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Drop and go party- can I stay?

(60 Posts)
JackyJax Sun 12-Jun-11 05:33:27

I'm a normally relaxed mum of DS5. He's done one drop and go party before with a friend of mine who I've known for 5 years.

He's now been invited to another drop and go party by a little girl in his class at school. The girl's mother works so I've only spoken to her twice before- very superficial coversation due to lack of time, hi, how are you, etc. I met the dad once at a children's party. Both parents seem really nice, down to earth, friendly, etc. Child also seems nice.

BUT I don't know the parents: they're really complete strangers and I'm not that comfortable with my son going to a stranger's house.

I understand why invite is drop and go- it's a pain catering to parents and kids are often better behaved when parents aren't there- and I know my son will be fine.

However, I really want to stay for eg 20 minutes just to get a better feel for the parents, etc. Is this unreasonable. How would you feel if you had arranged a drop and go party and a mum said, 'Hope you don't mind if I just hand around for 20 minutes to make sure x is settled, then I'll be out of your hair.'

Husband thinks I should just let him go and I agree but would like that 20 minute period first.

Would this be ok?

SuchProspects Sun 12-Jun-11 05:43:38

YWBU, rude and precious to stay. From what you say those 20 minutes are just for you - and it really isn't about you. What are you going to do if you don't like what you see in that 20 minutes? Drag him away? Tell the hosts they need to adjust to your standards on the fly?

JackyJax Sun 12-Jun-11 05:48:22

Why rude and precious? I'm not asking the host to look after me or just barging in? Surely it's more odd to leave your child in a stranger's house without first checking it out....

And obviously I wouldn't 'drag' my child away, it would depend on what I saw wouldn't it?

JackyJax Sun 12-Jun-11 05:54:07

Maybe I should make myself a bit clearer. I'm not concerned about whether the home furnishings are stylish or if the cake is home made!

I'm more concerned with things like safety eg at a friend's house, there's a sofa on which kids can climb onto a wall on the balcony. If they fall off the wall there's a massive drop onto a concrete floor. I took my child there when he was 4 and he and the other boy were straight onto that couch and onto the wall in nanoseconds. My son still goes to play there but not unsupervised.

Or another time we were at a party and the hosts had an outdoors pool that was unfilled. It was a sheer drop into that pool and lots of parents were really nervous about sugar fuelled kids falling into it.

Slightlyreluctantexpat Sun 12-Jun-11 06:33:36

My first reaction was to say that you should just drop and go, and that you are being over-anxious.

I then remembered that, although I am usually very easy-going, on one occasion when one of my DDs (then 16) was going to babysit for a family I didn't know I decided that I wanted to take her and meet the family. I didn't make a huge song and dance about it; just had a doorstep conversation with the mother. DD wasn't embarrassed, surprisingly.

Sometimes, as a parent, you just want to check things out. I think you should just stay for 5 minutes though, not 20, or it might disturb your DS.

troisgarcons Sun 12-Jun-11 06:41:49

There will be other parents there from her circle of friends, which you arn't (yet) included.

If you are so inclined, a smile and "I don't have to be anywhere, can I help you for a few mins until my son is settled?" should suffice for you to havea nose round - mind you he will have shot off with his friends by then!

Or you take the course of action you really want to take - interview the parents as to their suitability to host a party, have them complete a risk assessment and demand to see their health and safety policy, plus ask if they have an enhanced CRB check! That should cover all bases and hopefully one of them is a fully qualified paramendic to boot.

I must be the worlds worst parent! Never have I gone to someones house and looked for potential hazzards.

Tee2072 Sun 12-Jun-11 06:42:19

I understand your concerns but does it really take 20 minutes to see if a house is to your safety standards? And what, exactly, are you going to do if they aren't? As was said before, drag your child away?

So, yes, I think you are being a bit precious to stay 20 minutes. 5 minutes would be reasonable, if you must stay at all.

saadia Sun 12-Jun-11 06:47:43

Yanbu - I would not be comfortable either in that situation. I agree about the safety aspect .

pooka Sun 12-Jun-11 06:49:03

I've invited 15 children to ds1's party. All well and good. It will be busy and squeeze, but they will have q great time. I would be really uncomfortable if 10 parents also all came and stayed for the first 20 minutes to make sure that my house isn't a deathtrap.

I also want to be able to concentrate on the children, the party, and making sure they're happy and safe. Dealing with the entertainer. Getting food out and ready. Having parents there scrutinising would be an unwanted distraction and rather stressful.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Sun 12-Jun-11 06:53:34

in my house there would never be room if all the parents wanted to do this

and anyway, no parent can identify a high risk activity better than a small boy. my 4yo could find some sort of fascinating danger in an empty padded room.

JackyJax Sun 12-Jun-11 06:56:12

A risk assessment there's something I didn't think my own house kids use doonas to make huge slides down massive stairs whilst jumping on top of one another...they jump off cabinets onto cushions that they've made into assault courses, etc. so they don't exactly live in an ultra safe environment at home.

I think living in Australia makes me more paranoid. We have quite a few newspaper reports about children falling through fly screens (most houses have them but if you lean back on them you'll fall through) onto concrete below. I live in NSW where it's also common to have swimming pools. By law they're supposed to be fenced but again there have been some recent tragic tales of kids drowing in these pools. In fact swimming pools are the greatest cause of accidental deaths in our state.

