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Jane Likes Him Jealous

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Dear Annie: I am 74, and "Jane" is 56. We met online, where I said early on that I was not interested in dating because of the age disparity. I simply told her that I liked the expression on her face in the posted photos. She is beautiful.

But within a few months, we fell in love and became intimate. Jane realized it was a mistake and was quick to point it out. Aside from the age problem, I also suffer from impotence, and the sexual dysfunction had too great an impact. Jane wanted a man who could provide for all her needs.

Jane told me she wanted to stay friends, but I refused. I really fell for her and cannot tolerate the idea that she is sexually involved with another man. This woman is a complete 10 in her heart and soul. After we broke up, I went through months of feeling bad. I cried a lot.

But here's the problem. Jane seems unable to let go of me. She told me once that she liked me more than anyone she had ever known, and she finds me endlessly interesting. Every month or so, she contacts me. If it happens when I'm strong and happy, I reply, and we have a nice email chat. Of course, eventually she ends up accidentally mentioning her other men, and that caves me in. Jane would never try to make me jealous, but she has no appreciation for my inability to deal with this. I have tried to go cold turkey and dump her completely, but I seem too susceptible to the possibility that she'll change her mind and want me as a sweetheart again.

It would be easier if I had other romantic options, but at my age and selectivity, I'm not hopeful. Jane was a mistake that got out of hand, and I'm paying for it. Is there a way to build a strong and lasting friendship with Jane regardless of her involvement with other men? — Too Old

Dear Too: No matter how nice Jane is, we suspect she enjoys making you a wee bit jealous.

Otherwise, she wouldn't mention her male friends. The age gap is not insurmountable, but if a romantic relationship isn't in the cards, it will take time before you can have the type of friendship you seek. Since you are so susceptible, it might help to distance yourself more thoroughly from Jane and send her emails directly to your spam file. It's hard to cool off when you both keep fanning the flames.

Dear Annie: I recently took my 5-year-old son to a birthday party for a little girl who turned 7. We put together a birthday present of arts and crafts materials including stickers, stamps, Barbie coloring pages, glitter glue, etc. We thought it was a nice present. However, when the birthday girl opened it, she laughed, and the girl's best friend commented, "Who would give someone that?"

My son was oblivious, but I was offended. Should I have said something? — Concerned Mom

Dear Mom: No. You're talking about a young girl who is still learning how to respond properly to gifts. We hope she said "thank you," and we trust her mother will give her pointers on polite and appropriate things to say. The best friend's response was rude, but again, little kids need time to learn. The important thing is that you didn't make a big deal out of it with your son. We think your gift was lovely.

Dear Annie: I'm responding to "L.H. in Montgomery." I, too, am 82 years old and have been single for 23 years. A little over a year ago, I became reacquainted with a wonderful gentleman I'd met at a church 40 years ago. We will be getting married this fall.

Do not despair. There is always hope. — In Love in SoCal

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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Comments

52 Comments | Post Comment
LW2 - The girls were rude, but it's their parents' job to teach them how to accept presents correctly and politely, not yours.

However, something tells me you didn't know the girl very well. Maybe this particular girl does not like stickers and stamps, and Barbie coloring pages. Not all girls do, you know. My own daughter and her friends, for example, have always been more into Legos than Barbies. It's not that unusual.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Ariana
Mon Sep 1, 2014 9:15 PM
LW2 is a better person than I am. I would have packed up my son and left after giving this entitled snotty little brat's parents a piece of my mind. Ditto for the kid's rude best friend's parents if they were also present. We put up with too much crap from kids nowadays. This one and her friend need to be taught a lesson. Ground her for three weeks and give away all her presents to charity save perhaps valuable ones from close family. Those she dan play with or use only after the grounding period is over. Teach her about gratitude and appreciation. Insufferable little princess! And don't even get me started about her parents. Where were they when this wad happening anyway? (Not just the mother, BTW.) What was their reaction?
.
This has never happened to me, but as you can tell it strikes a nerve. I hope it never does happen cause it wouldn't be pretty!
Comment: #2
Posted by: WinehouseFan
Mon Sep 1, 2014 9:40 PM
LW2 - I am glad your 5 yr. old son was oblivious to the rude birthday girl and her best friend's remarks. At 7 both girls should know how to be gracious when opening a gift. You were correct by not saying anything to either girl. However, I presume you must have some sort of relationship with this family since your son was invited to this girl's BD party. If you are good friends with the parents, I would hope you would be able to have a calm conversation about the present opening comments. If you are not, I don't think I would accept any future invitations, be it a play date or another party.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Lori C
Mon Sep 1, 2014 10:03 PM
LW1 - To Jane, you are a big fish. She has set the hook and you are on the line for her to reel in and tug whenever she likes. And she likes tugging on your line. STOP IT. Cut yourself loose. Tell Jane it is over, you don't want to be friends and not to contact you again. Block her on your phone, social media and email. Get yourself back in the dating pool. Stick with women closer to your age. Also, haven't you heard about the little blue pill? Ask your doctor about it.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Lori C
Mon Sep 1, 2014 10:11 PM
LW1: For heaven's sake, for every man in your age group, there are tons of women who either don't mind that you can't perform, or are RELIEVED that you can't. They just want a companion for a play, a restaurant meal, or travel. Put the word out that you're available, and you'll be swamped.

