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I can't have both at once

(75 Posts)
Chinesecrested Sat 29-Sep-18 10:27:10

My dgs is 5.5, and his sister is 2.5. We have always had dgs to stay for sleepovers since he was a baby, but now that dgd is old enough to understand, she wants to come too.

The problem is that they fight. Normal for tinies, I know, but exhausting for grandparents in their 60s. We have him to give him some one to one, and give their parents a break.

Dgd likes attention, snatches his toys and ruins his games so the experience isn't pleasant with both together. I suggested we have them alternately but he was horrified and got quite upset. In addition, dgd doesn't sleep well and still wakes up crying several times a night, which would wake everyone.

Yesterday while we were getting ready, dgd put her shoes on and made it clear she wanted to come too, and cried when we went without her. Am I heartless? We've said maybe when she's a bit older...

gillybob Sun 30-Sep-18 08:59:28

Whilst I don’t think you are being heartless at all chinesecrested (you have to do what you have to do) I couldn’t do it. I always have my 3 all together since they were all just weeks old (unless there’s a reason why one can’t come obviously). They are 12,10 and 8 and they still fight occasionally. They have gone through the toy grabbing and spiteful stages but it would break my heart to take one and say no to the others as they would wonder what they had done for grandma not to want them.
Could the way forward not be making rules for play and you each giving the children some special time alone (in another room maybe). From memory there are lots of things a 2.5 and a 5.5 year old can do together and I wouldn’t allow the older child to think that you belong to him alone and his sister can’t be part of this “special relationship” . She will grow up feeling second best. Good luck whatever you decide.

Greenfinch Sun 30-Sep-18 09:13:18

What gillybob says.We have had our eldest grandchildren to stay with us twice a week since they were born.They are twins of 11 now and there has been fighting in the past but we adopt the same rules as their parents and it works OK.I have to say that we do have a bigger house than they do which has helped to distract them when problems arose but DH is 80 and I am in my seventies so age is no problem

AllTheLs Sun 30-Sep-18 10:39:21

I remember one summer holidays my sister and I went to our great-aunt and great-uncle's for a week. We fought like cat and dog (as per) but were so bad my relatives took us back home. Our parents had to do some hasty reshuffling of work schedules and were not best pleased with us. Now I can only have my two grand-daughters one at a time as they, too, are too much of a handful to have together.

Granjan06 Sun 30-Sep-18 10:57:00

You have to do what is best for you, we all have a different tolerance level of arguments, noise, mess etc.
I personally am quite happy to have any combination of grandchildren at any one time, whether both grandsons(cousins), 4 granddaughters (3 sisters and cousin) or even at times all six. They have all been used to staying since they were babies so no what is expected.....

mabon1 Sun 30-Sep-18 10:58:24

Clearly, we were the lucky grandparents. We had three at the same time regularly and never had any trouble at all. I do not agree that you should have the children to give the parents a break, it should be a treat for the children and not an escape from responsibility for the parents.

Rocknroll5me Sun 30-Sep-18 11:10:51

As you’ve asked for opinion, else I wouldn’t dream of interfering I am shocked. It would never occur to just take one! How utterly bizarre that is to me. And how awful for the little girl. You just have to find a way. That is life. Parents can’t just choose one...nor can you! My god you are paving the way for rejection issues in that little girl. You deal with it. You don’t reject for your easy life. It wouldn’t have occurred to me that my mother would have chosen one of my children over another and if I had the chance to have both of my grandchildren I would feel the challenge of their different ages and needs. That’s what it’s all about. Please reconsider

notanan2 Sun 30-Sep-18 11:11:47

The small one will "disrupt" the big ones play if you are just set up for the big one.

I don't mean having a few token 2.5yr toys, I mean expecting the visit to run as if you just had DGS....... except with DGD tagged on.

The problem here is the OP is struggling because having DGD & DGS together isn't like having DGS x 2.

rivercross Sun 30-Sep-18 11:31:11

we prefer to have both granchildren together. it is only one or two nights and gives the parents a break. We can catch up on rest and sleep when they leave.

It would not work if there was only one Grandparent.

Craftycat Sun 30-Sep-18 11:39:18

Good heavens! Children fight- fact of life. Just step in & say if they continue to misbehave their toys will all have to go away or TV turned off or whatever else is starting it. Take them for a nice long walk & wear them out.
If they fight at bedtime pout younger one to bed earlier & wait until she is asleep before putting older one up- he will love being the centre of attention & she will have to learn that you get certain privileges as you get older- she can have a lovely girly bedtime story too.
Keep 'em occupied!!
Then when they go home break out the vino!!

Coconut Sun 30-Sep-18 11:46:36

I personally couldn’t say no, but with strict rules (as much as poss at that age !) I would at least give them the chance to behave together on the understanding of consequences, if they don’t ! Or maybe tell them that as soon as the quarrels stop at home, then it will happen. But of course you must do what ever feels right for you.

knickas63 Sun 30-Sep-18 11:47:38

Definitely gave them separately, but keep it fair! Dgc will be feeling unloved and unwanted. It may not be true, but tinies don't understand. To be quite honest, you sound as if you favour dgs?

knickas63 Sun 30-Sep-18 11:51:27

Actually, re reading, I feel really sad for the litt dgd. My darling grandbrats fight terribly. But it is normal behaviour and we just deal! And never treat them differently! Have both, prep for both (toys etc) and love both. Did needs to learn to share as well!

notanan2 Sun 30-Sep-18 12:21:02

Little ones DO need more attention.
Thats not bad behaviour.

