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Play Date Etiquette

I am hoping to get some advice on the polite thing to do.

I have 2 elementary school age kids, who ride on a school bus daily. They have plenty of friends in general and their play dates fall in one of two types. School friends are usually dropped off or picked up by us from school and their parents collect them some time later. Occasionally the parents stay for a a bit to chat with us, but these dates are predominantly kids only. For our family friends usually the mother or the father stays – so both kids and parents have time with their respective friends (these happen more often on weekends or evenings when both families have finished work). I should also say that with school friends we host play dates probably twice as much as we send our kids somewhere. We like hosting and having the kids play at home is no trouble at all. My husband and I both work from home and kids that age do not need much supervision any more, one of us can step out to help and come back to our work.

One exception is a neighborhood girl of similar age to my kids. Her house is on the way to our home from the school bus and my kids have fallen into the habit of stopping there for a half hour play date a couple of times a week. This is always by invitation from the girl and her sitter, actually the invitation is extended almost daily, but my kids have sports after school some days, so not all days work. My impression is that it’s easier for the sitter if the girl has company, the kids have fun, and since the invitations keep coming (often the sitter will stop by in advance to get my permission to have them come over) it’s probably mutually beneficial. The mother of the girl has been to our house once staying over a birthday party and knows our kids too, no problems from her and she is at work during these dates anyway. I have recently made my children bring some snacks to share since I noticed they often get treating to snacks at the other place.

My dilemma is to what extent can I have this going on without reciprocating. As I mentioned above we host often and we find kids no trouble. The issue is that this kid comes with a sitter. We have invited them a couple of times and the lady comes as well and stays. It’s a bit awkward, since either we have to stop working for the whole time and chat with her, or send her join the kids in basement or backyard wherever they are playing, which seems impolite. It would be incredibly easier if she would be willing to drop off the girl and collect her later, but I haven’t dared suggest that. Don’t get me wrong, nothing against her personally, but this is still during the work day for us and not convenient.

What is the proper thing to do? Keep going as now, extend invitation occasionally and just bear the awkwardness, ask the sitter to do drop off? 0322-17


Children As Political Pawns

Over 11 years ago, when this blog was in its infancy, I posted a strongly worded opinion post about anti-war protestors invading the residential space of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.    When you have a basic principle that an action is wrong, it’s wrong regardless of who the victims or who the perpetrators are on the political spectrum.   It was wrong then and it’s wrong now although in retrospect the protestors 11 year ago were mild compared to what is happening today.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson was at his desk Wednesday evening, less than two hours before his 8 p.m. live show, when he suddenly started receiving multiple text messages.

There was some sort of commotion happening outside his home in Northwest D.C.

“I called my wife,” Carlson told The Washington Post in a phone interview. “She had been in the kitchen alone getting ready to go to dinner and she heard pounding on the front door and screaming. … Someone started throwing himself against the front door and actually cracked the front door.”

His wife, thinking it was a home invasion, locked herself in the pantry and called 911, Carlson said. The couple have four children, but none were home at the time.


Antifa thugs chanted “Tucker Carlson, we will fight. We know where you sleep at night”, the oak front door of the house was cracked after being pounded on and the security camera caught someone mentioning a “mail bomb”.     These thugs had blocked off both ends of the neighborhood street and posted online the addresses of not just Carlson but also the addresses of his brother and his best friend.

The timing of this home attack wasn’t a coincidence. Carlson was not home but at work meaning that the assault on the house was meant to terrorize the Carlson children and Carlson’s wife.   Miserable cowards drag the innocent into their dramas, children particularly, using them as shields and soft targets.   Vile.  The neighbors on that street are collateral damage as their safety and their freedom to move freely with an expectation of not being in the midst of a melee that appears to be on the verge of violence has been diminished.

You have a beef with a politician or political pundit? Get a permit and protest at their office.


To Wait Or Not To Wait…That Is The Pot Luck

I’ll keep this short and sweet:

You’re invited to a pot luck lunch with a group of people at noon, and then cards at 1:00. Everyone brings their dish and places it on the countertop. But, at 12:10 the hostess has not even put her dish in the oven yet. What do you do if you are the hostess?

1. Tell your guests to eat the food that is out (some items are hot) and have yours when it is finished.
2. Tell your guests to wait to eat anything until the item in the oven is finished.
3. Put your dish away and eat with everyone. 1107-18

Option 1


Thanksgiving Hosting Advice

I am looking for advice for hosting a thanksgiving feast next year.

Previously my mother has hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas eve, but my father is now gone so my sister and I are taking over.

I have a more formal layout to my home, so I agreed to host Thanksgiving and she will host Christmas Eve. That is not an issue. The issue is how to stop some rather odd issues I simply hadn’t anticipated. I am hoping for advice on how to nip them on the bud politely as my mother is a big stickler on being me remaining polite and I don’t want to start (another) family feud.

The house is an old Victorian with one door the front and two that lead into the side and back of the kitchen. Everyone walked around the house – passing by the front door where people in the living room were clearly visible (my in-laws were in the living room and the game was on the tv), and came in the side door into the kitchen where I was frantically cooking and really needed my space. Can I ask them to use the main door or even go back around without being rude? I have a large front porch and wood floors so it was not a matter of trying to spare the carpeting or anything.

Then came my sister’s spouse (A) and her mother in law (B). Her spouse demanded my husband hang up her coat, he was running about setting up so instead of serving her he politely directed her to the coat rack by the front door. A got pissed that he would not tend to her and literally threw her coat across the living room at the coat rack. Never mind we had the fireplace lit so that wasn’t safe for her property, it was exceptionally rude. What can I do to get them to use the front door and the coat rack like grown adults without inciting another tantrum?

While attempting to lay out dinner on the table people kept wandering into the kitchen. Is there a nice way to tell them to go away for 15 minutes? Should I post a guard? I can’t imagine why they thought that was the right time to send a young child into the kitchen asking for a different drink.

B then brought out a camera and proceeded to take pictures of everything, even when asked not to. She told me she was on a mission to take pictures of all the animals… I did not want nor ask her too but I was fine with that if it made her happy. What I wasn’t fine with was the stalking of the people that did not want pictures taken – including myself, my MIL, my husband, and my mother. I eventually asked her to stop because it felt like the paparazzi was fallowing me about and she told me ‘that was just the way it is’. I told her it was not that way in my home and we were in my home and it was making people uncomfortable. She put the camera down for about five minutes before resuming her reign of terror. My mother has told me she intends to tell her she is not invited if she brings the camera, but could I do anything to stop this? Everyone hated it and I feel bad that I couldn’t stop it.

My mother in law then tried to help so kindly by assisting with the dishes. I am still searching for my dishes (how do you hide a dozen water glasses? It has been almost a week and I still haven’t tracked them down!) What polite tricks does anyone have to share with me to nip that one in the bud? My knife block was positively barren but I have been discovering shears and knives all over the place!

I won’t go into the attitude A threw because it was her first time at our house even though she declined one dinner invitation already and we have only owned it for 7 months! I figure that battle is best ignored as A likes to be dramatic and it is easiest to not acknowledge her tantrums.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I have the cooking down pat, but handling family is like herding cats and I could use some helpful hints!

Thank you in advance for anything you have to give. 1128-17