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#1 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This morning I hosted a mums coffee morning. The nature of the event is that I know most of the mums who come but there are usually a couple of new faces too. People usually bring a snack to share, though there are a couple of children with lots of allergies which mean they can only eat there own snacks..

I prefer people to stay in the sitting room, where snacks are out on the table and there are toys. There are usually a couple of us in the kitchen at the start though as we make drinks.

This morning things went a bit strangely and I'm left feeling I'm not sure how to handle this if it comes up again.

So a new mum arrived a bit early, no problem but I was still in the kitchen doing last minute prep. We chatted in the kitchen while the kettle boiled and I chopped up some fruit. She had her 3yo in her arms and he got hold of a plum from the fruit bowl on the windowsill. She asked if it was OK, I had to say no, the plums were planned for another meal, this plate of fruit was for snacks today. We carried it through to the sitting room and the kids tucked in.

Later on DS was showing me that all the grapes (brought by someone else) had been eaten and was asking for more grapes. I told him all the grapes were gone, we were not getting out any more. There was still other fruit.

A couple of minutes later I notice the other little boy running round with a bunch of grapes. It took me a couple of minutes to realise that the new mum had gone back into the kitchen and got her LO the whole bunch of grapes from the fruit bowl! I was not sure what to say.

After a few minutes of me telling DS I did not want him to have any more grapes the mum took the grapes off her LO and put them back in the kitchen. She told me she had put them back but did not offer any apology or anything.

So would you have said anything this morning? And what should I do to make it clear it's not a free for all in the kitchen? I don't really have anywhere I can move the fruit bowl too, it's already well out of the reach of the kids which (till now) I thought was enough.

Finally I'm not that strange am I, it is really odd to walk into someone's house that you have never met and start handing out their fruit to your kid?
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#2 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 09:50 AM
 
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Honestly, it wouldn't have bothered me at all In our house, the fruit bowl is there for the taking, for family members or guests. If there is a particular piece of fruit that I don't want eaten (if I've got a recipe planned using it), then I put it somewhere other than the fruit bowl.

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#3 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 09:53 AM
 
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To be honest, I'd be taken by surprise if someone said no to me asking if my kid could eat a plum at their house. Fruit is not something hard or expensive to come by, so I'd let the small (or big) kids eat themselves silly in my fruit left out for them to see and then just buy some more later.

If however, the hostess had stated that certain foodstuffs were not intended for us gusts, well, then of course I wouldn't give any of them to my kids later on.

But sorry, I definitely think you were mean for flaunting forbidden fruits at kids at a gathering at your house!
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#4 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 09:57 AM
 
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I think it is odd given that you already told her that the fruit bowel was off limits. I also would have been annoyed.

That being said, I think there is a segment of society that operates under a different level of hospitality. I see this within my own family, some have an open cupboard/fridge door policy, others do not. The ones with the open door policy would assume that a fruit bowel placed out in public view was there for snacking. Although after being told no, they would never take food anyway.

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#5 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 09:59 AM
 
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With little kids, I don't leave food in sight that they can't have. Maybe you can drape a napkin or something over the bowl?

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#6 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 10:06 AM
 
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While I understand most people assume fruit in a fruit bowl is "there for the taking", the bowl was up high and you'd already told the mom that the fruit was designated for something else. The fact that she then helped herself to setting out more fruit is odd to me, especially since she sounds like she's new to the group. Whenever I've visited a house for a playdate, I would assume that the food that was laid out was it, and that if the hostess wanted to replenish the tray, she would. It can get very expensive to keep a fruit tray full, only to have to throw away sliced fruit that had little hands all over it as they picked something up only to reject it for a different piece of fruit. If the playdates rotate on a regular basis, perhaps the cost wouldn't be an issue, but if you are the regular host, I can definitely see why you would have limits.
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#7 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 10:16 AM
 
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I guess we have different expectations, but when I have playgroups or any guests here I encourage people to make themselves at home and help themselves to anything they want. My mother always taught me that it's part of being a good host.

