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How bad do I feel!

(31 Posts)
nanapug Tue 27-Dec-11 17:38:49

My DGD is a sweet, kind , intelligent but dreadfully clumsy seven year old. We have a relatively new lounge carpet and today she managed to knock over a cup of coffee just by being careless. I am afraid I shouted at her for being clumsy which made her cry. She didn't do it on purpose, and I do try not to get cross if an accident happens, but I feel her mother is a bit laid back when it comes to helping her address this clumsiness. Her mother (my DD) is a fantastic Mum but very laid back. The children are very happy but their house is basically a mess, which although I think that she is an excellent parent and if she wants to live in a bomb site that is their business, I feel it does not encourage respect of things and maybe my DGD doesn't think about the consequences of knocking things over etc. Should I have got cross? (I do have a lot to do with my DGC so am very involved in their care)

Greatnan Tue 27-Dec-11 18:01:14

It is an understandable immediate reaction but I am glad you regret it. I have a grandson with dyspraxia and hyper-mobile joints and he is very clumsy but commenting on it makes it much worse. Carpets can be cleaned and crockery replaced, but the hurt to a child when they are blamed for something they cannot help takes longer to heal.
As for their house being messy - I doubt if children care or even notice, as long as they have love and attention. I remember a saying - 'Your children won't remember if you ironed their pyjamas, but they will remember your reading them a bed-time story.

greenmossgiel Tue 27-Dec-11 18:20:38

You didn't mean to be cross, nanpug! It was just a reaction. My own daughter was very clumsy as a child, in fact she still is. She usually finds it quite difficult to deal with day-to-day issues as well, such as meetings, appointments, etc. I read an article about dyspraxia a few years ago, long after she'd grown up, and wondered if it was possible that this may be what was 'wrong' with her. However, she did grow up to be a fine and caring young woman. Her own daughters are a credit to her. She lives in what may be termed as a 'bomb-site' as well, but it's her choice to be like that. I honestly don't think that my daughter would have told her girls off if they knocked over a cup of coffee in my house either, because it would have been an accident. And if the wee girl's a bit clumsy, perhaps there's not much that can be done. They'll not be too upset - you'll be feeling worse than they do. They know you so well because you care for them so much! smile

crimson Tue 27-Dec-11 18:41:50

I know 7 is a lot older than my grandchildren, but I'd be more relieved that she didn't scald helself by knocking the coffee over, which probably shouldn't have been near young children anyway.

grannyactivist Tue 27-Dec-11 19:16:23

When I was a child my mother used to go berserk if we broke or spilt something by accident and I determined that I never would berate my children when they accidentally broke or spilt something. The result of this is that I genuinely never fuss when accidents happen, but they get really upset with themselves. confused

nanapug Tue 27-Dec-11 20:02:09

Oh dear, I was hoping that as I had entitled this thread "How bad do I feel" I would have had some empathy and support from my GN friends rather than being berated for something I already knew, and felt bad about.

Crimson I think you will find that by the time they are seven it is ok to have a cup of tea/coffee on a side table as long as they are aware of it. If there is any one who is so aware of this it is I as I have nursed many a child with scalds from hot drinks, and it is a rule in our house that NO one holds a hot drink with a child any where near them, but by seven they are drinking it themselves.

Although I completely agree that mentioning the carelessness is not generally good, I wonder, if she is allowed to think that it doesn't matter if she is careless and she doesn't try to take a little care that she will think it's ok, especially as her mum is so laid back? It's a bit like good manners and good behaviour. If they are not told how will they learn?

Thank you greenmossgiel that gives me hope that it will be ok as I do worry about her.

crimson Tue 27-Dec-11 20:37:27

Was your DIL with her at the time, because I think it would have been bad if she hadn't apologised about the accident and tried to clean up the mess etc? I feel terrible if I damage something in someone else's house.

