Posted at 7:30 AM Feb 23, 2010By Andrea Grimes
If you want insight into the minds of parents like this, look no further than today's Sad Bastard of the Week, from a Dear Prudence live chat on the Washington Post's website. "Back of the Bus" doesn't like that her kids weren't invited to their grandparents' anniversary dinner late in the evening at a nice restaurant.
First: seriously, back of the bus? As in, you think you are having a similar experience to racially oppressed African-Americans who were literally not allowed to sit next to white people on buses because people were ignorant and hateful? Because your kids can't come to dinner?
... I discovered yesterday, six days before the event, that not only has the reservation for this "family" event been made for 8:00 PM (bedtime), my children (ages two and five) were explicitly not included in the head count.
My husband swears he told me that we'd need to get a sitter, and he confirms that my SIL told him over the phone a few weeks ago that the kids weren't invited. But this is the first I've heard about it, even though I've talked face-to-face with my SIL about it on three separate prior occasions. My SIL has a long history of excluding my kids from family events, and my husband has even spoken gently with her about it.
I'm deeply offended that she explicitly excluded my kids this way. If she'd spoken to us about it and let us decide whether we wanted to bring the children, and we'd opted to get a sitter, I'd have no problem with it. But the fact that she decided that she didn't want the kids there with no regard for our opinion (or my mother-in-law's, for that matter) strikes me as incredibly selfish and deeply inconsiderate.
Where to even go from there? There's so much. Back of the Bus (hereafter: BotB) seriously thinks everyone should eat dinner at, what, 5:30 p.m. so she can have the kids in bed by 8:00? She believes her S-I-L is the selfish one when she wants to bring her small children to a nice restaurant?
Prudie is miffed, and brings up a great point:
If I had the opportunity to go to dinner at the nice restaurant, the last thing I'd want to do is to have to attend to my two small children throughout the meal, even if these "progeny" did share a surname with the "celebrees."We go on to find out more information about BotB, in a later chat. She says:
The problem isn't that I really wanted to have my kids along at a nice restaurant -- it's the fact that my SIL talked to my face about it being a family event (and planned a family portrait session that includes my kids for earlier in the day) and then excluded my kids for the meal. Additionally my brother- in-law is bringing his baby -- it's just because my kids are old enough to walk and talk that they're being excluded.Oh, BotB, you're right. Your S-I-L is really inconsiderate! How dare she organize an actually fun activity like a portrait session that kids might dig, and then want to spend a few kid-free hours with adults later in the day? What the hell is wrong with this woman, really? Doesn't she realize that she's in the presence of Jesus Christs Junior and The Third? Having an infant in a restaurant is more or less like bringing along a curling stone that needs a chair--a far different and less intrusive ordeal than two talking, fidgeting small children.
Your kids adore their aunt. Auntie set up a photo session which will be really exciting for the kids and far more fun for them than having to sit through a boring dinner. You may be annoyed that a baby is there, but a baby will probably sleep and it's hard for a breast-feeding parent of a newborn to be away for hours. I'm glad you wrote in to clarify because you sound less angry here than in your first letter. Accept that you are incurring an unavoidable expense, let go of your resentment, and show your kids that you love your husband's family and are happy about the big day.Readers with kids, do you sympathize with BotB? Do you stay home if your kids have to?