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Meals with DG and DD

(48 Posts)
Chanel Sat 02-Feb-19 14:26:34

Advice sought: On DD’s visit from USA last year with DGs (5 & 4yo), meals were a nightmare. Both DG were up/down from the table & greasy fingers went over all furniture/into other rooms. DD was exceedingly cross when I wiped their fingers when I saw them about to ‘get down’ from the table. I accept her view that reprimanding DG may lead to fussy eating/bulimia (though I wasn't reprimanding, except possibly implicitly). In any event we have never experienced eating disorders, thank goodness, in our family at all. In this case, however, both DG were fully engaged with the hand-cleaning (new, warm, damp cloth), until they heard her objecting. Two days of this I put down to jet-lag, travel tiredness, family break-up effect etc. but when it continued after my mild objecting, I absented myself at mealtimes, after replacing my chairs with plastic garden chairs. There were a few other negative aspects of the visit: I suggested an advance birthday party for DDs soon after they arrived so they would have plenty of playthings. My suggestion was heard, but whenever DDs got tetchy, she suggested ‘breaking open’ my wrapped presents, so the pile for birthday celebrations shrank. After their return I limited contact to sending money at Xmas/birthday. But she’s just suggested coming again in a couple of months and I am worried about how to acceptably establish a ‘greasy fingers’ house rule without getting her back up, before she books flights. Or should I just relax & let it all 'wash over me'.

Auntieflo Sat 02-Feb-19 14:35:16

I think my GC thought I came permanently attached to a Jcloth, when they were little. (They are now ranging from 29 to 5). GGC following on will be treated the same.
I think your house, your rules, and little ones should respect that. Also the not so little ones.

Jane10 Sat 02-Feb-19 14:41:53

They're older now. They may behave better. However, they may also be unused to sitting formally at a dining table to eat. That can be a novel experience for some children these days. They may also be used to finger food rather than those requiring cutlery. Can I suggest wet wipes or the sorts of wipes offered at fast food places? You might not like it but that may be how it is for the short time you have them. Be prepared!

MiniMoon Sat 02-Feb-19 14:50:19

My GC have been taught, from a very young age, to wash their faces and fingers after eating. The do it automatically now. At home they use any cloth available in the kitchen (including the dishcloth) 😮. At my house, I provide them with a proper facecloth.
As others have said, your house, your rules!

trisher Sat 02-Feb-19 15:00:18

My DIL is pracically neurotic about wiping hands and faces after meals. She's a health professional and apparently there are all sorts of nasty bugs which can flourish in the area around the mouth if it isn't kept clean. Maybe you should warn your DD about this.

kittylester Sat 02-Feb-19 15:29:34

Provide serviettes for meal times - a quaint British custom!

It would be a shame to miss out on their visits by making it a huge issue.

GrandmaKT Sat 02-Feb-19 15:36:30

I was going to suggest wet wipes too. I think they may take to those more easily than a flannel. We also always have a dispenser with paper napkins on the table. I think it is strange for your DD to object to this, it's not an onerous task and very unlikely to cause eating disorders!

EllanVannin Sat 02-Feb-19 16:07:45

It wouldn't bother me at all.

paddyann Sat 02-Feb-19 16:09:17

Good heavens you moved your FURNITURE so your GC coulnd't put fingerprints on it? You'd have been lucky to see me again if that was your attitude.PEOPLE come way up the list before possessions in my home..THINGS can be cleaned but two wee people who are visiting after a long trip should be the priority not their greasy fingers or table manners .

KatyK Sat 02-Feb-19 16:09:23

Nor me

KatyK Sat 02-Feb-19 16:09:50

Wouldn't bother me I mean

BlueBelle Sat 02-Feb-19 17:17:58

Blimey are you a bit over the top with cleanliness I wouldn’t blink an eyelid I d be so bowled over to see them after a long journey to visit you
I d put paper napkins on the table (were they eating their dinner with their hands to get so greasy) and be prepared to wipe down after they have left the table and when you’re clearing up
You sat them on garden chairs and left them to eat alone Im surprised you didn’t put them to eat in the garden 😂I m also amazed they want to come back

Relax enjoy them and clean up after they ve left You can’t cuddle a chair

EllanVannin Sat 02-Feb-19 17:20:01

I don't think this is " for real " somehow. Nobody would act like this surely ?

