Author Topic: Seated at the kids' table  (Read 3924 times)

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Bexx27

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Seated at the kids' table
« on: January 25, 2012, 12:42:47 PM »
This happened on Christmas and I meant to post about it then, but got distracted and just remembered.

DH's mom and stepdad live several hundred miles away from us. For Christmas they stay with DH's oldest stepbrother and his family, who live about an hour's drive away from us. For Christmas this year we joined their family gathering. There were 14 people there, 11 adults and 3 children (the hosting stepbrother's 9- and 6-year-olds and my 2.5-year-old). There were 2 tables set up, one with 10 seats and one with 4. There were name cards telling us where to sit. I was seated at the 4-person table with the 3 children.

I didn't say anything to the hosts, but I was very offended by the arrangement. I understand that they couldn't just add a chair to the bigger table because there were only 10 chairs of the correct height (it was a high table), so the split had to be 10 and 4. But - why me? DD is old enough to eat without close supervision. If I were the hostess in that situation I would either take the 4th "kids' table" seat myself or just not divide tables based on age so no adult would end up at a table without any other adults. I would never stick just one adult guest at the kids' table, treating them like an afterthought whose inclusion in the adult celebration doesn't particularly matter.

FWIW, both DH and MIL offered to trade seats with me, but I declined because it's their family and they rarely get to spend time together.

So my questions: Am I being unreasonable? Would you be offended if you were me? Would you wonder if it was an intentional slight (I am leaning toward simple thoughtlessness)? Would you consider doing anything differently next year? How would you have divided the tables if you were hosting in this situation?
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these. -George Washington Carver

WhiteTigerCub

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Re: Seated at the kids' table
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2012, 12:52:54 PM »
The host may not have realized your 2.5 year old could eat pretty well without an adult nearby.  I know 10 year olds that a lot of help/supervision during meals sometimes. I don't think it was a personal slight to you in anyway. 


Arizona

lowspark

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Re: Seated at the kids' table
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2012, 01:15:58 PM »
I think it was pretty rude. Not only did they separate you from all the other adults, but they also made it so you couldn't sit next to your husband. Unless they split up all the couples, then this is really off. With three kids and one table for four, they may have not been able to figure out how to split it up. I would have either put all the kids at the main table, thus having a second table with all adults, or just let everyone pick their own seats. My sister does this at thanksgiving. Some people sit in the dining room, some in the kitchen. Everyone just picks a seat so there's no deliberate separation of generations.

Dorrie78

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Re: Seated at the kids' table
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2012, 01:28:35 PM »
The host may not have realized your 2.5 year old could eat pretty well without an adult nearby.  I know 10 year olds that a lot of help/supervision during meals sometimes. I don't think it was a personal slight to you in anyway.
This is a really good point. Although I think the hostess should have just left the seating open, I could totally see her thinking "who should be seated with the 2.5 year old? Her mother." It does make sense, as irritating as it might be to be stuck at the kids table.

audrey1962

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Re: Seated at the kids' table
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2012, 01:41:36 PM »
When I first read your OP, I thought, "that makes sense as they probably assumed she wanted to be with her children" but then I re-read it and realized that two of the children weren't yours! Were you expected to assist those children as well?

QueenofAllThings

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Re: Seated at the kids' table
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2012, 01:45:13 PM »
While I think it's perfectly normal to sit a parent (not necessarily the mother) next to a toddler, had I been the hostess, I would have split the tables differently - instead of 10 and 4, I would have done 8 and 6, say. If that wasn't possible, I would have put 3 adults and one child at the small table, and 8 adults and two children at the big table.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Seated at the kids' table
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2012, 01:49:40 PM »
The host may not have realized your 2.5 year old could eat pretty well without an adult nearby.  I know 10 year olds that a lot of help/supervision during meals sometimes. I don't think it was a personal slight to you in anyway.
This is a really good point. Although I think the hostess should have just left the seating open, I could totally see her thinking "who should be seated with the 2.5 year old? Her mother." It does make sense, as irritating as it might be to be stuck at the kids table.

