Monday, March 06, 2006

I was invited to a couple of Oscar-watching parties this past weekend. While I would have loved to join my friends, I didn't have a babysitter.
I love to watch the Oscars and it's just impossible if I'm at someone else's house with my kids. I would constantly be chasing after them to make sure they weren't spilling or breaking something, getting into cabinets or unraveling the toilet paper roll.
Getting together is a whole different experience when kids are involved. Many parents don't like taking infants out until they are 6 to 8 weeks old. An infant can be easier to look after than a fully-energized toddler, but some infants are colicky or don't do well away from home or around strangers. Parents of toddlers usually have their hands full. In addition, most kids are on schedules that may coincide with an invitation.
For me, it's much more difficult and exhausting to visit my friends with my kids along. It's especially difficult if my friends' homes aren't baby-proofed. It's so much easier and less stressful visiting friends with kids and child-proofed homes. They don't seem to mind toys strewn about the place, a spilled juice cup, a dirty diaper, a tantrum and the stairs are gated and cabinets child-locked.
If you've ever wondered why you don't see your friends who have kids as often-now you have some idea why.
Please, don't misunderstand me, it's still worth getting out of the house and fun seeing friends, but it's not going to be the same quality visit and long, uninterrupted conversations you may be used to having.
Excluding this past Oscar Night, I still take my kids out for gatherings, bbq's,ect at my friends' homes. I just make sure to pack enough stuff to keep them occupied and happy. I take the usual diaper bag with additional drinks and snacks. Plus, I bring a bag of some of my kids favorite toys, videos or activities. For Thanksgiving dinner at my friend Mary's, I even brought a craft project to entertain my daughter. Depending on your child's age, a pac-n-play/port-o-crib or suggly comes in handy so you can have your hands free.
I also have a few suggestions for anyone who doesn't have children and/or baby-proofed home inviting over company with kids---
I mention my friend Mary again-she always has juice drinks my daughter loves and a little treat for her as well.
Mary has even invested in some age-appropriate toys for my kids to enjoy.
If you value something within a small child's reach, put it away!
Candles are great and set a mood-but again, please don't put them within a small child's reach
Simply understand that kids are around and the focus will mainly be on them and not you and your party
If kid-free and/or child-proofless-homed hosts and invitee-parents properly prepare, enjoyment can be had by all-just remember it's a little different.


Fightin' Mad Mary said...

Thanks for the mention! Your kids are ALWAYS welcome at my house. I'm still trying to find a bumper to put around the coffee tables to make them safer - if you know where I can pick them up let me know.
Also, I think "baby proofing" the house when y'all visit is good practice for me. You never know - one day we may change our mind on the whole childless by choice thing.

Kelley said...

You always make me feel welcome and even if I'm distracted I still have a good time!

I've seen the table bumpers at Target and

willam said...

little girls always look cute as Victorian Floozies. Lots of lace, dresden doll hair and pearl buttons (some undone).
is she getting into mommy's lip gloss yet?

Kelley said...

Yes, in fact I'm often searching for my gloss...
and eye shadow

Anonymous said...

I'm totally available for kid sitting!!!!! -TL