Monday, October 16, 2006

Getting Our Kicks By Cramping Your Style

It's late Sunday night. Peter is in bed. I asked him if he would mind if I stayed up to write. I just wanted to get it down, you know.

This was a hard weekend. It was the kind of weekend that I am happy to see the end of. I won't go into the gruesome details (for once!) but suffice it to say that there was some marital strain. The happy part is that my husband and I are still very much in love. It just never ceases to amaze me how much we still have to learn about one another and how terrible we can be at communicating sometimes. Do you ever feel like you are watching yourself from outside of your body, and you are screaming at yourself to just grow up and say something rather than just raging on the inside? I felt this way a lot this weekend. I was very ashamed of myself and I am grateful for a husband who is forgiving and understanding of my flaws.

Something new, stressful and interesting arose in our parenting journey not once but twice this weekend. It was a little matter of us going to two different functions with Miss A in tow only to discover that they were not meant to be kid friendly events.

The first was a birthday party for a friend of ours. This friend and his wife have three children, one of whom is a few months younger than Miss A. When she invited us she never mentioned anything about it being a 'kid free' party. I assumed their kids would be there along with the many, many kids other kids that their friends would be bringing. I was oblivious at the time but thinking back I do recall people seeming a little surprised perhaps, that Miss A was with us. For the first half hour we were there I assumed that the other, older kids were playing in the basement. Maybe this is because it was suggested by our host that Miss A might have 'fun' down there. I later found out there were no other kids in the basement. Everyone's children were at a babysitter. Except mine. Which makes me wonder, did they think I was going to put A in the basement by herself and close the door? I don't think so but why tell me she'd have fun down there? In any case A was pretty well behaved, she just ran around smiling at everyone. She was quite possibly the best thing about the party. We left early and thanked our hosts for the invitation. It wasn't until this morning in Church while I was talking to another guest from the party. She mentioned something about it being a 'kid free' party. I was all “What? But we took A.” and she said “She never told you?” Um, no. She didn't. So then I feel like an idiot. I eventually convince myself that it wasn't that big of a deal.

Fast forward to later this evening. We had been invited to join a small group with some other folks from our Church. The group would be meeting for eight weeks on Sunday nights studying the Nooma videos. I found out my friend Jenn from And then there were four and her husband Kevin were also going to be joining this group. With my brilliant deduction skills hard at work I thought “The couple leading this group has a son who is almost the same age as A, Jenn and Kevin have two kids... it must be a group for parents with young kids. How great!” So, we happily headed to group tonight bringing A along. Jenn had told me that her kids would be with a babysitter but that didn't clue me in. As soon as we walked in the door I saw that there were no children anywhere. I asked our leaders where their son was and they explained he was with family. And also that she thought she would find it difficult to concentrate with him there. Uh, yeah. That's a good point. There were two other couples one older, one younger. Each had children who were also not present.

I felt like a total moron the whole time we were there. I was embarrassed, felt as though I should have known not to bring A, wondered why I hadn't bothered to ask... etc. Miss A was in fine, fine form. Running back and forth from the babies room with toys, looking at the fish in the aquarium, talking to the dog in his/her kennel, trying to knock over drinks, squish herself into confined spaces or go down the stairs. Whenever her Dada or myself tried to pick her up and hold her she threatened to throw a tantrum, wanting to be free to roam. I couldn't blame her but it only made me feel like an even bigger dumb@ss for even thinking that we were supposed to bring her. I was so happy when it was over and I left with an awful feeling in my stomach. The same awful feeling I've had all weekend.

This sort of situation is just another of the many things I wasn't expecting about being a parent. These awkward “Why did you bring your kid?” moments. Which brings me to another important question I have. How often should other people be looking after your kids? I mean, I work four days a week and that means A is with my sister two days and with a sitter one day. Last week on Monday Jenn was nice enough to look after her for a couple of hours while I did my mom's hair on my day off. So that was four times in one week that someone else had to look after my baby. Now we are going to have to make arrangements for Sunday nights. Which is fine, it's totally worth it. It's just I wasn't expecting it.

Peter and I haven't even gone out to celebrate our Anniversary (September 14th) yet! All of our usual babysitters have been busy. It just hasn't worked out. People offer all the time but it seems when you try to take them up on it they're all like “This weekend won't work for us, but any other time we'd LOVE to. Really.” Which is fine, but you know, you just stop bothering after a while. We're okay with the fact that we have a baby. She's a part of us. Mostly where we go, she goes. That just seems normal to us. Until this weekend when I got the feeling she was very unwelcome.

It was just the crappy icing on the rotten cake that was our weekend. Which is probably why I sound so bitter. Maybe if I just go to bed I'll wake up a happier person tomorrow. Let's hope so because I don't really think that you all want to read this kind of stuff all week long.

