The Dinner Invitation

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Noob Baby had dinner at our neighbors’ house over the weekend. They are the sweetest elderly couple who often have their 7-year-old granddaughter stay for the weekend. On several occasions, they’ve invited NB to stay for dinner.

We’re still learning new parenting skills everyday. How much independence do I give NB when she’s been invited to dinner without us? How often should we call in and check on her? Can I leave her there for the rest of the week because I’ve decided to rewatch Breaking Bad?

Apparently, we’re also learning new neighborly things everyday. Sometimes we’ll bring them cookies on a “fancy” plastic plate. You know those clear plastic plates that are a tiny step up from paper plates? Then our neighbors bring over creme brulee in a crystal dish on a family heirloom tray. It’s so sweet, but I’m thinking, “Oh crap. Don’t break their crystal. Don’t break their great-grandma’s tray.” I can’t even enjoy the creme brulee. I’m so seriously klutzy that it wouldn’t be shocking if I had to bring over their smashed crystal from 1909 because I was gobbling down creme brulee like a brute.

Our neighbors on both sides are from another era. The classy era. Whenever I stop by, they invite me in to sit and talk in the formal dining room. It feels very official, and I try to cross my ankles like they probably taught girls at Cotillion. When people drop by at our house unexpectedly, I invite them to sit on the cat stained couch strewn with legos and smashed goldfish. Our other sweet grandma neighbor brought over Christmas cookies last year on a pretty silver embellished plate, and then told us to keep the plate. ?? Boss. I have this one random silvery plate now that makes me smile because it reminds me of sweet grandma neighbor and Christmas. Also, between our two elderly neighbors, I’ve seen a fair share of doilies. In our old neighborhood, people just kind of grunted at each other as they spastically tapped their garage door buttons in a frantic escape.

So back to dinner at the neighbors. The last time NB was invited over, I found out that she barely touched her dinner. I felt bad of course. So this time, I made sure to remind her that she had to eat *most* of her dinner. It was going to be risky for sure. They mentioned they were having steak and baked potatoes (my favorite! and NB’s least favorite… after pizza! How is she my child?). P.S. Can I come to dinner as my daughter’s proxy? She’s just going to waste a perfectly good steak anyway and I promise I will pollll-ish that plate. Even though there was a high probability of waste, I tried  to be optimistic. I reminded NB of her manners (please, thank you, etc.) and she was off on her independent adventure. It wasn’t until I heard her booming voice next door echoing through the peaceful autumn night that I thought, Ohhhh shit. I forgot to remind her not to talk. About anything.

Let me just say this… your parenting is never fully assessed until your child is off being an independent little person. When your 5-year-old is having dinner with other adults without your cueing and guidance and must dominate participate in conversation on their own… you will fear. A lot. I was reminded of this as she broadcasted from their backyard to our kitchen. I could hear bits and pieces of the conversation. Conversation participants = 1. I guess that doesn’t really qualify as a conversation.

Tipping my hat.

Oh, Breaking Bad, how I miss thee.

Details of mundane but embarrassing things over at the Noob household were now becoming dinner fodder via megaphone. If I could hear NB from our kitchen, my neighbor’s neighbors could certainly hear her too! You know “TMI”? Oh no you don’t! You think you do.

Have a conversation with a random 4-5 year old for 30 seconds and you will KNOW TMI. TMI with kids is a whole other animal. TMI with kids is like free-association-stream-of-consciousness-multiple-personality-third-dimension-tangent-Skittles-pinecones. Now imagine that without a parent there to be like, “Whooa….. okee dokee now. This squash is delicious!”

“Blah blah Mommy does this…and Daddy…blah blah” were coming in… in HD. I was standing in the kitchen with my eyes glazed over. That was interspersed with NB’s bossy comments about her friend not finishing her dinner (suddenly someone’s the dinner police!). Then how wonderful their house was because it didn’t have TONS of brown widow spider webs like at our house. I just about bust through the hedges with my eyes going “Ahhhoooooga!”