NanaandGrampy Sat 02-Feb-19 17:51:16

I have to say , without tarnishing an entire nation , in my experience American children have quite different manners and table manners to British children.

The whole getting down and running around thing which Ive seen here is much worse there.

I think I would agree with other posters just relax and enjoy them, Id continue wiping hands and see how it goes.

Jalima1108 Sat 02-Feb-19 18:28:24

I'd keep some baby wipes handy (although I don't normally like using them and used to use a separate flannel and warm water for each child).
Can you just say 'hands!' smile! and give them one to wipe themselves before they leave the table?

However, I've just stuck some unzippable covers from my not-very-old 3 piece suite in the washing machine because there appeared to be very grubby marks on the arms - I realised it's where littlest DGC comes in and swings herself between two chairs!
And as for 'snail trails' down the patio doors - they can be cleaned.

Your DD obviously didn't take offence to that extent because she wants to come again.

I must say that getting up and down from the meal table annoys me but then, DS and DIL nor DD and SIL allow it.

Jalima1108 Sat 02-Feb-19 18:29:53

if all that fails you could put them out in the garden shed.

MacCavity2 Sat 02-Feb-19 18:38:50

Luckily we are used to sitting at the table for meals. I know it’s not for everyone but I think families miss out on so much if they are not used to gathering around the table to chat. Hands cleaned before and after eating. How difficult is that. Are we meant to get rid of all our traditions?

Lily65 Sat 02-Feb-19 18:43:12

When my son was about 7 , he requested biscuits at my MIL's. Tired after the 3 hour car journey, I assured him it would be fine. MIL less than impressed. This after a meal when we sat and he had impeccable manners.

Jalima1108 Sat 02-Feb-19 18:49:47

Hands cleaned before and after eating. How difficult is that.
It's not but that is the problem in the OP.

Chanel perhaps if you try not to reprimand them but turn it into a game or sing a song:

This Is The Way We Wash Our Hands

This is the way we wash our face,
Wash our face, wash our face,
This is the way we wash our face,
On a cold and frosty morning.

This is the way we clean our hands,
Clean our hands, clean our hands,
This is the way we clean our hands,
On a cold and frosty morning.

This is the way we brush our teeth,
Brush our teeth, brush our teeth,
This is the way we brush our teeth
On a cold and frosty morning.

This is the way we comb our hair,
Comb our hair, comb our hair,
This is the way we comb our hair,
On a cold and frosty morning.

I'm not saying you have to get them to brush their teeth and comb their hair after every meal of course.

Tartlet Sat 02-Feb-19 19:53:50

I had to go back and re-read the bit about the plastic garden chairs because I couldn’t believe anyone would do that. How awful for your daughter and grand children., especially as their visits are so infrequent. It’s like an excerpt from the ‘how to make people feel unwelcome’ book.

If the OP was having to cope with this several times a week, then it might be necessary to gently introduce a few rules but once a year or so? No, just go with the flow and restore order once they’ve gone.

It sounds as though the OP might be quite house proud though and I’m far from it.

sodapop Sat 02-Feb-19 20:23:22

I think you went over the top too Chanel I'm surprised they want to come back after all that. Children are messy, you will not change their behaviour during a short stay so go with the flow as much as you can. I would identify a couple of things which you really can't deal with and address them, otherwise go with the wet wipes and relax. Enjoy your family the children grow up so quickly.

Grannyben Sat 02-Feb-19 20:32:45

Ask them to come in the summer then you can keep them in the garden 😬

Jalima1108 Sat 02-Feb-19 20:37:05

Don't clean before they come - clean after they've gone home again and enjoy their stay!

phoenix Sat 02-Feb-19 21:09:33

A couple of other things in th OP that I have noticed, since when did a bit of hand wiping lead to fussy eating or bulimia, although I agree that the garden chairs thing is but OTT.

Also, the reference to presents being opened, so that the "pile" of presents "shrank"?

Firstly, why such a pile, and if there must be so many, then the odd one being opened now and then would be better, IMO than a gift fest glut all in one go!

phoenix Sat 02-Feb-19 21:10:50

"A bit" not "but".