Author Topic: S/O Not allowed to hold the baby  (Read 6866 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

LB

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2497
S/O Not allowed to hold the baby
« on: April 10, 2012, 12:25:06 PM »
http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=115119.0 (the original thread)

This thread started me thinking about a situation that came up a couple of weeks ago. DH and I belong to a club that meets monthly for dinner. During the winter and early spring months it's almost always at a restaurant. During the summer months, we will often have potlucks at members homes. 

DH and I are the youngest members of the club by about 20 years. We are the only couple with a young child. Many of these club members are dear friends to us, and some we just consider acquaintances. The members with whom we are close friends have become sort of bonus grandparents for DS. Usually, as soon as we get to a meeting, someone approaches us with outstretched arms asking to hold the baby. Even among those we're not close to, we're usually fine with them holding and playing with DS and he loves the attention.

At our last meeting, at a restaurant, "Pamela" approached me after dinner (we were all just sitting around and talking) and asked to take the baby back to her table (we were in a banquet room in the restaurant, we had two long tables and the room to ourselves). I said okay, and handed him over, but because Pamela had never held him before, I kept an eye on them from where I sat. This is when I discovered that when Pamela holds a baby, she does very stupid things.

Naturally, when she sat down at her place, DS started reaching for everything in sight. She moved her plate, her spoon, her fork, her napkin and her glass out of his reach...and handed him a butter knife to play with. Just as I was about to yell out to get the knife away from him, "Cynthia" who was sitting next to Pamela, gasped and took the knife out of his hands, saying something to Pamela that I didn't hear. I walked over with a couple of quiet toys and set them down in front of DS. I went back to my seat and watched.

There were spice shakers on the table at regular spaces, filled with some kind of seasoned salt. Pamela handed him one of these to play with. DS took it and, as babies do, (gross out warning) put it to his mouth and began slobbering all over the cap. Cynthia took it away. Pamela gave it back. Cynthia said "Don't let him play with that, he'll pour it in his mouth." Pamela said "I'm making sure the cap stays on!" Cynthia took it away, Pamela gave it back. DH, from our table said "Pamela, don't let him play with that." Pamela glared at DH, took the spice shaker away and slammed it down on the table, out of DS's reach. She played with him for a few more minutes and said, "Okay, why don't you go back to your Mama." And set him down on the floor! The way the room was arranged was with two long tables, side by side. So down one side of each table, members were sitting with their backs to each other. So basically, she set him down, among lots of feet attached to people getting ready to push chairs back to get up, on a restaurant floor. I jumped out of my seat to go get him, but it took a couple of seconds to make a path through the people standing around. There was also lots of noise, and not many other people paying attention to what was going on. Thankfully, one of the other members saw what I was trying to do, picked up DS and handed him to me.

After the meeting, Pamela came up to me and sarcastically apologized for the spice shaker. "I'm so sorry if I contaminated him." I didn't even reply, and she just walked away.

Looking back, I realize I should have stepped in sooner. I should have been louder to get people out of my way when trying to get him off of the floor.

As we were leaving, DH was very upset about the incident with the spice shaker. He hadn't seen her hand him the butter knife or set him down on the floor, so I filled him in. He became even more upset and made a declaration that Pamela was never to hold DS again, or be near him without one of us glued to him.

So, after that loooong background, here is my question. With other members obviously being allowed to hold him and play with him more freely, how do we keep him from Pamela without being obvious or rude about it? This may include one of us taking him from her if one of the other members hands him to her, or suddenly becoming interested in everywhere she's going and everything she's doing.

Is there just no way to not make it obvious? There is no polite way to say "You just can't be trusted around him." right?

(And by the way - I removed the spice shaker from the table, wrapped it in a napkin, and gave it to a waitress as we were leaving and explained to her what had happened.)

Honeypickle

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 282
Re: S/O Not allowed to hold the baby
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2012, 12:29:55 PM »
I'm not sure how old your DS is but is there any reason you couldn't leave him at home with a babysitter when you go out for these dinners? That would solve the problem easily!

These meetings don't sound very child-appropriate/child-friendly in any event.

If not, I would suggest just keeping your distance from Pamela. She probably won't be that keen to be near the baby again after last time!

GlassHalfFull

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 280
Re: S/O Not allowed to hold the baby
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2012, 12:31:30 PM »
Hmm, this is a tough one.  What's worked for me is, when the offending person comes over arms-outstretched, I'd say something like, "Oh, I was about to change/feed/cuddle BabyGlass."  Next time I'd say, "BabyGlass is getting a bit cranky."  And the next, "BabyGlass is a little off today." And so on. Then wait a few beats, but still be willing to hand BabyGlass over to a trusted person, and eventually the offender would get weary of asking and/or would take the hint.

