I hosted a Superbowl party last night at my house. Small gathering. I invited a close friend of mine who has twin girls, 8 y.o., who play beautifully with my 7 and 9 y.o. boys. They had a "surprise" baby who is now 15 months old.
I had spent the last 2 days cleaning my house and cooking food for our guests. My friend had been out all day with her family at another event before coming to my house for the game. I was irritated that she let her toddler roam freely through my house. I have long since divested myself of the requisite "baby gear" of gates, board books, toys and games appropriate for toddlers. It was my (perhaps misguided) belief that my friend would come prepared for her toddler's needs. It became quickly apparent that she had nothing more than diapers with her.
I really wanted to watch the game, the ONLY football game that I get into. It started out with the food. I couldn't put anything at all on the coffee table without the baby tipping over cups, two-fisting the bacon dip, and turning crackers into dust. Don't get me wrong....I am not so far removed from toddler-hood to remember all its.......charms. But this one was running amok. He wasn't being bad, just exploratory.
My house is no longer baby-proofed. Hasn't been for a long time. My hobby is aquarium keeping, and I have a very large saltwater tank in another area of my house. WIthout baby gates in place, the boy could roam anywhere. If you've every kept a fish tank, you'd know they require many periferal pieces. And mine is no exception.....multitudes of power cables, water lines, buttons and valves that are irrisistable to little hands and can wreak havoc on my pets.
Since the parents were behaving like they were on a parenting vacation, and didn't bother to supervise their son while he wandered, it was up to me to keep him out of the cupboards, away from the fish tank and out of trouble. But as the game progressed, he started getting really fussy. No wonder, with him being out all day without napping. I suggested they bring out his playpen to lay down. Oh, wait, they didn't bring it. They ask if there is another place in the house they could lay him down, but where he couldn't get into things if he wandered around instead of sleeping. Since I was not prepared for this, NO room in my house met that need. So of course, he didn't sleep. And then he got REALLY fussy, screeching and whining and crying from total exhaustion.
It was at this point that I expected my friend to politely excuse herself to take her tired child home. I was getting evil looks from my hubby, my father, my brother, and other guests. But she made no move for the door. She was making jokes at his behavior, telling me it was "cute". Yeah, SO cute when he throws cookies on my floor, grinds the crumbs into my carpet and paints on the window with his cheese. I went rummaging through my son's toys, trying to find ANYTHING to redirect him to. Bring down some stuffed animales, blocks, and books. Instead of helping me to encourage these toys, she pretends like nothing is wrong.
Now that I've missed the entire game since the power outtage, I start counting down until the game ends, when she will FINALLY. GO. HOME. It's such a shame, because my boys are having so much fun playing with their girls, but I was totally fed up and angry at this point. When she DOES go, she doesn't bother to help clean anything up. She didn't even pick up any of the toys that I brought out for him to play with. They're still scattered all over the floor.
I am now looking forward to another day of cleaning, to undo what her kid messed up. What should I do? She's a good friend, and I don't want to lose the friendship, but how can I ask her to be more attentive to her toddler when he's in my house?