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 Post subject: Re: The Playground randomness thread
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 5:20 pm 
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I am hereby banning myself from the PPK until I finish my semester. See you guys in a week and a half! I'll miss you!


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 Post subject: Re: The Playground randomness thread
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:05 pm 
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Nooch of Earl
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Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: The Playground randomness thread
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:34 pm 
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Semen Strong
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So tell me what you think.

We were at a friend's house and Brett was watching Leela. He noticed that the host kept a door to a steep flight of stairs leading to the basement open, and asked if it could be closed as he felt like it was a safety issue (she could run away and it would be incredibly easy for her to fall down the stairs). The host's husband said of course and closed the door. The host was not happy, re-opened the door and said that the cats needed the door open so they could get in and out of the basement (they have a litterbox on the same level we were on). We left shortly after because we both felt like it just wasn't a safe environment for L.

So now my husband thinks that if you invite someone over, its rude to prioritize their cats' convenience over your child's safety. I think that our friends are a childless couple and we have to be responsible for our child in their space and if they don't want to make it safe for her, they don't have to, and it doesn't make them rude, it just means they don't value our friendship over their cats' convenience. He says he agrees that it wouldn't be rude for them not to childproof because we're coming over, but to actively deny a request that is a safety issue for our child is rude.

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 Post subject: Re: The Playground randomness thread
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:56 pm 
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My childless friends tend to make a point of trying to do things to keep my kids safe in their houses and I try to do my part to keep them safe too (and keep them from wrecking the host's belongings, which is often the bigger challenge).

I tend to think safety trumps convenience, regardless of whose house you're at or which parties are involved.

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 Post subject: Re: The Playground randomness thread
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 6:08 pm 
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I routinely prioritize my friends' comfort over that of my cats. Seems like everyone I know is allergic to cats, so I lock them in my bedroom when these friends come over. Of course I would close a door to stairs if a baby was visiting! Come on, even if you don't have kids it's seems like you would be able to handle something so obviously simple.


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 Post subject: Re: The Playground randomness thread
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 6:11 pm 
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If I were in their situation I would close the door until my cats scratched at it to let me know they wanted to get through. I assume their cats would communicate their needs in a similar fashion. Everyone wins except the person having to get up to let them in and out, but is that really a bigger deal than a child's safety and a cat's need to use the litter box?
Those are both very important things.

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 Post subject: Re: The Playground randomness thread
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:16 pm 
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Semen Strong
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Ugh, so apparently I missed part of it.

Brett closed the door (after asking permission from the host's partner). The host heard the convo and saw him close the door and then walked over and opened it without telling him. So he thought the door was closed and was having a conversation with the host's partner, and was a bit less vigilant with L. He then saw the door opened, as L was heading towards the flight of stairs, reclosed it, and she took her partner aside and told him to tell Brett that the door had to stay open.

So Brett is pissed at the host and I am just annoyed because these were among the only vegan friends we have and I am really getting tired of having only omni friends with kids any more. I need a vegan community, otherwise I am just an isolated weird mom who won't give her kid cheese. And I can't believe that someone that we are friends with would deliberately leave basement stairs open while my kid is running around. Brett said he left because he wanted to punch her and now I kind of feel the same way.

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 Post subject: Re: The Playground randomness thread
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:24 pm 
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That's really upsetting. I'd talk to the host about it.

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 Post subject: Re: The Playground randomness thread
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:53 pm 
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Extremely rude and inconsiderate. Glad he left.


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 Post subject: Re: The Playground randomness thread
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:00 pm 
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Nooch of Earl
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That's a crappy situation, and it's good that you prioritized Leela's safety. It sounds from the interactions you describe that maybe Brett's reasons weren't well communicated to the hostess by her partner? I mean, from what you described I would not assume it was out of malice or dismissal of Leela's safety, maybe she just didn't think about it. I know there are a LOT of clueless things I did when we had visitors with kids (like leaving all sorts of attractive nuisances at baby level!!), so I wouldn't assume the worst for the friendship as a whole.. but maybe meeting in your own house or a baby-friendly public place would work better for you.

That said, when we have visitors I usually shut the cat up in our bedroom (he has litter there). He'd probably hide there anyway, but people tend to leave doors open etc. and he is an indoor cat who prefers to believe that other cats don't exist, so it's best that he not wander outside.


