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To be annoyed at friend for inviting us over for a playdate, and not letting DS play freely?

73 replies

morningglory · 25/07/2007 22:00

Went to a friend's country house today for a playdate. It is a Grade II* listed place which has been renovated after purchase for a cost of 500,000 (she told me how much they spent renovating).

She told me prior to inviting me that she was hesitant to have us out because my son is "rambunctious". Whist we were there, my son was not allowed to leave the small playroom (with few toys in there) to go to the kitchen, or go upstairs. In the playroom, he was not allowed to grab toys from the shelves, play with cars near the walls (in case he chipped paint), not allowed to go into the kitchen and bother their newly acquired butler. In fact, he was not allowed to move freely at all. Also, he was not allowed to move faster than a normal walk in the entire house.

DS is 3 years and 7 months, and their son is 3 years and 8 months. Her son proceeded to say that my son was not his friend, berate my son on his behaviour, and had several temper tantrums. My son is an energetic boy, who is used to being allowed to play freely, with limits in our own house.

DS is a messy eater. She looked panicstricken at him eating, getting crumbs everywhere (grrrg! It's not like she is doing the cleaning up, ffs). And looked really annoyed with him when he dropped a cake onto the tile floor in the kitchen.

My son did not behave rudely, violently, or badly. Just an energetic 3 year old boy. I was a bit miffed at her insinuations today that he was a violent, naughty child. I understand her concerns about how much her house cost, but I thought country houses, especially those for families with young kids, were supposed to be child friendly places to relax away from the city!

OP posts:
UCM · 25/07/2007 22:35

I have only read the OP, you should thank her politely and then send her a letter from a concerned neighbour, that they don't think that they are keeping the house under the grade listed II rules, make up a heading.

Heh Heh.

macmama73 · 25/07/2007 22:36

lol, I have never met a butler. Tell us more, what did he look like? Did he have a uniform on?

I wouldn't get too upset about the silly moo though, she sounds like she just wanted to show off her fancy house.

Rachmumoftwo · 25/07/2007 22:43

LOL at DoubleBluff.
I have never met a butler. Did he bring you tea and dainty little sandwiches? Was he wearing white gloves? Did she ring a little bell to summon him to sweep the crumbs?

NadineBaggott · 25/07/2007 22:46

you've never noticed before that she's a fussy hussy?

handlemecarefully · 25/07/2007 22:59

I don't think the friend deserves quite so much invective from the other posters - but she is undoubtedly uptight

I must admit, when one friend's child comes to play (child is lovely but has 'form') I hide the felt tips, pritt stick etc and any delicate toys belonging to my dc's...but think I suppress my anxieties quite well

lunalovegoodasgold · 25/07/2007 23:01

Was the butler helping himself to sherry in the pantry?

Leati · 25/07/2007 23:10


I have to say, if they just renovated the house, I can understand her being a little protective of the house. I can understand her wanting to keep the playtime in the playroom. I can even understand, not wanting children to run in the house.

I can't understand being annoyed with a child for eating to messy. I can't understand not allowing him to choose what toys he wanted to play with. And mostly I really, really cannot understand why she even bothered, if this was going to be her reaction.

As for her sons behavior, I would suggest you just be a better person than her and not judge his behavior.

I would suggest that future playdates be arranged in a more neutral location. The simple fact is she probably doesn't even realize she is being a bitch. So you both can relax, chose the park next time.

handlemecarefully · 25/07/2007 23:11

Thats a good synopsis Leati

Leati · 25/07/2007 23:13


You made a valid point. When you know a child is coming over, you put stuff that you don't want that child playing with away. When a child enters a "playroom," it is usually safe to assume the child is going to play with whatever is in there.

MadEyemarthamooDy · 25/07/2007 23:13

Oh, I know...all my friends in country houses with butlers are like this.

Ha, what am I on about? I don't have any friends with country houses and butlers.

