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To have left this party early? (Long, sorry!)

(77 Posts)
BinkieWoo Sat 07-Dec-13 22:50:49

We went to a family party tonight that SIL had organised which was held at her house. When we were first invited it was addressed to the whole family so me, dh, DSS and dd. DSS is 7 and dd is 9 months. The invite said the party started at 6 so we asked if we could bring a travel cot to put dd in as she normally struggles with staying awake past 6:30ish. SIL said yes of course and she thought it was a good idea as it'd mean we could stay later. She has a DS who is 1.5 so would also be putting him to bed early.

Fast forward to yesterday when I got a text to say that the party had been moved to 7:30. I said that it may be an issue with dd's sleep as there's no way she'd stay awake until then especially as we have to drive there - she'd fall asleep on the way there and would be a nightmare. I then said "oh but as long as we're still ok to bring the travel cot I may be able to settle her as soon as we get there". SIL then said "oh I thought I told you, we've decided there's no room for a travel cot, sorry." I then said that it'd probably be best if I didn't bring dd then and stayed at home with her but that dh and DSS would still go. SIL asked if we could get a babysitter - we couldn't as MiL wasn't free and everyone else we trust would be at the party. She then said that she thought DSS would find the party boring so why couldn't dh stay at home with both kids and I come on my own? I said that I wouldn't be comfortable with that as dd is teething pretty badly and has had some horrible nights recently where she won't settle for anyone but me. I know this sounds really precious and pfb but as DSS doesn't live with us we are not happy about getting a babysitter when he's with us. I said I was sorry but it didn't look like it'd work so I'd drop a card/pressie round during the day and I hoped the party would go well.

Anyway, SIL got all upset and said she really wanted us all there so why didn't we go at 6 and see them and then the party would start properly at 7ish. I said yes as I felt that she was really trying to accommodate us at that point but I made it clear that if dd was struggling then we'd have to leave. Dd is normally great at settling herself to sleep as long as she's in a quiet dark room, in a bed. If there's anything going on in the same room, she's a nightmare!

I also asked if we should feed DSS before we got there and was told definitely no, there would be buffet food and they didn't want DSS to spoil his appetite. Anyway to cut a long story short, dd suddenly found some stamina from somewhere cos she was still fine by 7:30, and all the guests had arrived at 6 so I guess the start time was changed for everyone. But DSS was really hungry - he hasn't eaten since lunch. The food was out on a table under some cling film, so dh sent DSS to ask SIL if he could have some food. He was really polite but SIL said no - he'd have to wait. DSS came back and was quite upset but we were sure he wouldn't have to wait long. At 8pm dh went and asked and was told yes but in a few minutes. My db was also asking SIL if DSS could have some food but was also told no. It got to 8:30 and we decided that DSS couldn't wait any longer so we went home. We got DSS some food after we got back and then he went straight to bed.

I know this is really petty but we then got a snotty text from SIL asking why we'd gone so early and that if something was wrong then why didn't we say something at the time? I replied saying that DSS was really hungry and we didn't want him to get upset and ruin the party and that we thought it was best to get him fed as soon as we could. It just feels like SIL didn't want him there and was trying to make the point that it was an adults' party therefore the food doesn't get served until much later. But if that was the case then why tell us not to feed him beforehand? My dad stayed at the party and said the food was finally opened at just after 9 so was IBU to go and also to be honest about why we left?

WilsonFrickett Sat 07-Dec-13 23:27:28

Jesus, what a prize tit.

Anyone who has ever come to my house: child is hungry, can I give them some food?

Me: yes, shit, yes, sorry, are they hungry, let me over compensate with a giant plate of food.

Bad, bad hosting...

BinkieWoo Sat 07-Dec-13 23:34:20

The thing is Wilson that's exactly what she's normally like. I can't put into words how surprised I am at how she was tonight sad

SomethingOnce Sat 07-Dec-13 23:35:38

Who denies a 7yo a plate of food?!

breatheslowly Sat 07-Dec-13 23:48:00

Has anything happened to make her act weirdly? YANBU - she was being strange. Wilson is spot on - that is the normal reaction.

