I have just returned home from my 4 year old (soon-to-be) niece’s birthday party. (For purposes of this story, her name will be “Rachel”.) Her father is my fiance’s brother. (I’ll call him “George”.) George and his wife “Connie” were hosting a cook-out for Rachel. Connie’s sister “Stephanie” and her husband “Alex” were there with their children, among them “Rose”, who was also 4 years old. Keep in mind, this cook-out was held outside, and food was being cooked on the grill outside.
When it came time to cook food, Connie and George started with the children, who had a choice of hot dogs, hamburgers, or cheeseburgers. Stephanie took a count, gave it to Connie, and Alex piped up with, “Rose only wants her hot dog BOILED! She is not going to eat it grilled. Someone needs to boil her hot dog!” Stephanie said that it didn’t matter; she could eat it grilled, and no one was boiling food anyway. Alex whined, “No! Her schedule this weekend has been completely interrupted by this barbecue! And now she won’t be able to eat her hot dog! She needs a boiled hot dog!”
Unfortunately, I do not know if Rose received a boiled hot dog or a grilled hot dog, as at that point, I took a basket of utensils and brought it out to the deck and didn’t go back in. I was appalled at Alex’s lack of manners and entitlement. Here he is, a grown man, demanding that his 4 year old daughter be given a boiled hot dog, when no one is cooking on the stove, and the host and hostess aren’t serving boiled hot dogs. Alex, instead of encouraging entitlement behavior, should be telling his daughter that she is a guest in her aunt and uncle’s house, and she needs to eat what is put before her. Then he insults them by saying that his daughter’s schedule was thrown off by the barbecue. 0525-15
It looks like Alex’s wife, Stephanie, had him and the situation under control. It’s not like Alex was incapable of going into the kitchen, getting a pot of water boiling on the stove, cook the hot dog, serve it and clean up his mess on his own. Stephanie is probably used to dealing with her husband’s entitlement mentality that others need to do what he will not.
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I’m picturing ‘Alex’ as Rick Moranis’s character in the movie Parenthood. How over-scheduled is that poo girl if a weekend party is upsetting her schedule so much she simply can’t eat a grilled hot dog?
I just watched that movie over the weekend….I love it!
My two favorite scenes are when Rick Moranis shows up at his wife’s classroom singing “Close to You”, and as he starts singing his wife says, “We are trying SO HARD to keep these kids OFF drugs!”
And, the sweet little old granny’ s “roller coaster” story….make me cry every time…..And of course, Steve Martin saying afterward, “oh yeah?!? Well, if she’s so brilliant, why is she sitting in the neighbor’s car?!?”
Parenthood is one of my favorite movies. Whenever I, as a parent, feel like I screwed something up, I imagine the ‘YOU MADE ME PLAY SECOND BASE’ fantasy scene. 🙂
I love that movie too, and I don’t even have kids. I watched it for the first time in Sociology class my last year of high school, and it was supposed to teach us about different family configurations, and different life stages. I suppose it did, but it was really funny too. We had a cool teacher–her name was Ms. Campbell, and on Halloween, she came to school dressed as a Campbell’s soup can.
I love when Helen’s son-in-law volunteers to have a man-to-man talk with her son. Kid was worried he was a pervert because he was (not sure if I can use that word on here, but it starts with M) but son-in-law tells him not to worry, all little dudes his age do that.
I love the “shiver” Keanu Reeves does after he says, “they’ll let any butt ream and a$$hole be a father….”
“GOOD SHOOTING, SON!!! It’s important to be supportive!”
SO many good lines in that movie…..
I always thought Jason Robards and Dianne Weist (sp?) were OUTSTANDING in that film.
The screw up brother, Larry??? “This is my son…..Cool.”
“Did he say his name is ‘Cool’?!?
Does the barbecue have a side burner? If so, then nobody would have to go inside to boil Rose’s hot dog, if she absolutely HAS to have a boiled hot dog, and not a grilled hot dog (or a hamburger or a cheeseburger, for that matter). Of course Alex was rude–he could have, and should have, asked nicely on Rose’s behalf, and he could have also offered to help. By throwing a tantrum like that, he was teaching Rose that that was an appropriate thing for her to do. But, as for the request itself, there might have been a good reason for it–Rose might have had some sensory issues, for whatever reason (on the spectrum, supertaster, et cetera), and maybe for her, a boiled hot dog would have been fine, but a barbecued hot dog with a crispy skin on the outside, would have been inedible. Now, if there were legitimate issues at play, this could have been treated as an opportunity to teach Rose how to politely request accommodation. Otherwise, it could have been an opportunity to teach Rose how to try new things (she might find that she really likes barbecued hot dogs after all, if she’s never had one before), OR it could have been an opportunity to teach Rose how to subtly eat around the offending foods, by saying “No thanks, I don’t want a hot dog, but this XYZ Side looks delicious.”
Another option, if it was really important to Alex and Stephanie that their daughter eat something, would have been to explain to the hosts that Rose was a picky eater, outline her issues, and offer to pack her a PBJ or something else that they knew she’d eat. Sometimes, this has a “reverse psychology” effect on little kids–they see everyone else eating the main food, and suddenly, they want to try it, like in the children’s book “Bread and Jam for Frances.” However, I’m not trying to dismiss legitimate food issues, if that’s what was going on here–I’ve been a vegetarian for thirteen years, and a vegan for four of those years, so I’m very used to situations like this. In those cases, I either eat before or afterwards, fill up on sides, bring my own food if there’s a way to do so politely (either my own veggie dog/veggie burger, or something like a pasta and bean salad to share if it’s a potluck), or I’ll just decline the invitation altogether, if going would be more trouble than it’s worth. So, I’m not going to automatically say that Rose should just “get over” her dislike of barbecued anything, but there are right and wrong ways to handle that, and her parents should be modelling them for her. Maybe Alex’s tantrum was born out of panic, because he was afraid that Rose would have a tantrum if presented with a grilled hot dog, but that still doesn’t make it okay.
I’d stop inviting them over for anything more than a short visit that requires zero food. I don’t need ungrateful brats at my house even if they are family. Right now it’s the dad but won’t be long before the little girl is doing it too.
Is it really being an “ungrateful brat” to quietly and politely request a boiled hot dog for Rose, though, if there were other issues at play, even just in that moment? For example, a cheerful, well-rested child would be more open to trying something new or previously disliked, than a child who’s exhausted from a long car ride followed by a family gathering. I know Alex was rude, but I think the “brat” label gets thrown around a lot here, whenever anyone doesn’t conform to whatever the situation may be. I mean, suppose you had a barbecue at your house, with hot dogs, and I was there. Suppose you offered me a hot dog, and I said, “No thanks, Colleen, I’m vegan. I’m just enjoying being here with all my E-Hell friends.” Would that make me an “ungrateful brat” as well? Also, I don’t think it’s quite fair to vilify Rose for behaviours she hasn’t picked up yet. She didn’t pitch a fit and demand a boiled hot dog; her dad did. Given that her mother seems non-snowflakey, and given that she’ll probably be going to kindergarten in the near future, there’s a good chance that Rose could grow up to be a polite and pleasant person, because she’ll have to share the crayons during art class, take turns with the tambourine during music, deal with the disappointment in gym class if she’s not on the same team as her best friend, et cetera. Also, you wouldn’t call an adult rude because their partner/parent/friend/whoever they came with did something rude, so I don’t think it’s fair to do the same thing to a child. I mean, an adult can choose to attend without a companion who they know to be rude (if it’s not the first time), but kids don’t have that option when the rude companion is their parent.
One more thing–I don’t think “boiled hot dog” is that hard to accommodate. Hot dogs can be “boiled” in a bowl of water in the microwave.
I don’t think she was calling the kiddo a brat, she was calling the dad a brat…which he was. If he keeps it up the kid has a good chance of becoming one herself by learning from Daddy the Bratty.
To ‘quietly and politely request’ does not make anyone a ungrateful brat at all.
To whine in front of people and ‘demand’ something in front of people, certainly does.
If Alex had quietly asked the party hostess ‘Is is OK if Rose has her hotdog boiled?’, that would definitely be alright.
Sounds to me like Alex didn’t want to be at this gathering, for whatever reason and just to be an entitled ungrateful ingrate, just decided to whine about something.
I agree with you. I think the issue is more his reaction. At that point, he should have simply said, hey point me to the stove and I’ll take care of it in 2 minutes. Problem solved.
Given that Rose’s mother didn’t think a grilled hot dog would be a problem, I doubt Rose had any serious issues. Sounds like Alex was the only one who couldn’t handle things.
Rose’s own mother Stephanie was the one who said Rose could eat the grilled hot dog so it’s doubtful that there was really any legitimate issue for Rose at all. Daddy Alex was the one throwing the fit and sadly it sounds like Stephanie is used to dealing with him on a regular basis. It was Daddy Alex’s whose schedule was disrupted by having to play at being an adult for a day.
They are close family. If there were issues at play, it is most likely that her aunt would be aware of them and provide food accordingly. And one way to build a picky eater is to always give in to their demands and never insist that they try something new.
