Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

I don’t want my sister to watch my kids

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  • #878998 Reply

    My sister is insisting on watching my 1 year old but her house is SUPER dirty. She has 80 chickens and 4 goats in her backyard, no grass because her yard is covered in poop. 4 dogs, 2 parakeets and 2 pigs inside, and 2 teenagers who don’t clean. My sister and BIL don’t clean either. They bring the chickens inside sometimes, there’s dog hair everywhere. If an animal poops on their floor they clean with Windex? There counter tops and dishwasher have food remnants all over and because their dishwasher is so dirty, their dishes are never clean. It’s horrible. I don’t want my daughter over there without me because I know she’ll be into everything and possibly get sick. I’m not sure what I can say to her (politely). I feel like I’ll have to have a million excuses. What should I do?

    #879015 Reply

    Blame coronavirus: your daughter isn’t visiting because your family is social distancing to flatten the curve and keep people safe.

    If you HAVEN’T been staying home – you should. Then tell her the truth: her place isn’t safe for your daughter and she won’t be visiting without you. My sister has never taken my nephew to mother’s house due to cleanliness issues arising from far fewer pets. They always meet somewhere else. I’m sure it hurt my mom’s feelings, but it is hard to be in my mom’s place due to pet dander and smells. I wouldn’t take a baby there either.

    #879071 Reply

    Who cares about being polite? This is YOUR child. Get used to standing up for her because that is your responsibility as her parent. And if there’s one person you don’t need to be polite to, that is probably your sister. Who else is going to tell her that her house is dirty?

    “Sorry, Sis. I don’t feel comfortable letting you watch her. You have a lot of pets and enough on your hands right now. We are social distancing to flatten the curve. If you want to see (my daughter) you’re welcome to visit us at our home when the virus is gone. I can show you how I child proof.”

    #879145 Reply

    LW, you don’t need to explain why not. Just say “no, thanks”. If she asks why, just say something neutral like “this would be too much for her”. If she insists, ask why yourself? Thanks, but why do you ask? Change the subject. It is really not so complicated. Nobody is entitled to babysit your kid. Nobody chooses where your kid goes and with whom. Your priviledge as a parent. You have to toughen up, really, as a mother. You are in charge.
    But there is no need to criticise other people’s home. There is enough negativity now everywhere, to make it useless to offend people.

    #879148 Reply

    Your kid’s going to experience way worse in the world than some dirt, but if it bothers you, you are totally entitled to keep her away from your sister’s house. It doesn’t mean your sister is awful for living the way she does, though, sounds like she just loves to share her space with her animals and that’s also fine. maybe look on her place as like a safari park or similar play experience, for visits, have your kid wear wellies etc so the muck doesn’t freak you out, and let your kid do outdoor things with her Auntie? Right now, nobody should be going to visit anybody anyway.All the clean looking people round about are way more of a danger than your sister’s poopy hens.

    #879154 Reply

    Hazel: What are wellies? That is an exotic term unknown here in the states. Very intrigued…

    Just blame, Corona, LW. Look — I get your hesitation. Your letter’s vivid description conveyed a tremendous amount of ICK Factor. I’d be leery, too!

    #879169 Reply

    Wellies are basically rain/mud boots or galoshes in Britain.

    LW: just say no. You don’t need a reason she will agree with. Corona works fine for the next few months/half year, but after that you hopefully will need a new excuse. Might be best to tell the real reason. Corona started from selling/butchering wild animals in a Wuhan market, but other disease outbreaks from China/Africa have come from living with your farm animals, eating bush meat, etc. These are animal to human transmissions. It can happen here too. It’s the practice, not the location that matters.

    #879334 Reply

    hi sorry (computer in computer hospital yesterday) aye, wellies are rubber boots, if I was LW I’d get the kid a boiler suit and some rubber gloves too, for the next visit so they can enjoy themselves without getting covered in muck.Assuming that although LW definitely does not want her kid staying over,and that visits will still happen after the pandemic precautions are over. I would say, I don’t know of any major disease outbreak coming from people’s pets, even if those are pet pigs and hens, it’s generally things like industrial agriculture practices (BSE) or crowded markets like what is currently being blamed for Corona (though where I am, we are still being told that the actual source has not yet been definitely identified, just a probability it was the wet market) but you could easily cite fear over E. Coli or Salmonella- both more likely in an industrial setting but definitely a possibility anywhere. Not sure what LW can do about the dirty plates except always turn up with a picnic to share and have the kid carry a reusable drinking cup which they always use.

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