Christmas lunch with under-3s - AIBU?(141 Posts)
Going to my parents for Christmas, various relatives coming including my DSis, who has 2 yr old twins. When my kids were this age I would give them their lunch 30mins before everyone else and then they could either sit in their high chairs at the table for a bit, get down and play round on the floor in the same room, or go for an afternoon nap if needed. It worked really well as they joined in with the adults but we also got the chance to sit around the table and eat the lovely meal my mum had worked hard to prepare.
last year, Dsis's twins then 18mo) ate at the table with us and it was mayhem. Not their fault, tinies are messy, grab stuff etc and I get that. But I don't think we all sat down at the table at the same time, the meal was really rushed because the DTs got bored and fractious and people kept jumping up to get them yoghurt / toys / clean up spills / move things on the table out of their grasp. Dsis and her DH ate on a rota while they managed the kids (sort of) and I felt bad for my mum whose efforts seemed to go unnoticed by some.
This year, the DT are 2.5yo so better but still very messy, bored quickly etc. I'd like to suggest the idea of them eating a bit earlier (easy to do sausages, potato, veg in advance for them and they're not bothered by turkey) but AIBU? I'm not suggesting banishing them to another room, just getting them started earlier so that everyone else has two hands free to eat their meal and sit down together. My DM agrees and has mentioned it to DSis vaguely but doesn't seem to be getting a positive response.... (they are not great at communicating)
Keep out of it?
I don't see what's wrong with having the kids join in eating the same as everyone else. It's what xmas is about surely?
maybe sil wrongly thinks you all think the twins are a bother which of course you dont . you could put it that you want her and dad to enjoy their dinner you could casually mention it Christmas day dont make an issue of it now as she might get defensive about it, yanbu though
Surely Xmas is about family? Why should her twins have to eat sausages on their own?
Chip in and help or accept it's not going to be an organised civilised meal.
YABU - it's a family dinner and they are family yes? Otherwise your SIL is going to be rushing between the table and checking on them - am sure they will be fine and to be fair, when my DS was a toddler and someone had asked if he could eat earlier than everyone else I would have been majorly pissed off.
They can get down when they have finished and watch tv or something surely?
I wouldn't ever think of having Christmas lunch without my children with me so I doubt if the idea will go down well.
For me Christmas is family time.
I used to have a nice quiet dinner on Christmas Eve just adults but now my girls even come to that.
I think you could quite reasonably suggest that the twins eat half an hour earlier. Nothing to stop you all sitting at the table with them but hopefully they will be full and sleepy to enable you all to eat dinner in peace afterwards.
Christmas is about everybody, it's about the whole family - not just babies and childrens' needs and I'd feel for my mum if her efforts were disrupted or at least not fully appreciated because of the distraction of small children when there's just no need for it.
Maybe offer to make the children a 'Christmas Dinner plate', ie. arrange the stuff artistically and take photos of them enjoying it... all of which can be done before proper dinner time so that you have the space to do it.
I do understand how having young children eating earlier would make things any easier. I'd have more chance of being able to ear while the were occupied with their own food than if they'd already eaten. Put them and their parents together somewhere with an escape route and let their parents worry about them during dinner.
*able to eat. Not ear.
Yabu it's a very bizarre suggestion. Surely children are the priority at Christmas.
I would be annoyed if someone suggested my DS ate half an hour before us. I think it's nice you all eating together.
Mainly because he won't sit quietly in his high chair if we're eating and he isn't, and he wouldn't just go and play if we were eating. He's like a baby bird, he'd still want feeding, from my dinner.
It's up to them isn't it?
I'm sure you mean well but really they can decide when/how/what to feed their kids.
It's really up to your sister, I'd keep out of it unless helping her.
Not sure what your point is. Surely they can sit down with everyone else and if they finish/get bored, they can be let down from the table?
That's certainly what 19mo DD will be doing, as she did last year. I don't really understand why you would do anything else tbh
I have never fed children seperate so wouldn't start at xmas
I'd have more chance of being able to ear while the were occupied with their own food than if they'd already eaten.
Eating on a rota is normal, with twins, if there is lots going on, they don't settle and play up to the attention of everyone.
It's unclear if your DM is bothered, I certainly wouldn't mind getting up mid meal to assist with a young child, or likewise have a meal I had cooked interrupted.
To be honest, it sounds like a lovely family occasion that everyone enjoyed. I would rather have that, than a formal dining experience.
State what bothers you.
But don't expect your Dsis to appreciate her being told that how her and her DH organised the twins so they were kept amused, but both managed to eat, should be done differently.
You seem to want to make an issue were there isn't one.
If possible could you get a small table for the DT's and any other small children? You can set it all Christmassy like the adults table, serve Christmas dinner for them chopped up into finger food so they can eat themselves? You can put a few festive toys there too to keep them amused.
Put the table near the grown ups so DSis can keep an eye on them and the grown ups can enjoy their meal?
I know DD2 (2.4) would cause more trouble if she ate before us and was let roam around while everyone else tried to eat. At least if she is up at the table being served at the same time as everyone else, I'd have some chance of being able to eat my own dinner while she eats hers.
but is it not a family dinner?
My DS eats with us at special family meals. I would never make him eat earlier. He eats normal family meals with us too.
If we're having a big meal we will let him down from the table when he's finished.
Maybe, instead of sitting there feeling bad about your DM & her unappreciated efforts, you could take a minute to think about how your sister & her DH feel?
