This is the first story about her:http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=61668.0
I didn't mention it at the time, but this is the same lady:http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=115159.0
So, in case that's confusing - Pearl from the first story and Pamela from the second story are the same person. I didn't realize I had given her two different names. I will stick with Pearl.
DH and I have not been going regularly to the monthly dinner meetings. We catch one here and there, but Pearl and her husband have been to every meeting we have made it to. And they have been annoying at every meeting we have been to. Pearl keeps asking DH and I when we're going to have our next child. Then she starts digging into other private topics. It's hard to remember all the things that she's asked me, but she is nosy and I have started making efforts to make sure we are seated as far from them as possible. So, while we found them annoying, we still felt we could deal with it for the sake of continuing to participate in the club.
That has changed.
The other night, DH and I attended the meeting. We took DS (who is now 18 months) with us as it was scheduled in a family restaurant. We were placed in a private banquet room. Members started arriving and DH was chatting with a few as I got DS settled into his high chair. In walks Pearl. She seemed to focus on me as soon as she entered the room. She walked straight over to me and DS. I was talking to DS and handing him a goldfish cracker. Pearl said hello, and I said hello back. She leaned down to talk to DS, but he was focused on me. She told him "Hello" and he looked at her briefly, then looked back to me. He saw that I had another goldfish cracker in my hand and let out an impatient "Mine!" and reached toward my hand. Pearl immediately pointed a finger at his face and said "Bad! So naughty!"
It took ALL of the reinforcement from the years I have been on EHell to say nothing more than a VERY icy "I've got this." I did put a hand up between her finger and my son's face. She said nothing and just walked away. DH did not see any of this. When he came over to sit for dinner he could see I was upset, but I told him I would explain later. During dinner, I was sitting next to another member, Diane. DH and I were both feeding DS bits from our plates. At one point, DS again pointed and said "Mine!" I asked him to say "Please." He did, and then I gave him what he was asking for. From the side I hear Diane say "Oh, mom gave in." and looked up to see her smirking and shaking her head at me. I absolutely froze for a few seconds, staring at her. I was so upset from the interaction with Pearl and now I'm being criticized for what I see as a normal way to correct a toddler? She finally looked away and started talking to someone else. I looked at DH and said "I'm ready to go now." He replied "Yep." and we left, after saying goodbye to a few people. Neither Pearl nor Diane said anything to us as we left.
In the car, I told him about what had happened with Pearl. He was extremely upset. He also told me that Diane also made a comment about DS chattering as she was sitting down, which I didn't hear. DH is ready to send in a letter of resignation from the club. He has become annoyed by what it has become anyway, but was staying in for the sake of a few friends we have there. We've decided that we can manage to keep in touch with them without the help of the club. There are too many other people in the club we have decided we don't want to associate with.
I'm sad that we're leaving because we have been members for nearly ten years. But this is not the same club it was, and I don't like the way any of us are being treated lately.
I don't know if I have any etiquette questions beyond wondering if I'm being blind to my part in any of this.
A few notes:
I would have corrected DS myself, if I had had a chance before Pearl spoke.
While it was louder than necessary, his one "Mine!" did not carry beyond our private room. His second "Mine!" was in normal tones.
"Mine!" is not acceptable. I know this. I am teaching him to say "Please" instead.
When I say DS was chattering, I'm talking about that baby babble. He wasn't being loud. I would actually say he was being quieter than normal conversational tones.