Greatnan Tue 27-Dec-11 20:53:10

I didnt mean to berate you, just to mention the possibility of dyspraxia as a reason for clumsiness.

lucid Tue 27-Dec-11 20:53:43

nanapug Christmas can be such a stressful time and I'm sure you're tired and the 'telling off' was a reaction. Don't be too hard on yourself. Maybe you could help your DGD by getting her to play games that would help her coordination?
If the children are happy then their Mum is obviously doing a great job and it doesn't matter to her if her house is a mess.

goldengirl Tue 27-Dec-11 21:05:40

nanapug: Don't worry. It's upsetting at the time for both parties. I'm exactly the same and once I've calmed down I explain why I feel cross. The worst thing that has happened was my GS spilt some nail varnish he found in my bedroom where he knew very well he shouldn't have been and of course it was red and of course the carpet was cream! This was about 18 months ago and using various preparations including 'white stuff' from Lakeland it's faded greatly to a murky cream. I'm sure we've all been shouted at when we were young - and survived the ordeal. I personally wouldn't try and put a name to it but take it as it is - an annoying incident.

gracesmum Tue 27-Dec-11 21:15:08

A handy spray bottle of 1001 or Vanish carpet cleaner is my solution - a greyhound with a lethal tail or a grandson (and frankly a DH who can be equally clumsy) and a beige carpet- well,it's a sort of insurance!
Years ago when my sister, BIL and their 3 children (8,7,6 ish) were to visit us in our first floor flat in Richmond, we had just got an off-white Indian carpet and I joked that the first person to spill anything on it would be leaving via the window - well, nephew, aged 8 knocked against a little table and his father's glass of beer went flying. We laughed but he was convinced I had meant it and was terrified.
I'm sorry - but things are only things and most carpets come Scotchguarded. I agree her Mum should perhaps have been more concerned, but I've done it myself (did this morning and just missed the Kindle with spilt tea)
No point in crying over spilt anything really!

Greatnan Tue 27-Dec-11 21:24:41

My own mother was extremely unfussed about belongings - we didn't have much anyway. I could never understand why other children got really frightened when they lost or broke something. On the other hand, I agree that respect for other people's things is important and if anything is borrowed it should be returned promptly and in good condition. I was quite annoyed when I asked my 18-year old grandson to return my camping-gaz stove and cartridge and he casually remarked that he had left it in the woods when he got drunk with his mates. His mother just offered to buy me a new one, which wasn't the point I wanted her to make. He has left several expensive bikes out in the rain to rust - perhaps it is a case of easy come, easy go, but someone had to work to pay for those bikes and it certainly wasn't him.

crimson Tue 27-Dec-11 22:11:00

When I was staying at the S.O.'s flat I got a big blob of mascara on the bedroom curtains, but found this amazing stain remover they were selling in Morrisons that cleaned it straight off. In fact, there are some incredibly good stain removers on sale now. I find that I'm always on tenderhooks in other peoples homes because they are so clean and smart but no one bothers in my house because it's so old and 'lived in'. If I'm honest with myself it does annoy me a bit. I want a house that people feel comfortable in, but would like a bit of respect for it as well.

gracesmum Tue 27-Dec-11 22:25:48

I wonder if our sitting room is a disaster waiting to happen as the sofas are off-white and the carpet is a light straw/beige colour. I do get angry at (adult) people with muddy shoes or worse coming in, but most people around here take their shoes off as a matter of course as it is the country, but we have a dog with big paws so prevention is better than cure!I try to remember to shut the door so that she can't come in when she has just been out in the garden for instance , but 1001 /Vanish is my stand by. I'd like to know the name of the Morrisons one crimson please?
As Littlest Fella is only 19 months we obviously keep all drinks out of reach, but I have kicked over a cup of hot chocolate, spilt tea and coffee and got away with it. The worst was apple juice as the sugar in that was hard to clear.
Good stain remover is essential as I like to keep things nice, but my mum was a bit paranoid and I dread sounding like her!!!

