(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.)