It may come to you as a surprise, but NB loves to talk. She actually calls on the neighbors. As in she goes over for milk and cookies to chat with the cute grandparents. And here’s another side story. My parents own a local restaurant, and it just so happens that the neighbors have been going to their restaurant for years. So one day my mom tells me that she heard some news about us FROM OUR NEIGHBORS who heard it FROM NB at their milk & cookies date. WTF? What world am I living in where my mom gets news about us via that channel?? My mom also added that our neighbor said, “NB is such a great conversationalist. She’s always telling us ‘funny’ stories.” Hmm….. I know my daughter. Funny = inappropriate = awkward = TMI.

I can’t imagine who she gets that from. One day she won’t just have a loud megaphone voice, but she’ll have a blog or something where she’ll write about all the embarrassing parent things that I do. {Shudder}

I’m not certain poop was discussed at the dinner table, but there’s like a 95% chance. And that’s the thing I don’t get with kids, or at least my kid. We’ll be visiting close friends of ours and NB gets all shy and doesn’t want to talk. I’ll be prodding her to say hello, have a conversation, and give a big hug to her favorite auntie or whomever. Nothin. She was looking forward to the hangout all week, but then nothin. Cold shoulder town. On the other hand, we’re at Trader Joe’s and the cashier hands her a sucker … one sucker… and suddenly she’s told him:

1) We’re having tacos for dinner. BLEHHH.

2) She’s had a virus (the flu) and was barfing all night.

3) Her sister ate her own poop once.

4) And she’s going to be Luigi for Halloween.

TMI town.

By the way, when your child starts school, his/her teacher is going to know more weird, inappropriate details about your personal life than your best friend. Things like Uncle Scooter has foot fungus. Daddy makes loud cannon farts and Mommy eats Flamin Hot Cheetos for breakfast. Guaranteed.

So, NB came back from dinner and tells me that she finished all her food. And then five minutes before bed, I hear…

“Mommy, I’m hungry.”

Got a noob who’s the master of TMI? Do you have awesome neighbors or do they slither away into their garages like the Dark Lord? I’d love to hear from you!



  1. 6

    I was not sure where to post this comment and i am looking for advice. My baby girl will be 3 mos on friday. she is about 17lbs (eats well :)) and i am nursing. I just went back to work last monday so she is taking a bottle during the day with no trouble. She sleeps well and goes down for a nap great. WHen i try and put her down for the night she wakes up crying after an hour or 15-20 mins. we do this from 8pm til 2 or 3am every night. i have tried 2 different kinds of gas drops and spoke with the nurse, she said she does not have acid reflux. I am getting about 4 hours of sleep a night if i am lucky bc my alarm goes off at 5am for work. according to the nurse i am doing everything i can and i should just “stick with it.” i was hoping you had some other advice to offer. In all of the books i have, there is not a signal scenario that matches mine.

  2. 7

    So funny! Please blog again soon!

  3. 8

    Last year my son shouted out, in junior kindergarten, “My mom likes beer!! She drinks it all the time!” Yikes!

  4. 9
    Angie Menegay says:

    You’re too funny :). Thanks for the great tips and chuckles!

  5. 10
    Lisa Estrada says:

    Last year, I made a 3 tiered beer cake for my husband for his birthday (thank you, Pinterest). Ethan watched me put it together. That afternoon, he walked over to the neighbors across the street and I had to listen, horrified, as my 4 year old gave them step-by-step instructions on how to make a beer cake. Epic mommy-fail moment. The neighbor invited me to attend Bible study with them shortly after that. :-/

    • 11

      Lisa- That is hilarious! The “beer” TMI stories are definitely up there on the awkward meter. Last year, NB’s JK teacher told the students how she was drinking root beer. NB excitedly jumped in and said, “Mommy & Daddy drink beer all the time!” I got to hear this from her teacher 😉

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