I am surprised that you sat & watched them eating on a rota basis & didn't offer to help. You have DC of your own, but however close in age they are, it is not the same as having twins to look after. Your sister will be exhausted enough without having to worry that her children aren't welcome to eat lunch with everyone else.
My 1 year old twins will be having Christmas dinner with my family ( I am the one cooking so I have arranged an earlyish lunch which works for the children) & I am really looking forward to having a hot meal myself because I know my family will help to feed/clean up etc. Normally DH & I are up & down constantly at dinner time so it will be lovely to have family there that want to help & that like my DC. I feel sorry for your sister.
I'm going to my mums and there will be 3 under 4's. A 4 year old (mine then my 2 & 3 year old siblings.
They sit at the table with us. Always have done since they were old enough.
When we were younger and there was 5 of us under 11 (i was the oldest) and youngest 1 we would have two tables. A children's one and then an adults one. The 1 year old would be with mum and ee would have our own table.
I think YABU. Christmas is all about being together with your loved ones surely, even the little ones.
Our Christmas will be, 5yrs old twins, dd 2, 20 month old, a 7 week old, 7 adults, 3 teens, 2 sets of grandparents, 2 great grandmas and 5 dogs. It is absolutely mayhem. The kids will eat their lunch then request to get down from the table and play in the next room. The great grandmas will be pissed before dessert. All good fun. Thank god it's only once a year!
oh yeh twins eating sausages on their own and the mother excluded from the family dinner cos she has to 'see to them'
sounds familiar actually, very English, its what my brothers new family did to me at his wedding.
thanks all. looks like IABU then. I don't mean they should eat by themselves, some of us would be with them, some would be helping DM in kitchen, or that they are banished elsewhere, just that last year they sat at the table for the whole meal, made tons of mess, grabbed at glasses, knives etc (all normal I know, had them this age myself!), stayed at the table while everyone else ate / leapt up / got them stuff / entertained them / helped Dsis and DH /cleared up the spillages.
There was no move to get them down from the table once they'd finished and were bored and I felt that my mum had gone to lots of effort for a meal that had been chaotic and rushed because no one else could talk owing to noise, interuppted conversation etc (I get that too, it's hard having a conversation for more than 30 seconds at a time with little ones around).
I actually agree with the op. I like eating with my children now they are 3 and 5. I do not like eating with under 2s. It is stressful and messy for everyone.
That method worked for you. Maybe you Dsis tried that and it didn't work. My ds most definately wants to eat when we eat and nothing or no one will distract him from that. Leave the DTs poor parents alone, they're doing the best they can. They have 2 at a time to deal with-they're doing it as best they can.
(Ps is there anything worse than being told how to parent?!?)
Also I would like to know what you are going to do with two 2.5 year olds whilst you are all eating, if they don't want to sleep, I can't imagine that you would still be able to all sit at the table.
You are in danger of making your Dsis feel as though her children aren't welcome.
I wonder if your DM is just pacifying you by agreeing. What didn't happen that you wanted to? Is it reasonable given there are twins in the family (at an adorable age).
The twin boys my friend has are a similar age, they are a michevious tag team, but wonderful to be around.
I think it's sensible to expect the tone of a family Christmas meal to vary with the age of the different family members. Eating Christmas dinner with small children will necessarily be different from eating with just adults.
to clarify - 1. I did help with the DTs, and with my DM in the kitchen. I didn't sit and watch them eating on a rota basis, we all pretty much ate on a rota whilst around the table because we all leapt up and down to help / entertain etc. 2. Where have I suggested that their mum eats alone with them? I'm suggesting that they get started on their food sooner as they need constant supervision and any of us could help with that - it might be nicer for all the adults to get to eat their food together, hot, while the DT spoon in a yoghurt before playing on the floor in the same room.
I just think the op wants her sil to have dinner when it is hot and for the twins to be able to toddle about if they are bored and nobody is worried if they have eaten etc etc , the whole world does not revolve around babies/children imo and if there is an easier way for all the family to be happy and be able to eat and have a conversation then why not give the kids something to eat a little bit earlier,
What time is the lunch?
There wil be time for all the conversation and a few drinks and cold cuts when kids go to bed surely?
Thats outrageous. I would be really cross if our kids were not welcome at the table on Christmas Day. I thought it was a day for family to be together rather than segregated
We all make a lot of effort for the big meal and it should be shared by all.
Doesn't sound like the eating time is the problem. It's the not letting them get down when they finish. They may well have learnt their lesson for this year
Also to add ever before there were children in my parents house that was a typical cam dinner, laughing shouting spillages up down to get drinks etc etc. I didn't realise that perfect dinner was so important. It's about having fun and spending time with family.
Maybe the thing to do would be to arrange the table a bit differently this year? Deliberately make the area where the DT's are sitting sparse with no glasses etc in grabbing distance. Make sure they are seated away from the 'business' end where all the hot food etc is being served. Put plastic mats down underneath their high chairs if carpet is an issue and their parents at either side of them. That way they can be part of the meal but not in the way of the comings and goings.
I agree that we would have found ours more of a problem if they had eaten before us. If they eat at the same time at least some of the time they would be occupied with their own food. We also used to run tag a bit with the youngsters, allowing their parents at least some time to enjoy their food.
Lastly, we found it easier if ours were properly hungry beforehand. It sounds obvious, but it's easy to have them snacking here and there on Christmas day and then not hungry for the meal. We would have some time inside playing with toys, but a good hour or two outside having a walk or playing with a ball. That way they were out of the way in the kitchen too.