^^^This, right here. ^^^
There is another side to being a picky eater. As a child I had a very sharp sense of taste. The edges of bread tasted badly burned to me. My father called me a liar, but I could truly taste the burned edge. Imagine being made to eat burned bread every time you had toast or a sandwich because you are told you are a liar. That was how it tasted to me; it just wasn’t how it tasted to him. Mustard was extremely spicy and I could not tolerate ketchup.
As I got older, my sense of taste diminished. I could no longer taste any difference between the crust and the rest of the slice of bread. I understand that it is common for older people to lose their sense of taste and food becomes less attractive because the remembered taste is no longer there.
Never would I ask someone to do something like that for my child. If my children were that picky, I would prepare and bring food especially for them, although even that seems a little over the top unless we’re talking about something like a food allergy and not just being a speshul snowflake.
This. I’m in this boat now, if there is food involved I have to bring my own; and it’s not a reflection against the event, host/hostess, etc. It’s a fact of life. I’m polite and discreet about whipping out my container but. If it was as simple as my kid won’t eat a grilled dog, I’d ask nicely if I could go fix one myself (aka go in and boil one) for the kidlet… then make sure I cleaned up after myself.
I’m sorry but I’m really growing tired of society being expected to make allowances for any whim of any child because they might be “on the spectrum”.
First of all: Kids are picky. That’s just a fact. There’s really no pressing need to indulge that just because there *might* be a psychological or physical issue behind it. I think humanity as a whole is getting way too sensitive with these things.
If you as a parent, as the people who know your own child best, think there might be something more serious behind your child getting upset about a piece of meat, by all means, consult one or more doctors, and if they do find something, just be open about it to the people who invite you into their home. If they’re decent human beings, they’ll understand and respect that (and if they aren’t, why are you visiting there in the first place). But don’t expect people to walk around on eggshells for any and all children they encounter just because of the slight chance they may have underlying issues.
I was very picky as a child. You know what my parents would have done if I had told them I absolutely wouldn’t eat a grilled hot dog? Shrugged, given me the bun meatless, told me to pour condiments on it and just eat that. I remember many a happy barbecue where I just filled up on sides because I wasn’t particularly fond of meat in general. It was never a big deal.
I ate my share of “mustard bread” at age 7, 8, etc. because I decided I didn’t like Thanksgiving turkey, cookout hot dogs or whatever else the relative/host was providing. My parents would never have expected anyone to drop what he was doing and cater to my pickiness.
I was the same way! I was always the kid eating a ‘cheeseburger without the burger’ at events. My parents hated it, but there wasn’t really much they could do. Lol.
I just passed a kiddo who IS on the spectrum in the hallway at school, and we had the following conversation:
Student: “Hello. Are you a 6th grade teacher?”
Me: “Nope, I teach ESL.”
Student: “What…does that mean?”
Me: “I teach students who are learning English.”
Student: “Ohhhh, ok. *shakes my hand* Have a good day.”
Me: “Thanks, you too!”
Many kiddos who are dealing with autism CAN learn social skills and manners if people will take the time to teach them. That’s not to say it’s easy or that even the best parents won’t have to handle a melt-down (and a melt-down caused by autism is NOT the same as a temper tantrum). Still, if Rose had thrown a tantrum over her hotdog, I wouldn’t blame “the spectrum.” I’d say she learned her behavior from her dad.
Your last two sentences, sums it up.
Actually, it’s possible for an autistic child (or an autistic adult, or a neurotypical child or adult) to have very good social skills, but still be a supertaster, or have some sensory issues that might mean that bread crusts, or spinach, or broccoli, or meat slightly charred on the barbecue, or any number of things, are inedible to that individual. Routines and schedules are different as well–it’s possible for a person on the spectrum to be very polite because etiquette is at least somewhat rule-based–we say please and thank you, we take turns on the playground equipment (or on the machines at the gym, for adults), and so on, and so forth.
So, if Rose did have some degree of autism, let’s imagine that her regular Saturday routine consisted of, wake up, breakfast, ballet class, then swimming lessons, and then home for lunch, quiet time, then snack, Sesame Street, and then dinner, bath, and bed. Now, suppose the barbecue was for lunch, which meant that Rose didn’t go home after ballet and swimming, but rather, to another place filled with people, and no chance for quiet time. It might have taken Alex and Helen a lot of work to get Rose to the point where she’d be okay with that, and throwing a grilled hot dog into the mix would be too much, because they haven’t gotten around to tackling the food issue yet, or maybe they’ve started, but it’s a process, and they haven’t gotten her over the “pleasantly charred versus burnt” hurdle yet. Even if Rose isn’t autistic, she’s still only four years old, and she’s still just figuring out the world. Most kids go through a picky stage, because, as previous posters have said, children have more taste buds than adults, so “spicy” to us could be “burning” to them, and “barbecued” to us could be “burnt” to them. So, I don’t think it’s fair to label a child as being “rude” or “bratty” or “spoiled” because they’re going through something that’s developmentally normal. Besides, Rose didn’t throw a tantrum; her father did. If “tantrum = autistic” (and it doesn’t, because a tantrum and an autistic meltdown are two different things), then by that logic, maybe Alex is the one who’s autistic.
It sounds like Alex needed a nap.
I’m sorry his wife is having to raise two toddlers. That must be exhausting.
You’re lucky I had just set my tea down, or I would have laughed so hard tea came out my nose!! Too funny!
And no man in the house to help.
I just loled.
I wish there was a “like” button. You are exactly right.
Haha amazing 🙂
My theory is that Alex wanted a boiled hot dog and a Snickers. You’re not yourself when you’re hungry. 😉
Ha! Both comments made me smile.
And to be honest, the first time I read it, I thought Alex was Rose’s (slightly) older brother looking out for his sister. Then I saw “grown man” and realized I had gotten something wrong.
I swear, Alex is a relative of mine. He once whined to me that the pizza we ordered (and paid for) had the wrong kind of crust. The kids wouldn’t eat it, you see. They’ll be hungry!
They ate it. He didn’t. He went hungry. I suspect it wasn’t Rose who really has the food issues and whose schedule was interrupted.
On the etiquette side, nothing to add. The guest was rude and the host did wonderfully.
I was thinking much the same, that Rose might not have cared at all, her father was just throwing a hissy. I agree with a previous poster, it must be exhausting for Stephanie to have two children on her hands in this way.
I think you’re right: I think ALEX doesn’t like grilled hot dogs and needed to save face, but did it in a weird way. My sister-in-law always goes on and on about how the kids “won’t eat that” and they always do. She actually served them McDonalds before my wedding because they “wouldn’t eat that food”. They did not…because they were full. My mother-in-law used to do it with her grandchildren until my husband (who loves to cook) snapped, “How do you know if they don’t TRY IT?? Stop telling them they won’t like it! Of course they won’t!”
You know, if Stephanie or Alex had quietly asked the hosts if it was OK for them to warm up an ungrilled dog for Rose (or any of the other kids), that would be fine at a family party for little kids. This is not a formal dinner party. The OP probably never would have noticed anyway.
When to accomodate a kid’s food quirks is a parenting decision with a lot of moving parts. I’m not going to second-guess that. But Alex’s attitude was just ridiculous and OTT.
Alex sounds like he needs a time-out.
I was thinking the same thing Admin wrote. If Alex insisted on Rose having a boiled hot dog, he is a grown man who could have gone in the kitchen and boiled a hot dog. A pot, water and a pair of tongs is all he needed and would take a minute (tops) to wash, dry and put away.
From the “barbeque interrupted the schedule for the weekend” comment, it is obvious that Alex did not want to be there, so he decided to make the gathering as uncomfortable as possible with his behavior. If he didn’t want to come, he should have declined and Stephanie & Rose could have attended without him.
I hope his wife gave him a verbal smack down when they got home.
I think you nailed it. Alex didn’t want his schedule interrupted and was going to make sure everyone else was miserable. What a jerk.
If I were the hostess of an event and someone told me my event was ‘interrupting their schedule’, I’d be really offended and wonder why they came at all (what kind of a weekend schedule does a 4 y/o have, anyway??). Some things are better kept to yourself. Lol.
Many young children do have, for various reasons, problems eating certain types of food. Goodness knows I must have been a trial to my own mother, who had to apologize to hosts for things I wouldn’t eat. So, I have some sympathy for Rose’s parents at first. Where the sympathy is lost is that instead of asking nicely (and for a family gathering I can see this as being a fairly minor request), Alex demanded and whined.
Strangely, Stephanie, the mother, didn’t seem to feel that Rose would have trouble eating the grilled hotdog. I’m wondering if this was less Rose’s issue than Alex’s.
I’m guessing Stephanie probably caters to Rose when they’re at home, but when they’re guests at someone else’s home, expects Rose to either eat what’s offered or go without. She may have thought just like Alex, that Rose wouldn’t actually eat it, but no one is going to starve to death in an afternoon.
