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Christmas lunch with under-3s - AIBU?

(141 Posts)
GromitAndWallace Mon 09-Dec-13 10:12:06

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)

LambinsideaDuckinsideaTrout Mon 09-Dec-13 10:16:06

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?

mrsjay Mon 09-Dec-13 10:16:07

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

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 09-Dec-13 10:20:33

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. confused

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Mon 09-Dec-13 10:20:41

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.

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 09-Dec-13 10:21:30

They can get down when they have finished and watch tv or something surely?

SooticaTheWitchesCat Mon 09-Dec-13 10:23:22

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.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Mon 09-Dec-13 10:23:47

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.

CalamitouslyWrong Mon 09-Dec-13 10:24:10

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.

CalamitouslyWrong Mon 09-Dec-13 10:24:59

*able to eat. Not ear.

SoonToBeSix Mon 09-Dec-13 10:25:05

Yabu it's a very bizarre suggestion. Surely children are the priority at Christmas.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Mon 09-Dec-13 10:25:15

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.

georgedawes Mon 09-Dec-13 10:25:29

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.

isitsnowingyet Mon 09-Dec-13 10:26:39

It's really up to your sister, I'd keep out of it unless helping her.

mummybare Mon 09-Dec-13 10:27:01

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 confused

Artandco Mon 09-Dec-13 10:28:46

I have never fed children seperate so wouldn't start at xmas

mummybare Mon 09-Dec-13 10:29:01

I'd have more chance of being able to ear while the were occupied with their own food than if they'd already eaten.


Birdsgottafly Mon 09-Dec-13 10:29:52

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.

fizzyface Mon 09-Dec-13 10:30:25

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?

vvviola Mon 09-Dec-13 10:31:20

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.

NigellasLeftNostril Mon 09-Dec-13 10:32:00

but is it not a family dinner?

JollySparklyGiant Mon 09-Dec-13 10:32:12


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.

MisguidedHamwidge Mon 09-Dec-13 10:32:46

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.

SPsWantsCliffInHerStocking Mon 09-Dec-13 10:33:19

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.

Lamu Mon 09-Dec-13 10:35:25

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! smile

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