Another-what can I say if the parents don’t discipline -thread.
Background1: We celebrated Christmas early at my mom’s house with my DB, his GF, and their two kids, nephew and niece. Nephew just turned two years old and he’s a lovely and sweet little guy but his parents rarely tell him no. As a consequence I am starting to see him engaging in behaviors that I deem inappropriate. One of these behaviors in particular is climbing on the table where we eat. He will sit and or stand on the table, and play on the table. If you take him off the table he will climb right back on and his parents do not intervene at all. Not only is there an ick factor from his feet and diapered patootie all over the table but it is really inconvenient when you are trying to use the table for any purpose as he is constantly trying to grab phones, remotes, magazines, utensils, etc. So basically if he is on the table anything you are using at the table is fair game and rather than the parents reining him in they put the onus on you to move all of your stuff.
Background2: My mom threw out her back and I had to take over preparing the Christmas meal as my mom could not even get out of bed.
So normally I put up with this table behavior because my mom does not say anything and it is her house. It became a real issue for me as I was preparing dinner this time instead of my mother. Dinner was just about ready to go on the table in about 15 minutes when I started setting the table. This included utensils (knives also) which I put in the middle of the table out nephews reach, assuming he was on the floor where he should be. I went back into the kitchen to get food out of the oven and place them on the counters I had specifically cleared for this purpose. I turn around to see that SIL has “un-set” the table and placed everything where the food is supposed to go. Fuming, but without a word, I proceed to reset the table. I go back to the food and see that she is bringing all of the tableware back in the kitchen again. I stop her and tell her that all of the counter space is being used and this cannot come back in here. She tells me she with a tone of annoyance (at me) that she has to keep it away from nephew. I really wanted to say, “I think you need to keep nephew away from the table and not what belongs on the table away from nephew,” but what I actually said was “I don’t care where you put it, but nothing is going on these counters but food.”
So she then stashed all of the tableware and condiments at various high places in the dining room. Consequently at the very last minute we had to hunt down all of these items and then when we were eating had to keep almost everything on one end of the table out of his reach as he kept standing on his chair and trying to climb over plates full of food to reach them. It is really getting frustrating trying to eat a meal with one hand and form a human barrier blocking nephew from any items on the table with the other.
Firstly, I don’t have kids of my own so just want to make sure I am not making a bigger deal of this than it really is. Secondly looking for what I can say to them considering these are not my kids and these things are not happening at my home?