Author Topic: New year with baby-less friends: do I clean away all the baby stuff?  (Read 9133 times)

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Syrse

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Hey everyone,

first a short background:
me and DH have a baby, she's 2 months old. Some really good friends of ours, lets say Jane and Dave, have been trying to get pregnant for two years now, without luck. Right around the time I gave birth, they had their IVF attempt fail.
We had invited a few friends, including Jane and Dave, to celebrate New year with us. A few weeks ago Dave let us know that they were very sorry, but that Jane just couldn't bring herself to celebrate new year with a baby in the same room, as it would be too painful for her. They thanked us for the invitation, but declined.
Few days later, DH's grandparents heard about this, and offered to babysit for our little tyke for that particular night. That way we could throw the party, and Jane could come without the constant reminder.
We thanked them for the idea, and offered the solution to Dave and Jane. I think Jane thanked me about five times by now. So now our new year plans are back on. Nothing fancy, just dinner with friends at our place.

So here's the question that might be a bit silly: do I clean up the baby stuff? Most of the little stuff is easy enough, but the playpen is a bit of a pain to break down, hide, then put up again. That and I'm not sure if it won't put Jane and Dave in an awkward position, in which they think we're bending over backwards for them. And if I'm completely honest, I'd feel bad 'hiding' the existence of my child.

Thoughts?

Tia2

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Re: New year with baby-less friends: do I clean away all the baby stuff?
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2012, 07:09:21 PM »
I suspect others may disagree, but at the point that you agreed this would be a 'baby-free' evening, even to the point of arranging for your baby to be out of the house, I think you did oblige yourself to at least put away the large items like playpens.

Please note, I do not think you had any obligation to do this originally and you would have been quite entitled to say 'I'm sorry, we'll miss you' when you first heard Jane and Dave's reasons for not coming, but you have now told them they will have an evening where they can avoid being reminded of their infertility (which they appear to think will be the case if your baby was there).

Of course, it may be that it is only the physical presence of the baby that would upset Jane.  Are you close enough to call Dave and ask him whether evidence of the baby also needs to be put away?

sweetonsno

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Re: New year with baby-less friends: do I clean away all the baby stuff?
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2012, 07:18:31 PM »
I think you should clear it all out of the area where the guests will be (the living/dining room). Put it into the nursery and shut the door. I'd say that even if you didn't have guests who would be sensitive to seeing it. You don't need to completely and totally cover up the fact that you have a baby by hiding it in the attic or garage (that would be overkill), but I do think that as a host, it's nice to keep extra furniture and things out of the party room so guests have more room available to mingle. It probably looks a bit tidier, too.

MommyPenguin

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Re: New year with baby-less friends: do I clean away all the baby stuff?
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2012, 07:20:46 PM »
I also have a 2-month-old!  Yours must do much better with the grandparents than mine... we barely made it through the Hobbit with her at a babysitter without her pretending to die from starvation.

Does the baby have a room?  If so, I think it's totally fine to just shut the door to that room.  Same with your bedroom, and other off-limits parts of the house.  But honestly, yes, I would move any baby stuff from the public areas of the house where the party will be, and along the path to any other necessary rooms like the kitchen or bathroom.  I know it sounds like a bit much, and Jane does *know* that you have a baby, but... the pain she is going through must be tremendous, and seeing any obvious baby items is going to really hurt.  However, I *don't* think that you need to take down, say, framed photos of the baby on the wall or mantle, that sort of thing.  Just the baby paraphernalia, because that stuff is really obvious and will tend to catch the eye.  It's not really hiding the baby's existence, as they know the baby exists, but it's removing visual reminders so that Jane can avoid thinking about it.

rose red

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Re: New year with baby-less friends: do I clean away all the baby stuff?
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2012, 07:28:22 PM »
It sounds like the biggest problem is the playpen.  How heavy is it?  Can it be turned over, toss a tablecloth over it to "hide" it, and make it a "table" for the party?

bonyk

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Re: New year with baby-less friends: do I clean away all the baby stuff?
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2012, 08:14:34 PM »
I think the best and easiest thing to do is ask Dave.

If you feel too awkward to ask, I agree with a previous poster, that you opened the door by sending the baby to you in-laws, and need to follow through on putting  big things away.

CakeEater

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Re: New year with baby-less friends: do I clean away all the baby stuff?
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2012, 08:46:05 PM »
I don't know if I'd ask Dave. It's entirely possible that the subject is very painful for him as well.

I'd remove everything that was humanly possible, even the playpen and even if it was difficult. You're not hiding the existance of your child - you offered to provide an evening free of reminders of babies, in essence.

camlan

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Re: New year with baby-less friends: do I clean away all the baby stuff?
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2012, 09:16:20 PM »
These are your friends. I'd err on the side of doing too much, because I'd be afraid of doing too little and causing Jane and Dave pain.

So, yes, I'd put away the playpen. Most of them take up a bit of room so you might welcome the space for your party. As MommyPenguin says, I'd remove all baby stuff from the areas where the party will be. Don't forget to move any bottles or other baby stuff to the back of the refrigerator, if your guests will have access to that, as well. (Can you tell I've never had a baby?)

Can you switch your thinking from "hiding the existence of your child" to "helping a friend through a bad time?" That might help you as you temporarily move some of the baby's things.