I don't think they did it to be mean unless there are other factors.  I do think they thought the 2 yr old would need a parent.  I have a 2.5 yr old neice and a 4 yr old nephew who's parents still want to have at least one fo them sit at the table with them. 

I had an aunt who's policy was the mom (never the dad) with the youngest child had to sit in the breakfast room with the kids until all kids were over 5. 

It's one of the reason's I don't do kid's tables.  In this case, 4 adults would have been at one table with all 3 kids and the other 7 at the larger one. 

rashea

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Re: Seated at the kids' table
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2012, 01:56:21 PM »
Regardless of an assumption that you would need to help the 2.5 year old, I can't imagine having one adult excluded. I'd have found a way to have at least 2 adults at that table, or split the tables differently. There's no way I can see this not causing hurt feelings.
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cicero

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Re: Seated at the kids' table
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2012, 02:04:22 PM »
it sounds hurtful - you were the *only* one who was at the other table.

I am trying to understand what the set up was - was this two tables pushed together with the children and you at one end, or was this two separate tables. and if so, how far apart were the tables?


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Bexx27

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Re: Seated at the kids' table
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2012, 02:53:32 PM »
it sounds hurtful - you were the *only* one who was at the other table.

I am trying to understand what the set up was - was this two tables pushed together with the children and you at one end, or was this two separate tables. and if so, how far apart were the tables?

It was 2 separate tables. The 10-person table was very high off the ground (requiring stool-type chairs, so only 10 people could sit there because they only had 10 of those chairs) and the 4-person table was a very low fold-up table. They were only about a foot apart, but the height difference was a real barrier to joining in conversation with people at the other table.
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these. -George Washington Carver

Sharnita

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Re: Seated at the kids' table
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2012, 03:29:25 PM »
I think "offended" is a bit strong for a reaction in my mind.  I think it seems reasonable to think that a 2 yo would need an adult.  COuld they have managed it a bit better?  Yes.  DOes it seem as if there was any big insult or slight intended? No.

Cosmasia

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Re: Seated at the kids' table
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2012, 03:38:01 PM »
Personally I would have been offended too. I don't accept invitations to dinners to be seated alone with children, why would I want that?

However I am also not a parent. I can see how the host might want you and your child near each other. But I still think they made a mistake in isolating you from the rest of the adults. They should have done something else, to mix the seating up better or invited less people, family event or not.

I consider it rude to invite more people than you can accomodate, and IMO a part of accomodating is to -not- have one of your guests isolated from the rest due to lack of seating.
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cicero

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Re: Seated at the kids' table
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2012, 03:47:46 PM »
it sounds hurtful - you were the *only* one who was at the other table.

I am trying to understand what the set up was - was this two tables pushed together with the children and you at one end, or was this two separate tables. and if so, how far apart were the tables?

It was 2 separate tables. The 10-person table was very high off the ground (requiring stool-type chairs, so only 10 people could sit there because they only had 10 of those chairs) and the 4-person table was a very low fold-up table. They were only about a foot apart, but the height difference was a real barrier to joining in conversation with people at the other table.
Ok then it was at best clueless, at worst rude.

they can't invite 14 people for dinner if their table can accommodate only 10. adding a card table and folding chairs is fine, IMHO, if you push everything together. that's what we used to do when we were young - there would be at least a feeling that this was one table by using a long table cloth etc.


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Emmy

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Re: Seated at the kids' table
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2012, 03:55:15 PM »
I can see why the hostess would want a parent to sit with the young child.  However, it was thoughtless at best for her not to think about the OP's comfort and enjoyment by sticking her in a spot where conversation with adults would not be possible.  The height of the tables and the fact that people at the big table would have to turn around to talk to her would make conversation impossible.

If I was the hostess, I would not have assigned seats.  However, if I had to do so, I would put the young child at the small table with at least one parent, and the older children at the large table so each table would have adults and kids.

LadyL

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Re: Seated at the kids' table
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2012, 04:02:06 PM »
This is bad hosting for sure, which I think falls under "rude." It sounds like they didn't actually have the proper accommodations for the number of people they invited. I know the pub style, taller tables you're talking about - they should have rustled up a barstool or other tall chair so all the adults could sit together.