I still don't think you're being unreasonable, OP, even though other posters obviously think differently. Christmas dinner means nothing to tiny children, it's just food/something to play with. <shrugs>
Nobody talked of banishment, we'd never do that in our family but then we wouldn't expect such young children to want to sit up at a table. Depends on family relationships I suppose and sense of entitlement/expectation of parents.
what Lyingwitch said really nobody wants to banish the children or not include the children
The kids don't care really about Xmas dinner. I find it annoying to constantly have to stop eating/chatting to stop a toddler spilling things/pulling things off the table etc
Perhaps whoever is hosting (your DM?) could let them know that it's fine to let them down once they've finished? Perhaps they kept them at the table last year because they felt they had to for some reason?
YABU. I think it's your DSIL's decision really. It's nice to eat together, even if they are messy and run off while everyone else is still eating.
I would say that in that case it has to be timed right for the twins as well, if that fits in with your family? It would be asking for trouble to serve dinner at 2 if they normally eat at 12ish followed by a nap.
DD is 2 and we have similar dilemmas - but I think as long as there is some relaxed adult time in the day, just embrace the chaos and help as much as you can.
Xmas baby you are right it is their mums decision really to what she wants to do
YABVU who are you to dictate where her children eat? Families should eat together. I hate this "ditch the kids" attitude so many people in the UK have. No wonder so many kids can't behave at the table!
Yanbu, it's fair for everyone to enjoy the dinner not only about the kids. We usually give the kids dinner around half an hour or earlier so that they're playing or napping while we get to enjoy a relaxing meal.
The kids do not know at that age about Xmas dinner.
Wouldn't have occurred to me to have DS eat earlier than us at Christmas dinner I don't recall him causing a nuisance either - Christmas dinner is ideal for small children as it is all things they like!
I would just move anything breakable/spillable away from the children and let them get down as soon as they're finished.
Coffee why do the children stop people "enjoying" their dinner? They're not slimy little aliens...they're toddlers! Family!
I'd just suggest that the children's seats are positioned so that they can hop up and down, find some toys, watch a bit of TV etc. easily - without making everyone else hop up and down to let them in and out.
They are older now so probably will be much easier. It wouldn't have occurred to me to do that. Dd has always eaten at the table with us and other than the inevitable spillages no great drama. It would annoy me more the running / crawling around whilst everyone else seated and eating.
Ds is 2.9 and dsis is 3.9. :/ we will all be at my mums for dinner. It will be chaotic. Things will be grabbed, spilled, spat out, thrown etc. Part of it imo!
Last year I had a gravy boat launched at me. Ds was rather pleased wirh himself. Little sod but we still had a lovely crazy family christmas dinner!
YABU. What you are basically saying is they aren't good enough to eat with the rest of you, and how will they learn how to behave in they are sat with others and have good behaviour modeled?
DS is just turned 4, my nephews are 2 and 5. We have christmas together every year and the idea of them not eating with us (once they were at that point obviously) was never an option.
I would just let your DSis do it the way she wants - and help her in the way she wants.
I had three children in four years, my youngest is now the age of your sister's children. Our Xmas dinners have been quite disrupted for the last few years, but it's all part of the fun. Since I host, I don't have to worry about other people's opinions - if they didn't like it, they wouldn't come! We have a gap in between main course and pudding - that way the kids can go off and have a run around, and the adults can
wash up relax a bit. Then we all reconvene for Xmas pudding and cheese and chocolate!
I do Christmas dinner at a time that suits the children - 12.30ish. It works well, as then we have time for a walk outside afterwards,
You are obviously a very organised person so I can understand it is frustrating for you to not have things well organised. But I think you need to just relax about it and take things as they come, sorry.
I'd be quite upset at the idea of my children having a separate Christmas lunch on their own, it doesn't feel like a family situation.
Do what you want with your own kid and allow others to do the same.
I would smile and nod if you suggested my toddler shouldn't eat with us as she has done for the whole of her life.
Then I would do what I thought best. If you were hosting I wouldn't come as then you would actually be entitled to an opinion.
Agree with the pps who say this sort of attitude to including children in life is the reason some people think their life is over because they have kids.
Some posters obviously have had bad experiences of family dinners...
Nobody is saying that children shouldn't eat with the family but some are saying that commonsense applies. If it suits children to eat earlier then what's to stop the whole family sitting at the table with the children whilst they eat?
Christmas dinner is an event for many people and if young children won't appreciate it and would rather have a little play in between mouthfuls then what difference does the timing make? It's not particularly relaxing, as a parent or as a spectator, to leap up and down, mop up spillages and hold conversations over and above chatter and need for attention.
As a parent, you either do the hopping up and down yourself, or your partner does it - or you rudely compel others to do it. What's the benefit of that exactly when a little time shift with child-feeding removes all of that?
Consideration for others works every which way, not constantly beamed towards children. To do that - and expect it all the time - breeds resentment. 'Family' is NOT children, it's every person within it.
I would be annoyed if it was suggested that my ds eat separately to the rest of the family. it would also make it harder to enjoy my food as I would have to keep an eye on him playing whilst I was trying to eat. I would have been grateful if someone had suggested that he could get down and play once he was finished though, I wasn't sure if people would think that was rude, so I struggled to entertain him at the table for the duration of the meal.
"I just think the op wants her sil to have dinner when it
is hot "
That isn't always possible when you have twins and it's up to the SIL to decide what's more important.
My youngest is 16, we don't have any young children in the family on Christmas Day. It's a cliche, but I'm sure your Mum knows to treasure these "chaotic" family meals.
