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When your child destroys things at another child's house....

post #1 of 85
Thread Starter 
Ok I need a little help here, we have a situation and I want to make sure I am handling it appropriately and would like some opinions from some wise people!

We were visiting some very close friends last night, friends that we visit with at least weekly. Our DD (almost 3) and their DD (2.5) were playing in their DD's room. We typically let them play by themselves, checking in on them every 15-20 minutes or so and they have always been fine.

Until last night...

My DD came out covered in black marker, carrying a stuffed animal also covered in black marker. We went in to the bedroom and found marker all over the walls, the comforter, and a huge life sized fraggle character. Fan freaking tastic. That's also when I realized that it was actually dry erase markers they were playing with, and that it would be more of a challenge to get out than washable markers.

So, we get out the magic erasers (my first experience with those, and wow!) got the walls clean. They washed the small stuffed animal and comforter and it won't come out. They called a dry cleaners, and were told likely there isn't anything that can be done. I took the huge fraggle home and went to work, looked up online remedies, tried Murphy's oil and will try alcohol today when we can get some. It's faded for sure, and hopefully will even more when I tackle it later.

We offered to replace the comforter and the small stuffed animal, which are both reasonably priced. The fraggle however is over $150 and we just can't do it right now. I am on mat-leave, and with it being just before christmas we are strapped enough and will likely not be able to have that kind of extra cash until at least February.

Right now I am torn between feeling horribly guilty about the damage, and kind of ticked that there were permanent markers accessible to the kids. They put a dry erase white board in their DD's room for her with several markers, and I didn't realize it was even there. We let our DD use markers, but strictly supervised and washable only. We also have no idea if it was just my DD that was the offender since no one was in there, however the evidence certainly points that way greensad.gif

So my question is, would you replace the expensive doll? Anything else I should do that I haven't thought of? Any ideas on how to get dry erase marker out?

Blah, this sucks!
post #2 of 85

Did they seem to indicate it was a problem? I mean, if it were my kid's doll and there was some marker on it, whatever! It's a kid's doll, of course it's going to get dirty and the kids probably dont even notice. If the parents were kinda insisting to replace it then I'd just tell them that with the holidays it'll be tough but you can replace it in March (give yourself some leeway!) and just bite the $$ bullet.
 

post #3 of 85
Thread Starter 
I think they are quite upset, they are definitely the type of people that take extreme care of their things and make sure that nothing gets damaged. I could tell last night they were upset because they were barely talking to us and the mood changed right away. When I told her I would replace the comforter last night she just said "yeah"...and that was it. I am more hoping I can get him looking good enough that it won't be an issue, but yeah if not then we are buying a gigantic fraggle this spring.
post #4 of 85

Honestly... I'm surprised by their reaction. Do they not take any responsibility in this at all?

 

Anyone with toddlers should know that things happen. Toys get ruined and every once in a while, something happens that makes you wonder how they'd even think of destroying something in the manner they did. :)  

 

If this were my house and it happened, I'd shrug it off. Sure, it'd be better that things weren't ruined, but they didn't check on the children either so it's not ANYONE'S fault 100%, you know? You've taken the comforter to clean it, said how sorry you were. Hopefully their reaction was just one of surprise and not being truly upset. It's just stuff. 

post #5 of 85

If this happened at my house I wouldn't even care. If you let kids play by themselves (not saying that you shouldn't have as they are a fine age for that) you can expect things like that to happen every once in awhile! But in order to keep the peace with your friends, maybe offer to replace it after the holidays when you have more cash. Hopefully they will be reasonable and tell you not to worry about it! I can't imagine making a friend pay to replace a ridiculously expensive stuffed animal.

post #6 of 85

You have to pay if your child did it. Offer to pay in 3 installements. At three a child should know not to paint everything.

post #7 of 85

Oh no!  faint.gif

 

I'll speak from the perspective of a neatnik that takes "extreme" care of everything in her home.  (I had to laugh at the "extreme".  I like it!)

If this happened at my house, I would not assume that my little guest was the only guilty party.  I would not ask for recompense.  I would accept the offer to replace the quilt and the small stuffed animal and not expect anything for the huge, expensive doll.  Frankly, I wouldn't have dry erase markers unlocked in a toddlers room.  However, you said these are close friends.  Can you point out that both girls were in the room, both girls should be assumed "guilty", and you cannot afford to replace the large doll?  I think this merits a conversation.  Their mood change may simply have been dismay at the mess, and not anger or upset at you.  I know that when I have a guest over that has made a mess, I am suddenly very, very tense, because I'm desperate to clean up, but I don't want to bust out the steamer and whatnot for fear of further embarassing the mess-maker.  

post #8 of 85
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alenushka View Post

You have to pay if your child did it. Offer to pay in 3 installements. At three a child should know not to paint everything.

