't afford sightseeing and can't go with the little ones anyway, you are very happy for him to be part of the family and live the life you are leading in London.....people who live in London don't spend all day on the London Eye and at Madame Toussauds...

Its defiantely NOT your DN's fault - his mother is clearly some complete maddy, and he will be expecting all the sightseeing because she has told him that is what is happening...you need to sit down and firmly tell him its not going to happen for some very good reasons, but that doesn't mean that he isn;t welcome..

nancy75 Sun 09-Aug-09 23:15:51

has sil provided him with any money to do this stuff? even if op's dh could take him the things he wants to do are expensive, london eye is about £20 each, as is the london dungeon it doesnt sound like he would be happy with just a couple of museums

purpleduck Sun 09-Aug-09 23:25:15

I had my neice last summer, and I spent the time schlepping her around to places that she really didn't want to go to (my bro wanted her to see "cultural things" though...I remember practically forcing her to look at some of the paintings in the National Gallery whilst she prattled on about what colour highlights she would be getting grin).

BUT

I really loved getting to know her, and we really have a bond now that will last a lifetime.

Please don't hold it against him that his mum is a twit.

I would (if you can) get someone to look after your two, then take him into the city once to show him the Tube, etc. Make sure he knows that you need to have rests and that you can't be out all day. Then after that let him go on his own, but plan his day with him.

Teenagers are hard (says me - my eldest is 9 grin). It was trying with my neice, but I am glad it happened. And we changed many aspects of our parenting in response to spending time with her grin.

Can you guys take him somewhere outside London (ie Stonehenge or somewhere) that would make you feel like you are doing a Good Thing??

Silver1 Sun 09-Aug-09 23:25:20

Ring up your SIL and tell her she "forgot" to send over the money so that DN could tour the sights of London.

purpleduck Sun 09-Aug-09 23:25:53

I had my neice last summer, and I spent the time schlepping her around to places that she really didn't want to go to (my bro wanted her to see "cultural things" though...I remember practically forcing her to look at some of the paintings in the National Gallery whilst she prattled on about what colour highlights she would be getting grin).

BUT

I really loved getting to know her, and we really have a bond now that will last a lifetime.

Please don't hold it against him that his mum is a twit.

I would (if you can) get someone to look after your two, then take him into the city once to show him the Tube, etc. Make sure he knows that you need to have rests and that you can't be out all day. Then after that let him go on his own, but plan his day with him.

Teenagers are hard (says me - my eldest is 9 grin). It was trying with my neice, but I am glad it happened. And we changed many aspects of our parenting in response to spending time with her grin.

Can you guys take him somewhere outside London (ie Stonehenge or somewhere) that would make you feel like you are doing a Good Thing??

Rosesinautumn Sun 09-Aug-09 23:47:58

hester - I totally agree that DN is only a kid and is going to suffer because adults are being idiots and I'm not comfortable with it. We did think about DH taking some time off but he could only do it for one job (he does 2 in the day, 1 morning and evening and the other inbetween) so DN would have to get up with him and leave at 5am, hang round with him at work and then do stuff in the day. We put this to DN to which he said 'SHIT! No way!' (well he did surface at 2pm today so 5am is probably out of the question!!). As for him going off on his own, he's up for it (and I think he could manage it, his english is pretty good and he's not daft, plus DH works in city centre so could come and rescue him if he got lost) but his mother isn't! What can you do???

As for SIL paying for anything ahahahahhahaaaa, I'm not going to bore you with the details but sufice to say, NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN. This is totally in character for her, she is utterly unable to see anything from anyone else's perspective and her standards for herself are often polar opposite to her expectations of other people.

DN is totally welcome and we've tried to tailor the place to him, own room with tv and dvd, a laptop for his personal use (parental controls adjusted appropriatly), unlimited access to the fridge but I'm not sure this is going to stop him having a miserable time sad.

purpleduck Sun 09-Aug-09 23:56:43

hee hee
If you let him go on his own, perhaps you won't get another surprise visit evilgrin

Can his mum be talked into letting him go on his own?

Rosesinautumn Sun 09-Aug-09 23:58:40

Purpleduck - that's not a bad idea about getting someone to watch mine for the day. DS1's bestfriends parents 'owe me' a couple of playdates as i've had their boy a number of times when the hubby had interviews and held his birthday party at our house, but it would be the dad looking after them and I'm not sure if he'd up for having both my boys, but I can ask.

QuintessentialShadow Sun 09-Aug-09 23:58:53

I agree with purpleduck. Your sil has made him your responsibility. Show him the ropes, how the tube works, supply him with an A to Z, and let him go on his own.

llareggub Sun 09-Aug-09 23:59:19

On the bright side, if he has a miserable time he is highly unlikely to return for a 2nd surprise trip.

YANBU.

QuintessentialShadow Mon 10-Aug-09 00:06:15

But the good thing is, you wait a few years, then you book your TWO children on a trip of a lifetime to Germany. wink

purpleduck Mon 10-Aug-09 00:09:22

Yes QS! With a tick list of things they need to see

purpleduck Mon 10-Aug-09 00:10:00

Yes QS! With a tick list of things they need to see

QuintessentialShadow Mon 10-Aug-09 00:10:34

One for each child, of course! grin

Rosesinautumn Mon 10-Aug-09 00:12:46

Quint - All else failing, I might just do that, SIL will be apoplectic but stuff 'er. She's not considered anyones else's needs/feelings (including her own child's) so why should I worry about hers?

Llareggub - Lol! Hush satan's handmaid, do not tempt me with evilness, it would be so tempting to take him along to the children's centre holiday club and get him to supervise toddlers for a couple of hours whilst I sat and had a cuppa and a chat but I think that might send him over the edge. He's already struggling with the constant demands from mine to come and play with them.

purpleduck Mon 10-Aug-09 00:13:15

oops

Things like:
"Eat one bavarian sausage...in Bavaria"

Kayugaduck Mon 10-Aug-09 00:19:45

Of course you should let him go on his own with a mobile phone, bottle of water, backpack full of sandwiches and a map. Plenty of free things to see and do and you do not consult sil if it's ok or not, why should you!

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