Etiquette Hell = Where the ill-mannered deserve to go


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Those little "treasures" we all would love to bury

2002 Archive

My daughter was five years old. I invited one of her friends, Melissa, to play for the afternoon at our house. "No problem", said Mr. and Mrs. "Crisco", "we’re in a big rush and were just going out. We’ll be right over and drop the kids off." Five minutes later, Melissa "Crisco" and her 3 year old sister Ashley "Crisco" arrived at our house. I knew Ashley was a sweet and well-behaved little child, so I didn’t worry about her being included. As I began to inquire about food allergies and discuss a pickup time, the parents explained that they were late for a bowling tournament, jumped in their SUV, and sped away with a squeal of their tires.

The three year old, Ashley, played well with the older girls considering her age, but required closer supervision than I had been planning on giving, just so she wouldn’t hurt herself. After a short while spent rescuing Ashley repeatedly from a rocking chair that was giving her some trouble, I noticed that Melissa, the five year old guest, was lethargic and not keeping up with the other girls. She admitted to being tired and I gave her a quiet place to lie down in the living room. She fell asleep immediately and her forehead was hot and moist. "Melissa isn’t feeling well," I explained to the other girls as they gathered around the floor where she lay on a blanket. "She has the flu", Ashley explained helpfully.

I gave Melissa water, but did not feel right administering fever-reducing medications to her without her parents’ knowledge. I fed the two well children a hearty snack around 3:45 PM. Melissa slept on heavily. At 5 PM, I started calling the "Crisco’s" house. As the dinner hour and its workload collided with the hunger of two children and the illness of a third, at 6:30 PM, I was very happy to reach the adult "Crisco’s" at last. The "game was on the TV" and Mr. "Crisco" promised he’d be right over in a few minutes. So I kept the children pacified with small portions of food and held off on preparing my family’s meal. Melissa roused enough to take some nourishment. In the event, the game was not over until nearly 8 PM and Mr. "Crisco" was at our house by 8:15 PM. He admitted that Melissa had been ill but said that they "thought she had recovered". Kids0204-03

My daughter was turning six and since she recently started ballet, I planned her party at the dance studio she attends. The studio allowed for 10 children, including the birthday girl. I told her we shouldn't invite anyone from her kindergarten class because there was a limited number, and the party being during the Christmas Holidays, (my daughter's birthday is the 2nd of January) I thought people would forget. Plus she had little girls from church to invite to whom she is much closer. Plus I didn't want any of the children at school to get hurt feelings since we couldn't invite the whole class. I also included the two older daughters of my friend who lives across town (about 45 minutes away).

In October, before I booked the party, I asked my friend if they would be able to come since the party was on a Sunday and they have church obligations on Sunday afternoon. She said Sure, no problem. She could get someone else to cover her class. Well, the invitations went out and everyone accepted. I double checked with my friend from across town the week prior to make sure they were coming. Of course, wouldn't miss it, etc... The day of the party, with no warning, this friend stands us up. We waited for her because she assured us she was coming. My husband called their house and there was no answer. We thought oh, she's on her way. They'll be here soon.

She never came and didn't call to apologize till the next day, when she said that they had made plans with her husband's family to get together for lunch and she didn't know what she was thinking...They never could have made it considering the amount of time it takes to drive across town and then get back to teach her class at church that evening. Never mind that she told me she could get a sub. Never mind that I asked her MONTHS in advance. Never mind that we could have invited some of my daughter's other friends who would have come. My daughter kept counting the number of guests and saying, "Mom I thought you said ten people were coming." My friend is having a birthday party for her two daughters this Saturday. My husband thinks I should stand her up. Kids0206-03

Last night, my boyfriend and I went to a 6.30pm session of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. We sat three rows from the front. Some rows behind us was a man with a toddler, who couldn't have been more than 2-3 years old. About a third of the way through the movie, the toddler started getting restless. First he started squealing. Then he started playing in the aisle, where he alternated between running the length of the aisle, and playing at the very front of the cinema. When he was at the front, my boyfriend and I couldn't see him, so there's no way his father would have been able to. All the time the toddler was carrying on, his father did nothing. Just sat in his seat and kept watching the movie.

After about twenty minutes of this, my patience ran out. I went into the lobby, and returned with an usher. In no uncertain terms, the usher told the father that his child was disturbing others, and that if he couldn't keep him under control, they'd both have to leave.

The toddler was quiet for the rest of the movie. That's because he went to sleep.

To be honest, I don't think the child belongs in etiquette hell. He was only doing what toddlers do best. However, I do question the wisdom of whoever thought an evening session of a 3-hour movie, filled with battle scenes, was an appropriate entertainment for a toddler. Kids0210-03

My seven year old daughter just recently had her birthday party. After convincing her that a swimming party in February couldn't happen, she happily agreed that the skating rink would be just as good. We sent out invitations to 12 of her friends (there were only 2 whom I wasn't well acquainted with their parents). Several days before the party we had received RSVP's, or I had called to confirm, with all of them except "Rachel", who I couldn't get a hold of and never returned my message. Even though I had not heard from her, I included her in the final head count anyway.