Continuing to exchange messages with Jane is like picking a scab. It'll never heal unless you leave it alone.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Kimiko
Mon Sep 1, 2014 10:16 PM
@ Lori #5 - There are many reasons a man can't take the little blue pill, one of which is eye disease. A 75-year-old man could have glaucoma.

As Samson realized after he was betrayed by Delilah, sex is never worth going blind over.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Kimiko
Mon Sep 1, 2014 10:20 PM
* * * * PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT * * * *

LW3 refers to the second letter on 29 June 2014.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Miss Pasko
Mon Sep 1, 2014 10:32 PM
LW2: The birthday girl and her friend are not "rude" kids who are "learning proper behavior". They are bullies. I don't have kids, but when I was 7 I never in a million years would have tried to humiliate and belittle another kid - but I sure as heck knew kids who would. If these kids aren't full-fledged "mean girls" yet, they're on their way, and it sounds like their parents did nothing and don't care. Great. I would have said something to the parents for sure, if they just sat there, none of that was OK behavior.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Steve C
Mon Sep 1, 2014 11:11 PM
Re: Kimiko (5)

I had the same thought (re: supply and demand for men of LW1's age). We get a lot of letters here from women who would love an escort to lunch etc.

LW1: I'm not going to come down hard on Jane, but I do think she likes having you in her life as something of a security blanket: she's got you in the back pocket in case she's got a lull in her social life. And that's not fair to you.

What I suggest you do, write Jane one last email and tell her that you care about her, wish her the best, but that you would appreciate it if she would leave you alone for awhile. Then don't answer her emails.

LW2: I completely understand Winehouse Fan's reaction here: I would have been pretty angry too.

By age 7, that little girl should have been taught better manners. At this point (good job LW keeping it under control!), I would call the mother and tell her that her daughter's response to the gift was hurtful. And the next time you're invited to a party at that house, decline the invitation.

LW3: Aw... that's so sweet! I know a lot of women who have found love at ages where it didn't seem possible. I hope LW1 is reading today!
Comment: #9
Posted by: nanchan
Tue Sep 2, 2014 1:02 AM
LW1: Jane, Jane, jerking your chain. She calls, you jump. She knows she'll never "settle" for you, but as long as you keep building up her ego, she's happy to keep you around as a backup. Impotent, old, whatever, you deserve better, and better is out there. Go back online and find someone more suitable. Don't waste another minute with this user.

LW2: My son and I have been to three birthday parties this summer (2 boys turning 6, 1 girl turning 5). None of their parents would have tolerated such rudeness. The girl's parents should have been there and said something to these spoiled kids, but you took the classy route. Maybe it was just a fluke (like adults, kids aren't always on their best behavior), but if the subject comes up with your son, or if you see this behavior in other kids in his circle, you could talk to him about it.
Comment: #10
Posted by: Baldrz
Tue Sep 2, 2014 1:40 AM
LW1 - Whether or not Jane is trying to make the LW jealous (which I doubt), she's definitely using him to feed her own ego and because she knows he'll always be there as a back-up. He needs to stop torturing himself by continuing to correspond with her and hoping she'll want something more. He should cut off all contact with her and find someone who appreciates him for what he can offer. It will be hard to do, but he'll never be happy if he doesn't. Jane does NOT want a friendship with him, just someone to make her feel desirable. He deserves better.
Comment: #11
Posted by: Kitty
Tue Sep 2, 2014 2:37 AM
Re: Kimiko: Good one! And then Sampson, chained to the two columns, got back his strength, pulled the building down on everyone and they all died. The end.
Comment: #12
Posted by: Lori C
Tue Sep 2, 2014 2:55 AM
LW1: Yeah, I think the Annies are on to something. If Jane were truly your friend, truly as wonderful and sensitive and caring as you seem to think she is, then she would understand you need your space. But she's getting *something* out of continuing the contact. Maybe it's an ego boost, maybe it's just keeping you on the hook as a backup option... nobody but Jane knows for sure, and even then she might not consciously realize why she is doing what she is doing.

So, given what you've told us so far, I don't think a friendship is possible under the circumstances, and I would recommend you cut the ties completely.

LW2: It was a party of 5-7 year olds, apparently. It's not unsurprising that not all of them were perfectly polite or understood how to respond nicely and compassionately. "Kids Say The Darndest Things" didn't become a phrase or a show out of nowhere. I think you are taking this too personally and you should probably let it go.

LW3: A lovely story and a reminder that life is about possibilities.
Comment: #13
Posted by: Mike H
Tue Sep 2, 2014 3:37 AM
Bitey Fish thinks that girls' cattiness starts younger and younger.
Comment: #14
Posted by: Bitey Fish
Tue Sep 2, 2014 3:44 AM
Re: Mike H (13)

There is a BIG difference between a child expressing their opinion and a child being flat out mean. When it became MEAN was when the little sweetheart mocked the gift to her friends. She wasn't expressing herself, she was making fun of whoever gave the gift and doing it publicly.

And at seven years old, that child SHOULD have known better. If I had dared to act like that my bottom would have been sore and I would have probably had to give all the presents back. Shame on the parents who should have corrected that behavior as it happened.
Comment: #15
Posted by: nanchan
Tue Sep 2, 2014 3:56 AM
LW1 - Jane is not as wonderful as you think. She loves jerking your chain and making you jealous. Someone who is as sweet and kind as you say she is wouldn't brag about her men to you, knowing that you still hold a torch for her. Don't kid yourself. She doesn't "accidentally" mention them. She purposely mentions them. If she really wanted to be with you, she would be. She's not coming back to you.

