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Unexpected guests at a dinner party?

  • f

Hey all!
OK here's the scoop -- I have an annual 23rd of December pre-Christmas dinner for a group of friends. They have all come before, and know the routine. We invite 5 couples for a dinner to celebrate the season. We word it as such "Hey we're having our annual Curry Bash on the 23rd just like last year! We'd love it if you and x (insert spouse's name here) would join us. Get a sitter for the kids, come at 5pm, bring just yourselves and an appetite." Answer is always YES, sitters are arranged for, dinner is had, a good time is had by all. The same 5 couples have been coming over with this same invitation for the past 3 years. The menu is always samosas, onion bhajees, raita, mango chutney, madras beef, balti beef, butter chicken, chana masala, dahl, rice, kheer, chai. Spicy, and all done from scratch, including the masalas (roasted and ground by yours truly) and the Major Grey's Chutney (which is a PITA btw because of the sheer number of ingredients). It takes hours to make and I love doing it and our friends enjoy this immensely.
Our dinner is tomorrow. I JUST got a voice message from one of the couples (for whom we changed the actual dinner time because of work conflicts) that, and I quote "Sammi and I will be there for 5, with offspring in tow. See you then".
Now I'm freaking out -- the point of this dinner is to have an adult time before the Christmas holidays ensue. The menu is elaborate, all from scratch and it takes hours. Wine is paired with each course, as it is an adult evening. This menu is NOT child friendly and neither is the evening. Everyone always gets sitters. Always. Except for this year. There will be 11 adults and a six year old and a 4 year old at our table. I'm completely unprepared for this as it was not the intention of the evening to have family dining, so now I feel forced into it. Nothing on the menu will suit these child's tastes (trust me, I know them well), and I'm up to my eyeballs in making the planned menu. it isn't like these people haven't been over for this same meal before, and I specifically said "Get a sitter and come over". And this isn't like a casual drop in bbq or a potluck where the more the merrier.
How do I handle this? They are expecting a call back and I don't know what to say! I don't want to be the Grinch and say leave the kids at home, but it really is going to be an imposition on a carefully planned meal, not to mention seating space. I don't have room for a "Child's Table". I don't have the time or energy to make a second child friendly menu. And quite frankly, I think it is pretty rude to do this. If you can't get a sitter, then call and say either "We can't find a sitter so we'll bow out" or at least give us an opportunity to make the decision.
Have any of you handled the issue of uninvited guests his before?

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  1. I would call and say this is an uncomfortable situation but this is absolutely a no kids night, you're sorry that they can't get a sitter and therefore cannot come but hopefully they can make it next year without the kiddies. Your house your rules. They'll either make an effort to get a sitter at short notice or they'll be at home with their offspring.

    1. Maybe they can work it out with one of the other couples, who presumably have babysitting arranged, to share a sitter and all the kids can hang out there for the evening.

      1. Wow, people can be so nervy. I love my kid and love taking her along with us as much as any parent, but I cannot imagine doing something so rude.

        Smartie and pamf both have good suggestions. Another line that I have actually had to use before and seemed to work okay is something like this: "As much as I would love to have your children present, this is planned as an adults-only evening which the other adults look forward to. It wouldn't be fair to the people who got babysitters and want a kids-free night if I made an exception for your kids."

        Good luck with this one and let us know how it goes!

        2 Replies
        1. re: jlhinwa

          I agree with jthinwa and perhaps suggest they contact one of the other couples with kids to see if they have recommended sitters.

          1. re: jlhinwa

            i think jihinwa's wording is positively brilliant.
            stick with her script.
            don't deviate.

          2. OK DH just called them back, said "you know this is adult time, just like last year, and there won't be a special menu for them" and Sammi said "well, we'll be there at 5pm and we couldn't get a sitter on short notice". Did I mention that I invited them unofficially on 2 November, and officially 3 weeks ago? Short notice???? 3-6 weeks is short notice???? They made no effort to bow out gracefully, and DH isn't the kind to uninvite them, and I'm so mad that it isn't a good idea for me to speak with them right now. So DH said I guess we have to suck this up, but they're off the list for next year, let me tell you. And its going to take everything in me to be a gracious hostess, let me tell you....

            10 Replies
            1. re: freia

              how important are these friends to you? you could call them back right now and say I've thought this over and it's just not going to work, it's either you 2 without the kids or not at all. Tell them you're not willing to compromise to fit in with their inability to find a sitter, you understand that Xmas Eve is a tough night but stand firm.

              If you can't bring yourself to say this then ask them to bring a small table and 2 chairs for the kids, make them nuggets and fries or some sandwiches, get a kiddie movie on in the TV room and put them there.

              1. re: freia

                call back asap - no fair being imposing rude guests who assume their kids are entitled to a dinner party they were specifically not invited to. To not "enforce" your specifics of the invitation seems greatly unfair to you and the other guests . . .

                1. re: vday

                  Agreed! I'd be pretty disappointed (and maybe even a bit pissy) if I got a sitter (as requested) and came for an evening with adults only to find 2 children in attendance. I don't think it's fair to you or to the other guests.

                  Sorry you have such an egotistical friend for thinking she can't change the rules to suit herself. I'm assuming she has other redeeming qualities ;-)

                  1. re: Transplant_DK

                    I agree..this is one of those tough situations..but I would rather risk upsetting this one couple than upsetting all the rest of my guests who made arrangements and were paying for babysitters. I think either you or your husband should call this couple and explain to them that while you enjoy seeing their kids..this is an "adults only" evening . If they are unable to make it..wish them well and tell them you'll see them next year.

                    1. re: Transplant_DK

                      Maybe Feria should call the other guests and warm them of the new surprise. Perhaps the other couples would call the offending party and make them share with their sitter.

                  2. re: freia

                    "Really sorry to hear that you can't get a sitter. Let's make a plan to get together on another date, soon."

                    1. re: freia

                      Put some porn on the tube.... and start with a dirty joke....

                      1. re: wyogal

                        This answer delights me immeasurably. Thanks!

                        1. re: freia

                          I apologize for saying so, but your DH sort of still left the window open for the children's attendance by saying there'd be no special menu for them instead of saying it's just not ok for children to be at this kind of an evening. Clearly the people don't care in the first place that it's an adult only evening, so I doubt they'd care if there's no special food for them. You might be lucky if they bring a little container of noodles for them to try to be "considerate". But in this case, your DH needed to choose different words. Sorry for all your annoyances with this! Good luck!
                          By the by, I have a 3.5 yr old and I'd be ripped if I went to the trouble and expense of getting a sitter to enjoy myself as an adult only to see people prance in with their children.

                        2. I had this same situation happen last summer when planning a birthday party (for myself) on July 4th (my actual bday). I don't really enjoy having small children in my home and wanted an adult get together, so I wrote that on the invite that it would be an adult only party.