*edited to add why, oh why when you go to bed at one AM does your baby wake up poopy and then vomiting at 5:30? Guess I didn't wake up happier after all...


Adventures In Babywearing said...

Ouch. Well, I think it's pretty weird to be "expected" to not bring your kid. At least for us it would be, because we do everything with our kids (and we like it this way.)

We probably are a rare type of parents because we do everything with our kids- we may have to go out for our anniversary with the baby, and we'll still have a great time. We've never had anyone other than the grandparents watch our children (and our oldest is 5 years old.) Imagine how hard it was to let him start Kindergarten this year!

But, we enjoy our kids. We don't celebrate when they aren't around. I do think it is important to have special "couple time" too, but once you have a family, I think it should be kept in mind that you are a FAMILY. As parents WE are the ones responsible for our kids- not someone else, except for special occasions.

Again- that is just how we do it and others reading this may think I am totally crazy!

this single spark said...

Speaking as someone without kids, I DO want to spend time without other people's kids around. But many of my friends have kids, and I DO want to spend time with them and their children, too. Am I making any sense? I like kids, I like my friends with kids, but I don't think that every event is appropriate for kids.

The thing is, if I was having a kid-free event, I would be 100% certain to inform my parent friends of this, and I wouldn't be upset if they chose not to come. Very bad form for your friends to invite you without letting you know.

Oh, and by the way... you've never asked me to babysit! ;]

And happy belated anniversary!

Kelli in the Mirror said...

I would think that they should have made it clear if it wasn't a kid-friendly event. I know if I was invited somewhere and I knew they had kids near Gilly's age, I would assume it was okay to bring her.

I guess maybe it's a good idea to double check. There's no need to feel bad though, it's not like you knew it was no kids and brought her anyway.

Jenn said...

I hope you're feeling better about all this today. It didn't bother me that A was with you but I would've probably felt the same way as you if the situation had been reversed.

Dawnyel said...

What a lousy weekend! I'm so sorry you've had a rough time! I've had the same thing where people invite us to a "kid free" party without letting us know ahead of time! Oh, the awkwardness!
I hope you find time to go out with your honey. I know after a bad time it's just the thing I've needed! :)

bon said...

Shoot. Been there and felt crappy too. As far as the Birthday situation went? That was the hostesses bad, not YOUR bad. period.

I don't think it's obvious that A should not have been at the study-group... especially to a set of firsttime parents. 'Course our congregation is so dang family oriented and child rich that you have to make sure that the women know that at "women's luncheon" not only are children to be left at home... but husbands too!

Seriously... we've had guys show up on several occasions!

Eli's Mom said...

That really sucks. I can understand why kids might not have been appropriate at those two occasions you mentioned, but if no one tells you it's kid-free, how are you supposed to know?! We are VERY fortunate that all other members of our small group (church) have young kids too, so we include them at our meeetings. Sometimes we are a bit distracted, but it works fine for us, and it would be mighty expensive if we had to hire babysitters each time! I guess we (newish parents) just need to always ask about the expectance of child-free environments from now on. Sure...just ONE MORE thing for us to remember!! LOL

Nikkie said...

The hostess totally should have made it clear that it was a baby free kid free event. I don't know about others, but I have a horrible time finding a babysitter. So to most anything I go to, my little guy is going to be with me because I don't have the luxuary of babysitters.

I have the same problem with people. Plently of people offer to watch Boo, but no one seems to be available when I need them.

Melissa said...

I'm so sorry to hear your weekend didn't go well. I understand how you feel, I would've felt awkward too. Don't feel bad, you can't read minds!

kate said...

oh man. we've all been there! try not to be so hard on yourself. it's hard leaving your kids with other people when you already have to do that so much for work, too.

carolinagirl8 said...

It drives me crazy when people just assume you know not to bring your child. I find that happening to me a lot as I am a very young mom. But I also love being a mom and have no problem taking my son everywhere I go. And why didnt your party host post it on the invites or make it known it was a kid free event? I find it hard to leave my son with anyone except my mother or my if I go, he goes...people should really no better!

Sugarmama said...

Just now catching up on your blog, and I'm basically going to second what everyone else says here. I'll add, though, that I usually ask about bringing my kids to an event hosted by someone without them. I have at least one childless friend who ONLY has kid-free events (which is probably why we don't really keep in touch anymore!) Usually, if a parent I know is hosting something, they'll say what there will be for my kids to do there, and if they don't I'll ask. I kind of feel like we're a family unit and it's a matter of course that we'll bring kids to events that on the surface appear kid-friendly, i.e., not a late-night cocktail party.