You need to let her go completely. If it means changing your phone number and email address, then do so. But do not speak to her again. Or...the next time she calls..."accidentally" mention the many women you've been courting and dating and how you just "adore them all!" I bet you she stops calling after that.

In all seriousness, though, you won't get over Jane until you cut the chain she's jerking.

LW2 - And where were the girl's parents during this?? Had my nephew or niece said such a rude thing, my brother and SIL would've immediately scolded them. If the parents said nothing, don't ever go back to a party for their child again.
Comment: #16
Posted by: Michelle
Tue Sep 2, 2014 3:56 AM
LW1 -
Jane is getting her jollies yanking your chain, testing her wow power and keeping you on the back burner. How flattering for her at her age that she has a man yelling "How high?" whenever she says "Jump"! And apparently, she likes to check periodically to make sure you're still googoo-gaga and at her beck and call.

Friendship? How can there be any friendship with a venomous snake? This woman is not a friend, not to you and probably not to anyone - real friends are not totally insensitive about the pain they inflict, like Jane is. Run. Cut off all contact. Block her e-mail address and her phone number.

And put yourself on the market. Nothing but dating a slew of eager women to take your mind off that one. Lots of women are no longer interested in sex at your age (and even at Jane's age), and would love to find companionship with no physical demands. You'll probably need to beat them off with a stick. You don't need Jane.

LW2 -
I understand that not all girls are into Barbie dolls and stickers, but that's no excuse for cruelty. Their behaviour was inexcusable, and I can't believe there wasn't at least one parent present. Where were they when this was happening, looking on with a look of tender adoration and thinking this was "cute"? Some kids learn how to bully at their parents' knee, because this is the way THEY are.

I can't help but admire how classy you were. I wouldn't have been capable of such restraint. As it is, you at least spared your son, who has no idea that there was anything wrong. Good.

Now, your son won't always be oblivious, so stay away from these rude boors and these developing mean little b*tches. He needs them in his life like he needs a brick wall on his feet.

Comment: #17
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Tue Sep 2, 2014 5:01 AM
Re: Michelle
"I'll bet you she stops calling after that."
Or all of a sudden she'll wasn't a "relationship", to conquer him back.


Comment: #18
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Tue Sep 2, 2014 5:03 AM
all of a sudden she'll WANT
Comment: #19
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Tue Sep 2, 2014 5:04 AM
LW2: How about we give the 7-year-old girls a break, and remember that they are 7 years old? A handcrafted thrown together art project with glue and glitter may be an endearing gift for a child to give to an adult, like a grandparent, but to give to another child? Really? Their response was definitely inappropriate and they are at the age where they need to learn to be gracious when receiving a gift, no matter what they think about it, but the 5-year-old's mother also needs to take responsibility for setting him up giving the girl a stupid gift.
Comment: #20
Posted by: peejayem
Tue Sep 2, 2014 5:15 AM
Re: peejayem (20)

Really? A stupid gift? I don't think that's fair at all.

CC never got into Barbies, and many girls don't, and many parents don't encourage Barbies as toys because of the whole role model thing (unrealistic body image, etc.). But the LW has a son. There is no indication that she has any daughters. Maybe that's what she thought the girl would like.

And even if the girl didn't like Barbies, there were other things she could use in the present like the glitter glue, etc.

Far more important though is teaching the child that ANY gift is something to BE THANKFUL FOR!

PS: We get lots of debate here about gift registries etc. Is this what we want to boil down to? A gift registry for a child's birthday party so that we won't offend their sensibilities? How about teaching children that sometimes you get stuff you don't like and to be nice about it?
Comment: #21
Posted by: nanchan
Tue Sep 2, 2014 5:23 AM
Re: Lise Brouillette

"Or all of a sudden she'll want a "relationship", to conquer him back"

Good point. If the LW is strong enough, he can laugh and say, "Oh, no thanks. I've got my hands full." But he's not so just cut her off all together.
Comment: #22
Posted by: Michelle
Tue Sep 2, 2014 5:30 AM
Re: peejayem (#20)

I agree the girls are 7 years old and will forget from time to time proper manners. (Although I also agree with the rest of BTL that by 7, they should know better.) However, I agree with nanchan (#21): It does NOT excuse the rude reception they gave the gift, which I am sure the LW and her son put a lot of time and thought into.

Yes, I can completely see gift registries for children's birthday parties happening. Someday. How sad.

And I completely agree with everyone else that you did the right thing by saying nothing. I know I've brought up violence and shouting matches a number of times on this board, resulting from when you say something, and that could easily have happened here. The LW was right to bite her tongue and not let it escalate, because in the end, it's not worth it. And the consequences could lead to everything from a broken friendship to someone in jail for serious assault – all over an insignificant matter such as a birthday gift.