Little ones need lots of physical attention and big ones need mental attention.

Its not good for the big one either for you to be physically in their face all the time. They love a bit of independence and trust and special big kid tasks.

Jan51 Sun 30-Sep-18 12:21:20

There is 3yrs between my DD's. When they were young my parents (well my mum) would not have them both to stay at the same time, for the same reason, so they used to go seperately. My DH parents also lived near by so if we needed both girls looked after at the same time one would go to each set of grandparent and then next time they would swap (they much preferred staying with my parents).

oldmom Sun 30-Sep-18 12:22:04

It's fine to have just one at a time, if it works for their parents, but you can't have just the boy, and leave his sister out. If you took him for overnights "since he was a baby", then the 2 year old has already been unfairly treated.

You are actually practising favouritism. This is the sort of thing that can create a lot of resentment all round later. Sit down and make a plan, and invite DGD for her own special overnight stay. If her brother is horrified, well, he's quite old enough to learn that he needs to share his grandparents. He is not the only pebble on the beach.

notanan2 Sun 30-Sep-18 12:22:28

When you're giving them both the right kind of age appropriate attention you will not be spread too tin and they won't need to compete for you

GrandmaL Sun 30-Sep-18 12:44:22

This made me chuckle! We quite often have our now 7 year old DGS to stay, since he was about 3. BUT his twin siblings, now 3 and a half ( boy and girl) are a different kettle of fish!!
However we had all three last weekend, thankfully they are good sleepers but boy were the days exhausting!!
We’ve discussed maybe trying to have them one at a time someday ( our other DGC is an only one aged 5 who has stayed over with us since a baby) to give each that special individual time but definitely not so easy with twins!
However I agree with the comments that we are lucky to be able to have them overnight even occasionally and hope it makes good memories for them. My own children had grandparents living very close and very far away so they didn’t get the same experiences of staying overnight at grandparents.

marionk Sun 30-Sep-18 12:58:29

I feel sorry for her too! In my opinion fighting and squabbling is all part of learning to form complex relationships - I speak as an only child who had trouble learning to share and to understand the negotiations needed to interact with my peers. We have both of ours at once and I am always prepared for a broken night, even to the point of having a camping mattress on the floor between theirs so I can sleep with them if they want (and they do!). I love it, there is always time to catch up on sleep.
Give the poor little mite a break!

Saggi Sun 30-Sep-18 13:57:37

If I ever did anything to make my granddaughter cry I would not forgive myself.I was having overnight era with my grandson since he's been three months old... and he was marvellous to have around ... well behaved , clever, quiet, calm...everything you could wish for. Then five years later along came sister ....loud, boisterous, ,fighty,disruptive and a non sleeping extroidinarily intelligent girl as . But I've never said no to either of them .... the five year age difference is a problem though and she does tend to want her brothers attention a lot of the time which he can find a little annoying at times....he's 11 now and she's 5 but he is the most gentle boy and tolerates her extremely well. Hey know that what I say goes in my house and although it IS tiring having them over...I know that very soon the oddest will be well passed wanting to come over . So have them together...she's NOT old enough to understand you walking out without her. She is thinking you love her brother more than her...if that is the case.... and it's easy to have a favourite...please don't show it so blatantly to her.

Saggi Sun 30-Sep-18 13:58:50

'Oldest' ... Really he's not 'odd'

nipsmum Sun 30-Sep-18 14:01:03

My 2. Daughters used to sleep over frequently at Gran and Grandpa's house. They wouldn't have dared to fight there. They weren't allowed to fight in their own home either. Separate them into separate rooms and tell them in no uncertain terms that fighting is not going to be tolerated n your house, or they don't have sleepovers at all.

Luckygirl Sun 30-Sep-18 14:06:00

Having one at a time has not caused problems for us or for the children. They know which is their day and which day they go somewhere else. One is now at school but I do the pick-ups so there is a short period when they are both with us. They are a bit bigger now and slightly better at playing together.

My DD is grateful for the help and the money it saves them; and is happy to go along with whatever makes it easiest for us.

Madgran77 Sun 30-Sep-18 14:13:52

Thinking about it we ctully sometimes have both grandchildren together to stay and sometimes separately. Because they both know and have from an early age that they will both have a turn they both accept it. When they both come together there is much excitement too!!

VivNE65 Sun 30-Sep-18 15:11:26

I was quite puzzled till I realized you weren't talking about dogs. D'oh!

Luckygirl Sun 30-Sep-18 15:43:52

My OH is ill and I have painful mobility so the girls know that our willingness to help is not entirely matched by our ability - so they are happy to go along wi th whatever we can manage.