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#8 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 10:29 AM
 
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I can't imagine denying a kid fruit if they wanted it. Next time I would hide the fruit bowl in a cupboard. I don't think your guests were being rude at all. I think if the food was sitting out then it's an open invitation. I do think it's extremely rude, to say no if it's out right in front of the kids face!

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#9 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 10:33 AM
 
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I think that the guest was out of line grabbing the grapes after it had been made clear that the fruit was off limits. I don't think there's any real argument to that.

Honestly, though, I think it was really awkward to deny a kid a plum that he saw. I understand about meal planning and such but I just know from being a mom that it's really difficult when my DD sees a bit of food, and she's hungry, and it's right there, and she's being told no. I could understand saying "sure, you can have some plum but we need to wait for the rest of the guests and slice it up so others can have it too" but it would be hard for me to deny a hungry kid food he spotted right there. I can imagine my DD getting really fixated on that plum and making the visit really difficult to get through.

Still, I would NOT have touched that fruit bowl. I might have left if DD was being really obnoxious about the fruit, and I might have felt like "sheesh, the lady is pretty anal about her fruit" but I wouldn't have touched it.
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#10 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 10:39 AM
 
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Originally Posted by FoxintheSnow View Post
I guess we have different expectations, but when I have playgroups or any guests here I encourage people to make themselves at home and help themselves to anything they want. My mother always taught me that it's part of being a good host.
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I can't imagine denying a kid fruit if they wanted it. Next time I would hide the fruit bowl in a cupboard. I don't think your guests were being rude at all. I think if the food was sitting out then it's an open invitation. I do think it's extremely rude, to say no if it's out right in front of the kids face!
I agree.

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#11 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 10:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It sounds like most people feel I should put things out of sight so I'll try to do that in future. I will also try and get the snack prepared early so that I don't have people coming into the kitchen so much.

I guess I hadn't considered the fruit bowl to be on view before as we are usually in the other room with snacks set up on the table in there. There is no reason for kids to be in the kitchen. It is a regular thing and always at my house. Some people do bring along something to share but I always make sure I have a plate of fruit out.

I know it seems a bit petty about the plum and honestly had it been another fruit I would have said fine, but the plums are planned as part of desert later and I would not have time to replace them.

I still find it slightly odd to give the fruit to her child before asking, though I would not have found it at all rude to ask. I prefer my kids to ask, as I often have fruit in the fruit bowl destined for a particular recipe.
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#12 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 10:43 AM
 
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Honestly if you felt that strongly about no one eating the fruit in your fruit bowl it should have been put out of site, maybe in the refridgerator. She asked earlier about the plum - it's possible that after she saw the grapes out for snacking that she assumed that just the plums were off limits and that it would be okay to take a few more grapes for her little one.
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#13 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 10:47 AM
 
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I forgot to mention that I do see that you weren't expecting the fruit bowl to be viewed - it only was seen since the mum came early. So I understand that.

I think I would have been more understanding if you had explained more - "Oh, honey, I'd love to give it to you but we have it planned for a dessert for my family tonight!"

I don't think you were at fault but maybe it just could have been explained better. To just say that they were planned for another time should be enough, but it sounds vague like you are just saying "no." Most people (I think) eat fruit unplanned, so I don't think everyone would be seeing fruit as part of your family menu.
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#14 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 11:29 AM
 
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I agree with the consensus. I think it's fine to have limits, but I think your guest just misunderstood them. For me if people want something out of the fruit bowl then they can have it and I'd just alter my plans for later.

It is also really hard for little kids to SEE fruit they can't have, and it may be that she was working hard to prevent a tantrum - and that may have been a higher priority in her mind.

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#15 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 11:55 AM
 
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I don't really have anywhere I can move the fruit bowl too
When I am having guests over and there is anything we don't want shared for whatever reason (special, breakable toys and the like) those items go in my bedroom with the door closed and locked. Do you have another room in the house or a cabinet you could place them in just for the duration of the playdate? Out of sight out of mind is what works here and prevents hurt feelings on all sides.