The party started out well. My daughter greeted everyone as they arrived and then they got their skates on and headed out to the rink. After all the guests were accounted for I went to the front to pay for the children’s' entrance and skate rental, which had been tallied up by the cashier. I noticed that their were two extra on the count and she volunteered that "Rachel's" mother had told her to add her other two children (who my daughter didn't even know) onto my tab unless I noticed and then she would pay for them. I was shocked that this mom was openly trying to pull one over on me, but let it go because it was only $7 and I just wanted the party to go smoothly.

When it was time to go to the area designated for the cake and gift opening, I began ordering drinks for the children (which were an additional expense). "Rachel's" mother came up to me and reminded me that she had two other children out skating that also needed a drink. I kept my annoyance to myself and ordered two more drinks. I handed them to her and she informed me that her son couldn't have sugar so she needed a diet soda instead of the regular. She kept the extra regular.

The children were just as rude. My father attended and gave quarters to all of the children for the arcade games. After the party he was talking about the three kids that "kept coming back and begging for more quarters". I'm sure you could guess that this was "Rachel" and her siblings.

I was absolutely frazzled the entire party because of this woman’s' lack of manners. I can understand bringing all of your children to the skating rink but expecting the party throwers to fork out the expense for all of them is ridiculous. We have three children ourselves and don't consider an invitation from one of their classmates to mean free family fun day for all. Even though it only cost an additional $10 for them, it's the principle. If everyone had brought their siblings and expected us to pay it would have easily exceeded $100 extra. Now, do we send a thank you card addressed to "Rachel" or all of them?!!! Kids0216-03

I'm not sure what category this belongs in, as I think it spans just about all of them--and, IMO, goes well beyond 'etiquette' and into cruelty--but here it is. Do with it what you will.

I am a single mother, and I have been all my adult life. However, and this is an important point, I rarely describe myself as such. I worked my way through college while my son was a baby, and have cultivated a good career for myself, with a stable, middle- class income. I have never asked for or received charity or any type of special treatment because of my single parent status. Everyone who knows me at all is aware of this.

Some years ago, I had a friend--a single male with whom I had a strictly platonic friendship. We'd originally began socializing when I invited him to spend holidays at my home. I throw big holiday parties for my family and my friends without families nearby. Now, my son is a remarkably charismatic guy. I say this not only as his mother, but as an observer. He's polite, kind, astoundingly intelligent, mature, and just about the funniest person I know. So it is absolutely not unusual for my adult friends to get wrapped up in conversations with him--even those who actively dislike children as a rule. The friend in question, whom I'll call "Stanley," was no exception. Over the course of about six months of socializing, Stanley and my son had cultivated a friendship. So, when Stanley asked me if my son could go with him to play laser tag, I said OK. I paid my son's admission, and they had a jolly old time together. Stanley told me he appreciated having a kid to go with for something like that, because he was uncomfortable going alone, as a fortyish single guy. So, over the course of a year or so, they did things like this together several times, and I went along frequently. I always paid my son's way, except for two or three times, when Stanley insisted it was his treat. Notably, Stanley also came over for my parties and dinners quite frequently, so his 'treats' were not unreciprocated.

After a couple of years, Stanley met a girl, and got engaged soon thereafter. He asked my son to be in his wedding party, and I said OK. I had recently been laid off, so Stanley insisted on paying for my son's tuxedo rental. Then, my invitation came. I had a live-in boyfriend, whom Stanley knew very well, but he was not included in the invitation. I wasn't sure if this was an oversight or what, so I casually mentioned it in what I thought was a polite context--I think I said something about being the default designated driver or something, as I take a very hard line on drinking and driving, and won't drive if I've had even one drink. Stanley sighed, and said something along the lines of, "Oh, he can come, if he doesn't eat. And he'll have to sit at some other table, of course." 

OK. That cleared that up. I decided to just take a cab so I could toast the bride and groom. I got to the wedding and put on my brave face. I didn't know anyone but the bride and groom, and my son was in the wedding party, so I was alone. After the services, I was introduced to people in dribs and drabs. I noticed a strange trend. People would say, "Oh, yes, I've heard of you," and make what I can only describe as pitying faces. I blew this off, though, as I do have fairly serious social anxiety problems, so I figured it was probably my imagination. 

When Stanley introduced me to his parents, though, the story started to come out. On meeting me, his mother said something like, "Oh, Stanley has always been a charitable soul!" And a little later, one of Stanley's friends asked me something about my line of work, which he'd been told was some barely above minimum wage clerical position. It had slowly dawned on me that I was invited to portray the pathetic single mother that dear Stanley had so generously taken under his wing. This was hardly something I could go back and address politely, so I just toughed it out. Someone--I think one of the bride's parents--even made some vague reference to Stanley's financial help. I was dumbfounded, needless to say.

Finally, as we were leaving, Stanley, in the presence of his and his wife's parents, as well as several onlookers, shook my son's hand and said something like, "Well, thank you. It's been nice knowing you. We're going to have a child of our own soon, and I'm sure that with all the practice I've gotten with you, I'll be able to be a good dad. Good luck to you and your mom, and if you ever need me again, let me know and I'll try to help."