Well, I can just as easily see some parents doing it the other way around, especially if their child’s specific food quirks are easy to accommodate–Rose’s preference for boiled hot dogs over grilled, or let’s say, a child who doesn’t like vegetables, or dislikes a specific vegetable, like spinach, or broccoli, or Brussels Sprouts. At home, Parent puts Disliked Food in front of Child, and does the whole “disliked food stand-off,” where Child isn’t allowed to leave the table without finishing Disliked Food. This could result in tears, tantrums, breath-holding, vomiting, falling asleep at the table, and all manner of other behaviours, voluntary or involuntary, that the parents would understandably want to keep confined to the privacy of their home, and not inflict on others at a restaurant, party, or family gathering, so they let the Food Rules slide outside the home (or when they have guests in their home), in order to ensure a quiet, happy child for the benefit of others. Besides, when I was a kid, restaurants, parties, and family gatherings were “special events,” where the nutrition rules were bent a bit–my brother and I could have pop to drink, vegetables were optional (and often skipped altogether, if it was at a fast-food restaurant or something), and we’d often have “upgraded desserts,” like cake and ice cream at a birthday party, instead of the cookie or Popsicle we’d get at home.
Another thing–is it possible that Rose likes boiled hot dogs, because that’s what she’s used to? Maybe Alex and Stephanie don’t have a barbecue, so they always boil hot dogs or cook them in the microwave. That would make sense–it wouldn’t be possible for Alex and Stephanie to get Rose used to eating barbecued hot dogs at home, if they didn’t have a barbecue in the first place. Also, if you look at the situation through a lens of “kid logic,” you can see why Rose might be repulsed by seeing weird black lines or a dry, discoloured skin on her hot dog, especially when she’s not used to eating hot dogs prepared on the barbecue, and might not understand that it’s “supposed” to be that way. But, my point is, while some families accommodate food preferences at home, and force kids to eat what’s put in front of them elsewhere, other families do the reverse when accommodating the child is easier on whoever else is around. If Rose’s family doesn’t have a barbecue, then the specific “boiled versus grilled hot dog” issue might never have even come up before Rachel’s birthday party.
Yeah Alex was definitely rude. I can kind of understand the boiled vs grilled thing- when I was Rose’s age, I wouldn’t have eaten a grilled hot dog either. My daughter is now the same way. My parents would have told me to either eat the grilled hot dog, or go without lunch, and that’s fine.
In my daughter’s case, however, she is severely underweight, and it is such a chore to get her to eat anything. Sure, you can say a kid will eat when she’s hungry, but omg, she is never hungry and it is like pulling teeth to get adequate sustenance into her. If boiling a hot dog is what it would take for her to consume the calories, I would do it in a heartbeat. But I would politely ask if I could use their stove/microwave, or I would have brought an alternate lunch for my daughter in the first place. If the hosts were people I did not know well I would probably just tell my daughter to eat the sides that were offered and feed her lunch after we left. I would never demand the host rearrange their plans to accommodate me or my child. And certainly would never loudly complain that an invitation (that I accepted!) was ruining my kids’ schedules.
Agree with those that say Alex didn’t want to be there, and was making it as uncomfortable as possible for Stephanie in the hopes she would decline the next invitation to save herself some embarrassment of her husband acting like a fool in front of her family.
This is funny to me because when I was a kid, I absolutely refused to eat hot dogs any way besides boiled. I didn’t like them in the microwave, didn’t like them on the grill. ONLY boiled. Now that I’m older, I obviously see how ridiculous that is, but I can totally see that Rose might have legitimately refused to eat the hot dog grilled. That being said, Alex was rude and should have never demanded the hosts cater to his daughter’s childish food preferences. If she wouldn’t eat, then she simply doesn’t eat and has to wait until they leave.
There were plenty of solutions here. If you have a picky child, you have them choose from what is served that they do like (e.g., a bun, some chips, whatever) to tide them over until you get home or you have them eat before the event or you bring separate food for them just in case there is nothing they like (a moving target for most 4 year olds). If you chose not to do any of those things, then you pull the host aside and politely ask if you can boil a hot dog inside the house for Rose. You certainly don’t expect the host to turn into a short-order cook.
Alex instead chose the entitled route of whining and complaining about the food choices, because he forgot that he wasn’t at a restaurant. There’s obviously more to Alex’s story, as he seemed further put out by the disruption in Rose’s (or is it really his?) schedule. My BIL/SIL are like this. I often schedule my children’s birthday parties on Sunday afternoons (a 3-hour event at most) because it is a time that works for my husband and I with our work schedules, but it is apparently when they do their errands each week. So they show up late (because of their child’s nap, which I do understand to a point) and leave early and make it clear during their entire appearance that they are inconvenienced. They’ve repeatedly asked me why I chose such and such a time, and couldn’t I schedule it earlier/later/on a Saturday next time? And could I move this along so they can leave? Some people truly have busy schedules on the weekends (like Alex, possibly), some people are inflexible (like my in-laws) , and some people just like to complain (like Alex and my in-laws). Sometimes you wish these people would just RSVP “No” so everyone else can just relax and have a good time.
…except that Rose wasn’t the one whining “You can’t expect me to eat it GRILLED; it has to be BOILED!” It was her Daddy.
What a brat. And I’m not talking about Rose. If young Rose really has a problem with grilled hot dogs, then (IMO) it’s time to teach her of a little thing called “making do.” If she doesn’t like grilled hot dogs, then perhaps she could load up on the potato salad and cole slaw.
Why should he get to go into their kitchen and cook food beyond what is offered?
Actually, my DD4 is the same way about hot dogs. You know how that works when we go to someone else’s house? We peel the outside off the grilled hot dog. Takes 10 seconds since it pretty much falls off when you slice it.
Because this is family and IMO that’s the kind of thing you do for your family. I would have no problem either boiling a hot dog for my niece or letting one of her parents do it. Some kids are very picky and I know first hand what a struggle this can be for the parents and how stressful it is when your kid won’t eat. You can’t force a young child to eat something they don’t want to eat and skipping the meal isn’t alwasy an option either, especially if your child is underweight.
None of that even matters in this case though because the real problem is Alex’s rude, childish behavior. I’m sure if he had simply asked nicely could he boil a hotdog for Rose, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. It’s pretty obvious that for some reason he resented having to be at the party at all and was trying to blame it on poor little Rose.
It really bothers me when people throw out “because it is family.” Since it is family would you think they would not ask for preferential treatment over the other guest. They would understand hosting a birthday party for 4 year olds is a lot of work. The last thing they should ask for is special treatment for their child. What if the other children wanted a boiled hot dog?
If the daughter doesn’t like grilled hot dogs, then she could have had a burger.
What if the other children wanted a boiled hot dog? Well, it’s no more trouble to boil, say, five hot dogs in a pot of water, than it is to do one, so I can see doing it. Also, I think that, for most people on E-Hell, people get upset over the “but it’s faaaaamily!!!!” argument when it’s used in more egregious circumstances–like, having to invite Uncle Drunk for Christmas, because nobody else in the family can stand him, because he’s racist and homophobic and broke your sister’s Ming vase in an intoxicated rage last Thanksgiving–not for something like a child wanting a boiled hot dog over a grilled one. Besides, if this was a family gathering, then everyone there was “faaaaaamily,” so it wouldn’t be a case of “one guest getting special treatment,” but more of “the rules are more relaxed here.”
The host were preparing to grill the hotdogs and hamburgers. It is impolite to ask, or in Alex’s case demand, for Rose’s food to be prepared differently. It does not matter if it is “faaaaaamily” or not. Be a gracious guest.
It’s not fair to everyone else at the party since they don’t also get to stomp their feet and then go into the house and cook whatever they want.
My MIL does this a lot. We’ll have a BBQ at our house where we’ve cooked hamburgers/cheeseburgers, hot dogs, and chicken drumsticks and the guests have provided 25 side dishes, and she’ll still go into our freezer and come out with a turkey burger, a different kind of cheese to top it with, and tell whoever is running the grill that she wants this cooked for her. Everyone else can manage to find something to eat so why can’t she?
That is very annoying. It seems like your MIL needs to feel she is being taken care of in a special way.
I have a friend like this. She will do this in actual restaurants.
No matter where we go, she can’t possibly eat what’s already on the menu.
She has to ask the server “Could you go back and ask the cook if they could make me:
– Seasonal dish that’s not currently on the menu
– Made up pasta dish, for example: I see you have linguine noodles for the linguine & clam dinner, and you have duck for this crispy duck and oranges special, and a white wine sauce for this chicken special. Could I just get the duck over linguine with the white wine sauce?
– A grilled cheese sandwich (we were at McDonald’s. She wanted them to put the American cheese in a hamburger bun and toast it on the grill.)
When the restaurant caters to her wishes she says “See, it was no problem. They’re happy to make a customer happy.”
When a restaurant says they can’t accommodate her wishes, she throws an epic temper tantrum. “Why not! You have all the ingredients! I’m the customer! The customer is always right! You better believe I’ll be complaining about this on Yelp!”
Your friend doesn’t sounds much like a friend if she has no problem embarrassing you to fulfill her own entitled wishes.
Lerah, you still go out to eat with her?
You “have” a friend like this? I would have past-tensed her butt after the first temper tantrum. She must have other sterling qualities, because I’d never walk into a restaurant with someone like that a second time.
Off-topic, but McDonald’s restaurants here in Canada started serving grilled cheese sandwiches a few years ago, prepared pretty much the same way your friend described.