LB

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2497
Re: S/O Not allowed to hold the baby
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2012, 12:33:52 PM »
I'm not sure how old your DS is but is there any reason you couldn't leave him at home with a babysitter when you go out for these dinners? That would solve the problem easily!

These meetings don't sound very child-appropriate/child-friendly in any event.

If not, I would suggest just keeping your distance from Pamela. She probably won't be that keen to be near the baby again after last time!

Sometimes we do leave him with a sitter, and sometimes we don't. What about the meetings don't sound child-friendly? We're either in a restaurant or someones home/backyard. And we're often asked by club members to bring him.

I should mention something I forgot - Pamela has raised three children herself. I'm not sure if that's relevant or not.

Roe

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6414
Re: S/O Not allowed to hold the baby
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2012, 12:34:04 PM »
It isn't a tough one. This is your *baby*...not a toy.

Honestly, I wouldn't try to bean dip or be coy about it.  I'd just say "oh no, he's fine where he's at" with a smile.

Outdoor Girl

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 13646
Re: S/O Not allowed to hold the baby
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2012, 12:35:48 PM »
I would have absolutely no qualms about telling Pamela straight up that I didn't trust her to hold the baby.  I don't think it is rude at all.

'Pamela, after your actions last time, I don't trust you to care for DS appropriately.  I'm sorry, but I'm not going to let you hold him.'

I'm just glad Cynthia was right there to take the knife and spice shaker away.

ETA:  It's not rude to enforce boundaries.  By refusing to allow her to hold DS, you are enforcing a boundary.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 12:42:05 PM by Outdoor Girl »
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
Ontario

gingerzing

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 946
Re: S/O Not allowed to hold the baby
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2012, 12:38:50 PM »
Not sure of how to answer the question, but THANK YOU for grabbing the shaker and explaining to the waitress what had happened. 

Honestly, Pamela may not be keen on holding him after all the flack that she got from the other gal. 
You may be able to talk to one of your closer friends and perhaps they can claim that they have "dibs" on the baby.  (Or that his dance card is full)

GlassHalfFull

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 280
Re: S/O Not allowed to hold the baby
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2012, 12:55:06 PM »
'Pamela, after your actions last time, I don't trust you to care for DS appropriately.  I'm sorry, but I'm not going to let you hold him.'

ETA:  It's not rude to enforce boundaries.  By refusing to allow her to hold DS, you are enforcing a boundary.

While it's not rude to enforce boundaries, the way they are enforced can be rude.

This woman clearly made some bad choices and shouldn't be allowed to hold the baby as per the parents' wishes.  However, it doesn't seem like she was deliberately trying to harm the child, but rather has looser  child-care norms than the parents want for their child.  And her salt-shaker sarcasm was rude, no doubt, but rudeness shouldn't beget rudeness.  If you wanted to cut to the chase in a more direct way, fine, but flat out saying you don't trust somebody, when their intentions were probably good, is rude IMO, not to mention could be taken as a direct insult to that person's parenting skills.  Maybe just say, "We don't see eye-to-eye on the whole baby holding thing, but thanks for asking."?

magician5

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3456
Re: S/O Not allowed to hold the baby
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2012, 01:56:27 PM »
how do we keep him from Pamela without being obvious or rude about it? This may include one of us taking him from her if one of the other members hands him to her, or suddenly becoming interested in everywhere she's going and everything she's doing.

Is there just no way to not make it obvious? There is no polite way to say "You just can't be trusted around him." right?

Pamela already  used up her "polite chance" to play well with others. Safety trumps etiquette.
There is no 'way to peace.' Peace is the way.

MasterofSquirrels

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1961
  • hi.
Re: S/O Not allowed to hold the baby
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2012, 02:19:18 PM »
'Pamela, after your actions last time, I don't trust you to care for DS appropriately.  I'm sorry, but I'm not going to let you hold him.'

ETA:  It's not rude to enforce boundaries.  By refusing to allow her to hold DS, you are enforcing a boundary.

While it's not rude to enforce boundaries, the way they are enforced can be rude.

This woman clearly made some bad choices and shouldn't be allowed to hold the baby as per the parents' wishes.  However, it doesn't seem like she was deliberately trying to harm the child, but rather has looser  child-care norms than the parents want for their child.  And her salt-shaker sarcasm was rude, no doubt, but rudeness shouldn't beget rudeness.  If you wanted to cut to the chase in a more direct way, fine, but flat out saying you don't trust somebody, when their intentions were probably good, is rude IMO, not to mention could be taken as a direct insult to that person's parenting skills.  Maybe just say, "We don't see eye-to-eye on the whole baby holding thing, but thanks for asking."?

I disagree. If Pamela is hurt or annoyed by what the OP says, that's her problem. If she feels that it's a comment on her own parenting, too bad. Her good intentions still put a knife in the kid's hands. Pamela can't be trusted with the OP's child. 