This part wasn't Stanley's fault, but in keeping with the tone the evening had taken, we couldn't get a cab to come pick us up, it started raining, and my ten year old son was standing there in his tuxedo late at night in a strange neighborhood, trying hard not to cry. He finally broke down when the pin on his boutonniere got stuck an inch into his finger and we couldn't stop the bleeding. Oh, and do I even need to mention that we never got a thank you note for the $150 gift we'd so carefully chosen? (They weren't registered, so we had to put a lot of thought into it). We tried to extend an olive branch nonetheless, at my son's insistence, inviting Stanley and his wife to another party. My son made the call (we didn't have their new address), and he never told me just what Stanley said, but whatever it was, it broke my poor kid's heart. He just went in his room and sobbed. We don't mention Stanley's name in our home anymore. Kids0227-03

I think it's lovely to host a child's birthday party, even when the child is very young, but there are some behaviors that seem, well, downright rude. 

My sister recently hosted a birthday party for her two year old son. The party itself was very nice. She invited lots of adults in addition to my nephew's little friends, and had an entertainer come sing to the children and moms. The food was lovely - simply catered with bagels and salads and such. In fact, the party was just about perfect despite the fact that her child was terrified and needed to be put down for a nap in the middle. The part that really irked me, however, was that my sister chose the time her son was sleeping to open up all his birthday presents! In fact, she opened up every single present in front of all those that attended the party, leaving none to open with her child. She also had someone at the party make a list of who gave what so she would know who to send thank yous to, as if a child's birthday party were like a wedding or baby shower. It was very tacky and it appeared to be very inappropriate. I don't know if she was lacking a clue or class or both. But you should have seen the spectacle! And no one took her aside to tell her there was a problem! Kids0313-03

"Rugrats" is kind of a misnomer, because I'm convinced that behind every "RugBrat" is at least one clueless parent. 

I would conjecture that nearly all kid related faux pas are the sole responsibility of clueless, inattentive or lazy parents who neglect to train their children in matters of civility and etiquette.

You have to feel for the kids sometimes, like at my daughter's birthday party two years ago. We were having a combination Laser Tag/bowling birthday party, and my daughter had invited all of her school classmates to celebrate her 8th birthday. Because we paid per head, the bowling alley needed a head count at least a day ahead of time so they could figure how many lanes to allocate to the party, etc. The invitations we sent out two weeks ahead of time clearly said that we needed people to call and tell us, even if they were NOT coming, so we could get a head count. Three days before the party, we sent out another reminder to the invitees and requested that they call us and let us know if they were/weren't coming. (Forget about putting "RSVP" on an invitation, it's unbelievable how many adults are clueless as to what that means.)

Well, as expected, there were some kids whose parents didn't call to say they were coming, who showed up anyway (in two cases with older/younger siblings in tow), and some kids whose parents had called to say they would be there didn't show. What the hey, it seems like the best you can hope for is that the no-shows balances out the unexpected arrivals. We were close to the estimate we'd submitted to the bowling alley, so it was okay. We clearly and explicitly told every parent what time the party would end so they could plan on picking up their kids. (The time the party ended was also on the invitation and the reminder.) Everyone acknowledged this, and all indicated they'd be there on time.

The party was a riot; the kids were all very well-behaved and had a lot of fun, enjoying the bowling without really worrying about the scores. Then we moved from the bowling area to the Laser Tag area.

We'd no sooner arrived there than a mother arrived with two kids in tow. The mom hadn't called to say her son would be there, because he had a soccer game that morning. Well, evidently the soccer game had finished early enough that she felt she could get her son over to take part in at least some of the festivities. "Oh, and this is my son's friend Manuel, I'm supposed to be watching him too, is it all right if he stays?" she said, poised to dash off to do some errand, clearly sure that I wouldn't refuse. Well, what could I say except "Welcome, Manuel, do you want to play some Laser Tag?"

That poor kid. He clearly was uncomfortable being dumped off in a birthday party where he didn't know any of the other kids except his "friend." His discomfort palpably increased when the kid he'd some to the party with deserted him for another buddy, evidently better-liked.

I venture to guess that many adults put into a similar situation would have a hell of time coping with it; for an eight-year-old, this had to have been a horrifically awful experience. My husband and I did our best to make Manuel comfortable, but it was evident that he really, really, really didn't want to be there. His discomfort reached its peak when we brought out the cake and ice cream. As the candles were being lit and the kids started singing "happy birthday," he jumped out of his chair and ran out of the party room into the arcade area nearby.