I know you're all right: I should just cross my fingers and assume all will be ok. I think seeing how near my child came to falling from friend's balcony (her excuse, 'He's used to balcony and knows not to climb on couch' although he did!) really alarmed me. I'd just assumed most houses with kids were relatively child proof. I'm not worried about falls down stairs, or from jumping off bunk beds, etc but fly screens and swimming pools do concern me.

Hmmmm thanks Tee2072 think your suggestion of 5 minutes seems more reasonable...

SuchProspects Sun 12-Jun-11 06:56:24

You want to stay and the invite is to drop. You are not invited, not even for 20 mins. I think staying is rude unless the invitee has need of you and you've discussed it with the hosts in advance. Staying is also quite obviously a statement that you don't trust the hosts, which is rude even if true.

And why are you obviously not going to drag your son away? If you see a sofa by a balcony are you intending to tell the hosts to rearrange their furniture (with half a dozen kids running around)? Or if there's an empty pool will you ask them to restrict the sugar so the kids don't get over excited, or rig up a suitable barrier at a moment's notice? I didn't think you were concerned with the furnishings, I'm pointing out that if there's a problem you are worried about your options are very limited. It will probably need to be serious enough to pull him out of the party because most other things will be unreasonable.

How high do you think the risk is of parents having an environment that is so unsuitable for your son you would not leave him there for a few hours?

I realize it's scary to give up some of the control. And he could get hurt. Things can go wrong. But unless you actually have particular reason not to you are going to be restricting your DCs life and making your own more miserable by not extending a little trust to fellow parents.

SuchProspects Sun 12-Jun-11 06:57:51

X-post. Sorry. Slow typing

JackyJax Sun 12-Jun-11 07:00:23 the party where the unfilled swimming pool was unfenced, it was a bit of a nightmare. Many of us had children age 1-2 as well as 4 year olds and had to follow kids everywhere otherwise they would have fallen in. A couple of grandmothers chose to stay near the pool too. However, this party also had some farm animals and one of the pigs escaped and fell in the pool: he broke his leg. So yes, on that occasion, I was glad I kept an eye on my kids.
Regarding sofa on balcony, of course I'd do something, nothing as ridiculous as rearranging the furniture but god forbid someone climbed on it and I'd seen it and done nothing.

FebreezeYourJeans Sun 12-Jun-11 07:00:30

I'm amazed at 5 you've only done 1 drop and go so far. I'm afraid YABU what on earth would you be doing for 20 minutes??? Shadowing your DS? Stealthily checking out bathrooms, garden, other potential hazards? If you find one will you then stay for the entire party or take DS away? Have you thought this through?

Tee2072 Sun 12-Jun-11 07:01:21

Jacky I do understand your concerns, but you still haven't answered the question of what you will do if you do see something that makes you nervous.

Remove your child?

Ask the host parents to remedy it in the middle of a hoard of children?

Life is full of danger. You can't protect your child from all of it.

If you're that paranoid, then don't let him go to the party.

troisgarcons Sun 12-Jun-11 07:03:16

Austrais? why didn't you say so - just take your cozzie and jump into their pool and announce you are a life guard! Problems solved!

FebreezeYourJeans Sun 12-Jun-11 07:05:13

Sorry x post with more information I can see that you might want to do a 5 min sweep re swimming pools etc but again are you prepared to take DS away if necessary?

JackyJax Sun 12-Jun-11 07:06:44

Tee2072 If I saw an unfenced pool, I'd say, 'DS can't swim- in face he resembles a log in the water- don't expect you to watch him at the party so how about I sit out here as an extra pair of eyes.' then I'd sit near pool and watch all children. i wouldn't just be watching I'd be talking to the kids, admiring their swimming, throwing a ball back into the water, etc.

If I saw couch near window I'd tell own son not to climb on it.

You're right life is full of risks but as I said fly screens falling through and deaths at swimming pools are events that happen here.

JackyJax Sun 12-Jun-11 07:06:58

' in fact' rather than 'in face'!

JackyJax Sun 12-Jun-11 07:08:09

troisgarcons....I like it...if I jumped into the swimming pool it would be cleared of kiddlies in three seconds flat... a whale has arrived in the back garden... !!

Tee2072 Sun 12-Jun-11 07:17:56

Jacky, my point, and I guess I wasn't very clear, is that those accidents happen world wide. All the time.

And if I was the host parent and you said 'oh you have a pool, I'll stay and keep an eye' I would be incredibly insulted that you didn't trust me to look after your child. Which you don't.

So don't let him go to the party. It's really your only option at this point. Perhaps lock him into your house all the time. Then you know he'll be safe.

shelscrape Sun 12-Jun-11 07:20:44

YAB a bit U. Whilst I can understand your caution, I think you have just got to drop and go like your husband suggests. Yes, have a quick chat with the hosts and leave them your mobile number just incase, but then go.

If you stay this once, you'll want to do it again another time and another time and your DS will soon pick up that things are different for him. Just leave him, or you may end up projecting your anxiety onto him.

Bet he has a great time!

saadia Sun 12-Jun-11 07:21:14

Follow your instincts, he is your child.

cathers Sun 12-Jun-11 07:23:07

Drop him off, and perhaps 'linger' over saying goodbye so you can see the party room, but don't say for more than 5 mins. You'll make the host feel uncomfortable and she already is busy looking after the other children, and ds Is probably not going to want embarrassing mum there while he plays with his mates.

Either don't let him go, or relax , let him have a good time and give him a 'behavior' chat before you go.

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