The best thing is what Mike H (#13) said: Let it go and realize that some people are, well, rude … or will fail to teach their children the difference between being gracious (even if you didn't like the gift) and being rude.
Comment: #23
Posted by: Bobaloo
Tue Sep 2, 2014 6:06 AM
I have to say it..... today the BTL'ers are not reading the letters. LW2 wrote that she and her son put together a gift of arts and crafts MATERIALS..... not a "thrown together" hand made gift..... and shame on everyone one for busting on the 7 year old birthday girl.... The LW said she laughed and that her friend made the cruel remark. Have any of you ever seen a 7 year old when they get a gift they like? Laughter doesn't generally mean they don't like it or agree with a snotty friend.... All i'm saying is thoroughly read the letters and if you're gonna comment BTL, for heavens sake try not to be so narrow minded. Not all girls are "mean girls", and at that age they don't always know what they are saying or doing. Yes, the snotty kids parents should correct her behavior but I am no so sure that the birthday girl didn't like the gift.....
Comment: #24
Posted by: FerretGirl72
Tue Sep 2, 2014 7:02 AM
Re: FerretGirl72 (24)

You're right that laughter could mean anything from joy to disdain.

But the LW should be the best judge of that given that she was there, right? I mean, she has a child of almost the same age and would get that.

It's always hard for us to gauge the situation in these letters, and all we really have to go on is what is in the letters that we see.
Comment: #25
Posted by: nanchan
Tue Sep 2, 2014 7:12 AM
FerretGirl72 - I agree that other posters have come down too hard on the birthday girl. I was struck by the fact that she did not add any nasty comments, even after that door had been opened by her friend. Her parents should have apologized, but I just don't see the spontaneous laugh as having the intentions some people have attributed to it.
Comment: #26
Posted by: Girl Scout Leader
Tue Sep 2, 2014 7:24 AM
Those of you who want to give a pass to the little brats in LW2's letter will be the rirst ones surprised that by high school they will be insufferable, by college they'll still have Monmy and Daddy making excuses for them to their professors and dean, and by their wedding they will be the Mothers of all Bridezillas.
.
I'm wi Nanchan: LW2 was there so she is in the best position to gauge whether the laughter was mocking or not. I'm glad she showed restraint for the sake of her little boy, and that he was oblivious to what transpired. At that age, such things can be extremely hurtful. I think we can all relate.
Comment: #27
Posted by: WinehouseFan
Tue Sep 2, 2014 7:47 AM
Those of you who want to give a pass to the little brats in LW2's letter will be the rirst ones surprised that by high school they will be insufferable, by college they'll still have Monmy and Daddy making excuses for them to their professors and dean, and by their wedding they will be the Mothers of all Bridezillas.
.
I'm wi Nanchan: LW2 was there so she is in the best position to gauge whether the laughter was mocking or not. I'm glad she showed restraint for the sake of her little boy, and that he was oblivious to what transpired. At that age, such things can be extremely hurtful. I think we can all relate.
Comment: #28
Posted by: WinehouseFan
Tue Sep 2, 2014 7:47 AM
Re: LW1 - I don't see any evidence in your letter that Jane is deliberately trying to make you jealous. You've never told you how her dating references hurt your feelings, and she's not a mind reader. Most likely she regards you as a friend, and possibly a father figure, that she can talk to freely about her feelings. She's just sharing her life with you, as she would with any non-romantic friend. If you want to continue the relationship, just tell her that it hurts your feelings when you bring up other men, and to please make that subject off limits. But if, as you say, you can't let go of the hope of a romantic relationship, it's time to break contact with her, because that aint gonna happen.


Re LW2 - The little girl you gave the gift to laughed because she thought it was funny. From your description, it was a little odd. (I can't tell if you tore out some pages from a Barbie coloring book and dumped some glitter on them, or gave her a container of glitter and some torn-out pages expecting her to do the same, but either way, I'm not surprised that she didn't know what to make of it.)


It was also a gift that was clearly from you, not your son (though he did help assemble it), because no little boy would think of giving a little girl something like you describe. So I suspect that your being so miffed is not really on your son's behalf.


I'm glad in any case that you didn't make a scene like some BTL posters have suggested you should have. Your son wasn't hurt by her response; he probably has a better idea now of what kinds of gifts she does and doesn't like. And it wasn't her, but her friend, who made the rude comment.


The party girl's parents should teach her to acknowledge gifts with a smile whether they are peculiar or not, and the other girl's parents should talk to her about making rude comments. But doing so is not your place. You did the right thing by not blowing a fuse and making a scene that would have deeply embarrassed your son. He wasn't in the least bothered by the party; let it go and stop worrying about it.
Comment: #29
Posted by: sarah morrow
Tue Sep 2, 2014 7:48 AM
LW2- I agree that the behaviors of the two girls were wrong and it should have been corrected but I don't think they should be written off as bullies and future social deviants over it (no child is going through make to 18 without some mishaps and mistakes). If your son still interacts with them and the poor behavior continues then you may have reason to stop interacting with them. However if it was a onetime situation and the kids are normally polite and they play well with your son then chalk it up to a one time situation and move on.
Comment: #30
Posted by: JA
Tue Sep 2, 2014 8:18 AM
LW1- I'm in the camp of looking for ladies closer to your age brackett. Judging by the letters we see online, they would love to have a companion to accompany them to a movie or a dance. Also, I don't agree that Jane is a complete 10 in heart and soul... doesn't sound like she's got too much of a heart jerking you around like that. She may be a 10 to you physically but not in her heart. There's no way for you two to be friends without your heart getting hurt. Find an appreciative lady closer to your age who would cherish you.

LW2- I'm also in the camp that this birthday girl should know proper manners by age 7 but I tend to agree with Bitey (#14) in that girls do seem to be getting cattier at a younger age.
Comment: #31
Posted by: JustBecause
Tue Sep 2, 2014 8:20 AM
I don't think Winehouse or I are suggesting that the LW SHOULD have blown up at the party, we're just saying it would be hard to have controlled a reaction if we had been there.