Since I'd accepted responsibility for the kid, I couldn't just let him go. I ran out after him, leaving my husband with the rest of the kids, and caught up with Manuel. I asked him what was wrong, and tried to tell him I understood that he was upset, but that he could not just stay there in the arcade. The poor kid didn't say a word, literally mute with misery, tears welling up in his eyes. I asked him if he knew his mom's phone number, thinking I better call her (there was about an hour still to go). He just shook his head no. There was nothing else for it, so I had to literally pick him up bodily and carry him back into the party room, explaining that he had to stay with the party. I tried to interest the "friend" he'd come with in paying some attention to him, but the kid was all wrapped up in playing with his other buddies. So I spent the next hour doing my level best to make poor Manuel feel at least a little comfortable. I never did get him to relax and enjoy the party, although he did finally eat some cake and ice cream.

When the party ended, parents started showing up on time to collect their kids. The mother who had brought her son and Manuel to the party came on time, thankfully, but seemed oblivious to the poor kid's obvious unhappiness. I explained to her that Manuel had seemed very uncomfortable and apologized, but she didn't seem to really care. Poor kid. Within fifteen minutes of the party end-time, all the parents had claimed their children, except for one. One little girl, whose father had dropped her off saying that he was going to take his other daughter shopping, was still unclaimed.

Well, half an hour went by, an hour went by, and we were starting to wonder what we were supposed to do. My daughter was very upset, worried about what would happen to the other little girl. I tried to get a phone number from her so I could reach her father, but she didn't know the number. Finally, an hour and a half after the party was over, the father came sauntering in, holding his other little girl by the hand. By that time, the daughter who'd attended our party was blinking back tears and just miserable with embarrassment, fear and anxiety.

The father seemed surprised that my husband and I told him rather sharply that we'd been worried that something had happened to him. Oh, he said, they'd just gone to a park and he'd lost track of the time, it wasn't any big deal. They were fine. I looked at his poor daughter, now the fun of the party all wrung out of her because of her father leaving her stuck there. They left, and I don't think the father had an earthly about how upset his daughter was.

The kids were all sweet kids. It just boggles my mind how the adults they depend on can put them in such positions. I don't think there are ever any really bad kids; there are just really awful parents. Kids0314-03

Hello! Here is my story for either "Guests" or "RugRats". I am willing to have it used for TV, books, whatever. I'm also willing to tell it on talk shows (even though I might make some enemies).

About a year ago, my aunt and uncle visited our house (we live a distance away from them, so this was a rather big deal), bringing my cousins "Jenny" (6-7ish) and "Eric" (3). My aunt believes that "all teens love to baby-sit", and therefore, even if I have other things to do (and have problems dealing with little kids), I will *love* to as well. As mentioned, I can't deal with little kids. That is, I can't deal with them for extended amounts of time. However, Jenny was being very nice, and Eric was just following her lead, so I was almost having fun. Then the trouble starts. Jenny decided to pretend that she was a baby. Fine, I did that when I was that age too. Then, she wants to go outside (we have a very large yard and a playhouse). At this point, the "I'm a baby" is still very cute.

So, we go outside. When we do, we go past my parents and the kids' parents. They all see that Jenny is acting all "goo ga" and "helpless". At this point, I'm starting to get a little annoyed, but think that Jenny should get tired of the game before long. The adults smile and think it's cute.

We walk down the outside steps. Jenny tells me that I have to hold Eric's hand or he'll fall. Okay, I say. But as we near the bottom steps, he pulls his hand free and walks down on his own!

So we go to the swings. Jenny is talking in "baby talk" and insists that I translate. I make some halfhearted attempts, but don't really try. I also have to hold Eric on the swing (very uncomfortable for me) so that he doesn't fall off. At this point, I'm getting pushed to my limits. I think I blanked out a lot of the rest of it, but I do remember trying to get them back to the house so that their parents (NOT ME) could deal with them. I would have one, then the other would run off. Then vice versa. I got them back in, summoned up the (very few) remains of my normally bright and happy personality, handed Jenny and Eric off to their parents, basically ran up to my room, and locked the door. Jenny and Eric kept trying to break in. Finally, they stop (or so I think).

I am in need of someone to talk to, so I ran downstairs and grabbed the cordless phone to call my best friend with. Little did I know as I came back upstairs that the two demons had been waiting for me! They had been hiding in the room that shares a wall (but not a door, thank goodness!) with mine. They tried to beat me up (I am *not* kidding), and Eric actually got some hurt done. I escaped into my room, pushed the door closed, and refused to come out. Later, I got my mom to talk to my aunt (her sister-in-law) about this. After all, I had been in really bad shape (I cried). Not only did I get *nothing* out of this, but my aunt decided that "they're just kids, and I think that Terra (me) had fun with them!"

Yuck. What gets me is that *both* parents were fully aware of what their kids were doing, but made no move to stop it. Even though both parents are great people, and Jenny was much nicer when I saw her a year later, I have never quite forgiven any of them for this incident. Kids0322-03

When my daughter turned a year old I decided to throw her a little "get together". I am an extremely casual person, and kept my plans to the bare minimum. "The Plan", essentially, was this: Three friends and their similarly-aged children, a little cake and some snacks... from noon until 2pm or sooner if they got tired, over-stimulated or cranky... No elaborate party games, no special activities that would be lost on their age-group, no exhaustion, no mess, no fuss. Just a very simple gathering of my daughter's "little friends". The day after we would all go to my MIL's for the "family party" - 20+ adults, no kids, for hours on end. My thought was I would just do a little something special for my daughter.