This might be the last year that there are Tots in the family at Christmas.
She could be sat on her own, whilst everyone wants to go to their PILs or eat in their own house.
It's gone from people wanting "John Lewis" Christmas trees to the dining experience also.
I agree that there must be time for conversations in the evening.
I would feel unwelcome if it was suggested to me when my children should eat.
"As a parent, you either do the hopping up and down yourself, or your partner does it - or you rudely compel others to do it. "
The parents aren't objecting to doing it and it isn't rude if it's family.
Family pitches in when children are young, they age, those children grow up and pop in to keep an eye on their now aged relatives.
If you are lucky you get to have wonderful chaotic meals, together (yes I am desperate to become a Nan).
If someone (especially close family) suggested to me that my kids eat first basically so the adults can eat in peace, which ultimately is what the issue is, then I would be very pissed off and see it that everyone thinks my kids are a nuisance and interrupting an adult meal.
Christmas is about family being together. Many of us are all having dinner together on the day and my kids will have to be sat at a little table of their own as there just isn't the space around the big table but it will be at the same time as the adults and they will join in with us.
Be prepared for your sister to not welcome the idea, hence her not really acknowledging your mothers hints.
We went out for a family meal yesterday and my 2 year old nephew was playing up - I had finished eating, nobody else had so I sorted him out. its what family does to help each other isn't it?
But the little time shift would not make for a relaxing experience for many parents of toddlers (or those dining with them). Lots of us have explained that eating with our children gives us the best chance of getting some dinner ourselves. They don't go into suspended animation just because you've fed them.
I would be really annoyed if someone suggested that my children should have their Christmas dinner before the rest of the family so the adults can eat in peace. I would probably just stay at home.
At the age they are now, rather than upsetting people by suggesting they eat earlier, keep a couple of Christmas sticker books hidden by you chair - produce them when twins have finished eating as special Christmas dinner table treat, leave then to colour/stick stickers all over each other while you finish your meal. I agree with others that trying to supervise them playing away from the table while your eating because they've already had their lunch would be more work than having them eat at the same time!
I also would feel very upset at the suggestion that my children ate separately at Christmas. One of my friends always feeds the kids first, even if it's just the two of us with our two dc. I find it odd but I know from what she has said that her family have always done this since she was a child so its normal for her I guess. Did you always eat separately as children?
I did find it laughable that another poster felt it rather entitled to want your children to eat Christmas lunch with you! Also the suggestion that this is a very English thing to do. Most replies here are very clear in saying the OP is being unreasonable.
Also did you really propose this based on last years Christmas dinner? A year is a long time in a toddlers life. They may be great at the dinner table now.
YABU. If it was suggested to me that my dc shouldn't eat their christmas dinner with the family I'd be pissed off. Why don't you eat your dinner half an hour earlier than everyone else if it's so important that you aren't disturbed?
I have a two year old. The best option for me would be for her to eat early and have a lovely long snooze while I eat and get nerry. But thats not what Christmas is about! she will sit at the table and eat pigs in blankets til she bursts, has lashings of cake and plays.with the cracker toys.
If she gets fractious, she can go watch tv if she fancies.
People use their own experiences as reference, I suppose. I don't understand why some posters keep banging on about their children being excluded, segregated or other such inflammatory terms. It's not like that at all. OP's family children are very young, possibly too young to appreciate the 'pomp and circumstance' of Christmas dinner. Maybe there are children who aren't too young, who knows? My experience is like the OP's so that's my reference and I wouldn't take issue with a suggestion of earlier dinner for my very young children.
I think that the posters who would be 'outraged' at such a suggestion and leaping to the conclusion that their children aren't welcome are overreacting and quite unreasonable. A simple "They'll be fine with everybody else" would be enough - but then it's up to the parents to make it 'fine', their responsibility. That's how I would have felt as a parent anyway.
Mortified, mine too - not 'suspended animation' but a snooze or happily playing away from the table.
Both my children enjoyed Christmas dinner from a very young age. I remember toddler DS1 sitting happily in a high chair eating handfuls of sprouts and absolutely nothing else. It was cute and hilarious and everyone enjoyed the meal.
He has never eaten a sprout on any Christmas since then.
Not everyone's toddlers nap in the afternoon, nor do they go away and play nicely while their parents relax. Toddlers are infinitely variable.
I think it's a good suggestion, but if your sister doesn't want to do it, she doesn't want to do it.
It's been mentioned to your sil and ignored so suggesting it again would come across as rude and demanding. If I was put in that position I would be rearranging a family Christmas for myself and my dc at home where we could all feel welcome and relaxed. It is fine to suggest it once but do it more than that and it comes across as an order rather than a suggestion.
Great idea, OP, but I haven't got a suggestion as to how to make this palatable to your DSis.
YABU My mother suggested this to me one Christmas (My kids a bit older though). I was not happy and it was a clear indication that she did not want to sit with her grandchildren. We have had dinner with them significantly less since.
I have twins.
The problem here as I see it, is if the DC are fed first then people are still going to have to supervise them during dinner...most probably their Mum.
Or what are you suggesting OP? What will the DC actually do at dinner time if they've already eaten? And who will be looking after them?
Yabu. Christmas lunch is a family meal, what you are suggesting is excluding your dsis's twins from the meal.
I would suggest having some toys or colouring to keep them occupied between courses. At 2.5yrs they will probably be feeding themselves this year meaning mum and dad can eat their dinner too.
exactly, word, so the mum would also be excluded I daresay as I said in my previous post.
well that would be fine by OP I suppose.....