I agree with the poster who said it wasn't up to the LW to discipline the child, it's NOT the LW's responsibility. It's the parents. But since there is no indication that the parents took any action or that they were even there (it's possible they were in another room and didn't see the reaction of the two girls), I do think the LW should talk to the parent(s) and mention the inappropriate reaction.

This is the way kids learn: by making mistakes and being corrected. I'm sure that every one of us at some point in our childhoods were corrected by our parents. And I'm sure that those of us who are parents have done a lot of correcting ourselves.

It's not the fun part of being a parent, or of being a kid. But it is a NECESSARY part of life for both parents and children.

Too bad MORE parents aren't dealing with this type of correction, it's one reason we have so many entitled adults running around.
Comment: #32
Posted by: nanchan
Tue Sep 2, 2014 8:54 AM
I've never seen so many adults so upset by a single comment made by the friend of a 7-year-old birthday girl of an oblivious son of a stranger.

I'm not sure how y'all managed to live this long if a kid saying something dumb makes it difficult for you to control a rage outburst.

But, you know, sanity is restored when we throw around things like "bully" and "brats" and "little b*tches" (classy) and "OH GO WHERE WERE THE PARENTS DECLINE THEIR INVITES FOREVER". Totally reasonable reaction to a girl laughing at her friend's flippant remark. At age seven. Yup. Good thing all of us here never said something dumb as kids that our parents didn't call us on, right?

As for the parents - well, the friend's parents may not have been in attendance. Or in earshot. And even if they were, not all parents think it's appropriate to correct their kid in front of a group of friends and their parents, and also parents are not magic who hear/see every single thing and respond perfectly in a way that suits every narrow-minded, demanding jacka-s in earshot.

But some good may come of calling the parents and complaining. The LW will never get invited to anything again so that's good for everyone else. Can you imagine? "Hi, I'm Mrs. Smith, I was at Jane's birthday party a few weeks ago? Well, your daughter made a brief, glib comment about my gift and I sincerely hope you've chastised her and given her a good whack upside the head, because it hurt my feelings even though my son didn't notice. If not, I'll never attend your parties because you aren't a good parent. Frankly, I'm disappointed you didn't tear into her in the middle of the party. Thanks."

Followed by another call: "Hi, this is Mrs. Smith. I was at Jane's party a few weeks ago. Her friend made a rude comment about my gift and Jane laughed. I hope you took away all her gifts and gave her a good talking to. Otherwise I will be declining your future invitations due to hurt feelings. Thanks."
Comment: #33
Posted by: Zoe
Tue Sep 2, 2014 9:08 AM
I'm trying to put myself in the mother's shoes here, Zoe, to tell you how I would respond.

It's entirely possible the mother/father weren't in the room, because I believe that most parents (not all) would have corrected the comment as it was made.

But here's how I would call "Mrs. Smith" if I was the LW:

"Hey, Susan (most parents are on first name basis, Zoe, and if a 5 year old boy was invited to a 7 year old girl's party, it's likely FAMILY or the parents are close friends, the kids probably aren't all that close). This is nanchan. Hey, just wanted to tell you that last week at Jen's party, she and a friend made fun of the gift we gave them. No, Billy didn't catch it, but you may want to talk to Jen about it."

If I was Susan, here's how I would respond to that:

"Oh my goodness, I didn't even see it in all the confusion, you know kids opening presents and running around and all. Thanks for telling me, I'll have a chat with Jen."

Most parents, Zoe, especially if they are family or close friends (which I think is the case here, because again, most 7 year old girls don't interact that much with 5 year old boys unless they are family or the parents are friends) realize that they can't always see what their kids do. There is an unspoken rule that we all just kind of keep an eye on the whole tribe at these types of functions.

If I got a call from another mother saying seven year CC had done that, I would THANK the mother and my next course of action would be to have CC apologize to the mother and the child. Then I would probably arrange for a play date with the kids to clear the air.

Yes, I've had to take that course of action with CC (not in this type of situation but similar) in the past and most parents I know HAVE. If the parent got bent out of shape about me complaining to them about their kid's inappropriate behavior, then I probably wouldn't want my child to socialize with them anyways.
Comment: #34
Posted by: nanchan
Tue Sep 2, 2014 9:50 AM
LW2: That gift sounds really weird, I bet the 7 year old friend of the birthday girl wasn't the only one laughing. Maybe it was awkward laughter because the gift was so not expected. Next time you want your kid to attend a party bring an appropriate gift. It's 2014 and 7 year olds in this day and age should not be expected to react politely to a weird gift. This is on the mom who didn't want to make the time and effort to find a more appropriate gift NOT on the little girls who probably thought it was a joke and were laughing awkwardly.
Comment: #35
Posted by: Kitty O'Shea
Tue Sep 2, 2014 10:22 AM
Re LW1: As with most of the commenters, I think Jane is enjoying making LW1 jealous and yanking his chain. She's not just innocently calling to chat, she's "casually" bringing up her latest boyfriend, and rubbing it in LW1's face. If she were remotely considerate, she'd either not mention it, or ask if it was bothering him.