The day before the party, my SIL called me. I shared with her my most recent stroke of genius - as I was going to have five 1-year-olds in my house eating messy foods and spilling drinks, I would roll up my carpet and roll out my twister mat. At the end of the party, I could roll that up, dump it in the yard, and just hose it off. Genius, I tell you. "You're having a party!?" she asked "I thought my mother was throwing her birthday party!". I explained to her that yes, indeed, her mother was throwing a birthday party. One to which my parents hadn't even been invited, let alone my friends or their children. I was having a very small and intimate gathering simply for my daughter's edification. Now, my SIL is no "EtiquetteHell" poster-girl. She's really a sweet and kind woman... but with a streak of the daft thoughtlessness that runs in her family. She admitted that she hadn't even considered my family not being invited, and apologized for any hurt feelings. No biggie, I was fine... I would likely be at their place soon enough. Three servings of cake in lieu of one being a big bonus in my book, I wasn't about to go and blow it by complaining! My SIL really liked the idea of a little kiddie get-together and asked if I minded if she came. Nope. It's all groovy. Was there anything she could do to help? Umm, actually, now that you mention it - I wasn't really looking forward to dragging a cake home on the bus with my daughter in tow... if you could see your way to picking one up, that would be too cool. If we were coy, my daughter wouldn't even know there were goodies in the house until we pulled them out. Excellent.

This was great, especially since she offered to pay for the cake! But it did have one big drawback - it got my husband involved. Where I am casual, my husband is decidedly NOT. But SIL's enthusiasm was infectious. My husband informed me (after his time on the phone with her) that she was on the way over right then and there, and they would go get a cake. I told him to keep it reasonable, not take advantage - just go to the grocery store, pick up something with a Disney character on it, and bring it home - most of it would be spread liberally on the furniture by toddlers... no need to go gourmet!

They went gourmet. Not only that, they special-ordered gourmet. They informed me upon returning that the bakery had assured them the cake would be ready for noon. Cool - except the cake has to be ready BEFORE noon - the party STARTS at noon. No problem! quips SIL - She'll pick it up and have it here for noon. This sounds good, but it's not. By some quirk of space-time, my SIL has never been able to recognize the concept of "driving time". If she's supposed to be at a restaurant for 5, she'll do her hair until ten of... even though it's a forty-minute drive. The woman has never been on time for anything in her life. Normally, I don't really care... but for this I cared. I was both firm and clear. It was going to be a short party... the cake HAD to be there for noon.

At 11am the next morning I've got my daughter all dolled up and am rolling up the carpeting. My husband wakes up. Now, keep in mind, I'd never expected or asked for very much involvement from him - He would do his thing at he family party the next day, I knew, but these were my friends, from my circle of stay-at-home-mothers, and he did not know them or their kids and I wouldn't have minded if he simply slept through the whole thing. He wakes up and I'm hanging crepe paper streamers and balloons and getting the goodies ready... and he goes into the kitchen and starts chopping potatoes. Curious, I go check it out. My husband is standing in his underpants in the kitchen, cutting potatoes with an enormous slab of frozen meat next to him. "Whatcha doin?" I ask. "Cookin!" he replies. Thence follows a surreal conversation during which I question his lack of pants... his efforts to cook our evening meal at that time of day... and finally the truth is shown. Husband thinks he is making a roast for our guests. Of course, the roast is frozen solid, the guests will be arriving in a half hour, and the majority of them don't have TEETH yet... not to mention the pants issue. "Well, what will be feeding them!?" gasps my Husband, aghast. I point at the various bowls of nibbles. He's horrified.

Large fight ensues, during which I have to point out to him that while I would never, ever feed nothing but teething biscuits and carrot sticks to his friends or family, it's not inappropriate to do so with mine. Everyone invited is aware that they are coming for a short visit, a bit of cake and then thanks, goodbye. NO ONE is expecting a sit-down meal and cocktails. Oops! Did I say no one? SIL...

At noon my guests arrive and the party ensues, a rollicking success. My daughter is horrified at these usurpers trying to touch her stuff and spends most of the time chasing them around screaming "Mine!" about the ball, the book, the vacuum cleaner, the remote control or sitting and wailing because she simply can't keep up with them all. One kid gets bit, another smacks the other with a plastic baseball bat. Balloons fall from the ceiling and all are rendered hysterical by their removal on choking-hazard grounds. All in all, a resounding success - pretty much what I'd expected. Except for the cake, which never showed. At noon, I called my SIL at home. No answer, good - she left to pick up the cake. Fifteen minutes later, she's still not arrived and I'm a bit nervous. By 3pm only one guest remained, helping me clean up the twister mat and the decorations. My daughter and her remaining little friend were crashed out in post-sugar-high bliss and my husband was back playing Mechwarrior 2. The doorbell rings.