I was the “cheeseburger without the burger” child at McDonald’s. Granted, I was 6 so it was a little more understandable. But my mom never threw a fit if food couldn’t be made in a way that I would eat it, either.
When we choose to grill we do it because cooking inside makes the kitchen ridiculously hot. Therefore during the summer all we do is grill. Everything is thrown onto it. I’d be pretty irritated if I was cooking food on the grill and someone wanted me to prep the food differently just for them. I planned the meal the way I wanted it to go as the host. Unless you tell me ahead of time there will be an issue, which is when I would alter the plans a little, I am not going to be impressed.
Sounds like Rose and Rachel weren’t the only 4 year olds there. Interesting that the father, Alex, was the one having the tantrum.
I agree that Alex’s behavior was very entitled, but I disagree with the idea that it would be okay for Alex to do the work of boiling a hotdog himself, even if he cleaned up.
I’d be rather angry with a guest in my home who took it upon themself to use my kitchen to prepare food in a different manner from what I as the host was providing. It’s entirely possible that the reason they’re cooking outside on the barbeque was to avoid heating up the interior of the house, which happens when you cook with the stove or the oven.
With a random guest in general, I agree it would be bizarre for the guest to walk into the kitchen and start cooking food to his child’s taste. But this is pretty much immediate family. Alex is the host’s BIL and Rose is the host’s niece. In my immediate family, if you want a custom-prepared hot dog, you’re welcome to go and custom-prepare your own d.mn hot dog.
It would be rude to help yourself to the kitchen. But if you have a pretty close relationship with the host (Stephanie was the sister of the hostess) I don’t think it’s out of line to ASK. That said, if it were just a casual or work friend that was hosting, I wouldn’t even ask- I’d just tell my kid to either eat the grilled offering or wait until we got home to eat. But it’s all moot because Alex wasn’t asking to use the kitchen anyways- he was demanding that the hostess take the time to boil the hot dog
Just going into the house to boil a hot dog would be inappropriate. But if it wasn’t about Alex wanting attention and/or to make Stephanie wish they hadn’t come to the barbecue, he could have quietly asked the hosts “Rose doesn’t like grilled hot dogs. Would it be okay if I went inside and boiled or microwaved one for her?”
Me, I’m wondering what was on Alex’s preferred schedule for the weekend, that he didn’t get to do because they were at the barbecue. I suspect that it didn’t have much to do with Rose at all, except maybe in the sense that she would be in the room while he watched sports on TV.
I’m with you on this MrTango. If I’m hosting a BBQ, I don’t like the idea of someone in my kitchen using my stove. It heats up the house, I have to make sure the gas/burner was turned off, and I don’t really like people going through my cabinets when I have invited people to my house for an outdoor type of thing. Some people here have mentioned that this is close family, so them heating water on their own should be ok, but I have close relations that I wouldn’t want using my kitchen unsupervised.
This was a good opportunity for a teachable moment of how to not be a nuissance for Rose, but instead, Alex is teaching her that the world should bend to her quirks and whims, as I expect he believes it should bend to his. As others here have said, as well as Rose’s mother, she was fine eating a grilled hot dog.
I honestly do not get why Alex made such a big deal out of this. I could maybe see things Alex’s way if Rose had allergies or health issues and could get sick from eating a grilled hot dog. (Though, if that were the case, he should’ve packed her own food!) But he insists on feeding her the same mystery meat, except boiled instead of grilled. As such I do not understand any of his whining about her schedule(?) and dietary needs.
My son’s ex-girlfriend’s Mom and her boyfriend invited our family over for Christmas Eve dinner this past year.
“Bonnie” texted me the menu a few days before to let me know what she would be serving, and to ask if there were any allergy issues in play with myself, or my four kids.
I thought that was VERY nice of her to ask, and I texted back that allergies were not an issue, that sounds like a delicious meal we were all looking forward to coming….And what may I bring? Dessert? Wine?
Bonnie said all we needed to bring were our appetites, and see you soon!!!
My youngest son is not fond of ham, which was the main dish.
I purposely sat next to him, and served him a small piece which I cut into smaller pieces.
He liked everything else, and I told him on the way to their house, just eat one or two small pieces and enjoy the side dishes.
After dinner, all the kids and I said how delicious everything was and thank you so much for having us over.
In a million years, I would never announce “hey! My kid won’t eat ham! Make him something else!”
Very, very entitled and rude in my own opinion, and what a treat little Rose will be as she gets older and expects everyone to bend to her likes and dislikes.
Exactly. What does Alex think will happen when his daughter is in school with 20 other children in her class. She will come up against one situation after another where she doesn’t get what she wants, and her “schedule” is disrupted.
When someone is grilling for a bunch of people, expecting them to do something completely separate for your daughter is unreasonable. The hosts are already very busy getting a meal ready for a large number of people without having to prepare something special for one individual.
@Lakey: my sister’s kids (mine aren’t perfect, as much as I may brag about them) are turning into “special snowflakes”.
They want what they want, when they want it….my sister never says no, then has the nerve to complain when others won’t bend to their every whim.
She lives in another state, and once when they came to visit had a HUGE fight with my folks after a few days of “ewwww! I won’t eat THAT!” or “I don’t WANT to watch what grandpop is watching!”, my sister overheard my dad say to my mom, “Jesus! I’d rather babysit (my) “K’s” kids for a month than (my sister’s kids) for one more HOUR!!!”
Should my dad have said that? Of course not! But….if your own parents love, but don’t LIKE your kids, that should be a red flag of some sort in my opinion.
My husband, never one to pull punches, laughed at my niece during a bbq at our house in honor of their visit up north when she rudely said, “Where is your “sea salt”?!? I WON’T eat corn on the cob without SEA SALT!!!”
My husband looked at her, burst out laughing and walked away to get our “normal” salt shaker and said “here you ARE…..SALT! TA-DA!!!!”
….And, no….my husband should not have laughed at a child….but they kept us up half the night playing hide and seek at 3:00am…..none of us were in the mood for her antics.
Sorry, I can just imagine my dad in that situation picking up the haker and saying, with that sharp, but almost teasing tone he has, “See? Salt. Now eat your dinner”
I probably would have done the same thing, minus making my child take a piece of ham.
@Anonymous: I put a small piece of ham on his plate on purpose, (even if he pushed it around his plate without eating much of it) so our hostess wouldn’t notice and say, “Oh my goodness, don’t you like ham? I’ll make you something else.”
She is a kind and gracious lady, and made us a beautiful meal, which must’ve taken her most of the day to cook/clean up after.
I didn’t want her to feel badly that she served something my son doesn’t like….She definitely is the kind of lady who would’ve jumped up and made him something else.
Oh, okay. I thought the answer to “Oh, my goodness, don’t you like ham? I’ll make you something else,” was “Oh, no thanks, I’m really liking the [other foods].” That’d be my answer, anyway, but YMMV.
I’ve been in this situation before, where my host was serving something I actually had a newly acquired intolerance to. I did not mention it or make a big deal about it, since there was plenty of salad and other sides I could fill up on. It was only because the host noticed I didn’t have a main on my plate that I explained why. I kept insisting that I was find with my plate of sides, but they made a huge deal about making me a dish they didn’t have out. It was incredibly embarrassing, not to mention I hate putting people out, and in hindsight I wish I had just taken a small bit of the dish on my plate so she wouldn’t notice.
@anonymous: had our gracious hostess noticed and offered to make something else for my son, yes, I would have absolutely declined her offer and said something along the lines of “he is enjoying everything else, please don’t trouble yourself!”
I guess I was trying to make the “don’t really like ham” a complete non issue at dinner.
It didn’t kill my son to eat a few bites of something he doesn’t really care for.
@cdubz: the situation you describe is the one I’m trying to explain, unsuccessfully maybe, with the my son and the ham I made eat a few bites of.
Bonnie would’ve definitely noticed if he didn’t have some of the main dish, and I didn’t want to insult her delicious meal…..I would never suggest she make him something else….however, were she to jump up and say “I’ll make something else for him!”, I definitely would’ve politely declined. If she insisted, as in your story??? “Uhhh, really, no…SIT DOWN!”
I felt it was easier all around to tell my son to just eat a little of it.
see….this is the part that just baffles me. If you believe this would be her response, that she would prefer to make something that everyone likes than to make her original menu, and she asked you before buying ingredients, and you know that your son doesn’t like ham….what’s gained from NOT mentioning it? Why is it a preferable state of affairs that your son eats everything else and is neutral about dinner, and your hostess never knows that he doesn’t like ham so that something else could be prepared for the future, rather than mentioning it and having hostess say “oh that’s alright, i’ll make turkey/lasagna/pizza/whatever” and everyone being excited about the food?
like, obviously i understand that if the food is already bought and certainly if it’s already prepared, you don’t insist on your own something extra on top of what’s being done. But in this particular case it sounds like the entire reason she texted you the menu was to give you the option to change it.
If I found out my friends ignored my explicit attempts to give them what they wanted, I really don’t think I’d feel good about serving them something they choked down just to be polite, even for one person for one item. That’s what would make me stop inviting someone to eat – “So-and-so isn’t honest with me about what they like or not so I don’t want to guess wrong”
I guess I was flying under “it’s your home and whatever you make us we will eat and enjoy it” banner….
