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in pointing out to sil just how un-toddler friendly my house is - warning, long!

(18 Posts)
sunnydelight Mon 24-Aug-09 06:48:12

Bit of a long story really, brought about by reading through the thread where someone expected people to baby-poof their house when they visited: SIL has prior in arriving at my house, pouring a glass of wine and sitting back saying how lovely it is that she doesn't have to supervise her DD (much younger than my kids) in my house as my kids will look after her so she can relax. We didn't see them very often so even though her DD wasn't the best behaved my younger two didn't mind entertaining her and the eldest would join in for a while then do his own thing. Slightly irritating sometimes when toys we had kept intact for years got broken, but no big deal.

Fast forward a few years. We are now in Oz and SIL and BIL are thinking about coming to visit with above mentioned DD now 5 and their newest 18 month old who we have never met. They haven't actually asked us if they can stay, we have heard via other family as they are rarely in touch, have their phones permanently set to answerphone as they don't like to be disturbed and the videocam DH installed on their computer before we left so we could skype was disconnected by their DD playing with it within a week.

Anyway, I e-mailed sil and said that I had heard they were planning on visiting and of course they were welcome, but they may want to think of only staying with us a couple of days then renting somewhere (they are extremely well off) as my house is a bit of a toddler nightmare. It's the truth - the first thing I said to DH when we saw our house is "you wouldn't buy it with young kids". Our pool is un-fenced (built prior to regulations), there is direct access onto a busy road and the width of the dual access drive means it would cost thousands to gate it, they are planning on coming in Summer which means every door in the house will be open all day long - no air-con, all of the glass in the house (including a massive sliding door) is NOT safety glass, etc. etc. I basically said that I did not think it would be very relaxing for them to stay here as they would have to watch their kids EVERY MINUTE. My kids are older so they will no longer be interested in supervising their cousins' every move (it's unlikely they will even be here tbh as Summer means hanging out with their mates) and neither should they have to. I feel fairly ambivalent about SIL and BIL, we've had good times together pre-kids and I would be happy to see them, but I think it would be more pleasant all round if they stayed elsewhere. Having had the MIL visit from hell for 6 weeks I'm a bit over DH's family and he is in total agreement. I'm happy to offer a bit of babysitting so they can have some nights out by themselves, but not constant supervision. I think I'm doing the right thing by being open and honest beforehand rather than them arriving and feeling hard done by but what does the MN jury think? grin Sil hasn't responded btw.....

BubbaAndBump Mon 24-Aug-09 07:21:24

YANBU - they're coming a long way and therefore likely to stay for a long time - much better and healthier for all relationships (not to mention safer for their toddler) if they do as you suggest - a couple of days with you to acclimatise, say hi and then get their own space. Also if they'd wanted to stay, they'd have asked (surely they'd have asked??! )! Good luck - let us know how she responds...

Blackduck Mon 24-Aug-09 07:28:18

Think you are being perfectly reasonable. From what you have described I'd be having kittens if I was in the house with a small child (or even my 6 year old!). They won't just ignore your mail and just turn up will they?

iceagethree Mon 24-Aug-09 07:28:48

Very good idea to put it in writing.

I don't think that if they are staying, they'll want to stay in a hotel, as it's my experience that people visit expats in places they might not normally go to, because they can finally afford it and don't have to pay hotel prices.

But at least you have it in writing that they "stay on their own judgement" and will not be able to treat it as a hotel.

You did the right thing, hopefully they'll have the conversation about chopping and changing their visit between staying at yours, taking hotel breaks, taking a motor home etc.

Maybe they imagine themselves sitting by the pool all day with their children so they think it won't be an issue. People without pools don't realise the attention requirement is a thousand times higher than that.

bigchris Mon 24-Aug-09 07:50:05

get dh to talk to his sister about her plans

what will you do when you have grandchildren?! will your kids be allowed to stay or will you move wink

GooseyLoosey Mon 24-Aug-09 08:03:39

Are you sure they were planning to visit you or just Oz?

BouncingTurtle Mon 24-Aug-09 08:11:41

'People without pools don't realise the attention requirement is a thousand times higher than that.'

Good God, yes. I'm spending a week at my dad's house in Spain and he has a toddler accessible swimming pool, so I know I will not be able to take my eyes of DS (20mo) for a second.

Can you have a look around see if you can find some places for them to stay that are reasonably local to you? And send them a list?

I don't expect my dad and stepmum to toddler proof their home, and nor should your BIL & SIL expect you to do the same.

I have to admit, am a bit hmm about not being able to contact them by 'phone and not replying to your email - they they call you back if you leave a message? I would be worried about them just turning up!!!

I think you will need to be quite clear on this issue and also make it your DH's job to get the message across - after all it is HIS sister!

YeahBut Mon 24-Aug-09 08:13:50

Not unreasonable at all to give them advance warning. Having lived in Oz, we had lots of visitors thinking that they could save money by staying with us for weeks at a time, conveniently forgetting that I would be left to cook and clear up after them all.
Far, far better to suggest alternative accomodation (in fact I'd do a bit of research for them into places to rent and send them a list) than for it all to be your fault if a child runs on to the road or falls into the pool.
Am confused about the pool fencing, though. I thought that all pools had to be fenced unless there was no access from the front of the house.

ninedragons Mon 24-Aug-09 08:15:37

Unfenced pool? No WAY would I let them stay even overnight. Really, I probably wouldn't even have them over for lunch - I'd meet them away from the house.

You can't even tell them about the house and leave the decision up to them, in case (being English) they don't realise a toddler can drown in complete silence in two minutes.

Just be completely upfront. Say unfenced pool = toddler killer, here's the link for the serviced apartment site, we'll take you to brunch at Watson's Bay.

LovelyLulu Mon 24-Aug-09 08:29:06

YANBU, and I would be overjoyed if someone offered to babysit for me on holiday!

I agree you have done the right thing to be open and honest, she wouldn't want to watch her dc all the time at your place, it would be a nightmare.

diddl Mon 24-Aug-09 10:04:31

If you all get on and you have enough room, I don´t see why they shouldn´t stay, as long as you know beforehand how long for & are OK with it.
As long as she realises that her children are her responsibility.

overweightnoverdrawn Mon 24-Aug-09 18:44:30

I think you are doing the right thing . At least they will know befor hand so they cant say they wernt warned . Maybe you could offer to look for rented places for them . There is that scheme called house swap something or other this might be the way to go .

MaybeAfterBreakfast Mon 24-Aug-09 18:51:19

YANBU at all. Very thoughtful and sensible, imo. Tis very stressful staying with toddlers at houses that aren't toddler proof.

sunnydelight Tue 25-Aug-09 01:19:22

Thanks for all the replies (time difference makes MNing difficult grin I thought I was being reasonable, but you never know!

mj4ever Tue 25-Aug-09 01:32:24

has your sil replied yet??

mj4ever Tue 25-Aug-09 01:33:35

also i think you are completly reasonable

well done you for been upfront.

MummyDragon Tue 25-Aug-09 14:33:14

I think your OP is entirely reasonable, and if I were your SIL I would appreciate the prior warning smile

Rindercella Tue 25-Aug-09 14:39:26

Agree with everyone else on just how reasonable you are being Sunny grin

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