Screamqueen Sat 07-Dec-13 23:49:22

I wouldnt be going near her on Boxing Day until you speak to her about what has happened - as somethingonce said, seriously who denies a child some food just because they have decided its not "time" to serve food? !

maddening Sat 07-Dec-13 23:58:10

if I were at my brother's house I would have fucked off to the kitchen to make dss some dinner!

BinkieWoo Sun 08-Dec-13 00:00:40

Well breathe there is quite a lot going on at the moment to be honest. I don't want to say too much in case it's too identifying but there are some issues in terms of her DS and his speech/social development which have only recently come to light, they are pretty severe and are currently being investigated by consultants etc but potentially leading to an ASD-type diagnosis. And...the reason they were picked up recently was family members comparing her DS to my dd who is 9 months younger and more socially developed than her cousin. So ever since then I have noticed she's had a kind of reluctance to have her DS and my dd in the same room together when family are around, they have stopped attending family events when we are there but are totally fine when we are on our own. She has talked about how stressed she is about it all and I know that watching dd develop is upsetting her even more and she doesn't want to witness her progress despite the fact she loves dd very much.

When she invited us over tonight I'd hoped that maybe this was her way of saying that she was ok with everything - maybe she suddenly decided she wasn't ok and wanted us to go home. I don't know.

She certainly wasn't acting as she normally does in terms of the decisions she made regarding DSS but seemed perfectly normal otherwise tonight.

pinkdelight Sun 08-Dec-13 00:00:55

She sounds like a shit host. All that stressing about timings and changing her mind about the cot and the food madness. She really shouldn't be givin parties if it gets her so uptight. I'd have shown my face, made an excuse and left by 7.30 so you did well I reckon. She only texted in a huff because she knows deep down her party was not very good but she can't face it so is finding fault wherever else she can.

pinkdelight Sun 08-Dec-13 00:03:42

Ps: I know this because I am a shit host, so I don't give parties, but I can imagine how wound up she was inside. Don't worry, she didn't have your interests at heart at all.

Caitlin17 Sun 08-Dec-13 04:15:02

It sounds like a terrible party for all concerned. It started at 6 but no food appeared until 9? Even if the food was more formal than party nibbles most people have crisps and nuts and stuff before the main food.

And even if she hadn't, why couldn't she have let you take the boy into the kitchen and given a sandwich or cornflakes or beans on toast or a piece of fruit.

Homebird8 Sun 08-Dec-13 04:31:34

If she didn't want you all there then there was no need to change the time back to 6 o'clock so that you all could go when you'd said you were happy to wish them well and give it a miss this time.

There is no link, in my mind, between her understandable emotion as she struggles to come to terms with her DS's development issues, and your DSS's need for food. I'd be nonplussed too.

Given that you say your SIL's behaviour is totally out of the ordinary, then I'd wait and see whether there is a good calm time, during normal conversation to have chat with her about the party. I would still plan to go for Boxing Day but with a secret stash of emergency food just in case. I have taken cool bag of goodies to relatives' homes before (and sometimes had to use it). Needn't be pointed and gives everyone time to return to previous predictable and good natured behaviour.

I suspect your DB will deal. Good luck.

Lavenderhoney Sun 08-Dec-13 04:53:29

You had already said you would leave early so I don't see why she got so upset.

Refusing a child food is awful, but maybe she thought if he had something everyone would want to start. But surely buffet food left out for a few hours in plain view is going to get people wanting some?

I would just text back and say, " we did say we would have to go early, hope the party went well, see you Boxing Day"

But I would probably phone than get into a text war. Or send the above text then call and say, look, did you see my text? And refuse to be made to argue.

And have a massive full English before you go Boxing Day. And ensure you have something that just needs heating up for when you get home.

sandfish Sun 08-Dec-13 05:11:11

For me the worst bit of this is that they made your poor hungry boy look at food for 2.5 hours that he wasn't 'allowed' to eat. Especially having told you he wasn't allowed to eat before. Disgraceful. I'm a stickler for table manners and politeness but even so, in this situation by 7.30 if no food forthcoming I'd have gone myself and made up a small plate from him and given it to him to eat. This is what you do next time. What is she going to do about it - seriously?