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 Post subject: Re: The Playground randomness thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:29 am 
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Semen Strong
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Its interesting, I had the exact same reaction, and thought - oh well it has to be because they're childless and also a bit self-absorbed and don't realize that stairs are an attractive nuisance to babies.

But his feeling was that you could put it down to cluelessness if she just had left the door open and not realized that babies can fall down them, we're not asking anyone to childproof their homes for us and we are pretty committed hoverparents at anyone's home. But he felt like it was worse than mere cluelessness, when she saw a baby running around, knew that her partner and Brett had agreed to shut the door to keep L safe, and then opened the door (without telling Brett so he could resume hovering), and then when she saw Brett close it again, she specifically took her partner aside in the bedroom to tell him that he needed to make sure that Brett left the door open for the convenience of the cat. She didn't tell Brett directly, she had her partner do it.

I agree with Butternut's point that even pre-kids, with zero kids in my life, if someone had closed a door in my house and I saw their kid running around, I think I would have twigged that it was a child-safety thing and I wouldn't have told them that they couldn't keep it closed for the convenience of my cats.

It is hard to tell and that is why I posted here. We're not going to take Leela over there again (which frankly, I think she would appreciate anyway), but I wanted to know what people thought, in part because my husband who is generally the most laid back person I know, and someone who generally gives everyone the benefit of the doubt, was livid. I still don't really know what to make of it.

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 Post subject: Re: The Playground randomness thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:45 am 
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how well do you know this person? Do you feel like you would be able to have a conversation about this? i personally would have to have a pretty good friendship with someone to talk about something like this, but if i were going to go back to their house, i would have to in order to feel comfortable. Honestly, even to get together again, i would want to clear the air- say that we felt upset and i wanted to understand their point of veiw and explain mine, and come up with a way we could deal with it next time. Its hard though, if i didn't feel like i could have that conversation with someone, i would probably not talk to them for a while, just because i wouldn't know what to say. ugh, hugs.


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 Post subject: Re: The Playground randomness thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:14 am 
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Nooch of Earl
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Maybe if they invite you over again some time you can decline and say something like, "Leela's much more active these days and it's just too difficult to make sure she doesn't run for the nearest staircase before we can stop her" or something and see if they get the hint and explain what the fizzle they were thinking?

I guess the whole thing just seems so odd to me that I would assume that the hostess either really was that clueless/didn't ask why Brett had shut it, or that there was some other reason that she felt the door needed to be open that they did not articulate. I can think of a lot of reasons I'd want a door shut that I might not want to broadcast to a visitor, but not many good reasons to keep it open, so it is strange!


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 Post subject: Re: The Playground randomness thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:27 am 
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Semen Strong
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I agree that I'd need to clear the air to have a friendship, but I don't find her easy to talk to on heart to heart level. She is one of those people who is never wrong and she and her partner pretty much mutually reinforce their ideas that everyone else is incompetent or using them or otherwise a jerk. So I don't feel like it would bring us anywhere.

They don't like children, so we haven't seen them much anyway, but it sucks, because I don't have a ton of vegan friends and I definitely appreciated that she hosted things and that I got to be in a vegan environment, where everyone agreed that eating animals is barbaric. Otherwise everyone I am around is all "happy cows and chickens and yummy organic grass fed beef/bone broth." I find that a vegan environment really feeds a part of my soul - like finding your own tribe :) So I guess I'm going to have to find other ways to be in vegan community, even if it means leaving L at home with B. But I had sort of hoped for a veg community for Leela, where other vegans would be nice to her and she would grow up seeing it as normal and nice.

I do know a fair number of vegans, but it feels like when you have a toddler, you hang out with other toddler parents a lot. Even vegans with slightly older kids (even as young as 2) aren't a great fit with Leela, because their kids are so much more advanced and don't really want to play with her (and I suspect that may be true even as they age). And I'd rather hang out with people I have less in common with if it means she has a good time, than hang out with people I have a lot in common with, which I won't enjoy anyway because then I have to hover over her and entertain her. But I do get tired of being confronted by the smell of meat or chicken or having to pull my kid off a turkey sub (the highlight of my hike last week) or try and be vigilant so she doesn't eat a hot dog. There is so much food at all these playdates, that even though I feed her before we go, every playdate becomes an exercise in watching what she is eating and trying to police it even a little. Sorry for the whine, I do feel like this might be the only corner of the internet where I can vent about this. I really never thought it would be this hard to keep a kid from eating non-vegan stuff, and I remember reading people's posts before I had L and thinking "Oh why don't they take their own snack and give it to their kid and keep their kid vegan?" Because your kid doesn't want the snack you spent 10 minutes that you don't have making between walking the dog, getting them dressed, doing all the other stuff you need to do to get them out to the play date. Instead, they act like they are straight out of Oliver Twist and BEG for what everyone else is eating. I fed Leela a huge cup of lentil stew before a birthday party, and she still ate most of a whole slice of pizza when I wasn't looking. (Please remind me of this thread if Leela ever becomes a picky eater)