You have done your son a personal and professional favor for later in his life. No one likes the guy who whines about the restaurant, and no one promotes the guy who makes the lunch order difficult.
It’s possible to not whine about a restaurant, but still just order a salad, or a cup of coffee, or something small, if you don’t like that restaurant, or are ethically opposed to what they’re about (for example, me in a steakhouse). It’s also possible to not make the lunch order difficult by simply opting out of the communal lunch order, and bringing your own food, for whatever reason–different preferences or dietary issues, yes, but other good reasons include health, budget, or simply not feeling like Chinese food for lunch because you had it for dinner last night. I’d hate to think that a person quietly accommodating their own needs, would get tarred with the same brush as someone who expects the world to bend to them.
@Anonymous: It’s a fine line to walk, standing up for yourself when needed and being THAT person who complains about EVERYTHING.
At my two oldest son’s baseball game last weekend, (they lost districts last night in a close game, it broke my heart to see all the boys (and a few coaches) choking back tears) they had a lovely snack stand and my daughter bought a breakfast sandwich.
When we got back to our seats, she took a bite and made a face, the egg and sausage were ice cold.
I told her let’s go back and ask them nicely to please pop it in the microwave for a few more minutes.
She didn’t want to, she didn’t want to be a pain about it.
I said, “listen….we paid for that, and you can’t it eat this way. You’re not being rude, you simply ask nicely to please heat it some more, and thank you for doing so.”
I want her to be polite….I also don’t want her to be a doormat….it was a good teachable moment.
@Just4Kicks–I’m vegan, so in communal food situations, I eat different food than the rest of the group more often than not. I don’t complain, and I usually bring my own. People who know me are used to it, and don’t think I’m “THAT person who complains about EVERYTHING,” unless people talk about me behind my back.
@Ernie: Thank you for the nice comment.
I’m not the best mom ever to walk the earth, and am extremely blessed to have such wonderful kids.
They make me proud everyday!
@Anonymous: I think there is a disconnect between my brain and my typing fingers.
I was not, in any way, referring to you (at all!) with my “the person who complains about EVERYTHING.”
I’m so sorry if that’s how it was presented. You sound like a very polite person, who brings their own food, when non vegan choices are all there are.
It was a general statement, towards raising my own kids actually, about there is a difference between “we paid three bucks for this and its ice cold….please reheat it, thank you!”….And…..
“Ewww….I don’t like this cheese….do you have other cheese for this? No? Sigh….what kinds of hot dogs do you have? No….what BRAND are they!?!….Nope…..don’t like that brand…..sigh…..” etc….
I wasn’t referring to you, but more of teaching my kids don’t be doormats and eat cold food…..but don’t be a total pain in the ass either.
Sorry if my comments were misconstrued.
Oh, okay Just4Kicks. No, there’s definitely a middle ground between being a doormat and eating cold food that isn’t supposed to be served that way, and being a P.I.T.A., and yeah, I try to be as polite as possible about my veganism, because I don’t want to give vegans a bad name.
However, I actually had an incident a few months ago, though, where I was experiencing some push-back about bringing my own food. Our YMCA, where I practically grew up (took practically everything there, from parent-and-child swimming lessons s a baby, to fitness instructor courses in recent years) was having a fitness instructor workshop. I signed up in advance, and signed up for the workshops I wanted. However, this time, the registration form also included a “lunch order” section. You could pick a sandwich or a salad from The Chain That Starts With Q, and also pick white or whole wheat bread if you’d chosen a sandwich, or you could pick what kind of dressing you wanted if you were getting a salad. While “veggie” was an option, I knew they’d more than likely include cheese, and probably mayonnaise as well, and there was no polite way to order anything without caveats–no cheese, no mayonnaise, no way to even attempt to order a vegan meal on that form without sounding like a spoiled brat. So, I returned my form saying, basically, “I’d like to take Workshop A in the morning, Workshop B in the afternoon, and I’ll be bringing my own food.” I thought that that was all fine, until one of the facilitators (let’s call her Alice) e-mailed and asked for my food order. I said I’d be bringing my own food. She brought it up again when she saw me in person. I re-iterated that I’d be bringing my own food. She said that I should “at least try it,” so she brow-beat me into ordering a garden salad with Balsamic vinaigrette dressing (because that was an option, for some reason), and specified “no cheese” on the form. A few days later, another one of the facilitators (let’s call her Betty) e-mailed me and asked me if I wanted turkey on my salad. At that point, I got a little rude–I very firmly said, “Betty, I’m vegan, which means I don’t eat anything from an animal. I only ordered food because Alice told me to, and I didn’t want to, because the more people involved, the more chance of me getting something that isn’t vegan. Please cancel my order; I’m bringing my own food.” I was a bit irritated at this, because both Alice and Betty have known me for several years. Anyway, I then wrote to Alice and told her to cancel my order. This was still a few days out from the workshop, before the final order went to The Chain That Starts With Q. So, Alice and Betty cancelled my order, I brought my own food to the fitness instructor workshop, and a good time was had by all, but they ended up making me feel like a bit of a special snowflake, when that was exactly what I was trying to avoid. In future, though, I think this is going to set a precedent for the YMCA people, of “Anonymous will always bring her own food when we have fitness instructor workshops that last all day.”
I went through a period a few years ago where I HATED turkey….I loved turkey gravy but hated the actual meat. Somehow my mother-in-law got wind of this and that year served not only turkey but also a goose that my father-in-law had hunted but also ham (she heard I LOVE ham) she got from a local farm. She totally didn’t have to do that, I usually ate a wing and then sides. I think my husband mentioned I’m not a turkey fan one day and she remembered it.
@Ergala: my mom will do that at thanksgiving, half of us love Turkey, the other half love ham.
She makes both every year, she is an awesome cook, and its always appreciated that she serves both.
I remember one Christmas many years ago my mum and I were cooking the dinner, and having to walk on eggshells around one of my young (8ish – well old enough to be polite) cousins who (according to his mother, my aunty) would NOT EAT TURKEY and having to say loudly ‘it’s time to baste the BIG CHICKEN! It’s time the BIG CHICKEN came out of the oven! Wow, that BIG CHICKEN looks GREAT! It was hilarious, but faintly ridiculous, especially when he gobbled (pun intended…) down his turkey dinner and asked for seconds!
…..And p.s…..my son’s entire holiday wasn’t ruined by the fact he had to eat a few bites of food he does not enjoy! 🙂
I just had a thought–I’m sure the holiday was fine, but if your whole family told your friend how delicious EVERYTHING was when you were leaving, then your friend might think that your son likes ham, and the proceed to serve it at every subsequent gathering. I mean, the polite thing for him to do would be to say nothing, and fill up on everything else, and then just say he doesn’t want ham because he’s full from everything else, but that won’t help when the inevitable day comes when there’s no getting around the ham–suppose your friend serves, say, pea soup or a casserole with ham in it, or takes your family out for a picnic with ham sandwiches, or some other situation where Son might have to just say, “Hey, Mom’s Friend, I never really liked ham; I was just being polite all those years.” It’s happened in a lot of E-Hell threads before this one. It also happened to my mom once, sort of. She was about six, and she had the chicken pox, and some family friends brought her her own small jar of green olives as a treat (weird, but my mom really liked olives then). She then proceeded to eat the entire jar in one sitting, and, of course, got sick, and never wanted to eat olives again, for a VERY long time–like, years after the fact. The friends didn’t know about this development, and gifted my mom with jars of olives on many occasions after that, thinking she still liked them. My mom wasn’t allowed to tell them what happened, because that would have been considered “rude.” She eats olives now, but it took a while before they stopped making her sick.
A very good point you raise, and I do get what you’re saying….but they have broken up (my son and his girlfriend), so eating any sort of meal at their house won’t be happening again!
And, shoe on other foot, yes, I would absolutely amend (or add another choice) to a menu for folks coming over for dinner who may not like what I’m serving.
A four year old girl is on such a tight schedule that a barbecue completely interrupts her scheduled weekend? I can see a social calendar tightly packed with play dates, kindergarten, music lessons, sports events, etc. and no time to be a four year old.
If the child is old enough to talk, she can be asked which of the three entrees she wants. She may not have wanted a hot dog at all. Her little heart may have been set on a hamburger and Dad didn’t give her a chance to choose. I would have no problem with her saying, “I really would like a hot dog, but I don’t care for grilled ones.” I would be perfectly happy with boiling her one. I’d try to make any guest in my home happy within given limits.
My theory is that, as a child ages, he/she should be given more and more freedom to choose for him/herself in matters that do not actually require parental direction. I have seen eighteen year olds unable to make suitable choices because parents have micromanaged every decision of their lives, never allowing their child to choose clothing, hair styles, school electives, friends, music/dance/athletics/whatever.
PS. I am not kidding. I had a roommate who was twenty-two years old. I was twenty-three. Her mother moved in with us and served “Carrie’s” plate because, as Mom said, “She does not make good food choices.