                          A friend called to let me know that she would be bringing her 6 year old because it didn't seem right to not celebrate July 4th with her kid. It being a family holiday and all.

                          I resorted to using the dog as an excuse--I called and explained that she couldn't bring the child because my dog had been abused by a child before we adopted her (the dog, not the abusive child) and I wasn't willing to take the risk that she (the dog) might bite the child.

                          The friend got kind of huffy, but I restrained myself from mentioning how rude I thought she was.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Transplant_DK

                            Is that true about the dog, or a fabrication?

                            1. re: babette feasts

                              It is true that the dog had been abused before we rescued her. And it is true that I worry how she will react to children if they are loud or tease her. She's never bit anyone, but she did snap at someone who was teasing her so I wouldn't want to take the chance.

                              In all likelihood, there would have been no problem with one child and so many adults around and I could have put the dog in a spare room, but I didn't want children at my party and had made that clear so it was a convenient (but not fabricated) excuse.

                              1. re: Transplant_DK

                                dogs are a great excuse for everything.

                                nice, child adoring, dogs can be bait to lure lovely families to your party. the dog will keep the kids busy, and if the dog is a heeler, he will round them up and prohibit them from going near the street. . . . .

                                or, alternatively, you can characterize your dog as being unstable to keep people away.

                                or you can use your affectionate dog to comfort a friend that just lost her husband and is inconsolable. my dog does a bang up job of just putting his head on someone's lap and making them feel better.

                                or you can say that the dog fur in the house is making everyone sneeze and use that as an excuse to keep people from coming.. . . .

                          2. Freia, we're all rooting for you to put your friends in their place and refuse to host the child(ren). Perhaps share with your friend how stressed out you are about this and how all the other guests have made arrangements for their offspring; if they're good friends they'll understand that it is a real problem for you. If you're feeling terribly guilty/accommodating, then perhaps you could suggest a later date for a smaller, child-friendly get-together, though this would perhaps be giving them more consideration than they deserve.

                            1. At least you've been warned in advance - I had a 'grown up' dinner party and a couple arrived with their 2 daughters. They know me well and knew the kids would not be welcome - and they actually stood on my doorstep and lied that the children were being collected 'soon' by a friend. There was last minute cooking to be done, and I kept delaying it - asking what the plan was with the kids. In the end the parents said 'oh, just ignore them' and I realised they had known all the time that the kids were staying. They then wanted to send out for pizza for the kids - who sat watching some loud TV show in the adjacent (open plan) room.
                              They undoubtedly know they will NEVER be invited to my house for dinner again.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Peg

                                Wow that was truly obnoxious. As are Freia's guests!

                              2. OK I'm off to the grocery store this morning for a big steaming box of Kraft Dinner. That and the rice pudding will suffice, plus 2 kiddie videos. I don't have another small table nor any extra chairs, so kids will have to eat with us. God willing the family leaves soon...GRRR

                                16 Replies
                                1. re: freia

                                  Love the "I'm Canadian" give away :)

                                  1. re: freia

                                    freia tell the parents to bring a small table and 2 chairs as you cannot accommodate them at the table.

                                    1. re: smartie

                                      Good idea. Nothing else seems to be working.

                                    2. re: freia

                                      2 kiddie videos? like I said, put some porn on. maybe they'll understand that you said "adults only."
                                      (just kidding) (kind of)

                                      1. re: wyogal

                                        haha..."kind of" - honestly sometimes it takes extreme measures to get a point across to some people. I can't believe how entitled a lot of people are, thinking everyone should accommodate their every whim when they've been given ample notice to prepare. I feel sorry for the offspring too having parents like these as an example.

                                      2. re: freia

                                        I don't think you should buy Kraft BS for the kids. They want to come to the grown up party, they can eat grown up food. I know you want to keep them happy i.e. quiet and out of your way, I just don't think you should have to go out of your way to accommodate them. If the parents bring them against your wishes knowing they won't eat what you are cooking, the parents can bring food for them.

                                        1. re: babette feasts

                                          I agree. And put a plastic tablecloth on the floor depending on the ages of the children and let them have a "picnic"!

                                          1. re: babette feasts

                                            I really doubt the kids themselves are dying to be at this party either...i don't think she should have to accomodate them either, but since the kids probably aren't the ones insisting on coming to the party, i think it's nice of her to provide them a little something to eat.

                                            1. re: iluvtennis

                                              maybe so. i don't think the # of folks or the time they will dine alters the essential question, either way :)

                                              1. re: iluvtennis

                                                That's true, i just found the image of serving boxed mac & cheese at the same table as all that wonderful Indian food to be disturbing. Can't the kids eat samosa and rice and mangoes? I'm sure it won't all be too spicy.

                                                1. re: babette feasts

                                                  why waste food that is so labor intensive to make on kids that won't appreciate it.

                                                  store brand frozen mac and cheese--just a push of the microwave button--served in the little cardboard container.

                                            2. re: freia

                                              No! please don't enable them. If you can't bring yourself to tell them they aren't welcome, the least they can do is eat the planned menu, or go hungry.

                                              1. re: susancinsf


                                                Mind you, then one runs the risk of those children disrupting everyone else by wailing about the horrible food, how hungry they are, how bored they are...then the next scenario - getting the parents to leave with their hellspawn...or not, as the case may be, with them saying "Oh just ignore them" or some such thing while you wring your hands and wonder if you should physically grapple with them and toss them out of the house... Just speculating. :-)

                                                ETA: freia, what went down in the end?

                                                1. re: susancinsf

                                                  It's not the kids fault they are going to be there. It's the parents.

                                                2. re: freia

                                                  Don't put them at the table. Don't. What about an upturned box in some other room (with the plastic tablecloth underneath, as MRS says above)? On just sitting on the tablecloth. Or a bedsheet.

                                                  1. re: freia

                                                    I'm just reading this entire thread now and haven't yet read all posts. But from this particular post, freia, can I infer that you acquiesced to your "friends'" obnoxiousness and complete disregard to your stated invitation?

                                                    If so, the onus was on you and your husband to specifically reiterate that no children were invited and while you were sorry that they couldn't get a sitter, you could not make changes, and you would hope that they'd be able to join you the next gathering sans children. If you didn't say anything more, you had no right to further complain. As others have said - your house, your party, YOUR RULES. There's a point where being a "good hostess" gets overridden by making sure you're not being trampled on by your guests and their rudeness.

                                                    I *do* hope to read that you changed your mind and uninvited these "friends" with their children and didn't piss off the remaining friends who went to the trouble of getting sitters to enjoy an evening spent with other adults.

                                                    Reading on......