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Finally I'm not that strange am I, it is really odd to walk into someone's house that you have never met and start handing out their fruit to your kid?
Actually, in my area and amongst my friends eating food that is out in the open is not odd. Telling an invited guest they cannot eat something left out in plain sight is. Is this a regional thing, perhaps? Because this sounds like a miscommunication. In my area bringing food to share = potluck and doesn't mean only eat what you bring (in this case, grapes). YK? ETA: And if a child is hungry, the answer is always yes. Well-fed = happy = everyone having a good time. My daily life consists of breaking everything down into two categories: big deal vs. little deal in the scheme of things. So if a piece of fruit would take me down the road that leads to happiness and good times, I'll do it. I'm all about making life a little bit easier all around. YK?

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With little kids, I don't leave food in sight that they can't have.
I actually do this regardless of the age of my guest and utilize the bedroom. I also do this with my own kids with things like my birthday truffles that I just don't want to share

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#16 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 11:57 AM
 
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I would assume fruit in a kitchen fruit bowel was for eating.

If you don't want it eaten by guest put it up so there is no confusion.
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#17 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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just to clarify a few things

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I think I would have been more understanding if you had explained more - "Oh, honey, I'd love to give it to you but we have it planned for a dessert for my family tonight!"
I did say say I had plans for the plums, but here is the fruit for snack today. We then took the plate of fruit and the children through to where we usually stay. Non of the other mums came into the kitchen and the snacks they brought were all put on the table in the room we were in.

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Actually, in my area and amongst my friends eating food that is out in the open is not odd. Telling an invited guest they cannot eat something left out in plain sight is. Is this a regional thing, perhaps? Because this sounds like a miscommunication. In my area bringing food to share = potluck and doesn't mean only eat what you bring (in this case, grapes). YK?
I'm not expecting everyone to stick to the snack they brought, just to stick to the snacks on the table, not help yourself from the kitchen. FWIW the grapes were not on the plate I put out so she was not just "topping up the plate". She went into the kitchen (to which I keep the door closed) and handed her child the WHOLE bunch of grapes from the bowl in the kitchen and that she did it AFTER I told my child there were no more grapes. It was rather odd sitting there telling my LO there were no more grapes but he could eat the other snacks to find someone else had brought out more for their LO.

I think it's probably the whole bunch thing that bugs me, I'm not sure I want to eat food that someone else's child has been running round with and licking. Had she just pulled off a few grapes for her child I would have found it odd but not so irritating.

Anyway I'll be putting stuff out of sight next time so hopefully no more issues. I thought I was doing well getting all DSs favourite toys out of sight and making sure only stuff he's happy to share was out!
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#18 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 12:18 PM
 
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oooh... grapes are so expensive too!


But personally, we live in one of those open cultures... all food is for everybody. You would be able to open a cuboard and take out tonights dinner and start eating at my house, and I wouldn't be able to say anything without being considered rude.

My sister does it to us, and I do it to my mom all the time!

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#19 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 12:20 PM
 
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If I had been the guest, I would have interpreted your first "no" about the plum to mean that the fruit bowl was off-limits, or at the very least I would have asked before taking the grapes.

However, as the host I would not have minded someone eating fruit from a fruit bowl, although I can understand not wanting the plum to be eaten, as it's hard to find perfectly ripe plums in the store so if you wanted it for the same night it'd be difficult to replace in time. However, I probably would have stashed fruit I didn't want guests to have out of view so there would be no temptation. With the grapes, I probably would have just put more out once it was clear that at least two kids (your DS and the other boy) wanted more.

I don't think anyone was rude -- the mom put the grapes back once she realized you didn't want them eaten -- I certainly don't think she should have been expected to apologize. It was just a simple misunderstanding.

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I thought I was doing well getting all DSs favourite toys out of sight and making sure only stuff he's happy to share was out!
I guess the same rule applies even to us grown-ups.

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#20 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 12:22 PM
 
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I don't know why I keep thinking about this.

I think what is odd in your case is that you don't know her. This is more like a group meeting that just happened to happen at your home, correct?

In that case I think it would be rude to go behind a closed door and rummage for food in a stranger's home.

(basically, I'm trying to justify eating out of my Mom's pantry all the time).