We were both high school teachers. Mom also drove her to school the first day, went into her class and told the students they were to be nice to their new teacher as it was her first day and she was nervous. Way to go, Mom.
I moved out.
Your roommate’s mom moved in with you? How did that happen??
She came down from Michigan to “help Carrie move in” and just never left.
She slept in Carrie’s bed with her. I came in from school one day to find the two of them installing multiple locks on Carrie’s bedroom door. I think there were four: dead bolt, sliding chain, sliding bolt, plus the normal bedroom door lock.
Fascinating that a bedroom needed to be turned into Fort Knox, I asked why they needed so many locks on a bedroom door. Why, to keep out the rapists who would be trying to get to Carrie.
I was asked to go stand in front of the closed curtains in Carrie’s bedroom while mom ran downstairs to look up at the window and see if she could see my shadow. Why? Well, the rapists might be standing outside looking up at Carrie’s second floor window; and Mom had to know if they needed thicker curtains.
Realizing they had crossed the line between morality and lunacy, I found another apartment and moved out. Carrie told it around her school that I left because I had “low morals”. She and mother were taking the moral high ground. I had friends at her school and got the story from them.
Too bad you didn’t point out it was a hollowcore door and a few good kicks would take it right apart, so much for the locks. (most interior doors are a smooth both sides hollow core door with thin luan plywood like facings on both sides and nothing inbetween). THEN I would have moved out. I agree there, Cat. You ducked off a ride on the CrazyTrain.
Maybe it’s all the Special Victims Unit that I watch, but that level of closeness/hypercontrol paired with the fact that they slept in the same bed seems like an extremely unhealthy and worrisome relationship to me. I would have possibly alerted some authorities in that situation, and I can’t imagine what poor Carrie’s mental state must be like.
It’s not just you and all the SVU; I thought the same thing.
This is mind boggling.
I work for a university assisting postdocs and grad students with obtaining funding for research. I’ve had parents call to tell me I need make special exceptions to rules and guidelines (some Federal) for their child…many who already have their PhD. If they can’t fill out forms in a timely fashion that’s on them.
Yup. I worked at a college for two years. Every once in a while we would have a parental interference issue pop up. A student’s parent would be upset about an academic matter involving their child and come storming into the office. And these were graduate students in their late twenties and up! I couldn’t believe it. And if I were the student, no way would I ever allow my parent to intervene on my behalf!
I had an issue with one of my son’s teachers….I want to say third grade?
He is a very quiet, smart boy.
I’m not saying he is perfect, but now is a teenager, and I have never had a teacher complain once about his behavior….except for this one teacher.
He used to get so upset about going to school, he would make himself sick.
Finally, my husband and I requested a conference with her and the principal to see what was going on.
His grades are good? Yes.
Does he act out? Cause trouble? Bully others? No, no and no.
Is he disrespectful to you? No.
Ok…then why is this kid afraid to go to school every day?
The teacher looked right at us and said, “He doesn’t have any friends!!! Did he tell you that?!?
Uh…No….He is a shy kid, who if others say “come play with us!” He will….if not, he is happy reading a book or playing on the swings.
She used to send him to the office for the dumbest stuff….they had a pop quiz one day ( which means it’s a surprise quiz, right?!?)….my son raised his hand and asked to please sharpen his pencil.
She gave him a ten minute lecture on being prepared, made him cry and sent him to the office.
One of the office ladies walked him back, stuck her head in and said, “you’re giving a surprise quiz, and won’t let him sharpen his pencil?”
Okay….Yes, he should’ve had more than ONE pencil…but jeez…make a federal case out of it.
Anyway….over the years, I’ve talked to several parents whose kids have had this teacher.
Anyone with a BOY in her class said she was the worst, meanest and just weirdest teacher their son ever had.
Anyone with a daughter couldn’t praise this teacher enough.
Oh dear, remembering my school days that seems a surefire way to make “Carrie” the laughingstock of her pupils.
I’ll bet Carrie’s career in that scool was really short. No HS kid can resist such an easy target
@Cat: Her mother came into her first day of teaching to admonish her students?!?
Cut the cord, honey….cut the cord.
I think “Carrie” is the perfect pseudonym for this young woman, because of the movie. Did anyone else catch that?
I do now!
That scene where they are throwing tampons and pads at Carrie in the locker room while shouting at her “plug it up! Plug it up!!!” is SO painful to watch.
@Just4Kicks–I was thinking more about the unhealthy relationship that Carrie in the movie had with her mother, but the locker room scene works too.
Years ago I had a pool party/ cookout for co-workers; my boss brought her daughter Andrea. As I am frantically running around hosting (I was only in my 20s and not an experienced party-giver) and cooking, Andrea announced that she would not eat a grilled hot dog; only boiled would do. She was about 12, I think — old enough to have some semblence of manners but apparently hadn’t been taught any. My boss just stared at me so finally I went in and heated up a pot of water and boiled the hot dog. Which seriously disrupted my grilling/serving choreography for the other guests.
If it happened now that I am older and more assertive, I would have served everyone else and then heated up Andrea’s hot dog. (There were also burgers, skinless chicken breasts, salad fixing and other food she could’ve chosen from.) I understand being picky and as a picky eater have not had as much as I would have liked at many a gathering — but I would never demand that a host fix me something special.
Some years ago, I went to a party hosted by my then-girlfriend’s boss’s boss. Lots of people from my then-GF’s office there … and the Big Boss’s daughter. This little girl was kind of a terror. She ran around talking loudly to a lot of people, punching male members of the Big Boss’s office — and none of them were saying anything for fear of the Big Boss.
She was tameable, though. Turned out that if you didn’t indulge her, she’d move on to more acceptable behavior. Later in the evening, she decided she was going to read me a story from one of her books.
So, there are ways to get one of these little monsters to behave. It just takes some patience. And, apparently, not being one of the Big Boss’s underlings.
Alex should have kept his mouth shut. Stephanie clearly knew Rose would eat the grilled hot dog, so Alex winds up sounding like he’s only complaining about all this because HE doesn’t want to be there.
And lets pretend that there were legitimate health/sensory issues at play here, this still wouldn’t have been an appropriate way to address it. Is being polite beyond Alex’s comprehension?
Sounds like Daddy was acting out because he didn’t want to be there.
The main issue seems to be Alex didn’t want to be there (his other plans were RUINED by having to come to this instead) and he wanted to be a drama llama as well. Stephanie took the headcount and didn’t think her daughter Rose needed a boiled hot dog… and it should have been nicely asking on Alex’s part about could he go in and fix one himself… and yes as other said, clean up after it. Boiling a hot dog takes just a few minutes.
I have a feeling that Stephanie is used to this stuff and may be resigned to she may never have Alex change, I can only hope she’ll teach Rose different and Rose will listen and learn.
Alex is the real toddler; poor Stephanie!
My daughter had food sensitivities that made her break out into painful, itchy hives which made her miserable and would make her look like the creature from the Black Lagoon in short order. She had a long, long list of things that caused this reaction: tomatoes and tomato products, citric acid, yellow dye, processed meats, strawberries, citrus fruits and juices, caffeine, chocolate, etc.
When she was only four, she politely turned down any foods or treats at gatherings which she couldn’t have, and would calmly drink a glass of water if that’s all that was available for her. We always tried to accommodate her, but occasions popped up at school or day care that we didn’t anticipate, and sometimes her teacher would run grab her something she could eat or drink. Still, we and my daughter always stressed that she would be fine with just water or milk. Really, Alex, it isn’t going to kill little Rose to eat a hamburger or sides — OP said there were other choices besides hot dogs. OP never said that Rose said she couldn’t eat a hot dog grilled, only that Daddy did. So Rose apparently could handle the issue, Dad couldn’t. Dad is rude and childish.
Late but adding: I now have a serious quad of medical issues and can control some with diet and some with medication. If I did not prepare the food myself in a space I cleaned myself I can’t be guaranteed that one of my allergens is present in enough quantity to make me seriously ill. (celiac is just one and you’d be amazed the foodstuffs that have enough in to cause a reaction.) Most of my friends and club member buddies now know of this. So do some of the local caterers or restaurants. I may be there, had to buy a meal because it was catered, and have it clamshelled to go (don’t bother plating it) and pay for it and my DH can eat almost anything, so…. some are nice enough to let me sit with an empty placemat and it’s clear I don’t mind you scarfing all that delicious food, eat. A few places (restaurants included) will actually let me bring my own prepared food in so I may eat with the others as they just can’t cook to serve me. I keep it discreet. I still tip the waitstaff no matter what. They still did their job.
If I need a boiled hot dog, I’d bring my own, or ask permission quietly to go inside, prepare the item, and clean up. (I can’t eat one prepared any way you can come up with, but that’s what this is about. Someone mentioned their 12 year old needed one. At that age the person could have asked themselves if they could go prepare one, they’re certainly capable of doing so, and cleaned up after. (by that age I was preparing lunch and dinner for my family as part of my chores. I was capable of handling hot dogs boiled or grilled-pre microwave days too)
This reminds me of a boss I had a long time ago. Her family would sometimes host family events at their place, and her brother would pull this crap on her sometimes. He had a young son, and he would announce at the event to his sister that his son didn’t like what was on her menu for the event, so she had to find something else for him. Apparently the underlying issue was that he felt that their father had been much too strict and harsh with them growing up, so he was trying to not be that way with his son – to the point where he was obviously spoiling the kid.
