I am pretty sure, even though I have taught my child how to behave at other people's houses, that she still does things like say, "I sure hope your pool is salt water and not chlorine, because ours is salt water and it is so much better for you than chlorine." But for the most part she knows that she should say thank you, and please. I get reports from other parents that she offers to clean up toys, and she is polite. So I know the lessons I have taught her have sunk in somewhat, even if she refuses to follow those rules at home. I am shocked sometimes at other children's behavior. But then, I talk to the parents and I completely understand.
I know I set myself up for some of it. I have come to expect that children will show up over here to swim without floaties or towels or even bathing suits (and in some cases, um gross!). So I generally keep extras on hand. I could repeat myself until I was blue in the face, lecturing parents to bring floaties and towels and such. But they still wouldn't bring them, and I either have to tell the kids they can't swim and deal with disappointed children or I have to actually get in with them. However, we are down to one good pair of floaties, and I have not had time to get more in the last few days.
The neighbor called and asked if she could drop her child off for a little bit while she ran errands. Her child who is notorious for her rude, demanding behavior. Geez. Just the kid I want to come over. Sure. Cause I am not working over here or anything. I explained that we would be swimming, and that she needed to bring a towel, floaties, a bathing suit, and a change of clothes. "Oh we left our floaties at a friends house, can we borrow some of yours?" I told her how I was down to one pair. "Well, Emmi can swim, so she can go without." I sat there for a minute. Really? Yeah. I know Emmi can swim. But Emmi also has low tone, and gets tired very easily. She can swim the length of the pool, and then barely drag herself out. So she prefers to keep the floaties on and save her energy. And? If I tell you to bring some fucking floaties while I am doing you a favor and watching your child during my work day while you go shopping with your girlfriends, then don't you dare talk back to me. Finally I responded, "We will be swimming. If you can't be bring floaties, I will make Child sit in a chair and watch my children swim. If that is going to be the case, please bring something to entertain Child while we sit outside." And with that I got off the phone.
I was hoping she would reconsider bringing her kid over after that conversation. But no. The doorbell rang right on time. Child walks in, floaties in hand, wearing one of Jill's swimsuits that I have been looking for. "Um. I think that is ours." Neighbor barely looks down at her kid. "Yeah, we can't find ours." I am fuming. I remember letting another child borrow it. Apparently it has been passed around. And? This child weighs a good thirty pounds more than Jill, and is about the same height as Jill. There is no way that suit is ever fitting Jill again. "Did you bring a towel or a change of clothes?" Neighbor looks around as if it will appear out of thin air. "Oh, oops. No." I stare at her. You have got to be kidding me. "Look," I say, "the towel we can do without, but I need you to go get a change of clothes." She checks her watch and sighs. "Can she borrow something of Jill's?" I don't want to point out the the obvious. That Jill wears, at best, a size 6, and this child, well doesn't. And besides? Even if we had something that would fit, I not in the business of loaning out my kids' clothes. I shake my head in response. Neighbor looks at her watch again. "Sorry. She needs a change of clothes." Neighbor is obviously irritated. "You know, this REALLY puts me out," she says before stomping off to get clothing so I can watch her child while she hangs out all afternoon. Umm, and oh yeah. YOUR WELCOME.
On the other hand, Other Neighbor's two kids came over to swim yesterday armed with their own snack of strawberries, because "My mom said we have been over here a lot and eating your snacks a lot." Then after swimming at our house Other Neighbor asked both of my kids over to play AND set up a play date for today at her house, since her kids had been to our house several times in the past few days. Mostly 'cause we have the pool, and it is freakin' hot out there. And her kids? Are two of the most polite kids you will ever meet.