However, I don't think he wants a female companion to escort to dinner and movies. He clearly wants a woman to go to bed with, and as people have often said, there are other things you can do in the bedroom together, even when the erection thing isn't working. Sure, he should look for someone else, but that "someone else" needs to be interested in some form of a sexual relationship.
Comment: #36
Posted by: dave
Tue Sep 2, 2014 10:23 AM
Where I feel the importance is in LW2 is not the birtday girl, her friend who made the comment or any aduit - it is the LW's son and his feelings about the subject that are most important. Yes, he is only 5 - and if he was "oblivious" to it, guess what? He probably didn't give two hoots what the birthday girl said about the gift. He was there for the games and the cake and ice cream! Let's not start giving 5 year olds (or 7 year old birthday girls for that matter) adult emotions and thought capabilities.

I am different than the Annies for LW1 and I think the LW has the problem, not Jane. She wants to be friends with him. Now, unless she is trying to get him to have sex when she is also doing so with other men, what's the problem with being friends? Many people, both men and women, find it easier to share certain topics with a trusted friend instead of a spouse or life partner. I say he should let go of the love and be a good friend to her. I realize that not everyone can do that, but I just don't see a lot of bad behavior here on Jane's part.
Comment: #37
Posted by: Lancelot
Tue Sep 2, 2014 10:26 AM
@Zoe, #33... right on, sister. Preach it. Completely agree that this is being blown way out of proportion. I've spent a good amount of time with a lot of kids in this age group (used to teach CCD and tutor locally), and a random moment of lapse of impulse control is the norm, not the rarity.

But adults labeling a kid as a "future bully" or a "brat", or turning this into an "issue" between parents -- now that stuff can have further consequences. And *adults* ought to know better. Certainly every friend and relative of mine who have had children that age wouldn't have overreacted, and their kids are turning out just fine.

A little gentle correction from the parent if they caught it, otherwise you just let it go. Anything else is unnecessary and looking for an excuse to create drama.
Comment: #38
Posted by: Mike H
Tue Sep 2, 2014 10:33 AM
@Mike H
For a second I thought you wrote "Used to teach CC" then I saw it was CCD.
Comment: #39
Posted by: Kitty O'Shea
Tue Sep 2, 2014 10:38 AM
Bitey Fish thought you said you taught OCD and were making little children wash their hands over and over.
Comment: #40
Posted by: Piranha in Pajamas
Tue Sep 2, 2014 11:27 AM
Re: peejayem #20:
This was NOT A "A handcrafted thrown together art project with glue and glitter" BUT " a birthday present of arts and crafts materials including stickers, stamps, Barbie coloring pages, glitter glue, etc."
They bought the products that went into the gift.
First, I would make sure to never attend that girl's birthday again, if your friend is the mother, and you are asked, just say your child does not want to go to a girls party.
Now, my boys always had girls at their party as they were part of the neighborhood play group. Not a problem.
Kids saying mean things like that mean they heard it somewhere, were allowed to get by with it.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
L1: You know, read this a couple of times. This sound TOO well put together for a distraught elderly person. Maybe this is just an assignment....again. All the questions correct, all the figuring out, like a someone in the know, and yet, WHAT SHOULD I DO? So everyone has their answer to this guy. Well, this is mine.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
My 8 year old granddaughter loves to get gifts like that. All 4 granddaughters get that every year for birthdays or Christmas BUT I add so much more. 2 of my young g-c are budding artists of all textures.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Comment: #41
Posted by: Joyce/MN
Tue Sep 2, 2014 11:27 AM
Kitty O'Shea, you know, it's uncanny. Every time I read someone using the expression "in this day and age" I always know that what follows is an excuse for bad behavior. In this case, I'm closer to Zoe and Mike H's view but you wrote':
"It's 2014 and 7 year olds in this day and age should not be expected to react politely to a weird gift. This is on the mom who didn't want to make the time and effort to find a more appropriate gift"

I disagree. It is ALWAYS "on" the receiver to react politely to a gift, even a 7 year old - at least a gift given with the innocent expectation of pleasing the recipient. Why do you think 7 year-olds shouldn't "be expected to react politely to a weird gift"? Do you think they're too stupid at that age to understand that not everyone gets it right? Should they be taught to expect only the "perfect" gift? What if the giver is a FMR (functionally mentally retarded) child who wants to give his priceless bathtub toy?