Also, how many people are present op? You say no one sat down. Surely it didn't take every adult in the room to sort them out?
Surely the best way is for the parents to supervise them for a bit, helping them eat etc, then another adult take over allowing the parents tp get some food.
The kids might not even be as bad as expected. All this panic over kids a WHole YEAR older than last time. Sit them on the end next to mum where they can get down after.
Cannot believe the idea I'd excluding them just so everyone can boost the grandmothers ego and make yummy noises ire the dinner in peace.
Madness and mean. And as pointed out who's gonna watch them while you lot eat.
Idea of. Phones buggered grrr
Why would you exclude kids from a family meal?!
Surely thats how they learn? We have never done separate meal times we all eat together, eye soemtiems its hard work but that's life with kids.
Let them have small toys, include them in chatting etc, they will like the crackers etc? Mine at that age loved to do 'cheers' and making a toast!
If they aren't at trhe table they will still need supervision!
Christmas Dinner doesn't have to look like a picture in a magazine. And in the vast majority of hosuehoolds, won't.
Leave your DSis and BIL to manage the kids, let them get down and run round when they feel like it, and make sure that yu do appreciate your Mum's cooking efforts.
If you try and control it (using your Mum as an excuse..let her fight her own battles if she has one to fight - these are her beloved grandchildren!) and anticpate problems you are already creating tension and setting up expectations about what is the right thing to do.
Relax and enjoy and stay out of other people's parenting and other people's relationships (your Mum's and DSis's).
I would be really pissed off if someone suggested this to me.
Our DC have eaten their meals with us practically everyday since they were 6 months old. Christmas Day is no different.
How are they going to learn how to behave at the table, not to grab, sit still, etc if they aren't given the opportunity?
Yabvu. I would feel on edge all day if I were your sister.
I think it would be unreasonable to suggest it as it's your parents house and you just shouldn't tell someone who is hosting how to do things. If someone said to me to feed my children earlier for a day time meal I'd be really really pissed of.
This came up in our house yesterday, the kids eat very differently from eachother and from grown ups. My 3yo ate a carrot and yorkshire pud and wanted to get down from the table and my 18mo wanted to throw all of her dinner off her plate onto the table. But she ate it all. She loves her food.
My hubby got really stressed because he had cooked a lovely roast dinner and didnt feel he could enjoy it. I on the other hand realise they are kids and just get on with it. Its not perfect but they will get better as time goes on. Its not every day we all sit around the table and eat either. Which is half the battle I think, routine!
Maybe I might suggest eating breakfast all around the table together, everyday, then mealtimes are routine and the RULES will be a routine. I dont know.
When are kids meant to be able to sit at a table nicely and eat "normally"... if there is a normal?
mine could eat normally round the table by the time they were 4 I excused behaviour before then but they ate dinner including xmas by the time they were 4, but tbh mine didnt really eat all christmas dinner untill they were about 7 so they had a bit of this and that we were not to strict on the eating it all up
I remember when my twins were this age. I honestly don't think I sat down for more than a minute for the first five years of their lives. They do get a lot easier around 5 or 6!
I'd suggest your mum makes less effort and that everyone drinks more.
I am lucky that we just have a family dinner at home. I make a buffet and we have crackers and party poppers. Then chocolate cake for pudding. It's all very laid back and fun.
YAbu. Get some crayons and Christmas themed colouring pictures that they can do at the table while safely seated. I assume they may be on some kind of booster at their age.
If they eat earlier and are let down from the table there will be even more running around after them, especially with twins. Ime twins are the absolute worst at daring each other to do something and I could quite see the tree being toppled, presents unwrapped regardless of who they are for. All while their poor parents have to get up and down constantly to see to them. Much worse than having them at the table where at least there are several people who can distract them.
Obviously anyone with a grain of sense doesn't leave anything within reach that isn't necessary. But it's the ideal situation for a bit of gentle coaching in table manners.
We'll have the children eat with us but let them run free and play when they've finished eating. Mine haven't needed constant supervision at 2.5, they can play within eyesight surely without needing someone sat next to them.
At my DPs house at Christmas time, the DC do tend to get fed before the adults, mainly because they are not allowed to eat snacks, sweets etc before dinner (they did one year and it was not pleasant) and they are always starving, so as soon as the meal is almost ready plates are dished up for the smallest ones and they start. By this time everyone is in the dining room or kitchen so it's not like they are being excluded. The rest of us then sit and help ourselves to what we like from the serving dishes, it takes quite a while before we all have a full dinner. When the kids are finished they have the option to get down and go next door to the lounge where the TV will be showing something appropriate or to bring toys back into the dining room to play. However if they want to stay at the table then they can too, there are no rules. The kids in our family now range from 16 to 3
I want the kids to eat with us, yes mayhem but Xmas is all about being together and also they have to learn sitting nicely around the table at some stage
I have read about 2/3 of thread but on phone and it won't let me read last bit, so hope this isn't now massively off topic.... But....
Instead of feeding twins earlier (which is obviously unpopular) why not put together 2 little goody bags to entertain them at the table while everyone still eats? I often make something for my ds if we are eating out - just has crayons, stickers, small toy, maybe a book or something in. Little things which will maybe occupy them another 20 -30 mins to help keep the peace and let everyone else eat?
I have twins.
I have always fed them before because they used to eat at 12 and nobody we spend Christmas with ever gets the meal sorted before about 2pm earliest! They would be full-blown mental psycho by then when younger - and in fact I have had to argue the opposite to get them to be able to have a snack before everyone else.