Actually if you go there for boxing day which frankly I'd be reconsidering, do take some food for the children. But at any hint of pulling this sort of stunt again I'd be making some very loud and pointed comments to the assembled company. Don't put up with this.

DoubleLifeIsALifeOfSorts Sun 08-Dec-13 05:11:33

Is she one of those people who thinks any child older than her own is virtually grown up and shouldn't be 'pandered to'? Or does she think stepchildren aren't really part of a family?

Cos she sounds very rude and if on purpose, seems to be deliberately making some kind of point about poor DSS... Not on the invite, trying to disinvite later, then denying him food... It sort of feels like she's letting some prejudice show under pressure.

Maybe she would be shocked at how her behaviour looks, but even more reason for her to pull herself together. I would have a word with your brother and hope he addresses it... And hope he can offer some kind of explanation which makes her behaviour understandable.

Also I'd make it clear to him that you can't have a repeat performance on boxing day, and get him to be responsible for checking that it's not happening again. I get the reason why he didn't help at this party, but he does need to take joint responsibility at the next. And then baking your own food as back up and perhaps have an excuse ready to leave early as well - you hopefully won't have to use either but better safe than sorry.

paxtecum Sun 08-Dec-13 05:13:16

Definately take a picnic in your handbag on Boxing Day for your DSS.

There are some odd people around!

BinkieWoo Sun 08-Dec-13 07:06:15

Double I think you may be spot on with both of your suggestions. DSS has historically been quite immature for his age but over the last year has become a lot more grown up so that now he's pretty much comparable to any other 7yo emotionally. Dh and I see it as him catching up, maybe SIL sees it as him growing up?

And yes I think there is a bit of resentment there as normally us two couples are really close and see a lot of each other socially but for various reasons (DSS' mum being less flexible on dates than usual as she got married recently, DSS being older and therefore allowed to stay up later) we have not been able to stick to our usual social arrangements so maybe she resents DSS for that? She is very much of the opinion that we should get babysitters when we have him (which we don't want to do - we don't see him much as it is so why give up another evening?) and tends to organise things at the last minute and always suggests things like cancelling/cutting short DSS' visit.

To be honest I've always seen it as her just getting over-excited at organising a social thing and just grasping at inappropriate solutions because she's so desperate for the social event to happen. Maybe she is a bit funny about DSS? She's always nice to his face (apart from last night) and I know that she gets angry about the fact that we get constrained by dh's ex and her arrangements, which is just par for the course of dh having a previous wife and child I guess. But maybe she doesn't see it like that...not that it's really her business anyway?!

friday16 Sun 08-Dec-13 09:36:09

So ever since then I have noticed she's had a kind of reluctance to have her DS and my dd in the same room together when family are around

That's mad.

What's she saying: that it's your daughter's fault that her son is potentially having some issues, and if only your daughter would stop displaying NT behaviour no-one would notice?

Find somewhere else to go for Boxing Day, and wait for the drama to die down. It sounds like she was hoping to provoke a scene so that she could criticise your children.

Aquariusgirl86 Sun 08-Dec-13 09:46:36

Even if she didn't want the party food touched couldn't she have made him a sandwich or a piece of toast? If I have a friend or family member round even not at a meal time and the child is hungry I'll make them something small!

friday16 Sun 08-Dec-13 10:11:36

Even if she didn't want the party food touched

Maybe it's just me, but I can't stand all this sort of controlling behaviour.

If you're cooking a meal, people can't eat until it's ready. Inviting people around hours in advance and/or eating atypically late is poor manners (for adults) and stupid (if there are small children around), but if the problem is that the 3kg joint of beef is still at 45 degrees in the middle even though I'd be happy to eat it then the die is cast and there's little choice but to wait. And walking out of a dinner party because the food's very late would be a social nuclear weapon, and not only the host would think you toxic.

But if it's a party for a larger group of people, there's trays of buffet food under clingfilm and the only reason why people are waiting for three hours is because the host is doing something else slash being controlling slash being a loon, and nine o'clock rolls around, I'd have left already. In fact, I'd have left long before, particularly if I had my children with me.