There is way too much speculation that a thoughtless remark by a young girl portends future drama queeny-ness and bridezilla-dom. To those people, I say "get a grip." The child needs to learn basic manners, but causing a huge scene is not the way to do it.
Comment: #42
Posted by: Maggie Lawrence
Tue Sep 2, 2014 11:38 AM
Maggie re #42
Thelma Harper from "Mama's Family" said, "When people don't know what they're talking about, they tell you the date: 'Get with it, it's the '50's, it's the '60's..."
:-)
Comment: #43
Posted by: Mary Ann
Tue Sep 2, 2014 11:56 AM
Mary Ann
I always find that when people don't have their own original thoughts and want to appear clever they use a quote in an effort to impress others
:-)
Comment: #44
Posted by: Kitty O'Shea
Tue Sep 2, 2014 12:14 PM
@BiteyFish, during cold and flu season, I *wish* I could teach that kind of course... to adults AND children! :-)
Comment: #45
Posted by: Mike H
Tue Sep 2, 2014 12:25 PM
LW2- As FerretGirl and Joyce said, the gift was not a craft item made of these items, the gift was a bunch of craft ITEMS, that the girl could use to decorate things or use to make something. I think it was a lovely gift. The birthday girl may have laughed for any number of reasons, either because she liked it, or because she wasn't sure what it was, or because one of the items amused her. Her little friend, however, was rude, and since the birthday girl did not add to the rude comment with a comment of her own, perhaps she did not agree with her, but just ignored the comment and moved on. In any case, the LW did the right thing by not involving her son and making him also feel bad. Maybe her son thought that the birthday girl liked it, and maybe he knows that her friend is a mean goof who is ignored by everyone because she is socially awkward.
.
When my daughter was little, she was more of a tomboy than a girly girl, but when boys were invited to her birthday parties, their moms always bought the frilliest Barbie imaginable. I knew that their moms were happy to be able to buy a girly present, so we always exclaimed how beautiful it was. We knew the intentions were the best.
.
One time my daughter was invited to a birthday party, and I was broke. Knowing that the birthday girl loved Barbie, I quickly whipped up a bunch of Barbie clothes. My daughter told me that as the birthday girl was holding up the Barbie clothes, one of the girls was commenting, "Oh, that one is made of fabric from (my daughter's) blouse. And that dress is made from (my daughter's) jacket....." and so on. I had made the clothes from scraps left from making my daughter's clothes. When my daughter related the story to me, I asked her if she had felt like it had been said with mean intention. She assured me that it had not, it was matter of fact. Kids never miss a thing, and sometimes, they are just sayin', no ill will intended.
Comment: #46
Posted by: Patty Bear
Tue Sep 2, 2014 12:30 PM
LW1: For some people, it is really easy to be friends with someone they once dated. Sadly, I don't think that LW1 is one of those people. At least, he isn't with this woman. It may be time to cut off all contact for awhile or perhaps permanently. Friendships are not supposed to hurt this bad.

LW2: Keep in mind that just because LW2 didn't see the mom correct her children doesn't mean it didn't happen. When my son and steps were growing up, I tried to talk to them privately when they did something wrong. The way I see it is this: If I'm upset at my husband, I don't talk to him about it in front of all of our friends. Because it is disrespectful to him. So why would I not show my kids the same courtesy. It could be that the mom took them aside when she could and said something about it. That is, if she heard the remark at all.

But seriously, I just couldn't see getting your panties in a bunch over something a first grader said. Yes, I'm sure that by seven she should know better. But kids say stupid stuff, even when they know better. And they especially do it when they are around their friends. And to suggest that she's going to grow up to be a bad person because of she said something stupid at seven is a little out there.
Comment: #47
Posted by: Datura
Tue Sep 2, 2014 12:39 PM
Re: Zoe #33
"OH GO WHERE WERE THE PARENTS DECLINE THEIR INVITES FOREVER". Totally reasonable reaction to a girl laughing at her friend's flippant remark. At age seven. Yup. Good thing all of us here never said something dumb as kids that our parents didn't call us on, right?"
You're damn right that I would decline future invitations if this is the way my child was treated. No way I'd go out of my way to subject him or her to another round of mean comments, school is bad enough for that.

And I certainly never said anything like THAT when I was seven, I can assure you my mother would have taken me to task right there and then. This is called providing an education.

"Not all parents think it's appropriate to correct their kid in front of a group of friends and their parents"
And for that matter, many parents don't see fit to correct anything at all their precious child is saying or doing, the kids have never heard the word no in their lives and everything they do is deemed pure gold and "so cute". Correct their kid in front of a group of kids? Oh yeah, let's walk on eggs and wear kid gloves here, Queen kiddo is so very fragile that she will be gravely traumatised if taught basic manners. Let's spare her wittle feelings at any cost, and the feelings of the guests? Nah. Don't matter.

Sorry, but I don't buy it.

Comment: #48
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Tue Sep 2, 2014 12:45 PM
Re: nanchan

You know, if the birthday girl had openly made fun of the gift (say, if SHE had made the comment the other girl made), I'd be more willing to board your train. But all she did was laugh. She's 7. Rude? Sure (assuming it was definitely scornful). Worthy of "I can barely contain my anger!" and then a phone call to the mother? Not in my opinion. The LW can if she wants, it just seems utterly insane to me to get so caught up in a 7-year-old's laughing reaction to a gift that we have to call their mom about our (not even) hurt feelings.

And really crap like this: "Hey, just wanted to tell you that last week at Jen's party, she and a friend made fun of the gift we gave them."?! If you have to misrepresent the situation to get your point across, maybe you don't have a point at all. Like really if someone said to me "two girls made fun of X" I would imagine far more than a laugh and a mildly rude comment. If you worded it accurately ("Hey, just wanted to tell you that last week at Jen's party when they opened our gift, Jen laughed and another girl said something rude") it would sound crazy, especially if you then refused all future invitations on that basis. If, as you theorize, the kids know each other through friends/family of the adults, that's even crazier. "Hey cousin, I love you but your kid laughed my gift so I'm afraid our kids can't be friends anymore."

"I would THANK the mother and my next course of action would be to have CC apologize to the mother and the child. Then I would probably arrange for a play date with the kids to clear the air." - This to me seems like blowing the situation way way WAY out of proportion and making it weird for everyone. The only person who is offended is the LW and the only "perpetrator", really, is the girl's FRIEND (unless laughing is some huge crime in your opinion, I guess).