You don’t change the host’s menu to cater to you or your child’s needs or wants, period. That is very rude and disruptive to the event. If there’s some kind of issue, you take care of that on your own and don’t demand that others cater to you.
Alex is a piece of work and needs to shut up. His problem was not Rose’s hot dog. It was the fact that he didn’t want to be there and wanted to make it known. My husband has a way of voicing aloud his displeasure at having to attend events that cut into his time. My entire family lives within the city – we live about an hour away. Any family oriented event that came up would require this drive – and he would make a fuss. I already allowed that he did not need to attend everything but there were things that I deemed non negotiable. He would have to attend these events and I made it clear that he was to be friendly, talkative, polite and to act like there was no other place he’d rather be. I also offered that if he couldn’t be bothered – I wouldn’t feel at all obligated to attend his family gatherings. He attends now with little to no fuss and is perfectly polite. If I were Stephanie I’d be having some choice words for Alex when we got home.
All this fuss about “she’ll only have hotdogs is they’re boiled” and nobody considered just giving her a burger?
I JUST had this conversation with my boys! I come from a meat-and-potatoes family. Growing up, the most exotic thing we ever ate was the stew made from mixed leftovers. The first time their Dad brought me home for “family dinner”, his mother had made something very Old World Italian that I nibbled and pushed around a bit as it wasn’t something I was fond of. The second time, she had made what I’m sure was a delicious fish dish but I did not like fish, so I chatted animatedly and prayed that no one noticed that I was doing my nibble and push routine, again. When I got invited a third time, I vowed to myself that I would eat whatever gourmet masterpiece she put in front of me. As a fan of horror movies, I was so dismayed by the hitherto unknown Pea Soup!! But I persevered and was rewarded with a delicious new favorite!! All of this by way of relaying to them that they are well past the age of culinary accommodation and that they need to sit down, hush, and eat.
Alex, too, is well past the age of culinary accommodation though I think that Stephanie may need to remind him of that.
I grew up in the Mid-West, which is notoriously a meat n potatoes part of the country. I was lucky to have a mother who took the time to introduce us to more ‘exotic’ foods. In the 3rd grade I was the only student who knew was an artichoke was. As an adult it makes me sad to see my friends from home pinning recipes on Pinterest exactly like what their mom’s made; casseroles, crock-pot meals, very few fruits & veggies, while my brother and I are trading tips on the best way to pressure cook an Italian roast beef, keep soup dumplings from sticking to the steam baskets, or sharing new pop up restaurants we’ve been to. I really think opening up a child to new food early prepares them for a better culinary life, and making better food choices. The only rule we had at home: you had to take one bite of everything, then you could say you didn’t care for it, and my mother respected that.
My husband once had his mom over for veal, her favorite dish, on her birthday.
I’m not fond of veal, so I took a very small piece, and (horrors!) put hot sauce on it.
My MIL had a FIT!
“You’re RUINING this delicious meal my son made by putting THAT CRAP all over it!”
Good Lord….I (used to, can’t handle it anymore) put hot sauce on pretty much everything, from eggs to pizza to popcorn…..mind your own meal, Mom!
Yeah, hot sauce on popcorn is pretty good, but sriracha sauce on popcorn is awesome. 🙂
Sounds like Stephanie has a spoiled brat on her hands, and it ISN’T Rose. I agree with other posters that this is Alex’ passive-aggressive way of making sure he doesn’t have to visit his wife’s relatives too often – especially when he has something better to do. Next time, Stephanie should do just what you would do with a small child – either leave him at home (and she wouldn’t even need a babysitter) or, which would be preferable, insist that he behave himself.
Though leaving Alex at home by himself might not be the wisest either. (my DH had a few times of he looked at the checkbook balance, went AHHAH! and went out and spent it on stuff that was nonreturnable while I was out for the afternoon… and it never occurred that it was the day before paying the mortgage and he just spent the mortgage payment! We have separate accounts and he doesn’t have access to the bill account anymore!) I think Stephanie needs to deal with Alex learning to behave himself.
Alex sounds like a real joy. This reminds me of a dinner party I had – invited my SIL, her 2 kids and her boyfriend for dinner. I was worried about my nephew because he only eats hot dogs (which I made sure I had). But it was my SIL who ended up dictating the menu. When I told her I was making a pasta dish (shrimp & tortellini in tomato basil cream sauce) she told me that she wasn’t eating carbs (Atkins diet). So I change my plans and serve steak, salad and baked potatoes – so she could enjoy a great carb free meal by skipping the potatoes. She proceeded to eat a nice big baked potato and a big ol’ brownie sundae for dessert. After I changed my menu because she wasn’t eating carbs!!!! Never again.
I typically do not eat carbs and the shrimp and tortellini would be the type of thing that would literally make me sick afterward. It was probably delicious – but that is what carbs typically do to me. I don’t have them too often. With that said, I would have ate the shrimp and tortellini anyway – I really try hard not to force my diet restrictions on anyone. I’ve been at parties where there wasn’t one thing served that I could eat but it was easy to disguise that fact and I just went hungry.
The fact that you changed your menu for your sister was super nice – I would have been grateful. She obviously wasn’t serious about her diet at all.
That’s why I always announce the planned menu. If it doesn’t suit your diet then you are free to decline the invite, eat beforehand, break your diet, or just eat what you can. The only diet I typically try to accommodate is for my vegetarian friends by providing an extra veggie item. The rest of my friends and family will eat just about anything I serve, or they hide it so well I’ve never noticed.
If I were George or Connie, my response would have been “There’s the stove. Pots are in the cupboard, you can grab a hot dog from the fridge. The dish soap is by the sink when you’re finished.”
And then evil me would have enjoyed the look on his face when he comes out to serve his daughter the boiled dog, only to find out she joyfully gobbled down one of the grilled ones already. I mean, really, I’ve run into this problem before and all you have to do is scrap off the black parts and the child will have no problem eating it.
Exactly or just find a place on the grill and turn the dog often to get it warmed up and not much marking at all. I graduated from those to the really charred up ones with lots of ketchup between 4 and 7….
My kiddos have texture issues. Whenever we are going to a BBQ I usually ask what is being served and I will either feed my boys a small meal before we leave or I pack them something. My hosts are short order cooks…they are not MacDonald’s where I have it my way. They are friends or family that are gracious enough to entertain us for an afternoon or evening in their home and deserve respect. My kids understand this as well at 5 and 9.
*are NOT short order cooks…..sorry typo!
I knew what you meant! And that’s exactly the right thing for picky/allergic kids (or adults). I think everyone understands that kids tend to go through a picky stage, and that there might be special diets required for people with illnesses or allergies. It’s great if the host can plan around them, but the person with the special diet should never plan on it. You bring food with you, ideally enough to share, and you eat what you can of the food that is served.
We went to a lobster bake for a family function. We had just found out our oldest, whom was like 3 years old at the time was allergic to shellfish. Even the steam caused hives, we had an epi-pen. We had no idea it was a lobster bake, didn’t even stop to ask. As soon as we arrived and saw all the clams and lobsters we quickly moved our stuff away from the steam being put off and made sure the wind wasn’t blowing in our direction. We also made him a plate of the sides. We didn’t freak out, we didn’t make a spectacle. We simply made do. I was pregnant as well at the time and normally I am allergic to shellfish, for some reason while I was pregnant I became allergic to peanut butter but could eat shellfish. I oinked out on lobster and rinsed my mouth out with the mouthwash my mother in law provided me before I held ds.
“oinked out”…heeheee….gotta use that one soon.
Admin all the men kept bringing me more lobsters! I swear I never ate so much of it in my life. I think the fact I was pregnant really made them want to feed me LOL! As soon as my plate was done one of them appeared with another plate with a lobster ready to go HAHAHA!
one time I served a delicious BBQ to a group of people, only for one of the men to come to me and say that there wasn’t anything that I was serving that he could eat, and would I please find something else for him to eat. He wasn’t family and even though I was a bit put out, it looked like he was having a genuine situation and I could tell he was very sorry for putting me out. The only problem was I really didn’t have anything else to serve him but I did manage to scrounge up an egg sandwich 🙂 When we have been invited to somebody’s house to eat, and I know I have a picky kid, I always make sure I take food along for him. I don’t get why people don’t do that.
Can I just say, as an Auatralian, I find the concept of a grilled (I’m assuming barbequed?) hot dog strange but intrigueing!
I lived in Australia for two years, and barbecues (sometimes called “sausage sizzles”) were a regular thing. In all that time, I don’t think I ever saw anyone cooking a hot dog any other way BUT on a barbecue.
I just googled “how do Australians cook hot dogs” and couldn’t get a clear read on what is actually considered a hot dog down there. Here in the US, the hot dog is the tube of meat (sometimes in a casing) that is cooked, then often served on a bun. I understand that your term “hot dog” may be for the entire thing (both the sausage and the bun together)?
Yes, we do grill (yes barbeque) the meat part here, toast/grill the bun separately (or not, depending on preference) and they are terrific.