! Feed a nice snack they will eat at dead on 12, then give them a plate at proper meal time to pick at too. When they are bored open a new DVD. Give yourselves all a break. Don't even discuss this - just produce a nice plate of bits at 12.... non-issue then..
Are they old enough for 'the small table', sit them at a coffee table or play table, at the end of the adults and just put a plate of food in front of each them so they can't actually grab and can make as much mess as they like.
I would feel very hurt and unwanted if someone suggested this to me with my kids (who are 8 months and 19 months). Take highchair toys, and pop some toys down in the corner of the dining room so they can get down if they're getting restless and still be in the room for supervision and being a part of things and back off out of it.
Incidentally - went to my folks for an early Christmas this weekend and the 19 month old sat beautifully picking at different bits of Christmas dinner and waving at people on the opposite side of the table for a good hour before she got at all bored with it and the 8 month old was happy with toys on her highchair tray for a good long while as well. I'd have been most pissed off if someone assumed they wouldn't join in and would be automatic nightmares - had provision in place if they didn't want to be at the table any longer but gave them the chance and they were utterly bloody awesome.
Wow I would be really offended if I was your sil
It definitely wouldn't be easier for me to feed my 3yr old separately and I emitted a hollow laugh at the idea that toddlers might go for a nap on Christmas Day - mine will be WAY too excited to go to sleep in the afternoon. I'd say YABU simply on the basis that I think it would be harder work to feed twins before everyone else - if my toddler wasn't strapped to the chair during Christmas lunch I wouldn't get to sit down at all because he would be off running round the house and I would have to chase him. It's a different sort of meal when you have young children but I like it better than a very civilised 'adult' occasion and I think it's important to be teaching children to share family meals.
FeetUp... your post is exactly what I was thinking of. It's not exclusion in any way. I imagine that the scenario you've described works really well. I never get Christmas Dinner ready before 2pm no matter best intentions but the 'accessories' so loved by little ones are always ready for hungry small children.
Posters who persist in the 'exclusion conspiracy' obviously have an issue with reading comprehension. Why would anybody want to exclude a family member on Christmas Day?
Two years ago I and DH were those parents, we have never been so exhausted, I burst into tears later on in the day. We had our DTs in someone else's house which wasn't baby proofed so one of us had to be them at all times and it was really, really hard work even with the extra help from relatives. I think it has been wiped from my mind. We vowed never to do it again. If the DTs had been fed before hand one of us would have missed the meal entirely as we would have had to watch them.
Whilst I can see your point though about it being really frenetic for everyone but I would probably feel quite hurt that someone would want to exclude my twins from the meal, there were other young children there. I don't think children at that age will sleep easily on Christmas Day, your sister may spend ages fruitlessly trying to get them to sleep. Agree with pp about arranging the table so that fragile / dangerous objects aren't near them. Why not suggest that children can get down from the table in between courses, all they want to do is play, so that the meal doesn't have to be rushed. Also they are a year older now so will have changed quite a lot.
Yabu, it's up to your sister. We always had ours eat Xmas dinner with us, it would be a bit odd not to have everyone eating their Xmas dinner together tbh.
Mine would have caused more trouble if they'd been fed earlier, anyway and there is no way they would have napped while we had dinner. At least the food kept them occupied for a while.
YABU - Christmas is about the whole family being together.
I host Christmas lunch and I have a now 3 year old, who will eat with us and then get down and run around. All I will add is that as a host to large numbers (15 or so)..I just want everyone to have a good time, enjoy some food together.
I do not expect everyone to appreciate christmas Lunch as a cordon bleu event, it is fun, the food is what we gather around rather a fancy chefs tasting menu......
In fact as hostess I rarely get to eat mine while it is hot, but I expect that.
I would imagine your DM maybe feels the same, and is not fussed about everyone giving amazing appreciation to the food, just appreciation to the reason for all being together.....
They are 2 and a half like my DS. I'd keep him a little hungry and then feed him the same meal as everyone else and at the same time. He's very social and would love it! We never feed our DS half an hour beforehand. He wouldn't go on to sleep or play quietly. He'd want to be with everyone pulling crackers and telling silly jokes.
They are 2 and a half like my DS. I'd keep him a little hungry and then feed him the same meal as everyone else and at the same time. He's very social and would love it! We never feed our DS half an hour beforehand. He wouldn't go on to sleep or play quietly. He'd want to be with everyone pulling crackers and telling silly jokes.
Make them a couple of goody bags to keep them occupied once they get s bit bored?
Christmas dinner is about family coming together around the table to share a meal. My dcs have all taken part from being 6mo (apart from ds2, who slept through his first Christmas dinner) They are a bit bigger now but I would have been very very upset if anyone had suggested they miss it.
We always sat them at the end of the table, flanked by dh and I, who are well practised at moving breakables out of reach, accepted they might get down for a bit, produced a few toys at opportune moments, were grateful the assistance of helpful aunties and grandads. A break between main course and pudding helped enormously, as did ditching the starter in favour of champagne and nibbles while the dcs play.
It's as much about the social experience as anything.
(As an aside, the kitchen is usually pretty manic in the last hour before Christmas dinner is served, as the cook I would really NOT want to start knocking out sausages and extra veg etc at that stage!!)
I like the idea of ShoeWhore's Christmas, I also see it as being about family coming together and this changes as the family changes, people grow older, new additions arrive.