Well....she doesn't. She's never really been into markers or colouring, whenever we get out her colouring books and crayons she would rather pretend they are talking to each other instead of colour, so we haven't really had the chance to work with her too much. Obviously it's something we need to do.
post #9 of 85

I'm on Team Both Families Bear Some Responsibility Here. The parents who put dry erase markers in a toddler's bedroom AND the kid who made the mess. Of course a toddler is going to make a mess with markers, so keeping them within reach was silly. If I was making a court ruling, I'd order equal payment. 

 

Having said that, I guess it depends on how comfortable you are having a conversation with the other parents about the situation. Also, how much you want to preserve the relationship. Finally, how resentful you will feel if you have to pay the entire cost and whether that resentment will linger.

 

You've offered to pay for the comforter. If you can't get the doll clean, then I'd have an honest conversation with them about the cost of replacement. I don't think you are obligated, but you may decide it's the price you pay to stay friendly with them. 

 

As for any other suggestions, I'd probably gift them with some washable markers, unless they have no sense of humour. 

 

I promise you that this is one of those stories that you will laugh over eventually. It may take 10 or 15 years, but you will. 

post #10 of 85
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsGregory View Post

Oh no!  faint.gif

I'll speak from the perspective of a neatnik that takes "extreme" care of everything in her home.  (I had to laugh at the "extreme".  I like it!)
If this happened at my house, I would not assume that my little guest was the only guilty party.  I would not ask for recompense.  I would accept the offer to replace the quilt and the small stuffed animal and not expect anything for the huge, expensive doll.  Frankly, I wouldn't have dry erase markers unlocked in a toddlers room.  However, you said these are close friends.  Can you point out that both girls were in the room, both girls should be assumed "guilty", and you cannot afford to replace the large doll?  I think this merits a conversation.  Their mood change may simply have been dismay at the mess, and not anger or upset at you.  I know that when I have a guest over that has made a mess, I am suddenly very, very tense, because I'm desperate to clean up, but I don't want to bust out the steamer and whatnot for fear of further embarassing the mess-maker.  

Haha! I hope you know I didn't mean extreme = bad, they have nice things and keep them in good shape. They just aren't as relaxed as I am about stuff getting wear and tear and marked up etc. Thanks for your perspective about their reaction, it makes sense and gives me an alternative to them being mad at us smile.gif
post #11 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by kristah1000 View Post

Well....she doesn't. She's never really been into markers or colouring, whenever we get out her colouring books and crayons she would rather pretend they are talking to each other instead of colour, so we haven't really had the chance to work with her too much. Obviously it's something we need to do.

This, combined with the fact that your child was covered but not the other one makes me think the other child was coloring. If just the hands and a smudge here and there, maybe your child did the coloring. If it was more than that on your child, it sounds like the other child colored your child.

Either way, both sets of parents share responsibility. They do for providing the markers and not warning you, even if their child did any coloring. Again, I think the other child colored, too.
post #12 of 85

2 of my 3 kids have completly covered themselves with marker, so I don't really think you can blame the other child for that. At age three I am sure your doughter would have told you if the other kid colored her. I would say that I couldn't afford to replace the fraggle until after christmas. If the other parents are decent they will probably say, don't worry about it. It is hard to know what they are most upset about it. Maybe the fraggle if they were willing to pay so much for it in tehifrst place. Did they tell you how expensive it was after this happened or did you already know? I personally would have been the most upset with the walls. I did not know that dry erase markers don't come off of fabric. Maybe they didn't either.

post #13 of 85

2 of my 3 kids have completly covered themselves with marker, so I don't really think you can blame the other child for that. At age three I am sure your doughter would have told you if the other kid colored her. I would say that I couldn't afford to replace the fraggle until after christmas. If the other parents are decent they will probably say, don't worry about it. It is hard to know what they are most upset about it. Maybe the fraggle if they were willing to pay so much for it in tehifrst place. Did they tell you how expensive it was after this happened or did you already know? I personally would have been the most upset with the walls. I did not know that dry erase markers don't come off of fabric. Maybe they didn't either.