Do you normally boil them?
Hot dogs to us are the red things – meat in red casing (of ten called a Frankfurt), on it’s own or in the bun. They are a bit of novelty. “Sausage” is meat in regular casing – THOSE are what we toss on the bbq. A “sausage sizzle” refers to the event where one is serving sausages (often in a “sausage sandwich” with bread, onions and sauce).
same, I’ve only ever dumped frankfurts into hot water haha
You’re missing out! Grilling gives a hotdog a char that is delicious. They’re even better over open flame.
Wait wait wait… you can cook a hotdog on a barbeque? I’ve literally never heard of this before. I’ve never seen any other hot dog cooking method but boiling.
Grilled is my preferred method. If I have to cook them on my stove, I use a frying pan (since I don’t have a grill pan) rather than boiling, so it’s at least similar to grilled.
Have you tried tossing them under the broiler in the toaster oven? That’s my family’s preferred way if it is too much trouble to fire up the grill. We still only use charcoal, so firing up the grill for one hot dog for lunch is rather wasteful.
Cheap apartment living during college, would be to take a rummage sale fork, ram a hotdog on the end, take the protective pot holding grill off the gas burner, and fire it up. Grill your dog over the flame, with a couple buns open and condiments ready. When dog is charred to your liking (and splitting a little) pry off onto a bun, and fit another one on the fork. Grill seconds while you eat firsts. It was better than boiling and if you had no way to have a grill, this was the quick way to a hot meal.
Yes, grilled hot dogs are the best!
Grilled is the only way I eat a hot dog! I love them blackened!
Grilled hot dogs are yummy. Even as leftovers, they retain their grilled flavor.
I don’t think my kids have ever had a boiled hotdog. Too floppy and chewy. I like mine burnt a bit so have always served them grilled. I prefer all meat grilled though. My grill is right outside my backdoor–perfect for barbecueing even in the middle of a Minnesota winter.
Is it possible that the parents are concerned about carcinogens in grilling? Perhaps they were more concerned about cancer and not about the time.
the is more Alex’s entitled and rude tone. if he had been more considerate, polite and gracious i have no doubt the hosts would have complied happily.
Alex sounds like a man who has been held hostage to the screams of a 4 year old and is terrified of doing anything that would set it off–take her off her schedule, give her something to eat that she has previously and vehemently refused.
Alex wasn’t polite to be whining but I don’t think his behavior was all that rude or really, unusual, given that this was a casual family event. And his wife was taking care of it and calming him down.
Sometimes I think people just need a break. He wasn’t really that rude. I would say more annoying than rude. I think his wife handled the situation just fine.
Given that Stephanie didn’t think that a grilled hot dog was a problem for Rose, I’d actually wonder if Alex was the one who wanted the boiled hot dog himself but thought he’d be more likely to get the “special order” if he claimed it was for his 4 year old daughter. “Oh look, Rose didn’t eat her hot dog, I’ll just finish hers up instead of getting my own.”
Gotta wonder what the greater family dynamics are, ie did Alex try to decline but it caused a huge uproar or other boundery problems
I’m not clear on how this was a problem for you? It sounds like Stephanie had it in hand, and that the comments were not directed to you.
This is so weird. At first, I wondered if the kid had some sort of sensory thing but the mum said that she’d be okay with whatever. That implies that the kid isn’t nearly as devoted to her schedule as her father is. I wonder why. And I want to know what happened next.
This reminds me of a story my mum told me eons ago. My grandfather’s family seemed to think that his and my grandmother’s house was their own. They would show up exactly at lunchtime all the time. One day, my grandmother was making hot dogs for my mum and her siblings and, on cue, my grandfather’s sister and her family showed up. My grandmother told them that they were having hot dogs for lunch and the daughter freaked out. She demanded something else, screamed that she wouldn’t eat that. Grandma told her she was welcome to do that. The daughter wound up sitting in the car the entire visit, not eating a thing.
If I was grandmum I would have had hotdogs more often for lunch. Maybe the SIL would have gotten the clue about the free feed was over.
I just thought of something–this story reminds me of the “Pain In The Glutenless Maximus” story from a few years ago. If I remember correctly, the OP was throwing a birthday party for her son. Son requested yellow cake with chocolate frosting from a specific bakery, and juice to drink, so that’s what the OP got for his party. One of the little boys who came to the party had a mother who pitched a fit because the OP wouldn’t change the cake to a gluten-free, vegan cake, and wouldn’t provide a second cake that was gluten-free and vegan, because it wasn’t in her budget, and it seemed like a lot of work for one child. So, the little boy’s mother sent him with his own “special” cake, and said that since she’d had to make that, she couldn’t afford a birthday gift for the OP’s son……so the poor child had to be the only child without a gift to give. Anyway, fast-forward to cake and juice time, and the little boy ended up happily eating the regular cake, and not touching the one his mother provided for him.
I remember a BB post years ago where the poster was annoyed because somebody messed up her potluck contribution that she made specifically to make sure her finicky daughter had something she would eat. She brought hotdogs and beans, the hotdogs left whole sitting on top of the beans. Somebody else decided it would be a good idea to cut up the hotdogs and mix them with the beans. Daughter won’t eat them that way. It was hilarious how much debate that one post caused. People blaming Mom for catering to her daughters pickiness. People arguing about how unacceptable it is to meddle with another woman’s potluck donation. (Loved the woman who decreed that in the South, meddling with another woman’s cooking is an act of treason that will get you tossed out of polite society.)
My contention is, if you want your hot dogs and beans cut up and mixed together, do it on your own plate, not the serving dish.
I know other people have commented on this already, but I’m just really amused (and appalled) by Alex saying, “Her schedule this weekend has been completely interrupted by this barbecue!”
What, did Rose have to study for her pre-school final exams?
One also wonders whether Alex was told he ‘had to go’ to this party. Sometimes a united front as a family doesn’t really work for some people. I’m really hoping that Stephanie didn’t force him to go. Would it be better for Alex to stay at home, instead of sulking and being an entitled PITA at a kid’s party?
I know many times, I never wanted to go out, but my family used to drag me along, and I behaved appallingly. When my parents gave me a lecture on manners, I used to tell them I didn’t want to go in the first instance.
I have 2 nieces who are on certain dietary restrictions. Their mother, my SIL, always brings their food with her to family gatherings and does not expect or want any special treatment from the host/hostess.
If I were hosting, and a guest took me aside and said, “I’m so sorry to be a pain, but Rose is going through a picky phase. She doesn’t like burgers and only likes her hot dogs boiled. Is it OK if I boil a dog for her on the stove? Just tell me where you keep your saucepans, and I’ll take care of it. I’ll clean up afterward, too” …
… I would gladly grant his request. He is being polite, and is bending over backward not to put me out. Heck, I might even offer to boil the dog myself and tell him not to worry about cleaning up — it’s one pan, and we don’t want the dog to get cold.
But Alex did not ask nicely. He demanded, and he implied that the host *owed* it to him to cater to his demand because the very existence of the party was inconveniencing him. I would probably still grant his request, in the interest of not spoiling my daughter’s day, but it would be grudgingly — “Sure. Here’s a dog. Pans in the bottom cupboard by the stove. Be sure to clean up afterward.” And I would have words with my sister before inviting Prince Picky to another family party.
This situation sounds like something that might have happened to us. The fact that Rose had some issues with food and the schedule seemed important might hint that special needs are involved. My daughter is on on the spectrum and something like a party that overstimulates her and changes her schedule plus a texture she doesn’t like might result in a meltdown.
HOWEVER, we wouldn’t have acted this way. We usually ask about food in advance (and family knows about her issues and refusal to eat grilled hotdogs), but if it turns out that she doesn’t like the food being served, we don’t demand food cooked another way (and we are trying to get her to be gracious about it too). We either find the hot dog with the least char marks or fill up her plate with other things she likes or make an early exit if we can tell the food thing is going to make a problem. We would have been Stephanie, claiming it was no big deal. Alex handled the whole thing badly, for whatever reason Rose needed/ wanted the special hotdog.
Sounds like Alex needed a nap.
Alex was a rude silly man at this BBQ. I hope he’s not like that full time!
We had this same scenario happen a few years ago at a backyard barbecue, but with far different results. We’ve been friends with a family for almost ten years, kiddos met at daycare, go to separate elementary schools but play on the same sports team and see each other quite often. Wonderful parents. Great kids. Always a good time.
DH was getting ready to start the grill and get the hot dogs and hamburgers going, when “John” politely asked if he could go boil a hot dog for his daughter “Maggie”. He said she wouldn’t eat them any other way. Now “Maggie” and her brother “Peter” have been at our house enough times and eaten countless number of meals, including grilled hot dogs. I told John that I thought that was a bit odd, since she always eats what is put in front of her when she’s here, she’s never asked me to boil a hot dog for her.
John calls Maggie over and asked if she wanted him to boil her a hot dog or does she want one from the grill. Maggie’s response “Gus (DH) doesn’t burn them like you do, so yes” and scampers away to rejoin the rest of the kids. We all had a good laugh. John admitted grilling is not forte and everyone enjoyed the char-free barbecue.