I also like ShoeWhore's idea of Christmas - also TapiocaPearl's. It illustrates attention to the needs and wishes of the child and the parents and everybody else mucks in to make it a nice occasion.
Some children are sleepy after dinner, some fidgety before, during and/or afterwards and some seem to take it in their stride. No 'one size fits all' BUT it's parents attuned to surroundings, with consideration for everybody else as well as their child(ren) that make events a success. Entitled, lazy parents do their children - and everybody else - a huge disservice.
Yanbu. Toddlers are a nightmare. Far Better for them to eat separately.
Another vote for the we're all in this together brigade. We all sit round the same table and eat together and the meal has been known to stretch for five hours with cheese port coffee etc. Sometimes that has been 21 people aged from 0 to 90. Seating is mixed adults so all the older aunties are not left at one end on their own but all the children 3 to 21 are arranged in a group together around the middle parts that lets the mischievous bang off party poppers and share cracker puzzles in downtime and littlies get help chopping and going for a wee etc from an older cousin. Babies and littles ones get a place between mum and dad until the day they say they want to be with the big cool kids group which is usually at about aged 3. No one gets down ( unless its for a wee ) until after pudding and then they're free to go play and return for a bit of cheese or whatever. There is so much going on, conversation, joking, munching etc and no one bats an eyelid if a baby cries, squirms or whatever. We pass them round, jiggle them on our knees while eating one handed and letting mum & dad have a break. Photos are taken, drinks do get knocked over ( that's usually me after two sherries though ) and we all appreciate the cook and show it by doing the washing up and clearing the kitchen as a group activity before we flop down for a snooze ( babes and oldies) or games ( everyone in between).
I think sometimes we look back on our own DC babyhood with rosé tinted specs and forget that others may not really have been so enamoured but just gone along with things to keep the peace. I try to be tolerant myself and that way we all part on good terms till next year.
I 'm afraid I also think YABU. Christmas dinner is a shared tradition, how are kids ever to learn how to behave at a family event/table if they are excluded? My DD was nearly one at her first Christmas, because everyone was too full of canapés dinner was delayed till too late for her and to be honest it spoilt the whole event for me. The next year I hosted and was very clear that the timings would revolve around the kids needs...we had a late breakfast which served as the kids lunch as they had early breakfast too and dinner at about 4 so plenty of time to enjoy. The kids join in with cracker pulling, hat wearing, demos of crap cracker toys and jokes, DD (nearly 2 by then) had her water in a red champagne flute, she loved it. If they need some entertainment at the table why not get them that for their Christmas present?
I understand getting the dinner ready earlier so that the younger children don't get hungry and start whining, I'll be makings sure I've got the turkey etc., served up by 12 as DS gets very annoying when he's hungry and whines a lot!
The rest of it I don't understand, is serve the kids Turkey not sausages. Even if they don't eat any I'd still offer as it's healthier than sausages and how will they get to lie it if they don't get to try it every so often. I still serve up carrots to DS even though he's gone off them at the moment, I just put a smaller amount and let him decide.
I'd also have everyone sat down at the same time, at 2.5 the children are perfectly capable of feeding themselves without help. If they finish early and want to get down they could watch tv.
I'm not really sure that this should be such a worry.
But isn't christmas dinner supposed to be noisy and slightly chaotic? Not an exquisite elegant and formal occasion.
Ours is noisy and hats are worn jones are told and when the little ones have had enough they get down and play nearby or what a bit if tv with sine sweets. Should they need pulling apart or the toilet etc the family will just get on and do so, depending on who has finished or is nearest.
Op does sound a tad pompous with her idea of Xmas.
I think it is up to the parents to decide.
Your plan wouldn't have worked for us. After about 12 months dc wanted to be part of the family and wasn't the sort to be confined to the an area away from the family to eat (fussy eater who would rather play than eat).
Also when it came to the proper meal it wouldn't have been relaxing for the parents as dc needed full supervision. Not the sort to just play happily nearby in one place. Also toddlers often find it hard to nap after excitement and need lots of settling, buggy, car ride etc.
Much better to have dc at the table joining in the main festivities , confined to the high chair and sampling lots of edible goodies
If I was your sister and it was made clear like that that my children weren't welcome for a meal we'd stay at home instead or go elsewhere.
Sounds to me like now your children are older you don't want to deal with toddlers. Which is up to you but not very fair to push another family out because of your issues.
Adding to the YABVU I'm afraid.
I cannot imagine starting Christmas lunch for children ahead of everyone else - so the children are virtually finished, and heartily sick of sitting at table, before everyone else sits down.
Of course it is not a dignified adult meal when family are this age! but my goodness the children are learning a very great deal about social behaviour ....apart from the importance of being fully included in the biggest family occasion of the year. My eldest, aged three, managed to offer a very short "Grace" at Christmas lunch, helped by an adoring GF ( way back in the dark ages ) It is one of my most precious memories.
Honestly, if you haven't realised already from the replies ....you need to stay out of this. On every level.
The only acceptable input would be a word to your DM if she has failed to put a parent next to each twin, in the seating plan.
Then leave it up to your brother & his wife to get on with parenting.
If it bothers you, grab a grip, have some
If you do get indigestion, it won't be terminal.
YABU...a year does make a lot of difference. My DS is now 2 and a half and will sit at the table for a greater length of time than last year, he also isn't as needy. Maybe suggest a childrens table so the younger ones feel important. DS hates his high chair, but sits and eats beautifully at a little table with his brother. I think it makes him feel like a big boy. Maybe get some colouring stuff in to help keep them entertained or some blocks, im sure your sister would appreciate that more.