post #14 of 85

Id pay for the fraggle later because Id want to keep the friendship stress free, but Id make it really clear that I thought it was pretty silly to put markers in a 2 year olds room. Id also hesitate to let them play unattended for fear of having to replace more stuff. 

post #15 of 85

How is the fraggle character coming out now? Do you think it's salvageable? What a bummer of a situation! I'd pay for everything too, when you can, and be generous with taking the blame too even though it seems that more than one party was at fault. These things can have a way of marring a friendship, so I'd just make sure they know you're feeling bad about it and will do what you can. Sometimes even a nice note or another small apology helps -- once, my potty training toddler peed on a neatnik friend's sofa. She told me she'd steam clean it herself (and reassured me that it was no biggie) but I sent her a note and baked her a zucchini bread anyway, just so she knew I wasn't blowing it off.  (Not that you are, since you've already offered to replace the comforter and are doing what you can to fix the fraggle ... just that since you mention things were a little frosty when you left that night, if I were in your shoes I'd make sure to stay in touch with them to keep more distance from growing.)

 

I also want to mention that to your friends it may not have been silly to have markers in a 2 year old's room. Especially if it's their only child, I could see how it could not occur to them that other kids may use materials differently. My 3 year old has had open, unsupervised access in her room to paints, markers, colored pencils etc. (some washable, some not) since she started using them around age 1.5 to 2. She just never draws on anything she shouldn't, and I don't even think about it anymore. Once she did have a little playmate over who markered all over his hands and her little table, and I remember feeling chagrined that I didn't think about the fact that they were in her room or that he might use them differently than she does. It just slipped my mind ... and I have an older kid (who once splattered paint all over her room) and have taught preschool, so it's not ignorance. Just that folks can't always be expected to pre-empt everything, especially if we're used to the way our own kid plays. I obviously don't think they should be mad -- your child was doing something totally typical for her age, and this is a good learning experience for the parents -- but it seems like in parenting we're constantly confronted with those "oh crap" lesson moments.

post #16 of 85
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies, it's definitely helped me gain some perspective smile.gif

I did know how expensive it was, it was a gift from one of their friends to their DD and they (my friends) couldn't believe how much they had paid. I got another message saying to not stress about getting her clean, I definitely think they are more concerned about the comforter than anything else because it matches her room.

As for Red, she is looking better. It's faded a ton, you can still see it a bit but I think it might be ok enough to not replace it. We will chat with them about it to be sure, but so far that's the impression I am getting from them. It is super hard to clean her though because she is so big and awkward (almost as big as me). My DH keeps making jokes about the fraggle that died on our kitchen counter lol!

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts on the markers. As far as I know, they have never had any issues with their DD marking on things, but she has been big into colouring and they have worked with her more than we have with DD. I don't think my friends thought anything about it, and they had no idea that dry erase markers aren't washable.

Lesson learned for sure! The girls will be watched much more closely from now on, and I had our markers out this morning to try to drill it in to DD's head that she can only mark on paper orngtongue.gif. hope she gets it soon!
post #17 of 85

Clearly my diverging opinion is needed here...ROTFLMAO.gif

 

I would NOT expect to have to pay for anything in this situation and I would not EVER expect anyone to pay for damage made by toddlers who found markers playing in a toddler's room. No way!  I would have apologized for leaving the markers out and tried to brush the situation off. I think most kids have a run-in with markers on the wall. Yea, it's often before 3...but I'm thinking that the two kids in there was part of the dynamic. I think if the 2.5 year old was not involved she/he would have come to get a parent far before it got this bad. 

 

In my experience, I child-proof for my own kids and then am always surprised what little ones get into at my house. And vise versa. This shoe will be on the other foot for this family some day - some way. 

 

So, no, I would not stress over this, would probably have offered to help pay but would not have expected to be taken up on the offer. And...$150 toy for a toddler...left in a room with dry-erase. I don't know. That's far outside of my experience with parent friends. Also, I don't know what a Fraggle is. orngtongue.gif  

 

Sorry you had such a stressful and expensive play date, mama!

post #18 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post

Clearly my diverging opinion is needed here...ROTFLMAO.gif

I would NOT expect to have to pay for anything in this situation and I would not EVER expect anyone to pay for damage made by toddlers who found markers playing in a toddler's room. No way!  I would have apologized for leaving the markers out and tried to brush the situation off. I think most kids have a run-in with markers on the wall. Yea, it's often before 3...but I'm thinking that the two kids in there was part of the dynamic. I think if the 2.5 year old was not involved she/he would have come to get a parent far before it got this bad. 