I think the fact that Jane has thanked you so much says a lot about her emotions about babies and how much this means to her.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


MrsJWine

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Re: New year with baby-less friends: do I clean away all the baby stuff?
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2012, 09:24:52 PM »
Is it like a pack 'n' play, or a larger thing? We have a kind of burly pack 'n' play, but if you kind of turn it just right, it can fit through doors. Is it possible to put it in another room? I do think that if you did this thoughtful thing, you need to do it all the way, know what I mean?


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Utah

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Re: New year with baby-less friends: do I clean away all the baby stuff?
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2012, 10:59:03 PM »
Le Sigh...the delicate dance of the infertile.

I am infertile.   3 miscarriages, 2 failed IVF's.   
I get it.   It sucks.   Everyone around you having beautiful, bouncing babies.   

But just because *I* cant have a baby - doesnt mean that everyone else has to DENY that they have one.

I think you are very kind to accomodate their "sensitivity".    But I would not re-do my whole house to accomodate them.

For any event, I would "tidy up" as much as possible.   If you can easily pack the stuff away, do.   If you cannot, well, they are going to have to deal with it.

I think you have been very kind as a hostess...if they feel they cannot stick around because of a "whatever" laying around...well...
"I am glad you could join us" works nicely.


ps - This does not mean that I didnt secretly go to the bathroom and cry when I heard one mom this weekend "majorly complaining" about pregnancy...) 

but that is my issue - not the hostess, who was gracious enough to invite me!!!

snowdragon

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Re: New year with baby-less friends: do I clean away all the baby stuff?
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2012, 11:41:48 PM »
I think you have already gone overboard in accommodating this couple.  Sending your kid out of your house because they find her existence hurtful? It is not something I would have even entertained the thought.  I would be worried how long you are going to have to hide her from them - is this going to be something you need to arrange her vanishing every time you want to see them from now on? What about pictures of her, are those too much to handle? Where will this stop?
 
 Do a normal tidying, but don't go beyond that. 

Erich L-ster

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Re: New year with baby-less friends: do I clean away all the baby stuff?
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2012, 11:44:11 PM »
If the woman is so saddened by the presence sight of a baby that she can't bear it, I think the baby accoutrements would do the same thing.

Your playpen is that hard to fold and set up again? That's what they're designed for. I would put it away if I were at all concerned with the woman's feelings and valued her friendship.

Putting the toys and stuff in a bedroom and closing the door for a night isn't so bad is it?

TurtleDove

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Re: New year with baby-less friends: do I clean away all the baby stuff?
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2012, 11:50:53 PM »
I agree with the PPs who said you have already done more than required.  Infertility sucks for your friends. But that is their problem, and you happiness in your child does not in any way reflect upon or affect their infertility.  For "party" hostessing purposes make your home navigable for the people you are inviting, but this is their issue and nothing you do or don't do will change their infertility issues.

Enjoy your party and don't let this harm it in any way!  If they cannot enjoy a party, invite them to decline.

CakeEater

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Re: New year with baby-less friends: do I clean away all the baby stuff?
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2012, 11:54:28 PM »
Le Sigh...the delicate dance of the infertile.

I am infertile.   3 miscarriages, 2 failed IVF's.   
I get it.   It sucks.   Everyone around you having beautiful, bouncing babies.   

But just because *I* cant have a baby - doesnt mean that everyone else has to DENY that they have one.

I think you are very kind to accomodate their "sensitivity".    But I would not re-do my whole house to accomodate them.

For any event, I would "tidy up" as much as possible.   If you can easily pack the stuff away, do.   If you cannot, well, they are going to have to deal with it.

I think you have been very kind as a hostess...if they feel they cannot stick around because of a "whatever" laying around...well...
"I am glad you could join us" works nicely.


ps - This does not mean that I didnt secretly go to the bathroom and cry when I heard one mom this weekend "majorly complaining" about pregnancy...) 

but that is my issue - not the hostess, who was gracious enough to invite me!!!

I think, though, the problem is that the guests knew that baby reminders would be too painful and did the polite thing of declining the invitation.

At which point, the OP essentially offered a baby-free house for the evening. If the Dave and Jane walk into the house with toys, bottles, play pen etc, the house still screams 'baby' even if the essential part is actually missing.

I think you have already gone overboard in accommodating this couple.  Sending your kid out of your house because they find her existence hurtful? It is not something I would have even entertained the thought.  I would be worried how long you are going to have to hide her from them - is this going to be something you need to arrange her vanishing every time you want to see them from now on? What about pictures of her, are those too much to handle? Where will this stop?
 
 Do a normal tidying, but don't go beyond that. 

I would think that it would stop once Jane (and Dave) have a bit more time to deal with their loss. They did the right thing and declined an event that they thought would be too painful. Perhaps they will find newborn babies quite difficult to be around for a while. That's OK, as long as they're polite about it. Maybe it means they won't get to see their friends with babies/kids as much, but that's their issue.

The OP offered the baby-free evening, they didn't ask for it.


Rusty

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Re: New year with baby-less friends: do I clean away all the baby stuff?
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2012, 12:03:34 AM »
I think you have been very understanding to your friends and I agree that just clearing things into the baby's room and shutting the door is probably the way to go.  But, have you also considered baby photos, are you supposed to also dispose of them, and what about conversation.  Someone is bound to refer to your baby and ask how things are going.  Are you to ban all baby conversation.  My own sister had fertility problems and tried for 10 years before finally having a child, she was over sensitive and we walked on eggshells while having our own babies.  I think you can be sensitive to their feelings but you should not have to pretend your baby does not exist. If she can't cope then I feel she should stay at home until she feels she can.