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 Post subject: Re: The Playground randomness thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:37 am 
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aw t'lish, i can so relate. on so many levels. i have become the mum who overcompensates by turning up to park meet-ups with cupcakes or hommus and crudites or something else equally aas time-consuming, just so my food is the most attractive. i don't care if the other kids want my food, in fact it's part of the plan. and the childless friends who act like complete a-holes about kid-related stuff, tick that box too. to add to that list, i have friends with children at whom i flinch when i invite them over, they're that destructive, AND i have BEEN the childless friend who acted put-out when people asked me to do house-proofy things for their kids. although in my defense, these people were expecting things like complete removal of shelves of low-lying gem/mineral collections and the computer and television, and let their kids destroy stuff in my pantry ***see, the people with the destructive kids sentence. i have no advice beyond the old don't burn any bridges bit, but i have plenty of cyber hugs {{{ <3 }}}


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 Post subject: Re: The Playground randomness thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:55 am 
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Tofulish, I haven't had a chance to read everything, but I think now that grey is getting older it is easier and almost preferable (to him) to sometimes be with older kids. So while you may not be able to hang out with the friends with older kids yet, the day will come! It's really crappy what happened to you guys and leela. I wasn't a baby person before grey and I still would have done things to protect a little one at my home if for no other reason than I would feel super guilty if the kid hurt itself.


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 Post subject: Re: The Playground randomness thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:41 am 
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Honestly, the door thing is so ridiculous it seems like it was about making a statement ("No, really, we do not like kids. Do not bring them over."). I do think the parent has to carry the bulk of responsibility for a kid's safety at someone else's house (and the safety of that someone else's stuff), but shutting a door seems like a pretty simple way to make a guest more comfortable.

And, I second what Littlebear said. Big kids might seem too big right now, but it won't be that long (well before she turns 2) before she's much more excited to be around them.

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 Post subject: Re: The Playground randomness thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:57 am 
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Nooch of Earl
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Aw, I totally understand how you feel about wishing you had vegan family friends. That's why I tried to start up a vegan playgroup on meetup, although I got really discouraged after the first attempt at a playgroup when everyone was either an hour late, or had a last minute failure to make it, or got lost on the way, etc etc. I should try again but getting people to show up when they rsvp on meetup can be so discouraging sometimes!

Anyway, if I were you I'd think about if there's any chance you could get together a little joy-zee vegan playgroup. (LFMF though: have a first meetup at a playground near your house so that if nobody shows up, hey, you went to the park for an hour and it's all good.) If not, maybe think strategically about places to go. I like the Y childcare and play cafes and baby gym (My Gym) because they're environments where no food is allowed in the play spaces. Our local preferred play cafe has some kids stuff (PB&J might even be vegan) and coffees for adults, but the play area is food free. It's nice.

If there aren't enough local vegans, you could also maybe find/start a group of parents of kids with food allergies...who might be more inclined to have events not centered around food or keep the food to fresh fruits/veg. I kind of hate how food/snack centered everything seems to be!!

Anyway, I totally understand the desire to be around other veg*ns. I think it makes such a difference in people's commitment to veganism when they find a local community. I used to go to Earthsave a lot and loved it. I get it.. But I have also been part of that clueless, myopic, childfree couple at a different stage in life...so maybe I'm projecting, but in my case it wasn't malice, just a total lack of understanding. I look back in horror at all the coffee table level trays of food, the board games on shelves right off the floor.. It sounds like maybe you need to let the friendship stay on the back burner for a few years..but maybe it's not hopeless forever. Meanwhile, I hope you're able to find some more like-minded families with young kids.