The OP was right to not respond to the PA comment too. I applaud you OP for not removing Pamela's head and stuffing it someplace dark.  ;)

GlassHalfFull

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 280
Re: S/O Not allowed to hold the baby
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2012, 02:22:07 PM »
Looks like I'm in the minority here, but before I write anything else I should make it clear that, on a safety-scale, I'm way up there; very cautious, sometimes too much so in my (and I'm sure others') opinion.

I still think this can be handled without being rude; I don't think this woman used up a "polite chance" (though no argument that her comment was rude), nor that she doesn't play well with others.  She just has different safety standards from the parents (and, as I said before, probably most parents.)  I must play devil's advocate though and mention that perhaps she had her children using tableware at an early age (there is no mention of the age of OP's DS that I could find); for instance, I was letting my children handle butter knives at age 2-3 with supervision.  Not that she should have let OP's child do this, but that this might be her "norm".  Also, what better way to learn about spices (and how not to "eat" them), than this?  (Well, except for the "at a restaurant" part most definitely.)   And if DS is a walker, perhaps she expected him to stand when she put him down?

OP's standards seem very reasonable, but they actually don't even have to be for the OP to put a halt to having the offending woman hold OP's baby.  It's just not a green flag for rudeness in my opinion.  There will be so many more times when OP and other parents (or any other person(s)) will not see eye-to-eye on things, and in many cases neither set will be wrong, rather they'll both be doing what's right for their own children. Perhaps use the handling of this situation as good practice for the future.

weeblewobble

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3266
Re: S/O Not allowed to hold the baby
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2012, 02:24:16 PM »
Unless this woman is doing some sort of guerilla research on babyproofing a restaurant, she sounds incredibly daft.  Either way, she shouldn't be allowed to hold the baby again. 


This is one of those situations where you are not responsible for protecting someone else's feelings.  She had her chance to hold the baby and ended up putting him in a multitude of potentially harmful situations.  And when she was corrected on the behavior, she got nasty. She gets no second chance.

The good news is that you have a wealth of excuses why she can't hold him again.  Observe:

"Oh, sorry, the baby's just a little fussy."

"Sorry, the baby is just about ready for lunch."

"Sorry, the baby needs a nap."

"Oh, I think Reasonable Member Who Has Never Put My Child on a Crowded Restaurant Floor had plans for baby."

"Sorry, we're not up for visits right now.  Have you tried the bean dip?"

If she takes the baby from another member, these "lunch/nap/fussy" excuses also work to take the baby away from her.

LB

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2497
Re: S/O Not allowed to hold the baby
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2012, 02:27:17 PM »
GlassHalfFull,

To answer your question, DS is 10 months. He was...I guess about 9 1/2 months at the time of the meeting. He is (was) not walking on his own, but is crawling and pulling himself up. He's old enough to understand "No." but not the reasoning behind why he shouldn't eat the spices or play with the knife.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 02:30:21 PM by LB »

NotTheNarcissist

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 779
Re: S/O Not allowed to hold the baby
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2012, 02:32:18 PM »
OP I was wondering if Pamela were sitting right next to you & asked to hold DS would you allow her? I wonder if proximity & bring 'right there' would help control the situation.

GlassHalfFull

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 280
Re: S/O Not allowed to hold the baby
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2012, 02:36:48 PM »
GlassHalfFull,

To answer your question, DS is 10 months. He was...I guess about 9 1/2 at the time of the meeting. He is (was) not walking on his own, but is crawling and pulling himself up. He's old enough to understand "No." but not the reasoning behind why he shouldn't eat the spices or play with the knife.

Well that puts a different spin on my devil's advocate guesses.  ;)  Though I will say, for example, that my DS2 is a born handy-man who was using a screwdriver to take the backs off of toys so we could put new batteries in them before the age of one (with supervision), but DS1, well, I don't know that I'd like him doing that even now (he's 12.)  Different people with different talents.

In any case, what you know is right for your DS is right, period.  I just wonder if the offender really "knew" that she was crossing lines (as I believe you mentioned you didn't step in/say anything as soon as you would've wished you did), and while that doesn't give her an excuse, it does provide somewhat of a reason for her continued actions, and I think gives some reasoning for you to be firm but yet also still polite when addressing this with her.

Edit to add:  Regardless of my DS2's inclinations, I would never give a screwdriver to somebody else's child at that age.  Some people, though, don't have that (necessary) filter....again, not an excuse for Pamela, but perhaps a reason.  Another reason might be her age?  (You mentioned you and DH are the juniors of the group by about 20 years?)  Not reasons to allow the behavior to continue, but perhaps reasons to approach it softly.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 02:42:02 PM by GlassHalfFull »