She sounds high maintenance. Get some common friends

lunalovegoodasgold · 25/07/2007 23:14

I know a fella with HANDLE WITH CARE tattooed on his arm...[whispers] hello John

Dior · 25/07/2007 23:14

Message withdrawn

lilolilmanchester · 25/07/2007 23:19

but even if (or especially if) you had just renovated your house, surely you'd have a child-friendly space SOMEWHERE?!
We don't have a newly renovated house, sadly nor a butler, but I did get a bit twitchy when someone came round with her DS and said" ooh, you have some lovely toys. My DS just smashes all of ours". Must admit, didn't rush to invite them back....

foxinsocks · 25/07/2007 23:22

it's like when you have a new car or a new couch isn't it - NO-ONE is allowed to make a mess for a few weeks and then they slowly start becoming crap and you forget those first few weeks very quickly!

Could you not have all gone into the garden? The butler could have rustled up some picnic food n'est-ce pas?

lilolilmanchester · 25/07/2007 23:25

take a tent next time you go round

morningglory · 26/07/2007 09:10

LOL at some of the posts.

Actually, I was a bit shocked at her behaviour...understanding, but shocked. This was the first time I've been to this house. Normally, I meet her at her flat in London, which was purchased prior to he husband making bucketfuls of money. Here, my son is free to play where he likes, spill crumbs where he likes, and play with wichever toys he likes.

That being said, he hasn't had a playdate with her child in about a year...they just are two different children whose interests aren't really complementary. My son prefers playing with trains and bashing diggers. Her son prefers doing puzzles and connecting dot-to-dots. We don't usually set-up playdates because I know she considers my son to be unruly, and I know that the two children won't really play together.

I do get together with her for lunches and coffees. I guess I accept that you can't force two children to be friends. Sad thing is that I became friends with her because I thought she was down-to-earth and not caught up in all the label/materialistic bulls%^t that other expat banking wives I knew were into. I guess, it's easy to be that way when one doesn't have tons of money. It's changed now that he husband started to make lots of money.

I agree with the people that the invite was more to show me the house, and grudingly accept that I would bring my monster with me.

She does have one 4 month old daugher and a full-time live in nanny (who, incidently is in charge of all night feeds, too). However, the nanny seems to have principal charge of the new baby, so didn't have time to watch the boys. I think she was expecting that the kids would stay outside (they have a tennis court, swimming pool, and large garden), but it rained all day yesterday, forcing them to stay indoors.

The butler is acutally a handsome, 30-ish man with a normal accent. No uniform, but he does drive a Porche (how much to butlers make????).

OP posts:
morningglory · 26/07/2007 09:12

Oh yeah, the house is just a weekend and holiday time house, not the principal residence. There is nothing fragile or extremely valuable in it to warrent all of the precious behaviour.

OP posts:
MaloryTheExciterTowers · 26/07/2007 09:12

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

auntyspan · 26/07/2007 09:21

A butler... fantastic. Where can I get one?

Sheherazadethegoat · 26/07/2007 09:28

but country houses are meant to have bashes adn chips. christ hasn't the woman ever seen a chalon kitchen!

Hulababy · 26/07/2007 09:40

LOL! Can I have a butler? He'd had to share my dodgy Smart car though, do you think he'd mind? What does the butler do^ anyway?

Can't believe they weren't even alowed to play freely in the play room. Rest of house, fair enough, but the play room???

LIZS · 26/07/2007 10:01

Surely in those circumstances you'd have a childproof playroom and eating area in which they can behave freely as children do. tbh it soudns as if she has hang ups. Suggest she turns an outbuilding into a indoor soft play area/games room so you could confine yourselves to that next time without bothering the staff ! btw are you sure you're not just a tad of her newly acquired lifestyle, maybe she isn't as comfortable with it yet as you may think either hence her anal tendencies.

witchandchips · 26/07/2007 10:07

i sometimes feel like the cat in the hat with my thing 1 when we visit some houses. I can just see that fish on the top of my friends' head going "put it down put it down"!

LoveAngel · 26/07/2007 10:12

Doesnt sound like a very fun 'play room'. What a miserable cow.

MrsScavo · 26/07/2007 10:14

£500,000? She got a bargain!

A nanny, I could forgive.

Full time houekeeper, I could forgive.

Cook, quite understanderbele.

Butler? FFS!! Don't go back!

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