I mean, if you remove the "other girl's" comment (which is unrelated because it happened after the girl's laugh and seemed to be the end of the fun-making), does this complaint still really stand up? Still warrant a phone call? Still warrant calling the girls brats and bullies and b*tches and dooming them to a life of entitlement and rudeness? I dunno, not to me, not by a long shot. But then I tend not to take comments from first graders really seriously so I don't know maybe I'm the crazy one.

Re: Lise B

"You're damn right that I would decline future invitations if this is the way my child was treated."

And, uh, how was that, exactly? A laugh? That he didn't notice? That's AWESOME. Kids really thrive when their parents swoop in and say "You can't be friends with X anymore because SHE LAUGHED at the gift I chose for her at her party last year!"

"No way I'd go out of my way to subject him or her to another round of mean comments"
Mhm... Fully accurate representation of what happened and not overly dramatic at all. Did you miss these parts: a) one comment doesn't make a "round", b) it was LW's gift choice, c) the boy didn't notice and d) the comment really wasn't that bad or directed to someone?

"And I certainly never said anything like THAT when I was seven" You never laughed at something? Fun. Awesome.

"This is called providing an education." Eh, nah. It's just manners, which can be well taught even without a 100% "catch and punish" rate. Like math. You can still learn to do math even if you make a few mistakes along the way, even if those aren't corrected. And frankly, I DON'T think it's appropriate to punish kids in front of others. It's embarrassing for them and weird for others.

"Oh yeah, let's walk on eggs and wear kid gloves here, Queen kiddo is so very fragile that she will be gravely traumatised if taught basic manners. Let's spare her wittle feelings at any cost, and the feelings of the guests?"

Sure, whatever. That's exactly what I meant and it's what is proper to assume of all parents of children make mistakes that aren't immediately corrected in front of you to your satisfaction. Lovely and accurate way to see the world. You know what's funny? Like, you're making fun of parents who don't want to make their kids feel bad in public, yet you want to prevent a child from attending any social situations where there might be someone who might say something that might offend him. Forever. While calling the other kids b*tches. Faaaaantastic.




Ow, I think I broke my sarcasm unit.
Comment: #49
Posted by: Zoe
Tue Sep 2, 2014 1:07 PM
Well, Zoe, I guess the world heaves a sigh of relief that you will never be a mother (by your choice and you're the one who's said it time and again)

Being a parent means being a TEACHER. That means that your children need correction. Damn straight CC would have to apologize if she had done something like that... it's not over-reacting, it's TEACHING your children how to behave correctly in the real world. And that there are consequences for their actions.

My kid has grown up to have manners, to be KIND to people, to take care of herself... all of this because she learned by MY correction to take responsibility for what she does.

And it does start early, even earlier than 7. My parents had EIGHT children and if we had acted like that, we'd have been spanked. No excuses for being rude to others.
Comment: #50
Posted by: nanchan
Tue Sep 2, 2014 1:16 PM
Re: Zoe
"And, uh, how was that, exactly? A laugh? That he didn't notice? "
That's right, he didn't, and I for one wouldn't keep exposing him to that until he does notice.

"You never laughed at something? Fun. Awesome."
Oh, I most certainly did, and what a seven year-old finds funny is not the same as what an adult finds funny. But I was also taught from early on that when someone gives you something, you smile and say thank you politely, even if you have no idea what the something is.

Comment: #51
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Tue Sep 2, 2014 1:17 PM
Re: nanchan

"I guess the world heaves a sigh of relief that you will never be a mother"

I know right. Never was there a worse mother than one who didn't immediately address her first-grader's slightly inappropriate laughter that she might not even have been present for, in public. I have some sad news though :( As a newly single person, if I do get with a dude who wants maybe a kid, I'd probably consider it. Better start stocking up on canned goods and weaponry now just in case my kid is the next Hitler. At least it'll be good-looking though, amiright?

"My kid has grown up to have manners, to be KIND to people, to take care of herself... all of this because she learned by MY correction to take responsibility for what she does."

Sure, that's cool. You'll note that at no time did I suggest that kids should not have manners, and that they should be unkind to people, and not take care of themselves, and that parents shouldn't take responsibility for their kids. I just think it's stupid to be so upset by a first grader's laugh that you a) can barely contain your rage in the moment and b) call the mom to complain about your hurt feelings. So you disagree. BFD. And you know, if you happened to be lunching with said mom and mentioned it, that would be copacetic.

I don't actually care WHAT the LW does. I just find the adults BTL freaking out over a first grader being slightly rude, and calling them little b*tches and brats and bullies doomed to bring about the apocalypse, to be overreacting. Or do you think it's appropriate to call a first grader a little b*tch because she did something age-appropriately inappropriate (her crime was to laugh) that hurt no one aside from the LW who is an adult and should know better than to take such things personally? The rest, really, is just splitting hairs and I am not too fussed about it in any case.

"we'd have been spanked."

And... you're proud of this. Yeah, we're too disparate here, I think. I won't say that you having a different parenting style from mine (hypothetical, of course) would make you a terrible mother, though, because I'm classy that way.

Re: Lise B

"That's right, he didn't, and I for one wouldn't keep exposing him to that until he does notice."

Agreed. Best to keep him isolated so he never has to learn to fight his own annual battles of laughter at gifts he didn't even choose. Like can we just save the hysterical helicopter parenting for ACTUAL bullying and meanness and stuff?
Comment: #52
Posted by: Zoe
Tue Sep 2, 2014 1:49 PM
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