Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Party Parenting

I attended a couple of parties this past week, which has become a rather unusual occurrence, and I'm feeling a little disoriented.

Maybe Bump and I are overly protective, but one of us is always doggedly chasing Lumpyhead at these functions to keep him from killing himself or breaking something of value.

What I witnessed this week, at different parties:

- Parents of a five-month old handing off their child to another guest, then disappearing for long stretches, on several occassions. I'm certain the parents had no idea who had their child for most of the evening.

- Parents sitting around a Christmas tree, happily chatting and drinking wine, while their children screamed and threw things in another part of the house.

Look at me, being all judgy. Am I just doing this party thing wrong? When I attend a party at your house, should I expect you to prevent my offspring from trashing your place while I kick back and have a good time? Because, damn, that would make these parties a lot less tiring.

A woman at one of these parties was telling me about how she and her neighbors have become so close. The neighbors, who were also at the party, had children of the same age and also didn't believe in letting their kids watch TV.

Instead of snarfing my mini quiche out my nose, I smiled politely and nodded and only said in my head how nice it was that both families were raising freaks. She proudly reported that at a recent event the conversation turned to TV characters, and her daughter and son had no idea what others were talking about. (Me, in my head only: "Super, go you. They're little social outcasts already.")

I admit I'm a little weirded out when Lumpyhead whines for Elmo or the Little People video or that damn squirrel at the beginning of Ice Age. We don't park the boy in front of the tube all day, and we limit his TV time in favor of books or toys or actual interaction. I understand that TV before age 3 isn't the way to build a baby genius.

But if you're gonna claim to "not believe" in television, I'm afraid you kinda lost me.

Also, it's probably best not to make this claim while neither you nor your husband nor your so-close neighbors are supervising the four children running amok in someone else's basement. It throws off the whole Conscientious Parent vibe.

I'm not saying you're a bad parent. But I am saying you're a shitty party guest.


Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

...and their kids were watching tv downstairs.

Anonymous said...

No TV, they were throwing confetti...and toys.

Can you really "not believe" in TV? If I don't believe in Republicans, will that make them go away?

Becky said...

I don't believe in idiots or shitty party guests. Poof. There ya go.

Anonymous said...

I just happened across your blog the other day. Love it!

And since I love it, you're tagged.

Bet you wished I hadn't found ya now. ;)

Michele said...

Love this post. So right. We are exhausted when we take our kids to someone else's house from chasing them around making sure they arent breaking anything or making a mess. Meanwhile everyone else is drinking and smug about what great parents they are and their kids are hanging from the chandeliers.

I love television. I do. I am unashamed of it. My kids, not so much. They watch a few minutes here and there, but not enough to really give me a break. Little traitors.

Anonymous said...

At our big holiday open house this year, we basically ceded the basement to the kids. There were movies and holiday cartoons running all day, and we let the kids dump and scatter and play with whatever toys they wanted. Our daughter was fine mostly on her own, and other parents took turns tag-teaming their own kids. At one point, an acquaintance party guest apparently came downstairs with her daughter, plopped her on the couch and said to the other parents, "This is Darcy. She's two, and she's very good. She wanted to watch Rudolph. I'll be upstairs!"

While flattered that this woman thinks I have enough money to hire a team of nannies for my Christmas party, I don't think I will be inviting her or her family back to my house anytime soon.

Bozoette said...

I'm with you. Geez.

Anonymous said...

You should see/hear some of the things I have seen at schools.

Also, my sister in law does that EVERY time she comes to my house. I don't typically invite her over any more.

Anonymous said...

You shouldn't feel bad about judging them and their alleged child "geniuses." After all, they're doing the same to you after learning your kid watches Sesame Street occasionally - shock horror!

Doc Think said...

The worst was the guest who's maniac son and his maniac cousin sidekick destroyed a bunch of stuff during our annual Christmas fete. He kicked at my well-behaved dog, and ran around like a madman. Meanwhile, his mom kept grabbing more wine. I kept waiting for her intervention, which was MIA. I finally said something to him (in front of her) and he stopped for about 45 seconds. Hunh? In my world, my mom would have KILLED us if the host told us to calm down.

The moral of the story is that after banning her family from the party for many years, they were reinstated and the maniac son is now a lovely, well-behaved young man. Go figure??

Anonymous said...

I don't take my kids to other people's parties. I took all three demons over to a friends once to watch football. ONCE. This friend had a child the age of my oldest. This couple was aware and ASKED me to please bring the twins.
And then, didn't babyproof or even TRY to remove anything dangerous or breakable. I spent two hours chasing them, while everyone else watched and smiled like "isn't this quaint" and about the third time they nearly cut themselves to death on some decorative glass bottles that were on the floor, I finally said "Hey guys, I'm not really concerned if they break your shit, but I'd rather they not bleed out right here, can I put some of these BREAKABLE GLASS OBJECTS somewhere? After all, they're 18 months old."

Oh, they were so surprised, it hadn't occurred to them! Retards.

I left about 10 minutes later I was so frustrated and annoyed.

Daddy L said...

Damn you, I was going to write a very similar post involving New Years, restaurants and midgets playing drums.

Violet said...

I don't believe in letting my kid watch tv either - but only when it comes to discussing what the nanny should be doing with my daughter while I'm at work. My partner and I are both selective TV fans and it would just be wrong and impractical to try to stop my daughter from growing up the same way.

Julie said...

I'm always exhausted after a party, too, but my problem is that my HUSBAND is one of the guests who thinks he's off-duty once he's in someone else's house.

I've gotta get in with these wine-drinking non-parenting parents and find out what the secret is.

stefanierj said...

Your blog is one of my favorite things to read, and this post is just evidence of why. LOVE IT.

p-man said...

Parties? I don't believe it.