                                                  2. "We really prefer if you get a sitter." If they can't take the "hint," consider new friends.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: beevod

                                                      When my husband and I threw a small party to celebrate our elopement, we held the event at a tapas style restaurant that seats 50. There were only 42 or so guests at this intimate dinner, but it was definitely not an evening that was to include kids. I was very clear when the invites went out that this was an adults only affair and that we would completely understand if any parents chose not to join us due to complications with babysitters (my cousin would have to leave her 4 kids in Missouri -- we're in Canada) etc. Most figured it out, made arrangements and made it, but a few bailed. The menu was far too adult for most kids' tastes. There was a flamenco guitarist and lots of wine flowing. I think the kids were happier at home. I know my guests with kids were happy to have a night off. I took a chance that a few would be offended, but nobody was, even the few who had to decline the invite.

                                                      1. re: beevod

                                                        i would be more clear than that.
                                                        the word "prefer" means nothing to folks like these.

                                                      2. I used to do the opposite when my children were little, the last thing I wanted at birthday parties were all the school friends mums. I used to word the invites - drop off at 3 pick up at 5.30. A few mums were 'mortified' that their kid was going to a party without them but I never had any issues with 20 or so kids at my house. There were plenty of other adults there such as my family and close friends and I really didn't want to make tea for another 20 mothers. I stood firm that I didn't want the extra mothers saying things like enjoy yourself child free for a couple hours. I didn't want to go to their children's parties either unless they were very close friends.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: smartie

                                                          Smartie, that can be a real challenge as well! I agree with you--I am happy to have parents stay if they intend to be helpful (i.e., crowd control, serving food, whatever) but I do not want to worry about providing adult food and beverages and keeping everyone amused.

                                                          There is one couple in particular (parents of my daughter's good friend so it appears we are stuck with them) who think any party or occasion is for their own eating and drinking pleasure. I finally learned to put them to work as soon as they showed up. The time I had them supervise a crew of kids trying to follow a treasure map through our yard resulted in much grumbling and no time for them to eat. They don't stay anymore or if they do, they keep a low profile.

                                                          The last thing I want to do when I have 15-20 kids over is to worry about their parents too!

                                                        2. The suggestion(s) of calling them and saying that they need to find a sitter is spot on. This has happened to us and I've seen it happen many, many times. Self-entitled and selfish to be sure. I would take them off the list for next year because they clearly don't get it.

                                                          From personal experience they may be trying to test you to see how serious you are about the "adults only". If you call them on it they will probably find a sitter.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: HoosierFoodie

                                                            I think the other guests at the party will call them on it. Peer pressure never ends.

                                                          2. Wow - I feel so sorry and frustrated for you.

                                                            One concern I have is that your other guests will not only be annoyed that they were not "allowed" to bring their kids, but will see this as a change in policy for your parties.... and so they will start bringing their kids in future years!!! So you better make it VERY VERY clear that you are not happy about this to EVERYONE. Or else your parties will be ruined in the future. If you make it too nice for her kids with their favorite mac and cheese, cookies and great videos I PROMISE YOU some of the other couples will bring their kids next year.

                                                            Never underestimate the power of precedent. A friend and I used to have elaborate New Year's Eve parties every year with a gourmet menu. Invitation only. Then one year, a clueless friend brought 6 co-workers to the party. It changed the parties forever. No one obeyed invitation only in the future, and the parties had to be canceled.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: violin

                                                              I would make next year's invite very clear - issue it even more in advance, "to give you all ample time to find a sitter". And "if you can't arrange babysitting, we'll see you next year!"

                                                            2. Can you ask for help from any of the other couples? LIke can one of them reach out and offer their sitter? Or maybe you have a more forward friend that could call them and be like "hey freia is going to all this trouble so the adults can have a great time, and you simply cannot bring your children."

                                                              I agree with most others. Don't let them set this precedent and stress you out even more on what sounds like such a glorious planned dinner. Seems like you're just going to be on edge with the kids there. I know I would be, and I might even have a hard time being nice to them.. haha

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: timxph

                                                                sorry, i disagree with timxph's tack.
                                                                this is freia's dirty work,
                                                                and unless she has a pushy, bossy, new york friend like me,
                                                                imho it is unlikely that any friend will be able/willing to handle this.

                                                              2. Wait a minute. I'm confused. You say they called and said they would be 5. And then later you say there will be 11 adults and a 4 and a 6 yr old. So does this mean they have an older child they are bringing that could be babysitting??? What am I missing? 5 couples = 10 adults...

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: timxph

                                                                  i would assume that the op's "we"= a household of 3 adults. not that unusual.

                                                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                                                    yeah but the voicemail said "we will be there for 5" Wasn't sure if that meant 5pm or 5 people, as she said she already changed the original time from 5 to accomodate their work schedules...

                                                                  2. re: timxph

                                                                    sorry, I had happy fingers...we had 5 couples and one couple brought a mother who was in town, making 11 adults, plus the one couple's 2 kids...didn't mention the extra Mom in my earlier post. Everyone was arriving for 5pm aka "for 5" :)

                                                                  3. freia, you need to call them, and with a calm tone, tell them to please not come if they have to bring the children. You're not being a Grinch. This is an adult dinner party. If it isn't possible to get a sitter, they need to respect your guidelines to the invitation. Clearly, you are working v. hard to put this wonderful evening together. I want to come! You can't let it ruin your evening, and it sounds like it will. Also, your other guests may well be feeling their evening is ruined, as they are looking forward to adult time. And, even so, they may miss their own children not being there. The children are going to be a distraction, and even if you keep them occupied, they'll be an interruption.

                                                                    1. I say, accept gracefully, DO NOT make a special meal for the kids, set a small place for them in the kitchen (or tv room, ... ) let the kids do their things; they probably will have their own PSP, game machine, ... )

                                                                      In my experience, the kids' parents will leave as soon as the kids become "unmanageable" (tired, whinny, ... ) and then you will have the rest of the evening free with your other friends.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Maximilien

                                                                        don't be so sure about the whining and departing fast thing...if they are so inconsiderate as to insist on bringing them, they are probably very good at ignoring behaviors that will irk everyone else.

                                                                        1. re: MRS

                                                                          I totally agree. People this rude and pushy are often the ones who make no effort to control their children's behavior or the impact on others.

                                                                      2. just put your foot down... tell your friends you go to great lengths to plan, cook and prepare for this annual party, and look forward to grown up time with your friends. tell them that if the kids attend, it will not be very fun for you (and stressful) and will be unfair to everyone else. point out that everyone has the rest of the year to have time with the kiddos. it's okay to make it "about you," it's *your* party!

                                                                        if they are offended by you being straight up w them, then they really are entitled jerks... and you aren't a free caterer and nanny... lose 'em. they are not real friends.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                          The thing that galls me the most is this couple *knows* already the hard-work that is involved and already *knows* the dynamics at play for this party because they have been going for the last 3 years! It's an annual party and they already know the rules in advance and they still have the audacity to do this. Boggles my mind.

