A Parent's Dilemma

What do you do when you really can’t stand one of your kids’ friends? My kids have this friend that all four of them adore. I’m so sick of hearing his name, I can’t even tell you. We were pretty free of him this summer, because he wasn’t at their camps, but now that school is about ready to begin again, they’re starting to invoke his name. Repeatedly. It’s like they say his name over and over, just to remind themselves that he exists. All during the school year they talk about him incessantly. Since one of the four people who reads my blog might be his mother (she isn’t), I’ll just use an initial to identify him.

All day while we were doing back to school shopping and organizing, all I heard were things like:

“I bet Z will be surprised I was able to get all my school stuff into my backpack!” Why does my son think the kid gives a shit that he was able to get two containers of Clorox wipes, a box of tissues, a binder, and three packs of pencils into a backpack? I’m his mother, and I’m not even that interested in the fact that he was able to do that.

“Mommy, is Z in my class?” I have no fucking idea, but I sincerely hope not. They’re hepped up because I was able to find out a few people who were in their classes through Facebook friends, but I am most decidedly not Facebook friends with this kid’s parents. (More on that in a minute.)

“I bet Z will get a blue binder like this one, so I’m going to get this one!” Well, it frankly doesn’t matter what Z does—you should do what you want. Please yourself, not your friend. He doesn’t have to use the binder all year, you do.

The kind of sad thing is it’s not really the kid I dislike. He’s not really a bad kid. I just get tired of hearing his name fourteen thousand times a day. It’s actually his parents that are the real problem. Z, age 9, is their oldest, and they’re on the young side--I’d be surprised if they were 35 yet--and they’re young for being young, if you know what I mean (and if you don’t, what I’m saying is they’re kind of fucking immature). I’m not sure what the dad’s deal is but at some point it was communicated to me, by my kids, that the dad thought my oldest was “a bad influence” on his kid, and that Z “shouldn’t listen” to what my kid said. I believe they were talking about something of tremendous global significance and far reaching consequence, like Pokemon.

Well right there I think this guy’s an asshole, right? Does he remember the kind of smack he talked when he was 10 or 11? Kids that age--especially boys--are always instructing each other on matters of importance (to them) and slinging shit because they really don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about. The first rule of tween is, “If you’re not sure, make some shit up that sounds plausible and say it with conviction.” It’s where we get urban legends like the couple out parking and the guy with the claw hand, and the bug infested beehive hairdo. If it weren’t for pre-adolescent kids (and gullible morons, of course), Snopes.com would be out of business.

The other unforgivable sin they’ve committed is that they haven’t RSVP’d to my kid’s birthday parties.

I’ll admit, I’m a real asshole about RSVPs. Even back when they were paper invitations, and we had to pick up the phone and call to respond, I found it unforgiveable when people didn’t. They’re busy, I’m busy, but I took the time out of my schedule to mail them an invitation, now they can take 90 seconds and call me back to tell me if they’re coming. The fastest way to get on my shit list is to not let me know if you’re coming to my functions. You didn’t bring a hostess present? No problem. I don’t get a thank you note after? I could care less. If you told me you enjoyed it as you were leaving, and said thank you, we’re good. But if you couldn’t bother yourself to acknowledge that I extended an invitation, and let me know if you were coming or not, then honestly? Fuck you (not you-reading-this, but you know, the collective non-RSVPers).

And today it’s even less forgivable. Evite means that you open it, you read it, you decide if you can come, and you click a fucking button yes or no. If people can’t even be bothered to do that (and some, it would seem, cannot), then it’s not just fuck you, it’s fuck you with mustard and every time I see you know that I am judging you in the judgiest way.

See those buttons? You click them. Not fucking hard.

Oh calm down, I hear people saying. Aren’t you getting a tad worked up about something that’s really a little thing that you should just let go? You know, don’t sweat the small stuff, right?

Well, on the one hand, yes, but on the other hand, no. I have to buy food and provide beverages. If I don’t know how many people to expect, I have to overbuy on the off chance that the rude non-RSVPers decide to show, and then I may end up throwing out food. Really not something I can afford to do, you know?

But then there’s the specific situation with this kid. My twin boys are 9, and as different as they can possibly be in every way. One of them is outgoing, the class clown, everyone’s best friend. He has a million friends, and everyone who meets him loves him. The other one is shyer, more reserved, has fewer friends, and feels things much more deeply. This is the kid I found at age seven crying in bed with a picture of one of our cats two months after it had been put to sleep. A cat, I should point out, who had lived entirely in our basement for four years previously, and was ten years old when this child was born. In short, a cat with whom he’d had very little interaction over the years, and yet, there he was, sobbing his eyes out because he missed the cat. Sweet Jesus.