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#21 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 12:26 PM
 
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I am with everyone else, sorry, I know it seemed rude and it was to give more fruit after you said no.

I honestly would not have said no to the plum, even if I had plans for it. I would be super thrilled a child wanted to eat a plum lol.

I am so open with my friends, that everything in the kitchen that is out and not frozen is fair game. I am the same way at their house, so this new mama, probably thought things were more relaxed.

I kinda feel bad for the new mama in this story. If I were her I would probably not be back, but ya never know!

To me, when I have something like this at my house, I expect to lose some stuff, food, treats whatever.

Next time just take the bowl and put it on top of your fridge.

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#22 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 12:32 PM
 
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I am surprised no one suggested that perhaps the child is prone to temper tantrums when he doesnt get what he wants (Because what 3 year old isnt), and perhaps the mom was hoping to avoid one with just a few grapes, but then realized she got caught when her son was seen running around with the grapes. . And maybe she thought her explanation of putting the grapes back WAS an apology, because she was super embarrassed she got caught? I dunno. Just throwing that out there.

I usually try to think of the best possible things about people before I just write them off as weird or rude. It takes all kinds, right?
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#23 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 12:44 PM
 
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I did say say I had plans for the plums, but here is the fruit for snack today. We then took the plate of fruit and the children through to where we usually stay. Non of the other mums came into the kitchen and the snacks they brought were all put on the table in the room we were in.
Not to argue and just to clarify, saying you had plans for the plums would have sounded very vague to me, it would have sounded about the same as "that plum is not for you" or something.

To say specifically that they were planned for dessert TONIGHT would have made me feel a lot more understanding about it. Just vague "plans" just sounds like "I don't want to share the plum, I plan to eat it myself sometime." But "I have a special dessert planned, and it's tonight and I won't have time to run out and replace it" would make me think, oh, of course, absolutely, hands off of the plum.

Now this is tricky because you technically shouldn't have to defend in detail what you do or do not plan to do with your own food. I see that. All I'm saying is that most hostesses usually are glad to share a bit of fruit, and most fruit is not really planned for, just snacks for anyone. And it's all right to say no, but it will soothe ruffled feathers of a mom who is trying to redirect a kid away from a fruit to know that it's not a stingy host but that there is a very specific reason that fruit really can't be parted with.

But even so, that's separate from going into a closed kitchen and helping yourself to some grapes from the same bowl as the forbidden plum. I don't care if she thought you were being rude or stingy about your fruit, that's just not cool.

And for those who think the fruit should have been locked up in a bedroom, I have to wonder - the mum came early, the OP wasn't expecting to entertain anybody in her kitchen at all, and she had the door closed. I think it's going a little far to expect that she would have to lock all her food in a bedroom, say, an HOUR before guests started arriving JUST IN CASE someone came early and spotted something laying about.

So I see it both ways - if you had a specific plan that night I wouldn't have parted with the fruit but I would have been detailed and apologetic so they understood. Otherwise I would have given the fruit.
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#24 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 12:49 PM
 
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I guess I'll be weird with you. When I have guests, it's never once occurred to me to put the fruit bowl away, and it's sitting in the dining room. And I would think it pretty darned rude if someone helped themselves to the contents of it. Especially if I had already said no.

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#25 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 12:52 PM
 
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At least the Mom realized that she was in the wrong and put the rest of the grapes back. When we're eating over at a friend's, my kids sometimes see food out that they would like. I ask the hostess if they could have some.

I can understand saying no to a request. It is a 30 minute drive from our house to the nearest large grocery store. There is a small store in town, but the selections there are limited and pricey.
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#26 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 12:57 PM
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My house is not so "separate" as to be able to shut other rooms out of view, so I would have made a point to put unavailable foods out of sight prior to the gathering. I don't see anything wrong with making it known that the food for *this* gathering is out on the table.

I do think the guest was out of line for taking food when it was obviously not okay with the host.