                                                                        2. I have had friends show up at a party with kids and dog in tow. Not much I could do at that point. I now always put get a sitter for the kids and dog on invitations. I was called as one party started, we haven't found a sitter, so we are bringing Joey, OK? I told them I was so sorry they wouldn't be able to attend the party. The worse at my big fancy 65th birthday party friends showed up with his mother in tow. The woman had dementia and had to be watched like a hawk. Some of my family had to babysit her while the couple enjoyed the party.

                                                                          Some people just don't think rules apply to them. In my old age, I have decided they are not what I desire in friends. Life is too short to deal with people who tick you off.

                                                                          The others have given you great advice. Let the children sit on the floor and eat. Don't feel you have to cook special food. Peanut butter works with kids. Have fun, ignore the rude people. And do let the other guests know how floored you are that the others brought kids instead of wine.

                                                                          Have a great party!

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Janet

                                                                            My husband and I were married by a Notary. We had a very small gathering of 50. The ceremony/reception was held at my sisters' home.

                                                                            The Notary arrived with both her elderly mother and her husband in tow. I thought it was a little odd but I was getting married after all and was in a pretty darn good mood, so I let it pass and didn't think about it again. That is until I noticed the Mother drinking like a fish and the husband making himself exteremely at home at the buffet table, so much so, that he asked my sis if she had any tabasco sauce in her kitchen!

                                                                            I heard that request and as soon as my future sil saw the look on my face, she said "go have fun, I'll take care of this". Apparently she told them, "this is a family event, goodbye".

                                                                            I was of course planning to feed the lady who married us. When she showed up with her family I figured what the heck, there's plenty of food. But, when the mother started getting intoxicated and the husband asked my sis to go into her pantry..well, too much.

                                                                            Just sharing another example of rude folks.

                                                                            According to your timeline, I assume that your party is underway as I write this. I hope all is well and you have a pleasant evening after all. :)

                                                                              1. re: monavano

                                                                                I like her too :-) It was my new (then) SIL that went "goodbye girl" on them. She truly became family that day.

                                                                                It has been 20+ years since and folks still joke about the lady that nobody knew who kept asking someone to open wine bottle's, and the very large man who asked for condiments in the buffet line!

                                                                          2. I hope the OP follows up as I'm looking forward to hearing how this all worked out.
                                                                            A couple things-
                                                                            Wow, you really go all out and make an amazing meal.
                                                                            You're DH left the window open a bit and maybe he doesn't mind the kids as much as you? Hard to say.
                                                                            This situation needed swift, clear, concise, unequivocal, declarative sentences and unfortunately, that was ultimately up to you to execute since DH waffled (assuming that you ultimately did not put your foot down). You and your husband tacitly agreed to entertain the kiddos, so you have to suck it up this time, and learn a hard lesson for next!
                                                                            I truly hope all the guests have a wonderful evening.

                                                                            1. Wow Freia I can not believe they did this to you! I love the advice of others and also worry that this may tarnish future parties and open the flood gates to people bringing the kids. I hope it went well tonight and you made it clear to the others that you are not happy with this couple bringing their kids.

                                                                              I too have a toddler and if someone said, no kids. I'd be on the phone booking one of the grandparents to come watch her, immediately. (I love food parties!!) And then if I got there and their were kids I'd be a little frustrated by it. ESPECIALLY knowing how much work you put into it and with wine pairing too, geez ,what were these people thinking? Oh , that's right, they were thinking of themselves! Disgusting. And I can just picture the kids coming up to the table every few minutes, clinging to mom or dad b/c they are bored . Like come on people, you know the rules. You've done this before.

                                                                                1. re: violin

                                                                                  Yes. Inquiring minds would like to know!!

                                                                                2. Yes, we need a report ...I hope it went well.

                                                                                  Years ago we were couples with a friend who had a toddler they wanted to bring to everything. One night it was a friend's birthday and he wanted to have dinner at Ruth's Chris. This couple asked if they could bring their 4 year old son since "Ruth's Chris is his favorite and we'd hate to go without him." My husband simply told them it was our friend's birthday, it was going to be an evening of booze and debauchery and if they could not get a sitter, we'd catch them next time.

                                                                                  They got a sitter.

                                                                                  1. Got here too late for the party, but Freia, given this issue AND your other thread about one sister-in-law always being late and other sis-in-law always being early...

                                                                                    I sincerely hope that Santa brings you a gift certificate for some assertiveness seminars so you can quit enabling these jackhats to use you as their doormat whenever they feel like it.

                                                                                    This isn't snark, and it isn't flame -- I genuinely hope you find a way to stop letting people take blatant advantage of you.

                                                                                    If I had been one of the other four couples who had paid to find a sitter, i would have been royally pissed that someone else had showed up with their kids in tow...first with you for allowing the rules to be so flagrantly broken, and then with them for having taken it upon themselves to ignore the rules that the rest of us accepted when we accepted the invitation.

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                      I know its not a flame, and I appreciate what you're saying. The way I see it, with SIL, it really is DH's area to handle and it sure bothers me more than him and he's just not willing to deal with his crazy sister, so we minimize our contact with his side as much as possible. This situation with Christmas did catch me by surprise and since DH is much better friends with the husband of the couple in question, he handled it the best way he thought he could. So it isn't an every day event, but I do appreciate your comments and know its not a flame.

                                                                                      1. re: freia

                                                                                        You know, freia, i'm going to go with sunshine and say get some assertiveness training and possibly marriage counseling. i know you can stand up for yourself becuase you do in board discussions.

                                                                                        However, in both this and the thread about his family, you husband refuses to stand up for you letting his friends and family use you for a doormat. (Though with SIL 3 it sounds a little like she is not rude, but possibly mentally ill)

                                                                                        i can get a little bit into the suprise factor here, but by accomodating the boors and kids you were rude to your other guests. Person after person in this thread told you to call these people back and tell them no kids otherwise you will miss them at the dinner.

                                                                                        You have now set yourself up for next year where the four other couples will feel they have permission to bring along whomever they want. I hope you will be prepared to remind them of the disaster this year and that, sorry, you will just have to say no as it is unfair to the others attending.

                                                                                        1. re: rworange

                                                                                          And I read that the children came with the parents. I'm with sunshine and rworange on this. Your house, your rules, regardless of how the children acted that evening. You just let this couple walk over you. And probably ticked off some of the other guests, whether they showed it or not.

                                                                                          Being able to say "no" is a GOOD thing at times, not a rude thing to say. Especially when this couple completely disregarded your wishes and were rude to you. You were taken advantage of, and you let them.

                                                                                      2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                        I'm with you on this sunshine. I think we all have to learn that it is alright to say "no" when someone tries to take advantage of you. You can't call those people "friends" and they need to understand that some actions are not acceptable, otherwise they will rule your life.

                                                                                      3. poor freia is probably still cleaning mac and cheese off the TV room floor, calming down the dog, or nursing a hangover because the only way to get through the evening was to drink a lot. The family with the kids stayed too late, one kid threw up onion bhajiis, one smeared chicken curry on her white sofa and freia swears blind she will never host any kind of meal again.