It's my SIL... she'd received my six messages, the first of which were polite, the middle of which were panicked, and the last of which were resigned - as she'd missed the entire party. She hands me three platters towering with stuffed rolls, a bag full of over $20 worth of birthday decorations, and an ENORMOUS cake with my daughter's name misspelled and leaves without a word. All of these things bought for a party which was ending as she was picking them out. Apparently she found my inability to keep five toddlers and four adults in a 10*15 foot room amused for a few spare hours until it pleased her to show up extremely rude. That and the messages wondering where the hell the cake that was supposed to be there at noon was. EXTREMELY RUDE!

I ate nothing but stuffed rolls and cake for a week solid. And no, I never did apologize, go figure. Kids0407-03

Last year at Christmas I was working at a coffee shop at the mall. My boss was a jerk and loved to just take off midshift on busy days and leave someone there alone. In actuality most times I didn't mind because I could get things done quicker without him standing over my shoulder. 

Anyway... it was a busy Friday night and it was bad weather ( i.e. raining, unfortunately not snow) and a family came in. They had twin infants in a double wide stroller that basically took up the whole front of the store while they were ordering. While they were ordering they asked me to warm up 2 bottles in the microwave, I told them it was against store policy for me to do that because of how litigious society is at present. They gave me their word that they wouldn't sue, I said I still could not do that, but I could give them cups of warm water to heat up the bottles that way. They were annoyed but took the cups of water. 

They proceeded to move to the back of the store in sit down. This was fine as we were a cafe. After an hour of them sitting there the mother picked each of the children up and put them on the table and changed their diapers. UMMM GROSS!!! People eat on these tables!! They also proceeded to throw the diapers in the trash can in the front of the store when they left. Now the trashcan at the front tends to have a lot of spilled coffee from the patrons who spill a little out so as to put in their "fixings" I immediately go to change the trash as soon as I thoroughly wash down the table. Well, as this night had been particularly busy, the trash was a little more liquid than normal as well as heavier from the fluid. As I pulled the bag from the can, the bag ripped and coffee and baby poop began to float around. To make matters worse, we have a bathroom with a "Koala Station" for those who don't know its one of those fold down tables for the sole purpose of changing babies. So at 11:00 at night on December 23, I was cleaning up baby poop. I called my manager who simply said tough luck. Needless to say I had a horrible Christmas and soon found myself a far better job.

One day while dining out with my husband and daughter we noticed a kid about four or 5 wandering around the dining area. At first I was alarmed that maybe his parents accidentally left him behind ( A large family of four kids had just left and I thought maybe that they forgot him), my husband told me I was being too nosey and told me to ignore this strange kid that would walk up to our table and sit there and stare at us! Easier said then done because he wandered up to our table several times! My daughter was around the same age and seeing this kid wander around, wanted to get up and play with him. "Don't even think about it!" I said in a firm voice and she promptly got the point. Well being my nosey self I sat back and observed this kid. I noticed he would walk up to a table that had a lady and man and they would feed him some food and the boy would wander off.

"See, he has parents here," My husband whispered to me. I think to reassure me, but now knowing that this kid had parents watching him only made me more mad!

Well the rugrat would walk up to empty tables that have been already set and play with the silverware. A manager happened to see him and rightly corrected him.

"No, please don't do that." The manager gently said.

Now you would think the kid was just spanked! He stood there for a second with a look of disbelief (probably the first time he was ever yelled at!) and promptly screamed bloody murder and threw himself on the floor and began to kick and scream. Now you think the parents finally noticed they had a kid and scooped him up and rushed him outside or told him to get off the floor? Right? WRONG! Instead they continued to eat like their kid wasn't screaming bloody murder right in the middle of the dining room! We couldn't get out of their fast enough! I was never appalled by such a lack of parenting in my life! My husband summed it up though once we were in the car.

"And that's why our jails are so over crowded!" kids0501-03


This has to be one of Miss Jeanne's top ten pet peeves.  The parents are doing their child no favors with the lack of supervision and child training.

Let me tell you about my own personal guests from hell experience. One New Year's Eve I had planned to have a small family gathering at my house, but that day I woke up to a fever, terrible sore throat, and cough. I felt terrible and could hardly walk, so I decided to cancel the party, especially since everyone had already bailed out but one brother and his family. When I called my sister-in-law and croaked into the phone that I wanted to cancel (I had also lost my voice by this time), she had a fit and insisted we still have it but they would bring everything so I wouldn't have to put forth an effort. I told her no, I felt like crap and didn't even feel like brushing my hair, much less cleaning up for company, but she insisted and eventually I gave in. My husband ended up cleaning while I took the entire day just to shower and put make-up on.

When they arrived, not only did they have their 3 kids with them, but another child as well. The kids immediately turned on both TVs and started fighting. They had also brought some refreshments, like a 2-liter and chips, to their credit, at least. I was getting crankier by the minute with all the racket and trying not to show it, until their 4-year old came charging through the kitchen and knocked one of the champagne flutes from our wedding off the wine rack and broke it. Now we didn't have a real wedding; we had no money and went to the justice of the peace when we were married. But wanting to make the even special, my husband picked out some gorgeous iridescent pink and purple champagne flutes and we bought them, planning on using them every year on our anniversary. And now it was lying in the floor in pieces. I was so disgusted I picked it up and tossed it without even thinking it might be salvageable, even if just for looks and not for using. 