The whole 'I want my DSis to enjoy her meal' is a load of crap. 'I don't MY meal interrupted by children' is what is actually meant. A bit like the people who say that they're having child free weddings because they want to give the parents a 'night off'. No you don't, you don't want children at your wedding. There's no problem with that, but at least own it and stop trying to make excuses.
Yabu from me too I'm afraid. I think you are being too controlling. Like the idea of getting them ssomething to play with at table. Everyone should be together and Christmas and I also agree it would be more difficult for sis if they ate earlier.
Well said midnite
I have two children they have always eaten Xmas dinner with us. It's never been a faff. Not quite sure either what all "the getting up and down" is about. Serve food get them a drink and set up a DVD for after. You can set up a colouring book and crayons and a couple of toys in a little bag the night before surely.
YABU. I feel quite upset by the idea that my family might be irritated by my DS taking ages over his meal, needing help and so on I've always shared eating times and food with him and I'm not going to stop for Christmas!
I don't see what the problem would be everyone's free to carry on as normal and your Ds takes as long as he takes. A minute to chop up some turkey or load a spoon coukdvt possibly ruin a meal. Not unless they are all so miserable and full that they have nothing to talk about and just state at your Ds.
Part of Christmas is that the the whole family eats together in my view. Yes they are a bit messy but accept it as being part of Christmas at the moment.
My 15mo will be eating her first Christmas dinner with us all this year. I hate the whole sit down for a big formal drawn out lunch. Sit, enjoy the food and the company and just let her get on with it.
Christmas is better with children anyway
Why doesn't op eat her meal half an hour early. That way the children eating can't offend her. She can then offer to help with the twins while their parents eat. Win win
I totally sympathise, the issue is the whole meal time revolves around the babies! Everyone is constantly looking at them or cooing over them etc etc and it can make you feel very left out. Especially if you don't have children of your own, it is difficult. Having said that, you just gave to get on with it! If you don't want the children taking over do something without them, if you want to see your sister at Christmas accept the children will dictate the day. Your decision
Wow is this still going?! If you look back to my post over 24 hrs ago I said I could see that IABU. That's the point of this board isn't it, to get a reality check? I've got one thanks, some of you have also given some great ideas to help manage the process better - so thank you for that too.
Many of you have made massive assumptions about my motives, personality, expectations, family, based on nothing. I don't see what's wrong with wanting the meal to be a nice occasion for everyone (last year it was stressful for everyone except the DTs I think!). I was clearly going the wrong way about it and will now go the right way about it. Ta.
Haven't read full thread but children should sit at the table and eat with the family! Who cares if its mayhem, its christmas day lighten up!
Give the parents a rest and you should help with them so mum and dad can digest their meal. A luxury not achieved by most parents.
Ohh Gromit, you've spoiled the fun now - not Christmas exactly - but the enjoyment of the terminal can't read/won't readers and the omnipresent conclusion jumpers.
Some posters can't even bother to read the OP's post above nevermind the whole thread.
OP - we have Xmas lunch around 3pm. It's too late for the children to eat then so they have something simple and which they're guaranteed to eat (so beans on toast or similar) at their usual lunch time of 12.00 and then sit down with us at 3 and eat what they want. Their presents will have included a present for them to do during lunch (sticker book or similar) but normally they want to join in the fun, to the limited extent they can. The DC are parked at the end of the table furthest from the kitchen so nothing hot needs to go near the,, only have plastic glasses, cutlery etc at that end of the table and general try & childproof it. Conveniently for us now that DC1 is potty trained, it's also the end of the room nearest the loo!
There's still some faffing around as we realise we've forgotten bibs or something but in the same way that we might forget to put the cranberry sauce out
or take the pigs in blankets out of the oven. It is a family meal at home, not a trip to the restaurant.
Thanks Lying! It's a rule of AIBU i think that people refuse to read further posts, but also read lots into an OP that wasn't there in the first place. Also a rule that one kind, same person will come along to be rational and calm ...
I would not accept this.
My DD1 is 2.5 and will sit up and eat the same thing as us at the same time. The only concession will be her kiddie cutlery. She is more than capable of sitting quietly and eating nicely then asking to get down- because that is what is expected of her.
Personally I feel that children should be treated as one of the family and not excluded. In return I have very high expectations of behaviour.
Brilliant can't/won't read cross post!
Have a lovely Christmas OP!
I'm pretty amazed at all the suggestions that children throw food/cause a disturbance etc.
My DD is 7. She has been eating out with us since she was 3 weeks old. She has never thrown food/been a messy eater. She has learnt beautiful table manners because we encourage her to participate in meals rather than being forced to eat alone so as not to ruin the status quo.
Yes, there were times when she was hungry and she ate first. But I would never suggest anyone with children shouldn't bring children to a table (but I would expect them to be making some effort that their children would sit nicely/not throw food etc)
This is why a lot of kids in the U.K have difficulty behaving at the table, they need to be included so as to learn how to behave.
Alternatively, you could have your lunch half an hour earlier so you could be on hand to help with the kids?
Oh my word. YABVU.
And I would be very hurt by your suggestion. People with small children ar meal tab,es are usually self-conscious enough, without this kind of segregation for Christmas dinner! We are dreading Christmas Eve lunch with our family in a posh pub as our toddler is an explorer, whereas his cousin is 'good' and sits in his highchair for hours. We know we are judged for this, but the alternative of forced restraint is worse for others.
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