                                                                                        Or it went swimmingly, the kids were perfect, helped to tidy up, sat like angels throughout and tried every spicy dish and liked it, and next year it's curry for all families including their offspring.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: smartie

                                                                                          LOL great response. I was wondering what happened, too.

                                                                                        2. UPDATE!
                                                                                          Dinner set for 5pm. Couple with offspring in tow arrived at 420pm. I was still cooking, in my old jammies and t shirt (I prefer to cook curry in older clothes, chuck them in the wash, then change for dinner), and DH was in the shower. "Oh, that's right, you DID say 5pm, oh well we're early ha ha ha have you got any crackers? The kids are STARVING". They went to the family room with the Christmas tree (open to the kitchen) where upon the kids began foraging through the Christmas tree, looking at the blown glass ornaments I have. Or, rather, HAD. 3 broken Christmas ornaments later, DH joins us and gets things under control (he had no idea of the early arrival). I got ready, met the other guests as they arrived (in my good clothes now!), and shuttled everyone in for dinner. All except for the kids who complained that the house smelled funny, that there wasn't anything good to eat, and refused to go into the dining room. Not wanting to leave them with my tree (3 broken ornaments already!), their mom carried them into the dining room and each sat aka was forcibly restrained on a parents lap. I told the mom I had Kraft Dinner ready, to be met with the response "I don't let MY children eat THAT kind of food at my house". So KD sat untouched, in the pot. Dinner was a struggle to say the least of it, as Mom didn't want the kids out of her sight in the tv room, and I sure didn't want them unsupervised in my family room (already 3 broken ornaments) and they refused to sit in the dining room for dinner ("MOM this is GROSS what IS THIS I'm going to BARF I have to go to the BATHROOM stop KICKING me...."). Right after I served the main course, the parents decided this wasn't going to work and they asked for paper plates so they could take the rest of the meal HOME with them. OH and do I have some containers for the dessert to take home too? Small price to pay for them to leave early IMHO so I got their dinners sorted out in take out containers and they left.
                                                                                          The rest of us had a wonderful time!!!!!
                                                                                          Needless to say, for next year's dinner, they're OFF the list!!!!

                                                                                          25 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: freia

                                                                                            wow. I sincerely hope those kids find some good role models somewhere and don't grow up believing that this is ok behavior.

                                                                                            glad the rest of the evening was wonderful!

                                                                                            1. re: freia

                                                                                              I'm glad you managed to salvage something of your evening.....and enjoy it! I wouldn't invite them to anything ever again!

                                                                                              1. re: freia

                                                                                                Heh. I commiserate with you. What comments did the other guests let slip, if one may be so bold as to ask? :-)

                                                                                                It might be an idea to actively disinvite those folks next year. Is it possible that they may assume you meant for them to come by again and that you just forgot to mail them the invitation when the time comes?

                                                                                                1. re: freia

                                                                                                  Freia, I was so hoping this would go as well as it could under the circumstances, and it sounds like it started off worse than could have been imagined. So glad that you had a good time after they left. I can't imagine how you held your composure but I'm sure it helped from making an awkward situation become a bad one. I sure hope the rest of your holiday season is stress free and special!

                                                                                                  1. re: freia

                                                                                                    I've been awaiting a reply as well- I can't believe these awful parents. I hope that you send them a bill for the broken ornaments, and I'm happy that they are off the list. In the coming year, I hope you meet another lovely couple that has the faintest understanding of hospitality.

                                                                                                    but yes- dish about the comments from the others!

                                                                                                    1. re: freia

                                                                                                      We know a couple like this one. I don't think they are so selfish as clueless. They think that we are all such good friends that they can treat us like family and all basic etiquette goes out the door. We have enough badly behaved nephews and nieces to not seek out badly behaved kids in our social interactions with our friends. You have been such a good host that this couple is too comfortable and at home in your home.

                                                                                                      1. re: freia

                                                                                                        Wow, I am almost speechless. I am not sure which atrocity is most apalling--showing up so early, demanding food upon their early arrival, the broken glass ornaments, the kids complaining about the smell and food, the mom complaining about Kraft Mac n Cheese, or them asking for take home servings, oh yeah, and bringing their kids to an adult-only event after being explicitly told more than once that it wasn't for kids. Sheeesh. It is a wonder these people manage to find friends at all.

                                                                                                        Freia, you are a generous and kind person and I hope you are blessed with a wonderful and stress-free holiday season from here on out. So glad the rest of you were able to have a good time once those clueless oafs left.

                                                                                                        I honestly feel sorry for the kids. They didn't get a vote in being assigned idiots for parents and unfortunately, are going to grown up with horrible examples of how to behave. Hopefully someone intervenes on their behalf and provides them some guidance on how real grown-ups should behave.

                                                                                                        1. re: freia

                                                                                                          Glad that you managed to salvage at least a decent portion of your evening. I cannot believe that the parents let the kids get away with making those kind of comments at the table. (Well actually, as a teacher, I sadly can believe that they let them get away with it.)

                                                                                                          My step-daughter said some pretty inappropriate things to another family member at a gathering today. (where kids were welcome) While we did not make a huge deal about it in front of everyone else, as soon as we got home we had a good talk about it, and she called said relative up to apologize.

                                                                                                          1. re: freia

                                                                                                            No words to express my feelings that wouldn't get removed. Lesson learned

                                                                                                            1. re: freia

                                                                                                              People hardly surprise me anymore. You handled it so much better than I would have. Maybe the tables will be turned on them someday. What goes around comes around.

                                                                                                              1. re: freia

                                                                                                                I feel your pain. Where were the parents when the FIRST ornament was broken?

                                                                                                                I used to have a h'ween party every year. Then one couple showed up about an hour early "STARVED" and held my kitchen hostage. To the point I forgot to put out other items and they drank all my wines. I no longer have that party :( One couple can really spoil it for all)

                                                                                                                1. re: freia

                                                                                                                  Really sorry to hear about your evening but glad it ended well. I have declined "adults only" invites on more than one occasion due to a sitter being unavailable so was certainly understanding of your situation.

                                                                                                                  Just curious though, did you only see this family as a couple at Christmas time during the past 3 years? Wondering if you might have even had a hint of this type of behavior from the adults and/or kids (not trying to insinuate anything, just plain curious). BTW, my now perfectly polite 15 yr old was a tornado when she was a toddler though she never spoke in the manner those kids did.