Greatnan Tue 27-Dec-11 22:43:24

Spills are always easier to deal with if you can get to them quickly. My sister was visiting me once and spilt her coffee on my pale green carpet She put a foot stool over the stain so I didn't see it until she had gone home. I wouldn't have been annoyed had she told me at once, as accidents do happen, but I did wish she had been upfront about it. Another time, she turned on my washing machine whilst I was out at work, and I had put a red dress in, waiting for washing. My sister did not check and I ended up with a full load of pink whites. Even then, I would not have minded, but she took the offending (very expensive and ruined dres, which had a big white collar) and shoved it behind the cistern in the airing cupboard. I normally overlook anything she does, on the grounds that she is a bit 'scatty', but I did ask her why she did that, and she said because she thought I would be angry. I found it quite hard to make her see that concealing it was far more likely to make me annoyed (I don't get angry, it is usually a waste of emotional capital). She also defended herself on the grounds that she kept her dirty washing in a laundry basket, not in the machine, so she didn't think to check.
It was a very small kitchen, with no room for a laundry basket, but I would have had the common (uncommon?) sense to check whenever I was going to use a washing machine.
The ironic thing is that she told me exactly the same kind of thing about our mother, who had broken one of her ornaments and hid the pieces!

harrigran Tue 27-Dec-11 23:27:47

I can empathise, I was a clumsy child and an even clumsier adult. I can't see a wine glass without knocking it over. I did it at lunch on Christmas eve and again on Christmas day. The more I worry about it the clumsier I get. I used to get into awful bother at home as a child and the more I was scolded the worse I got.

bagitha Wed 28-Dec-11 06:51:26

Natural reaction, nanapug. The child has to learn about those. You can apologise if you think you over reacted. She is old enough to understand about immediate upsets that then calm down. I'm sure the experience will have done her no lasting harm.

bagitha Wed 28-Dec-11 06:52:56

harri, I'm the same with wine-glasses. So much so that I now use a short tumbler glass for my wine.

Mamie Wed 28-Dec-11 07:29:56

Nanapug - I am sure would have reacted like you. Then I would have hugged her and said sorry I shouted, but I did mind a bit about my new carpet. Then I would try not to beat myself up about it, as to my mind, natural and honest reactions are an important part of family life.

Greatnan Wed 28-Dec-11 07:48:56

I have carpet tiles now , with plenty of spares, so if I ever did get a bad stain I would simply replace the tile.

absentgrana Wed 28-Dec-11 12:47:45

When I was a child it was quite common to be invited for tea on a Sunday afternoon – complete with little sandwiches, fairy cakes and embroidered tablecloth. I, almost invariably, managed to knock over a teacup and stain the hand-embroidered tablecloth. (I even managed to do it when the child next door was christened.) I can recall one of my aunts saying to my mother that she would never invite that clumsy child to tea again. She certainly never meant it and I loved her devotedly until the day she died in 1997 and she is still an important figure in my life, my daughter's life and that of all who knew and loved her. I was just a very enthusiastic and boisterous child and always deeply sorry if I made a mess by accident. At least now, I have the hand-embroidered – and lovingly laundered – tablecloths that remind me of a deeply loved family member. A few cross words on one occasion cannot begin to cancel a lifetime of loving support.

Mamie Wed 28-Dec-11 12:51:03

Did they have one of those wooden three-tier foldy up things to put cakes etc on? Always very spectacular when that collapsed / got knocked over...

absentgrana Wed 28-Dec-11 13:02:56

No, delicate glass and porcelain – but I don't think I actually broke any of those. It was usually just flying teacups – I have always had arms like an ourang-utan. Btw my lovely aunt adored children and was never really mimsy primsy. One of my happiest memories is having lunch with her and my cousins – grown-ups in a different room – eating them with our fingers and then hurling the bones on to the open fire.

absentgrana Wed 28-Dec-11 13:03:37

Eating the chops – not the grown-ups.

maxgran Thu 05-Jan-12 13:59:15

My daughter has 4 children and although a good mother - she is quite sloppy in her attitude to tidyness and cleanliness and she doesn't teach her children to respect the furniture or belongings. SHe lets them charge around, jump on the sofa and knock things over and break things - and it drives me nuts !
When they are at our house I don't allow them to charge around - they can do that outside ! I also tell them to be careful of things - they KNOW the rules are different at my house.
I always hold my daughter responsible fo rtheir behaviour - so when 'accidents' happen I tend to nag at her !