Thursday, March 19, 2009

Unwritten Rules of Etiquette

This morning, as I dug into a bowl of Jumbo Krispies, I told WonderWife™ an amusing anecdote about how a good friend of ours gave the number of our babysitter to another couple who just had a baby. Turns out we’ve already locked in said sitter for the same night so we can go on our first real date since Sprout was born (that’s nearly 9 months for those of you playing at home). As I was telling her this, WW™ got kind of red in the face and angrily spewed at me, “You don’t do that!”

“What?” I said, genuinely confused and wracking my brain for what I had done wrong.

“You don’t just pass out the number of a babysitter that was given to you by somebody else!”

“Well, don’t yell at me. I didn’t do it!”

But the messenger had already been shot. WW™ fumed for the rest of the morning and promised to call our friend and set him straight on the whole matter. Apparently, the number to a good babysitter is a more precious commodity than oil to Mad Max.

I, on the other hand, sat there dumbfounded as my Krispies sogged up. I know that I was not at fault, but the fervor and venom that erupted from WW™ made me feel like I had been. You wouldn’t like her when she’s angry. I’m really glad that I’m not my friend right about now.

So this got me thinking…what other unwritten and unspoken rules of parental etiquette don’t I know? What am I missing or potentially breaking? How do we, the clueless and uninitiated, navigate obstacles that we cannot see?


SciFi Dad said...

Never admit that someone else's kid is ugly, even if they've clearly been hit in the face with a shovel.

Never suggest a kid has any form of delay or disability or is in any way not perfect.

Do not say, "Niiice" when you hear another person's kid crap their pants.

What happens at playdate, stays at playdate.

... said...

Apparently if your kid was in a mothers' group when s/he was a baby you are obligated to invite all those children to birthday parties until age 5.

I unwittingly breached this rule and had to deal with the passive-aggressive fury of a parent scorned. Except I didn't have to deal with it because, quite frankly, I don't give a rats ass.

Vancetastic said...




(Oops, I guess I don't know since I am not a parent yet.)

By the way, is this because you want to keep the good babysitters all to yourself? I'm not quite sure I understand.

B, Esq. said...

Don't ask another parent if their kid has hit a certain milestone yet. Even if you don't know any better because your only kid is younger than theirs. If the kid hasn't hit that milestone yet (using a fork, walking, etc.) much awkwardness ensues.

Steph said...

Never feed another child something without asking the parent first. This is a huge NO NO.

minmate said...

Wow... There's a lotta unwritten rules to this parenting thing.... wonder how I've made it this far?

The trick to keeping the best babysitters... pay better and have good snacks in the house. Works for us. Then again, if you'll only be going out once every nine months, I don't know that you'll have all that much to worry about. I think WW should be more concerned about you taking her on more date nights.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Minmate...why do you assume that it's because I'm simply not taking her out, huh?

Steph...yeah, we had that happen. It went like this:

"Oh, I have no idea why the Bean is vomiting up Cheezits. I have no idea how he got those."

Trooper Thorn said...

You can never know all the rules, because they are made up on the spot whenever a spouse feels slighted. But I have a feeling telling anyone else's kid their religion is wrong, then giving them some literature about your beliefs is frowned upon.

Thanks for your comment on my Hot Dad's posting. For my money, you can never go wrong with "No!"

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Trooper...So I guess I should stop doing that, huh?

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

YOu never figure it out...if she's female and anything like me...we can change our minds and etiquette at whim!

Just saying...

Wonder Wife said...

Jumping in to DGB's defense. He's offered (read: begged) to take me out oodles of times since Sprout arrived. I'm quite antisocial to start with, but when coupled with a needy, clingy, mama's girl of a child, I have had no desire to venture further than the distance from our couch to our bed after the hour of 8pm.

The one time we did try to go out, I was called back to the homestead by our sitter due to a needy, clingy, mama's girl of an infant who refused to eat for said sitter for more than 6 hours.

Steph said...

DGB- I can't imagine how bad cheezits would be coming back up. Yuck!!

I had to tell my IL's that you don't feed kids without asking. They thought I was nuts.