                                                                                                                  1. re: ceekskat

                                                                                                                    Actually, yes! Believe it or not, our paths as couples rarely cross. It is my DH who is friends with the husband of the couple and they see each other for gaming (insert eyeroll here) once or twice a week. Never with kids in tow. We've been to their house once in the past year for dinner, of course the kids were there and rightly so LOL. We went to dinner as couples once in the last year at a restaurant (6 weeks ago when the invite for the 23rd was extended with the "get a sitter" provison), and they had a sitter for the restaurant date. And in the past few years every 23rd of December they've come over, only this year was "different"...so no prior "heads up" so to speak. Now if we'd invited evil SIL we'd totally be expecting the unexpected and I wouldn't have been so rattled. But with this couple, no indications to the contrary. And like I said, its DH and husband who see each other regularly. Wife of the couple and I are friends, always saying "lets get together" and last year, we made arrangements to have coffee but she was a no show. Maybe should have known then...:)

                                                                                                                    1. re: freia

                                                                                                                      Ah, DH's friend, that explains everything. Just kidding!!

                                                                                                                      1. re: ceekskat

                                                                                                                        Seriously, it DOES explain everything!

                                                                                                                        1. re: ceekskat

                                                                                                                          Ah, DH's friend, that explains everything. Just kidding!!


                                                                                                                          I think it does explain a lot.

                                                                                                                          We have a wife in our circle of friends that does generally behaves odd, I could totally see her pulling the type of thing freia describes. I think she does it because while she really isn't interested in a kid-free, adult night, she doesn't want to sit at home while hubby is having fun so she drags the kids (and dog) along even though they are clearly not invited.

                                                                                                                        2. re: freia

                                                                                                                          Umm, yes - they *did* give you a heads up. They claimed they couldn't get a sitter several days beforehand. You or your DH should have said at that time "See you next year - plan now to get a sitter! :-)" And does it really matter that DH and this guy see each other regularly? They've gotten a sitter for past 23rd Day Parties; why allow them to disregard you this time? And your husband essentially disregarded the party invitation as well by not standing up to his "friend". This makes no sense to me at all.

                                                                                                                      2. re: freia

                                                                                                                        OMG!!! This was I had feared would happen!!! I am so terribly sorry for all your aggravation!!
                                                                                                                        I know it sounds a bit catty, but I am just dying to know...what was the reaction of your other guests????

                                                                                                                        1. re: MRS

                                                                                                                          With enough wine to smooth things over and an explanation from me that these kids weren't really to be part of the evening and MANY thanks to those of you with sitters for the night, we all had a good laugh. It is now going to be a standing joke, I think, as I have already had one email asking if I could get some leftovers together in a takeout container and send them over to one of the guest's house as they were peckish and didn't want to cook. Don't forget dessert! LOLOLOLOL
                                                                                                                          All turned out well, and as for the ornaments, well, its just another Boxing Day shopping opportunity, I suppose. Having a hoard of cats, we keep the really precious stuff at the top of the tree out of reach, so the ornaments that we lost can easily be replaced.

                                                                                                                          1. re: freia

                                                                                                                            you are a really good soul...that's all I can say!!

                                                                                                                            1. re: freia

                                                                                                                              Wow, I didn't know you have cats... I would have used them as an excuse! No kids allowed, sorry, the cats don't do so well with children. (I have 2 cats, 1 of whom would be terrified of children)

                                                                                                                              1. re: PotatoPuff

                                                                                                                                Next year when they ask ... and if they have attended this dinner on the same date for years they will ask ... or just show up ... tell them the cats were traumatized by the kids and have been in cat therapy all year. The cat psychiatrist said they can't be around kids. Don't be surpised if these clods tell you to board the cats out that night so their clan can descend on your home and lay pilliage to it.

                                                                                                                                However, I wouldn't really be surprised for them to suggest a menu more acceptable to their kids ... and please no boxed mac and cheese.

                                                                                                                                Anyway, I suggest planning your strategy on what to say when they call and ask about the dinner.

                                                                                                                              2. re: freia

                                                                                                                                "one email asking if I could get some leftovers together in a takeout container and send them over to one of the guest's house as they were peckish and didn't want to cook. Don't forget dessert!"

                                                                                                                                omg lol. I am seriously dying here.

                                                                                                                              1. re: freia

                                                                                                                                I can't believe they asked for take out!!!!!!

                                                                                                                              2. And here's something -- today, a friend came over to play a wargame with DH, and brought his 10 year old son over unannounced (wasn't going to bring him but James really wanted to go with Dad).. This little guy was polite, fun, he hung out with DH and his dad but came downstairs and hung out with me. Helped me wrap Christmas gifts. I heated up the leftover Kraft dinner because he was hungry (Dad said it was perfectly fine), then we went head to head over a Trouble game (remember "popamatic Trouble"? My fave as a kid, so we played on my old set). James beat me in the mega battle (we each took 2 sides). Had a snack, watched the Princess Bride. Then James and hid dad left. Perfectly fun afternoon. It isn't about the little ones per se,its about how they are. Had a great afternoon!

                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: freia

                                                                                                                                  Looks like the future isn't doomed :)

                                                                                                                                  Merry Christmas! And if these curry fests ever move to Halifax I want in!! I promise to get a sitter ;)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                                                                                                    Halifax, how I love you! I'm in Kingston, Ontario right now...if I'm ever there, you'll be totally on the list!

                                                                                                                                  2. re: freia

                                                                                                                                    That couple should have been sterilized, or better yet smothered at birth. Merry Christmas.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: freia

                                                                                                                                      freia! You didn't offer that young man some of your leftover dinner party offerings? Shame! You could have opened a big ole taste world for him while educating him on the cuisine if you had shared a bit of the wonderful menu you prepared. the night before.


                                                                                                                                      1. re: freia

                                                                                                                                        Good call on The Princess Bride!

                                                                                                                                      2. freia, thanks for your follow up. I think many of us wanted to give that woman you invited her comeuppance!
                                                                                                                                        Surely, it will be to never darken the doors of your lovely home, with wonderful food and even better company.
                                                                                                                                        Best wishes!

                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                          :) Happy Holidays to you and yours and to everyone here on Chowhound!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: freia

                                                                                                                                            Glad to hear it all ended well. On the bright side they showed themselves up in front of a room full of people. Which makes it much easier for you to explain the back story and what you had been dealing with.

                                                                                                                                            I'd be curious as to what if any further contact that you may have had. Did they call to thank you for your effort and apologize for the inconvenience. Perhaps they acted like nothing at all had happened.

                                                                                                                                            And I must say that your dinner (horrible guests aside) sounds absolutely wonderful. I'm sure that there are many posters on this thread who would glady fill the empty seats.

                                                                                                                                        2. So... (insert wavy time-machine time lines here lol)....

                                                                                                                                          It's now Monday, December 17, 2012. Despite what the Mayans said, it appears that Earth has not been cancelled.

                                                                                                                                          Freia, you get a call or e-mail -- "Hey, what time is dinner on the 23rd? You must have forgotten to send it."

                                                                                                                                          And you say......


                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                                                                                                            I'll say --- "Hey there! Long time no hear! Well, we're doing our 23rd dinner differently this year. But we'd LOVE to get together for coffee, maybe say the 27th? At the Sleepless Goat downtown? What time would work for you?"

