We got invited round to Terence and Shirley’s for drinkies; to wish each other a happy new year. I was slightly nervous because Terence passed on the invitation verbally to Stephano and there were no specifics mentioned. Do we bring Little Miss Eight? Or get a babysitter? Will there be food or should we eat before we leave? Dress up, or stay casual? Terence did say that a few close neighbours were also invited.
We brought Little Miss Eight, because she’s no trouble and has good manners. I wouldn’t say Shirley’s house is child friendly, but it’s friendly enough for our wee doll. We brought wine and there was plenty there – labels I’ve never seen before. Grapes I’ve never heard of. However, our €8.99 bottle of Merlot went down very well. Shirley’s brother drank it all, and he appeared to be the type of person who loved his drink. Lovely man!
Mr and Mrs McGomery, a few doors away, had the same idea as us; they brought their son Joshua. He’s not eight though, he’s four and knows no boundaries, and his mammy and daddy don’t seem too bothered.
Have you ever heard the annoying whine a young child makes when they don’t get their own way? It goes right through my head like a rusty corkscrew. And then the mammy of whining child says in a soft timid voice, ‘Aw wee man…stop.’ This makes the whine even more irritating. Well, a lot of that went on in Shirley’s house that night.
Shirley and Terence has the mother of all Christmas trees. A six foot real tree with the most beautiful tiny yellow glow lights, and crystal baubles that sparkle as bright as any diamond. Only the best for our Shirley, Terence always says. Joshua took a little robin from the tree. His mammy said nothing, his daddy told him to be a good boy and put it back. As if…
Instead he flung it across the room and it landed into a dish of salmon mousse. I didn’t know where to look, but I couldn’t take my eyes of Shirley’s rigid jaw and bulging eyes. Others tried to make light of the incident by laughing half-heartily; Shirley’s half-twisted brother remarked, ‘Boys will be boys.’ ‘Will they really?’ Shirley scowled. Terence retrieved the velvet robin and placed him safely in the windowsill. End of salmon mousse.
Joshua returned to the tree to see what other toys hung there. Off comes a few baubles and half the fairy lights. Mrs Smyth (bless her) felt the tension in the room, and inveigled the child away from the dishevelled tree with the promise of green tea ice-cream. No chocolate chip unsurprisingly!
What else happened? Let me think. Oh yes…he got into her front room and banged the bejaysus out of her lovely piano. Mammy said, ‘tut tut wee man’, but left him to it. He grabbed food from the table several times, which he didn’t eat; he threw it on the floor. He ran into people like a tornado, stepping on their toes and spilling their drinks. I wouldn’t let that child to a kid’s party, never mind an adult’s party!
Joshua was similar to a wild animal who had just been uncaged. He growls a lot too, and laughs when he has an audience. Mammy and Daddy are his biggest audience, who laugh every time he does something funny (which isn’t funny at all). He’s just annoying and rude most of the time. And no…he doesn’t have a medical condition before you ask. He’s bold and his parents don’t believe in discipline. Simple. Why is the importance of teaching a child manners and social skills so difficult for some people to understand?
We left early because I was afraid Terence or Shirley would lose the plot, and I was afraid the McGomery’s might invite themselves over to my house. Because if they came to my house with their very unmannerly child I’d have to resort to putting on my stern expression, and my wicked voice. I would have to look directly into the child’s eyes, and calmly explain the rules of our household.
- 1) No screaming
- 2) No running around at a hundred miles an hour
- 3) No playing upstairs
- 4) No playing ON the stairs
- 5) No throwing ornaments, food or drink
- 6) No throwing anything
Mammy and Daddy McGomery can do what they want in their own abode, but not in mine. I never allowed my own children to wreck my house, so why would I allow other people’s children to wreck it? Children can play and have fun without demolishing the place in the process.
You see, I take no crap. If you must take your young child to an adult get together, don’t let them ruin the night for the actual adults. And they’re not there to entertain. If I need a few hours of toddler or child entertainment, I’ll take myself off to a play ground.