Dear Grandparenting: Let me tell you about the party I attended at the home of an old friend who was turning 80 and feeling old and grumpy. The wind went out of his sails after his wife died two years ago.
His daughter was the hostess who organized the whole affair. She did a great job. The food and drink hit the spot. The party was hitting on all cylinders until the kids arrived, his daughter’s three children, his grandchildren.
Let me tell you how that went over. I don’t know where their mother went to, but the kids were unsupervised and causing trouble. They played with the food and wouldn’t stay still. One specialized in making loud noises. He snuck up on Ruth Kimball and scared her half to death. I saw her shudder.
I never did get to talk with Helen Burris and her husband. One kid darted by, bumped into her elbow, and spilled her rum and coke on her nice white slacks. They got up and left right away.
This is how it went on and off until the room began to clear out way too soon in my opinion. I have nothing against grandchildren – just ask, and I’ll bend your ear about mine. But who in their right mind wants them freewheeling around during an adult party? There has to be a better way. Krissy Barr, Mason, OH
Dear Krissy: A little exposure to disruptive children goes a long way, especially when they’re not your own. That goes double when you get up in years.
Most children don’t begin to develop social skills and learn what’s expected in social environments until the ages of five and six, but even then, they’re rough around the edges and not ready for prime time.
We know some households with a plan in place for children who are naturally curious about adult parties, a simple set of instructions to keep them in their lane: Be seen and not heard, and then be gone.
That seems about right for starters.
Grand remark of the week
Nell Smith from Marshall, MI allowed grandson Billy to pound away on her old manual typewriter during a visit.
“Guess what Grandma?” said Billy when Nell returned a few minutes later. “I’m writing a book.”
“Really!” replied Nell. “What’s it about?”
“I don’t know,” said Billy. “I can’t read.”