In my experience, I child-proof for my own kids and then am always surprised what little ones get into at my house. And vise versa. This shoe will be on the other foot for this family some day - some way. 

So, no, I would not stress over this, would probably have offered to help pay but would not have expected to be taken up on the offer. And...$150 toy for a toddler...left in a room with dry-erase. I don't know. That's far outside of my experience with parent friends. Also, I don't know what a Fraggle is. orngtongue.gif   

Sorry you had such a stressful and expensive play date, mama!

Totally agree with this. Being financially in a rough spot myself, I wouldn't have even offered to pay for any of it (though I might have baked them cookies or something as a peace offering). If I could afford it, though, offering to pay would be a nice & appropriate gesture. I think splitting the cost with them is also acceptable, and they should own 50% of the responsibility.

I have a friend like that who "takes extreme care" of their things. It's actually caused a lot of tension in our relationship. I think it's perfectly reasonable to expect kids to play with whatever is in reach, especially if it looks sort of like a toy, and if the host hasn't taken any initiative to explain their unique rules to me or DS. She gets upset if DS plays with certain things but there is absolutely no way to know by looking (even for me, as an adult!) which things are acceptable to play with & which aren't. Obviously markers is another story since most people agree that markers don't go on walls but I don't really see why someone would leave markers in reach & the kids unsupervised if they had a lot of concern for their things. I don't even care much about our possessions and I still don't leave markers out for DS to use unsupervised, and if I did I'd remove them when friends visit. The frustrating thing too is that 3-year-olds are starting to learn how to lie (this happens with my friend, her DS lies and says my DS did something and she believes him until I tell her later that I saw the whole thing and her DS actually did it... awkward....) OK maybe too much of my personal baggage getting into my post here lol...
post #19 of 85

Ouch!  The crazy things kids do when you aren't looking...I tell ya, that's a doozy.  And yes, dry erase markers sure are hard to "erase"--a classroom full of  teenagers could probably do less damage with a multipack of sharpies than two todders with one dry erase pen).  I definitely would not leave one unattended with a toddler, no matter how "good" they were with them. 

 

Regardless of blame attribution, I'd take the high road and offer to pay for what you can (if salvaging the friendship is important to you). 

post #20 of 85
Thread Starter 
Ok so we spent NYE with our friends and I have a few updates to what is becoming much more of a saga than I would like it to be greensad.gif

First, the good: they don't want the fraggle replaced. They actually don't even want it anymore, as it takes up too much room and their DD doesn't play with it. So, that's a huge relief since it was the most expensive.

Now, the not so good:

As we were coming in the door last night their DD greeted us at the top of their stairs with "HI!! You're not allowed to write on the walls DD!" In front of a huge group of our friends, and they all burst out laughing. My DD was embarrassed, and needed a snuggle for a few minutes greensad.gif

When my friend and I had a few minutes alone, I asked her about the price of the second stuffed animal that I said we would replace. She told me she actually has 2 of them because another family member also bought one, so she just got that one out. I asked if she still wanted me to replace it and she said yes. Not that it's a big deal, but you already have a new one, why would you want a 2nd one? I don't get it but whatever.

While the girls were playing I was watching my DD like a hawk. They ran into their DDs bedroom, and immediately my friends gave me the video monitor and said "here, watch them in this." I took it to mean here, don't leave your daughter unsupervised. I didn't intend to, and certainly don't have issue with watching my child, however it's the attitude that she's not welcome to play there anymore, that she made one mistake and now can never be trusted. Fine.

Then, their DD got out crayons and her colouring books for the girls to share. I was sitting beside my DD and our friend (the husband) jumped right up and said "that marks on things, so I am going to take it away" and took the crayons from my DD. she got upset, we got ready and left. (We were planning to leave anyway, so it wasn't obvious that this was why we were leaving.)

So now it's no longer about replacing the things that have been damaged, it's the attitude that after one mistake instead of making it a learning opportunity for my DD she has lost all trust from them and we no longer feel welcome there. This sucks, and seriously doesn't have to be that big of a deal. I am just sad for my DD I guess and don't know where to go from here. I want to keep the relationship, but don't want to go visit somewhere where we don't feel welcome and feel stressed all the time and can't visit. greensad.gif
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