Babysitting grandchild with a cold? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 09-03-2014, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Babysitting grandchild with a cold?

So, really, is it that bad that I think grandma and grandpa can handle a happy, sniffly toddler?

My husband and I had arranged for his parents to watch our daughter this saturday afternoon so we could go to a local festival with our friends. We don't do this sort of thing often at all. In fact, it's the first event we've planned ahead and gotten tickets for since our daughter was born, I think. And these friends? We haven't seen them all together in almost 2 years. Needless to say we've been really looking forward to it!

Well, our daughter seems to have picked up a common cold. She is OK, just the usual runny nose and mild fever (never over 100).

Now, her grandparents (who are not feeble or immunocompromised) have told us they don't want to babysit, and I don't know if my feelings are reasonable, or just "butthurt."

On the one hand, I know parenting is about sacrifices and all that jazz, so I get it. I also understand not wanting to get sick. But we are by no means short on sacrifice, and basic hygiene has kept us from catching whatever she's got, so couldn't they too just wash their hands a lot?

On the other hand, I am very frustrated because things are always being cancelled in our family due to a mild sore throat, etc. It's hard to be understanding when this is maybe the 4th of 5th time they've cancelled on us for babysitting or a family outing due to "illness." Before it was always that one of them had a slight cough and got nervous. None of the times what it actually an illness.

Related, I also found out they used to let my husband skip school and play video games a lot to cure all manner of "mysterious" flus. Apparently, they take even the mildest of sniffles or tummy rumbles quite seriously.

My question to the community is mainly wether you all think it's truly wrong or unjust for us to want to still go to this event.

We won't go this time, since we have no choice, but I want to know if it's at all reasonable that I am really irked by how many times things get cancelled due to little things like this. I mean... don't kids get an average of like 4-7 colds a year? That's a lot of quarantines. Is it really that big of a deal?

I am worried because it's made me realize we have no back-up plan for in the future, when we may both exhaust the number of days we can take off of work, and then who will stay home with the baby? I had assumed we could turn to family for help, but now I feel like I need to be looking for a professional emergency sitter, and it's so hard to get a toddler to accept a new caregiver! We just went through hell and back to get her settled in at daycare.

I think I am just worried about the patterns this is setting is up for. They get very touchy when we don't plan enough time for them to spend with her, but then I feel like I can't count on them when I make plans. They've cancelled on me so many times!

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#2 of 6 Old 09-04-2014, 02:01 AM
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I don't think it is at all wrong for you to be disappointed at missing the event. But I also think it's reasonable for people not to want to mind a sick child. You catch a cold via aerosol transmission so just hand washing is no guarantee when you are having close, prolonged contact.

It does sound like they've made their position on illness/quarantining pretty clear so i think you will need to have an alternative, emergency carer lined up.

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#3 of 6 Old 09-16-2014, 03:19 PM
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I think it's totally reasonable to inform the grandparents of the cold and still ask if they'd babysit. The thing with your situation is you pretty much know the answer should a sniffle appear. I'd ask around for a reference for a good teen babysitter.

It sounds annoying to have the illness problem come up so often when you feel it's unnecessary. I'm sorry you're missing something you'd planned for.

As to whether it's reasonable for them to decline, yeah, it's totally up to them.
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#4 of 6 Old 09-16-2014, 07:06 PM
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Closer to 10 illnesses/year on average, if they're in group settings.

I think its just a sign of their drop-everything-for-a-sniffle mentality. I think you are justified in wanting them to watch- but they aren't that kind of people. I've left my DD with a pretty bad cold with my mom, she was very encouraging of it. After all, she survived my entire childhood worth of colds. Clearly she knows how to take care of a congested kid. I feel like a cold is a consequence of life generally. Often people are contagious for viral illnesses before and after they have symptoms, and every work setting I've been in, if I called out for every runny nose I'd probably be fired (and of course, my coworkers expect me to be washing my hands, and wipe surfaces down, etc). It's just life. Now, when you're immune compromised it's a different story, you should be careful and people around you should be careful and respectful too. But it sounds like the grandparents just have a different philosophy than you or I.
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#5 of 6 Old 09-17-2014, 05:52 PM
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We always gave anybody who would come in contact with our kids a warning and choice to opt out, even if it was only one with a sniffle. Some people just did't want to deal with it, and I felt it was their choice. It's really hard to 100% prevent virus transmission with kids that young. Once one of mine coughed something straight into my mouth, and I certainly got a lot of snot smeared on me. Part of escaping getting sick is just luck, and part of it is your immune system and whether you've seen the particular bug before. It's not all cleanliness type stuff.

I hope I'm the grandma who says sure and takes care of the little one, because I remember my grandma really being there for me when I didn't feel well - sicker than just sniffly.
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#6 of 6 Old 09-20-2014, 03:13 PM - Thread Starter
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It turns out I didn't have to say a single word for grandma and grandpa to realize that if this is the case, we'd always be booking with an outside sitter, and they came over anyway. DD's cold was almost over, they had a lovely day together, and no one else got sick.
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