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But personally, we live in one of those open cultures... all food is for everybody. You would be able to open a cuboard and take out tonights dinner and start eating at my house, and I wouldn't be able to say anything without being considered rude.
Yeah, that wouldn't fly around here....not among my circle of acquaintances, anyway. The person rummaging in the cupboards would be considered rude. I personally tend to go out of my way not to inconvenience other people. Screwing up their dinner plans is not something I would feel okay with. Life can be hectic. My husband and I work weird shifts and frequently work opposite shifts. If my friends came over during the day and ate up the food he had planned for dinner, he'd be pissed, and I wouldn't blame him.

I wouldn't even help myself to food at a relative's house unless it was offered to me.
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#27 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 01:00 PM
 
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And for those who think the fruit should have been locked up in a bedroom, I have to wonder - the mum came early, the OP wasn't expecting to entertain anybody in her kitchen at all, and she had the door closed. I think it's going a little far to expect that she would have to lock all her food in a bedroom, say, an HOUR before guests started arriving JUST IN CASE someone came early and spotted something laying about.
Oh! Sorry. To clarify - No, I meant if/when it became a concern, move it. If it isn't a concern, then don't move it. We can only control what we ourselves do, so I would have just quietly removed the bowl to another room at that point. Once the decision is made about what you want, act on it. And now that it is a known problem that is considered important, in the future, it can just be moved to make life easier.


ETA: I really, really do think this was just a misunderstanding/miscommunication. The mom was new and maybe she just needed to be told directly from the beginning how things usually run at your house during these meetings. Some people are like that.

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#28 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 01:05 PM
 
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Yeah, that wouldn't fly around here....not among my circle of acquaintances, anyway. The person rummaging in the cupboards would be considered rude. I personally tend to go out of my way not to inconvenience other people. Screwing up their dinner plans is not something I would feel okay with. Life can be hectic. My husband and I work weird shifts and frequently work opposite shifts. If my friends came over during the day and ate up the food he had planned for dinner, he'd be pissed, and I wouldn't blame him.

I wouldn't even help myself to food at a relative's house unless it was offered to me.
Now that I think about it more, I think it is because it's food-- I don't think it's rude to tell someone no for a toy or anything else, but a no for food would be considered rude.

However, your post has opened my eyes-- and I'm going to be more careful at my mom's in the future!! I don't do the rummaging anywhere else, I don't think. :

Texmati-- Knitter, Hindu, vegetarian, WOHM. Wife to superdadsuperhero.gif and mom to DS babyf.gif24 months, and DD boc.gif 8 months! .

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#29 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 01:07 PM
 
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Well if I were the new mom I would not have in a million years given out the grapes after the plum incident. I would however have felt very uncomfortable at your house after the plum incident. It seems really strange to me to deny a three year old a plum in his hand already just because they were going to be eaten later, unless it was for a meal like Thanksgiving maybe, or a dinner party. If it were just a family meal I would have just offered it to the child. I don't get either behavior, and I guess both seem pretty rude, sorry.
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#30 of 275 Old 04-28-2010, 01:09 PM
 
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Actually, I think she was very rude to go into essentially a stranger's closed kitchen at all. And ruder to get fruit from a bowl that her kid probably could NOT see, being that the kitchen door was closed and the OP said the bowl is out of kid reach and potentially kid sight unless the kid is in mom's arms. And even more so that she showed up early. And again even more so that no one else went into the kitchen during the playgroup, kids weren't running in and out of there.

Personally I would find a way to disinvite her, or if you can't do that, I wouldn't get snacks ready in front of her or let her in your kitchen again. Shut the kitchen door if she gets there early and keep her and her kid in the play area. Put up a "Kitchen closed during the playgroup" sign if something like that happens again. Wait until another guest or two gets there and THEN go fix the snack, telling her if she tries to invade that you don't need any help, thanks!

For a regular playdate with a friend, everyone hanging out in the kitchen, fruit bowl in a kid and guest easily visible area, etc. I would say that it's rude not to offer the food the kid requests. But this sounds like the OP tried quite reasonably to put the food not on offer out of the direct sight of guests and kids but this mother went basically digging through the kitchen for stuff. She shouldn't have to put her food under lock and key in the bedroom to keep guests out of it!

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