                                                                                                                                            1. re: freia

                                                                                                                                              Excellent reply. Thanks again for sharing the rest of the story with us, and here's to a smoother new year!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: freia

                                                                                                                                                Great plan. Do you think you'll get that call or e-mail? Very diplomatic..."we're doing things differently..." And the coffee invitation certainly puts her on the spot right away to shift gears. One more question, how's the conversation at that coffee shop going to go?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                  Thanks, John E! I think the conversation will be generic and limited, given the public area and the most likely presence of two active young children. Easy to talk about the kids. And there''ll be no problem steering the conversation there, as these kids are pretty active!

                                                                                                                                                2. re: freia

                                                                                                                                                  I thought it was the Hungry Goat? Checked it out an indeed "Sleepless" - did the Goat change names?

                                                                                                                                              2. Weddings - we haven't even touched on these yet - at my wedding almost 25 years ago my MIL invited some well to do couple in their 50s that she hadn't seen in years. They did not reply if they were coming or not and needing to know numbers about 10 days prior to the reception she asked me to call them to find out. They gave me a wishy washy answer maybe/maybe not and no amount of needing to know now for table planning, catering numbers and cost made a difference. Ho hum.

                                                                                                                                                On the night of of the reception (they didn't show to the ceremony) they arrived late with mother in tow ('we had nowhere to put her') so we had to find a chair at the table, they sat for about 20 minutes and then left saying 'grandma doesn't want to stay'. Height of rudeness if you ask me, my mum was seething having paid for their dinners and the table was left with 3 empty seats.

                                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: smartie

                                                                                                                                                  Not so nice what you had to deal with, especially since anything with a firm numbers requirement before the date becomes tricky to manage at the actual event.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: smartie

                                                                                                                                                    I posted a bit upthread about bringing "Mom" as an extra to a wedding. I find it facinating that some folks feel bringing Mom is less rude then, say, bringing a friend. In my situation she also brought her husband..but I digress.

                                                                                                                                                    "Somebody's Mom" has to be the #1 uninvited guest to any wedding, per my own informal poll after somebody's Mom crashed my own wedding.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Robinez

                                                                                                                                                      I was thinking that the extra mom at friea's party could have been assigned sitter duty. :)

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Robinez

                                                                                                                                                        Had a friend who wanted to bring his mom as his plus one to a wedding I was in. Ok whatever, your prerogative. Then proceeds to ask if Dad can come too. Mom and dad were seated with other couples they knew while said single friend was at a table with other singles. No words.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: smartie

                                                                                                                                                        My MIL insisted that we invite 5 couples, friends of the ILs, to our wedding because MIL wanted to "know someone"

                                                                                                                                                        Neither Mr. CB or I knew these people and we were paying for the wedding ourselves. To keep the peace, we invited them and all RSVPed yes. (both MIL and FIL are nuts and back then, I bent over backward to keep them happy)

                                                                                                                                                        None of the 10 showed up and FIL/MIL were left sitting alone and we were left with a bill for 10 uneaten meals.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                                                          Honestly...10 meals is significant, yo...

                                                                                                                                                      3. Oh. My. Law.

                                                                                                                                                        I just read through this whole thread. Unbelievable.

                                                                                                                                                        The most interesting part to me is the fact that everyone on here knew that bringing those children to that party was going to be miserable for them. The people who didn't get it were the people who are supposed to know them better than anyone-their parents.

                                                                                                                                                        I would have had a LARGE time getting their young butts away from the Christmas tree. I think it was so nice to try to provide them with some kiddie food. Shew. What a mess.

                                                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Sue in Mt P

                                                                                                                                                          Just now saw this thread. Glad it sort of worked out for you, Freia, but for future: No matter what someone says, you answer for them: "I'm sorry you won't be joining us - next time." Nevery let them control the conversation. And NEVER answer the door before the appointed time. They can drive around. I am firm about this; it is too disruptive
                                                                                                                                                          If the drag the kids anyway, I've had to say endlessly, "please, mind the kids" until it wore the parents out and they left.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Sue in Mt P

                                                                                                                                                            Someone asked earlier how 3 Ornaments were broken -- well, I was deep frying in the adjacent kitchen and I don't like to leave anything deep frying unattended. DH was in the shower. Little hands were rummaging amongst the ornaments to pull one out and in the process, two were nudged off the tree, startling the owner of the little hands who dropped the ornament they had plucked from my tree (LOOK Mommy! Its so PRETTY......*smash smash SMASH*)...LOL

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: freia

                                                                                                                                                              I'm pretty much shocked that the little hands were even allowed within arm's reach of someone else's tree, let alone allowed to rummage around to take one of the tree. This is a case of bad parenting, not bad kids (ornaments are pretty, and bright colors, and sparkle...so it's up to the parents to mark the boundaries, as the kids won't realize the boundaries are there, otherwise).

                                                                                                                                                              My mother would have reached back to about last Wednesday and knocked me clear into the next week if I'd ever tried something like that (as I would have done with mine). Of course, even if my sitter had canceled at the last second, I'd still have brought dinner for my kids, along with a video player and some quiet games for them...after I'd called you in a panic, explained the last-minute cancellation and giving my regrets. We'd have only shown up en masse if you'd insisted (and even that's not for sure).'

                                                                                                                                                              You are a far more patient and accommodating soul than I.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: freia

                                                                                                                                                                Let me guess, you cleaned it up, not mom, and she didn't apoligize or offer to pay for them.

                                                                                                                                                                Also wouldn't suprise me if she complained her darlings might be hurt by the broken glass ... so please clean it up ... pronto.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                                                                  and the fact that the samosas are carbonizing just isn't her problem....yeah, we all know her.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: freia

                                                                                                                                                                  Hi freia - I'm late to this story, but enjoyed it tremendously. First, I loved the "stop kicking me" detail. Hey, at least they tried ;-) Second, one day soon, you wouldn't trade this episode for the world. You can't buy stories like this. We used to have big pool parties and if I could go back in time, the FIRST person I would make sure to invite would be the dude who did stuff like bring uninvited strangers who came w/ their own bottle of Watermelon schnapps, got hammered and put on a belly-flop diving exibition during dinner... and broke the pump on the keg. The next on the list would be the guy who then asked ME for cash to go buy replacement beer...and then asked if he could take home the left-overs. These things shocked and annoyed me at the time, but are legendary now.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: danna

                                                                                                                                                                    LOLOL can't...stop...laughing...belly flops??? OMG you're right, these do become "good times" in the future

                                                                                                                                                              2. Freia, can I have their spot? I don't have kids, will bring appropriate wine, promise not to show up early or late, unless you require some assistance in the kitchen and will dazzle you and your other guests with my wit and charm, as will my SO. Your menu sounds amazing and I can tell from your posts that your are a delightful hostess. I would be so honored to receive such an invite that I can't imagine offending the host with such rude behavior. Honestly, DA NOiVE of some people! Well, at least you have an interesting story to share at your next dinner party!.