For the past two years this kid has invited Z to his birthday parties. He generally has a guest list of about four kids. The first year it was a sleepover, and I sent out the Evite comfortably in advance. No response. Finally I saw the parents at a community event and flat out asked if he’d be attending. Naturally they had no plausible way out of it, so he came. It was fine—like I said, it’s not really the kid that bothers me.

This year it was a party at the rock climbing gym. Again, Evite sent, again no response. This year I put my foot down. If his mother was too self-involved and generally rude to even respond, then frankly she could go fuck herself. Where I come from it’s basic manners to let someone know you’re attending a party. But I’ve covered that rant.

No, what really raises my blood pressure is that this is the sensitive kid. This is the kid who will take it most to heart that his friend, or really, his friend’s fucking mother doesn’t care enough, and doesn’t have sufficient social graces to let us know that they won’t be attending, for whatever reason. Until the day of the party he kept asking me if Z’s mom had replied. Every time I said, “No, sweetheart, I’m sorry, she hasn’t,” I felt like I was killing a little piece of his heart. My son even mentioned it to Z several times in school, and I know Z mentioned it to her, and still this bitch couldn’t get off her rude, lazy ass and say yes or no.

I flat out told my kids that this was the last time this child was invited to any function sponsored by our family. I explained that it wasn’t Z, but his rude fucking mother (I’m summarizing) that I objected to, and that I was done with her bad manners. I explained that if you’re blatantly rude often enough, people stop inviting you to things. Clearly Z and his family don’t care, but I want my children to understand that people will treat them the way they treat others. You’re invited to parties and completely ignore the invitations? Expect them to stop. I guess the next time I see an Evite that says “Z’s Birthday Party!” (Z did invite them to his birthday party earlier this year—I RSVP’d and even clarified how many of my four children she was expecting, because I have manners, bitch; I was hoping that modeling the behavior for her would be a hint. I should have known better), I will delete it without opening it. And you can bet your ass that’s what’s going to happen. Vindictive, and maybe a little juvenile? I won’t argue. But you don’t fuck with my kid. You make him sad, you hurt him, you fucking deal with me, and I’ll play on your childish level if that’s what it takes to get my message across to you.


Gigi said...

I could have written this - well, not as eloquently, but still. I simply cannot understand how people can be so rude. This is one of those things that drive me crazy.

Tracy said...

Yep, right up a freakin' wall. How hard is it to click Yes or No?? Gah. Thanks for stopping by!!

Sarah (est. 1975) said...

Last year there was a Z in our life, except he was a C. C had behavioral problems, though he wasn't a bad kid -- his parents were completely self-absorbed psychotics who HATED EACH OTHER and used their two sons as weapons in their marital battles. But yeah. "C has an iPhone." Well, tough shit kid, you're not getting one. YOU'RE IN KINDERGARTEN. "C watches R-rated movies." I bet he does, but you're already interested enough in the female form... you don't need more encouragement in that department. "C plays GTA." Yeah. That's a non-starter. I wish C's mom would make like GTA and run over herself.

I'm a horrible person :P

P.S. C's mom would also not RSVP to parties and then would show up with C AND C's brother.

Tracy said...

Wow, C sounds like a gem. Z's mom doesn't RSVP and then they don't show up, so I guess that's better then having a bunch of unexpected guests, but not much better. Oh yes, Z has an iPad, and a motor bike, and a shotgun. Well, how nice for him. I hope his parents have good insurance.

We also had a boy who was a terrible influence on my daughter (but only my daughter), and I've been able to request that he be in a different class for three years now. The sad thing about that is, I really like his parents, but she just became so submissive around him, and he was SO POSESSIVE of her--he wouldn't let other kids play with her, and he's actually been physically violent with kids who've tried. It was a completely unhealthy dynamic, and as soon as I could get her away from him (it started in preschool, where I couldn't separate them, and they now go to the same elementary) I did.

Ah the joys of parenting...

Michelle said...

Yeah, a simple yes or no is simple. To do otherwise seems willfully rude.

Tracy said...

Which is exactly what I think this woman is doing. Just click the button, bitch, it's not that hard. Actually, Evite shows you when the invitation is opened, and she never even opens them. So if my kids get invited to her kid's party next year, I shall follow her excellent example, and delete it without opening it.