Although both parents were standing in the kitchen with me when it happened, neither offered to pay for the flute or buy another one. My brother scolded the boy (he'd already warned him to settle down and stop running), then told him to go stand in the corner. Since the child is not his, the mother got mad and ran to the one room of the house I'd told my husband not to worry about; the master bath. I had shut the door and figured no one would look in there, but now here was my sister-in-law eyeballing my hairy sinks while crying! I got her calmed down and went back to the living room, where now 3 of the 4 kids were crying, and the TVs were still blaring on different stations. Ugh!! I gave my husband The Look of Death and he immediately involved the kids in a game to stop all the water works. Since I had no energy for games myself, I turned everything off but the TV in the living room, and set that one to watch Dick Clark, which was boring for a couple of hours, but required no effort from me. I'd had a bottle of red grape juice chilling in the fridge and a bunch of plastic wine glasses so we could all toast each other at midnight, but I was so mad that I didn't get them out. 

The ball finally dropped and I immediately turned the TV off and announced that I was going to bed. And I did. My husband ushered everyone to the door, then came and got me out of bed where I was crying, and poured the grape juice for the two of us in mismatched wine glasses, then toasted me. He had me laughing by the time we both went to bed. For Valentine's day the next month he bought another beautiful set of wine glasses to replace our others, but he made me promise never to let someone insist on coming over after I've already told them no. kids0514-03

My child was invited to a birthday party that was going to be held at a park with a swimming pool. We didn’t not receive a mailed invitation, my child was handed a black and white Xeroxed copy at daycare. God knows how many people they handed these things to….. The flyer also said how much it would cost per person to enter the park for their child’s birthday! I could never imagine having people pay to come to my child’s birthday party. If you can’t pay for people’s admission, you can’t afford the party! Needless to say, us and many others did not attend. Kids0408-03

I used to live across the street from some people who had a son my middle daughter's age. They were never really good friends, but when they were younger they played together a little.

When I gave my children a birthday party I usually invited the neighbors as well as their friends from school, but the year my daughter turned thirteen, she said she would prefer to just have some school friends and two or three of her friends on the block.

Not wanting to hurt my neighbors feelings, I never mentioned the party to her...but the day of the party I was over at my other neighbors picking up some coupons for the pizza they were going to have, and she happened to stop by.

She says...."Oh, you are getting pizza tonight?" and I said yes. I didn’t want to tell her about the party....but she probably already knew about it....because she kept persisting...."Oh..just you and L are going to have a pizza all to yourselves?" Not wanting to out and out lie to her, I said, "Well actually, its her birthday and she is having a couple of friends over for pizza".

My neighbor said, "That’s nice" and that was the end of it.
Later on that evening, during the party, I come downstairs, and who is standing there, in my house, eating a piece of pizza and drinking a soda, but her son....the one who wasn’t invited!

My daughter comes down behind me, and sees him....and she said...."What are YOU doing here?" He said that his mother sent him over.

I didn’t want her to hurt his feelings so....I shushed my daughter, and I tried to make him feel welcome......he was just a kid, after all......but I was pretty offended. I mean, he just walked right in and crashed my daughters party!
The worst thing.....he didn’t even bring my daughter a gift and he ate twice as much as the other kids! Kids0527-03

1.  Teenaged boys eat three times more than elephants so he's not unusual.

2.  The poor kid was simply doing what his mother told him to do and landed right in the middle of a major faux pas that was not entirely of his own making.  I hope you took the opportunity to instruct your daughter in how to act gracious in similar future circumstances.

I am a family doctor in a small (1800 people) in an area of a lot of other small towns. When I first came here, I was very busy from day one. Most of the patients stayed but I had the usual number of doctor hoppers, the curious and drug seekers trying out the new doc in the area.

The person I'm writing of is a mother with a couple of kids. I saw them fairly regularly for 2-3 years, then it was sporadic. I had no hard feelings; This is America and you can go where you want, and I would tell the other doc if I saw one of the family. My office has evening hours one day a week and one late afternoon, we got a call from this mother asking if we could see her youngest son for what seemed to be an ear infection. She said her other doc couldn't see him. I had a full schedule, but worked the child in since this type of thing is usually pretty quick.

They came in, I examined the child (he had a bad ear infection), and I wrote a prescription for medication. Mom and child were sitting in the waiting room, so I went out to her, gave her the prescription and explained the instructions, then told her, "He needs to have a recheck in two weeks, do you want to make the appointment for here or do you want to go to Dr. X?" She looked straight at me, and in front of the other patients, "Oh, I'll go back to a real doctor." !!!!!!!!! Hello, I'm board certified with about 13-14 years of experience in family practice! I just said OK and gave her the 'script. All of the witnesses seemed madder than I was (I decided to consider the source and let it go).