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 Post subject: Re: The Playground randomness thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:24 pm 
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I have neither cats nor children, but I have had plenty of other people's children clamber all over my house, and I have done my best to make sure my home is safe for them. To be honest the host's behaviour sounds a little odd if you ask me. Why on earth would she not tell your husband she had re-opened the door after she had heard the conversation he had with her partner? Why would she then not communicate directly with your husband after he closed it again? It doesn't sound like very adult behaviour to me. And regardless of cats/convenience/whatnot, if you invite people into your home then I think it is your responsibility to make them feel relaxed and welcome, which they obviously can't if they're worried about their child careering down steep stairs.

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 Post subject: Re: The Playground randomness thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:26 pm 
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Oh dear Lard, that's silly. We have a split level house, and the litter boxes are downstairs. Ezra's good with stairs now, but when he was a baby, we'd keep the door closed and the cats never had a problem with telling us when they needed to go downstairs (subtlety is not a cat's strong point.) That's just weird.


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 Post subject: Re: The Playground randomness thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:02 pm 
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Tofulish, lots of things:

a) You do so have vegan friends with toddlers! What are we (and JENNA and whoever else), chopped carrots? Also - is there any way you can make your other playdates less food focused? Schedule them at a different time so people won't be so snack/lunch-obsessed?
b) Isn't this the same meet-up organizer you described to me as actively disliking children and wanting to make the meet-ups as un-family-friendly as possible? In which case, is this not just totally within character?
c) Brett was right, her behavior was inappropriate and very un-host-like, and it was the right thing to do to leave. I have cat allergies and any time I've stayed at people's homes they go out of their way to accommodate me and restrain their cats (for just day visits I take a Zyrtec, but for longer stays it becomes increasingly important to not be near the cats).


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 Post subject: Re: The Playground randomness thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:01 pm 
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The Real Hamburger Helper
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I'm sorry, but this woman is stupid. If the opportunity presents itself to visit them again, I'd definitely sort out this issue beforehand.

Seriously..wobbly toddler..open door with stairs...it's not rocket science.


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 Post subject: Re: The Playground randomness thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:09 pm 
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Semen Strong
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Yes, its the same organizer, who doesn't want to host family-friendly events, but there is a difference between not being interested in having family events and actually being rude at an event she was hosting. She has always been a great host and her parties are lovely, and she has never been rude in the past. I was very surprised that she would decline a request that was about L's safety, even if she was having a bad day.

Really, mainly I wanted a gut check that we weren't being unreasonable. I've been the person who didn't like babies, and even then if someone said "hey this is about my kid's safety" I would have done it, because that is what a good host does. I wouldn't ever expect anyone to move stuff for Leela - we hover over her so she doesn't get drinks that are on the coffee table or break the trinkets, but I don't think that closing the door to block off steep stairs to the basement is much to ask.

And yes, you and JENNA are amazing! But we see you guys every two weeks or so, while Leela and I go on about 5 playdates a week - mostly with the same group of lovely people who have kids the same age and we all have a great time. They aren't food oriented per se, but someone always breaks out the muffins or other snack and then you have Leela begging for a bite :) They are held after breakfast and before lunch or after lunch, so really there is no need for a snack but someone always does. We are doing a cooking get together, that is going to include vegan food dates because they wanted to include me, which is supersweet. But its not the same as getting together with vegans for a good old fashioned veganing. Where we talk about veganism and issues in animal rights etc without feeling constrained, by the presence of even a single, very nice non-vegan.

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 Post subject: Re: The Playground randomness thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:43 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
Yes, its the same organizer, who doesn't want to host family-friendly events, but there is a difference between not being interested in having family events and actually being rude at an event she was hosting. She has always been a great host and her parties are lovely, and she has never been rude in the past. I was very surprised that she would decline a request that was about L's safety, even if she was having a bad day.

Which is why I think ismloveyoubobbybrown might have a point--
ismloveyoubobbybrown wrote:
Honestly, the door thing is so ridiculous it seems like it was about making a statement ("No, really, we do not like kids. Do not bring them over.").

Unless there was some major misunderstanding here somehow, I also think this is about making a statement. Closing a basement door is such a mild inconvenience, it seems like the host wants to very clear that she wants nothing to do with kids.


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 Post subject: Re: The Playground randomness thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:52 pm 
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helbury wrote:
Unless there was some major misunderstanding here somehow, I also think this is about making a statement. Closing a basement door is such a mild inconvenience, it seems like the host wants to very clear that she wants nothing to do with kids.


Probably, but what an awful way to make a statement. I'll just put your kid in danger so you know I don't want anything to do with her.


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