                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: SweetPhyl

                                                                                                                                                                  xoxoxo Thanks so much! If you're ever in Kingston, Ontario, there'll be fresh samosas on hand....

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: freia

                                                                                                                                                                    lol....it just might be worth the trip! How far is that from Ottawa....I have good friends in Ottawa I've been meaning to visit:-) And I promise NOT to bring my kids (who are grown anyway) OR my friends.....lol!

                                                                                                                                                                2. Freia,

                                                                                                                                                                  I'd still like to know if you have heard from these people since the whole escapade occurred. If so did they mention anything, apologize for their ineptitude, or perhaps just carried on as if nothing had happened?

                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                    Nope, nothing heard. At all. Although DH has since been gaming with husband of the couple in question. Not a word, no thanks, no nothing...ah well, they're OFF the list! LOL.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. This response worked well for us under similar circumstances:
                                                                                                                                                                    Some time after accepting the invitation, Carol called and said "We've been asked to babysit our granddaughter. May we bring her?"
                                                                                                                                                                    My wife said, "No."
                                                                                                                                                                    Another couple received a last minute invitation. And that was the end of that.
                                                                                                                                                                    The friendship has expired since, and that is OK too. Too much wear and tear.
                                                                                                                                                                    We were not rude, they were.

                                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: docmanic

                                                                                                                                                                      In the situation you just described, I'd actually say none of you were rude as I don't think it's rude to ask, as long as they gracefully accepted the "no."

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                                                        We found it rude to put us in the position of having to decide whether a child at an adult event was acceptable. The mere asking of the question stressed the relationship. A thoughtful guest would have known without asking. If the situation were reversed, WE would have known without asking. And we did not go to finishing school. The matter is so simple as to be intuitive.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: docmanic

                                                                                                                                                                          Ok, I'm sure you're right, you know the circumstances and relationships involved. I was just going from the little information provided, and generally speaking I wouldn't consider it rude to ask. Individual experiences may mean otherwise.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                                                            Fair enough. Sometimes these experiences serve to teach us how we should not behave when we are lucky enough to be invited to someone's home.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: docmanic

                                                                                                                                                                            I wouldn't consider the asking to be rude; arriving with child in tow would have been rude. But then, I would also not take offense at being told that a child was not welcome at the gathering. Perhaps the invitee did not understand that the gathering was "adults only"?

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: KarenDW

                                                                                                                                                                              Or the invitation was somewhat ambiguous -- we received an invite addressed to Mr. Sun and Me, but didn't mention the sunbeams...the party was being thrown by very good friends who also have kids, so we felt no shame in asking if the invite included kids or not (it did, and it was a great party)

                                                                                                                                                                      2. If it were me I would call my friend with the kids and tell them it is still an"adults only" party and that because I love them I will help them find a reliable person to watch their kiddies. IF they were really beloved friends then I would hire a sitter...put the Wii in one of the bedrooms......get food and drinks for "the kiddie party" have the sitter stay in there with the kiddies so the adults could party on.What I would not do after all my planning organizing and hard labor is let my "friend" call the shots and bring their children to intrude on MY adults only party. Don't get me wrong because I love kids and I love having kids around me of all ages but you made it clear that it was a party for adults with "adult" beverages being served etc.You sound as if you know how to throw a fun and delicious party/feast!

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                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                                                                                          my daughter often gets hired to be the baby-sitter in party situations where many invitees to the party have kids.

                                                                                                                                                                          all the kids are brought upstairs and my daughter takes care of them all as a group. normally the parents will stick their heads in the door for a moment some time during the night, but, basically, the kids stay rounded up in a distant bedroom until the parents want to go home.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                            To me that seems reasonable and it probably makes some of the little guys feel better knowing that their folks are nearby.Young parents need a break and a chance to eat drink and party like a rock star (without their babies tugging at them)every once in awhile. Your daughter sounds like a future business woman:)!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                                                                                              actually, her primary job is being an Emergency Medical Technician.
                                                                                                                                                                              these party-babysitting jobs though can be lucrative:
                                                                                                                                                                              the main parent pays the usual babysitting hourly that's appropriate for one child, and all the other parents tend to throw in some bills as a sort of "tip" to compensate for all the additional children.
                                                                                                                                                                              those parties also often lead to more babysitting jobs from the other parents. it's seen as sort of a dry run to see if their kid(s) like my daughter and the hosting parent is right there to give a reference, and by popping their heads in the door at random times, they can get a sense of how well the group is monitored and entertained.

                                                                                                                                                                              from the host parent's point of view, they are able to throw parties for adults on new year's eve and during the holiday season without having to worry about whether or not their own kid would feel alone or left out and worrying whether or not their guests will all be able to secure baby-sitting.

                                                                                                                                                                              the kids get fed the usual kid-gook (i.e. pizza, chicken fingers, etc) while the parents eat more exotic/spicy food.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                              when we had neighborhood gatherings when ours were young, we also sometimes had the kids next door or across the street -- then when it was bedtime, there wasn't all the noise and distraction of the adults.

                                                                                                                                                                              We'd all pitch in to pay the oldest one(s) for the evening.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. You've already make a change to the preset time for these people. Call them and tell them it's an adult only dinner. If they make a fuss tell them to take a hike. IMO that would be the last time I had anything to do with them. Nip this problem in the bud now!
                                                                                                                                                                            To be honest when they wanted you to change the dinner time at that point I would have told them the time is already set and that's that. I don't like to visit with people who act like that. It puts me in a bad mood. Years ago I may have swallowed my irritation but not now.
                                                                                                                                                                            Real friends do not behave this way. Call them now and 'univite them'. If you don't you only have yourself to blame for being taken advantage of. Oh yeah. If I was half of one of the other couples and we had gone to the expensive etc to get a babysitter and we showed up and you had obviously not cared about our reaction to your inability to handle this selfish couple I have a look around and say "are these kids here for the adults only party?" If you said "yes they couldn't get a baby sitter" I would leave and you'd no longer be friends with us.

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                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Terrie H.

                                                                                                                                                                                It's never too late for a great guest shaming :-D

                                                                                                                                                                            1. just tell them, hey actually when you brought your kids the fun is no longer there, you were busy to feed your kids, catch them when they're rolling on the floor, do you want to share a sitter? just be honnest..

                                                                                                                                                                              1. ok, since this thread has been revived, and i've read through all the posts, curious minds (mine) want to know.... did you hold your annual party this year, freia, and, if you did, what happened with these "guests"?

                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Vidute

                                                                                                                                                                                  +1 on Vidute's question Freia; I read 1/2 way through this before I realized this seemed familiar.... and was from 2011.

                                                                                                                                                                                  What happened in 2012?