The crowning glory to all of this was when my nurse called the other doc's office to let them know we had seen him, we found out the reason they REFUSED to see the child was because he had HEAD LICE and mom had not picked up the prescription Doc X had called in 3 days earlier! (No, none of us saw the nits). We have a protocol for seeing people with very contagious diseases (measles, scabies, head lice, etc.), and it would not have been that big a disruption to use it. But, as you may have guessed, she never told us he had lice, so we were trying to spray and clean before patients came in. I have not seen her or her children again. Kids0605-03

My son's birthday is the end of December, very close to Christmas. This incident didn't bother me but it was pretty tacky. After Christmas I know people are short on money, but the couple I'm talking about has 1 child (verse my 3), less bills (no daycare verse my 300.00 week), and a higher income. She gave my son 2 outfits not even wrapped but still in the store bag. In front of everyone she gave me the receipt in case I wanted to return the things. On the receipt it had where she returned one of her son's Christmas outfit/gift and paid $2.00 for my son's in exchange. Again it don't bother me, but she must not have thought that much of my family because she would not have done this to someone she wanted to impress. (We were good friends for awhile, I know). kids0610-03

For my niece's 14th birthday I sent her a beautiful silver and onyx ring, and not the cheap kind of silver trend jewelry from the mall. Because of the shyness between us she doesn't call me to let me know she got it, but she did send a thank you card about a week later. (In past years she had not, her mother would call and let us know that she had received the gifts.) We're a small, close, casual family, we say thanks in person and that's good enough, so I was delighted that she showed proper manners and sent a card. (They grow up so fast!) 

Anyway the card was absolutely lovely, covered in glitter with a sweet little fairy on the front of the card, and the note was just right. She had written 'Thank you for the ring. It is so cute. I wear it all the time. I just love it! Love, D******. Awww, so cute. 

But here's the bad part, her mother had written on the inside of the card also. My niece's message was on the inside on the right, and her mother had written on the inside on the left. Her mother had written ' I hope you can read this crap.' Signed her name and drew and arrow pointing to my nieces handwriting on the opposite page. Now her handwriting was not nuptial script or anything, but it was perfectly legible. I was so ticked that the first thank you card I get from my niece had to have such a crude and tacky message from her mother ruining the sweet card. Kids0630-03

A few years ago my daughter was in preschool, and I was aquatinted with many of the other moms in the school. There was one mom in particular who I thought was a little strange, but she was nice and the kids seemed to get along well during school time. In June she called me and basically told me to *save the date* for her daughter's birthday party, and plans were to go to a pizza place for the party. She said she would call me back later to confirm times and such. 

A week before the party she called and said that there was a problem with the pizza place (something about a fire in the ball pit) so they decided to move the party to the park instead.( I live in the west, and it got very hot early that year). We show up to the park at 11:00 and it is blasted hot outside- it must have been at least 100 degrees (and I am not exaggerating). We find the Ramada and it is all decorated for the party. She had a bowl of pretzels out, some lemonade and a cake. She kept wondering out loud where her husband was (and I admit- I assumed he was getting lunch since it was, after all, lunchtime and original plans were to have the party at a pizza place).

 Well, after about a half hour and the three games were played, the kids were starting to get whiny. It was very hot, the playground equipment was too hot to play on (they tried and got burned bums) and the games were over and there was basically nothing left to do. Plus, many of them I am sure were getting hungry. At one point a little boy asked the party mom "Is this party over yet? I'm hot and I want to go home!" The husband shows up, but not with lunch. It finally occurred to me that there would be no lunch and I was thankful that my daughter ate a big breakfast prior to the party. 

Then the gifts. The child starts opening up the gifts while the mom is standing there with fill-in-the-blank thank you cards. She is filling them out while the child is opening gifts, and then turns around and hands them to the parents. The child herself never even bothered to thank anyone, or was reminded to. 

Finally, 1:00 rolled around and I was waiting for another mom to come get her daughter since I told her I would stay and keep and eye on her while she ran errands. I, my daughter and her daughter saw her drive up, so we did a quick thank you to the hostess and child and bolted to her car. I have never been so happy to see anyone in my life! By this time I was sweating buckets and so were the kids. The mom asked me how the party went and if she had lunch. I said there was no lunch. The mom said "Then why have a party during lunch time??" I was glad I wasn't the only one thinking that. Kids0709-03

This year I will hold my daughter's birthday party at home, family only. Here is the etiquettehell part: My daughter attended a preschool / daycare. For two years, I took my daughter to every single birthday party she was invited to, averaging around one a month. Some were simple, some were fancy. When my daughter turned five years old, all her previous birthday parties had been at home with the family, but I thought, well, we have gone to about 25 (REALLY) parties in the last two years, and gave her what she really wanted, a pony party. We rented the Party Ponies Place, I did up the entire place in the pony theme, we were all ready, and you know the rest. Only her family showed up, and one, yes, one, other little girl. This did give the five children there a lot of pony time, and we still tried to make it a happy occasion, but my little girl said, "I gave invitations to everyone I know, how come nobody came?" I heard a few excuses later in the next two weeks, but I really couldn't wait to get away from those people. Kids0728-03

Page Last Updated May 15, 2007