And have done so, in fact, on several occasions. I've left a wedding where the invitation had said "service at 12 then lunch" and four o'clock rolled around with no sign of food or even nibbles. We'd left home at eight and were hungry, bored and tired. We left and got food on the way home. I gather that by the time "lunch" was served at five-thirty (and that must have been planned, because no wedding venue is going to delay food for that long without some prior agreement) most of thge people with children had left, leaving them about twenty empty seats. Had we stayed we'd have been lucky to be home much before midnight, I suspect. The bride was apparently quite upset: I'm not sure I care over-much.

I've also made excuses and left a family buffet where, with children aged four-ish, the hosts suddenly announced that before dinner (it was already seven) we would watch the DVD of their daughter's wedding ("about an hour"). I'm not the extras for other people's dramas, and I can't be bothered to feign politeness to people who have already made it clear that they don't care about being rude. To be fair, they did call the following day and half-apologise.

BinkieWoo Sun 08-Dec-13 13:09:46

Well dh and I have talked about it and have made a plan for Boxing Day - we are going to have lunch at ours where we'll fill DSS up with as much as he can eat and then we're going to take some food round which we'll say is to add to the buffet in the evening but which we won't feel rude about starting if we need to as it's what we will have brought round.

I'm still not sure what's causing sil's behaviour, whether it's about dd and her DS or resentment over us being more constrained by arrangements for DSS or even something else - I don't know. But I won't be putting up with any of it, like I said before I'll drive us all home if needed.

By the way, what's NT behaviour? Never heard that one before!

WilsonFrickett Sun 08-Dec-13 13:52:19

Neuro-typical. It's a way of distinguishing between types of behaviour which are typical and non-typical behaviours, eg behaviours which may be attributable to autism type disorders.

MimiSunshine Mon 09-Dec-13 09:38:53

If this is really out of character for her and she's under a lot of stress. I'd give her the benefit of the doubt.

YANBU to leave and to tell her why but I think she deserves some slack.
I've recently had a difficult time and having to tell people about it has been exhausting. People are shocked and want to express it and sympathise but it means I've had near on the exact same conversation half a dozen times and will have to have a few more when I see family over Christmas. And quite frankly I wish I could just be blunt, tell them and then refuse to discuss it. But I think that's unfair and rude when they'll just want to support me.

If quite a few people have now noticed the developmental delay in her son, she may well be fed up exhausted from talking and worrying about it.

She may genuinely have meant to get DSS some food in a minute but wasn't handling the hosting too well and time was flying away from her.
I think your plan for Boxing Day sounds good and don't worry about being assertive on DSS behalf.

Callani Mon 09-Dec-13 12:18:06

I don't know about a 7 yo but I would be ordering take out if I'd turned up at 6 and wasn't fed until after 9 - how ridiculous.

Besides that, who wants food sitting on tables for 3 hours? Hardly the height of hygiene is it? Ugh. hmm

DeWe Mon 09-Dec-13 12:43:17

I think the only possible thing wrong you did was to send dss to ask sil for some food the first time. I think that would have been better handled as adult to adult in a quiet way. It could have come across as him wingeing and you giving way because he was wingeing, rather than because he was genuinely hungry.

But if she's worried about her ds and is having family members compare her to your dd, then that is going to strain your relationship.

My dd2 was born without a hand. It's not a big problem, and it's not an unknown in the way developmental delay is, which puts a huge cloud over you as you come to terms with it. But I can remember coming home in tears the first time I saw a child younger than her passing things from hand to hand. And now shes age 10yo, I feel a pang when I see peers playing the piano-one of the few things she will never be able to do on an even semi-even basis, and she would love to be able to do.

I would ask family members to make sure they don't compare your dc. Compliment her on her ds. Doesn't he look lovely? He does that quickly! He's got the best smile!

She may also see you as having two normal children, while she has only one who is delayed. If you put it that way, do you see how it may seem unfair to her?

Waiting for a diagnosis (and it could be months, or possibly "unknown" in the end) puts a huge strain on the whole family.

pigletmania Mon 09-Dec-13 12:56:31

Yanbu at all, your SIL was not a good host, and was very rude. You were very right to go, but I would have told her we were going as dss is hungry and were getting him food and putting him to bed, and left. Your SIL sounds very controlling and qute thick skinned. Your going round on boxing day, make sure kids are fed beforehand as lunch could be at 4pm!

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