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More annoying than having late night parties for kids are those that look at you like you have two heads if you leave early or decline.
You described exactly the last two Indian parties I attended. The first moron proudly said he would fire up his barbecue grill at 4 p.m. We arrived at 4:20, worried about being late only to find we were the only ones there and the host hadn’t even come out of the shower! The only thing he had to grill were some frozen wings. The next arrival was at 6 p.m. The second moron purported to invite us over for dinner, grilled a few chicken pieces at 7 p.m. and gave no clue of anything else until we decided it was time to leave at 11 p.m., by which time the children were sleep-deprived. Lo! Out comes the dinner. The solution–make friends who are not Indian for a change! You might even have a better conversation and a better time and broaden your outlook to boot. Next best option–get a babysitter! Why do we have so much trouble with that? Second best option–have a party which does not involve meals (at an appropriate time)!
Here even in professional life this happens. While I reach site in time, contractors and most of all, the clients are late.
Local clients even don't stick to appointment timings on phone-one of causes why I stopped believing in telephonic conversations. Once I had appointments at 5:30 PM, 6:30PM & 7:00PM. All the 3 came together at 6:45PM. Funny isn't it?
I have lost interest in parties too. Yes I also remember one recent party, like we were held hostage for dinner, the time was 7:30 to which we stuck, served just tea and light refreshments. The idiotic waiters were just refusing plates and were hesitant to ask the owner. Dinner was opened at 11:30 PM in winterly days. The car parking attendants kept us waiting for 15-20 minutes and shamelessly asking for tips.
We have seldom accepted evening or night parties since my first one was born. Of late, we have been braver and accepted a few invitations. However, we make it clear that we call it off by 6pm (worst case 7pm). Of course, we end up sticking out while others are busy partying.
We are not comfortable with the idea of kids running around and falling off to sleep at 10pm. Managing kids is both an art and science. There is a systematic process that needs to be followed; it’s hard and takes time to produce results.
Btw, I love the Nanny 911 show.
I am one of the parents who love to socialize – not just for my sake but for my kids sake too.
The days we do attend late evening parties – we give them longer naps, make sure they are fed and rested and are ready to join the party. Honestly, it has worked for us – our kids generally know how to manage themselves and are extremely flexible. If they start getting tired, they know how to walk over and say they are tired and ready to leave. The key is to practice using words to express how they are doing instead of throwing a tantrum.
Although some parents like to keep their kids on strict routines and regimens – I see their kids falling apart and not knowing how to deal with slightest of change in circumstances. Parenting styles differ but balancing is key.
Although I agree with your post on punctuality and serving dinner on time etc – I believe parenting style is personal and people do what works for their family.
I love Nanny 911, supernanny shows as well. Being an Indian – I want to raise my kids the Indian way with all the drama that goes with it. Come on – in our culture nothing is structured – weddings, parties, family drama, emotions and so on. SO why raise the kid structured style. Lot to learn from these shows – like how to discipline them without making them black and blue. But that is where I draw the line. Take the good things from “Amriki” culture, but I would not raise the kids “Amriki” – so they freak out as soon as the clock strikes 6 0r 7 or 8 – or whatever you have programmed them to. Raising kids is more about instincts than science – know your child. I would not become an army general dad for them.
Parenting styles are different – agreed, late night parties are a choice – agreed. Punctuality, or lack of it, is just plain rude, especially to the host.
Delaying food/activities, in the honor of late attendees, is also plain disrespectful (on the part of the host) to guests that have made an effort to show up at a time the host designated.
With every type of parenting there needs to be balance, but this is really about party etiquette.
Really enjoyed reading your blog.
I personally have no problem with people leaving late, if I did I sure would not have a problem conveying myself. If you don’t speak up you pay for it.
Since my son has entered our life, we have not completely changed our life. We do everything for him as well as for us. I consider socializing for kids is important and so for parents. I am not going to let go of those latka-jhatka.
Being a parent I have learnt not to take anything for granted. I usually feed my son or carry his food with me so he does not starve if the food is not served. Usually change his nap time on the day of socializing or leave early. If I have invited people at home and my son is sleepy I take some time out and put him to sleep
If the play area is set up, great and really appreciate. If there is no play area setup, let him be creative and find something that he likes rather than spoon feeding him. I truly agree if your child falls down the stairs that is your fault, and you sure paid for not watching him/her.
My friend had a B’day party at 7 PM on Friday. Tell you the truth, I found out that her son wanted a B’day party just like other kids. Parents could only afford the package that was offered on Friday evening 7 PM. Circumstance plays a big role in life and we have no idea what goes on the other side. This time did not suite me and I did not go. Even if you can afford the party, you could be working all the weekend and can only have a party at 7 PM… again circumstances.
If you are going for a party you usually know them. If I am going to a friend’s house who is punctual I try to be punctual and if they are not punctual I try to eat from home and or go late or don’t go at all. If there are tons of people in that party I am well prepared as I know time is going to slip. I still take advantage of socializing, learning new recipes meeting new people, watching my son learn new things. I don’t agree how the parties are hosted but sure learn and see some good things from those parties and also try to accommodate my needs and schedule in that environment.
All kinds of people. YIN YANG…. Cycle of Life.
Thanks every one for reading (and writing). I appreciate the lively discussion. Please continue to share your side of the story.
Wow Ramesh! What a hot button topic! who would have thought a few simple observations would bring out a slew of simmering pent up emotions and state of denial in people, which, for the most part, have nothing to do with the spirit of the article – Party etiquette.
At the heart of this post is an ingenious plan to expose people’s mind set, civic sense and how they choose to live life. I may not agree with all of the posts but I respect each one’s opinion.
Aditya said – “…–make friends who are not Indian for a change!”. While this sounds good, what does it mean? How many of us (indians!) have been invited to or better yet attended a Thanksgiving dinner? What is Lent? What is Sadar? What is Rosh Hashana?…all rhetorical questions to spur the thinking? All this means is learn what commitment means – be it project deliverable, clients/consultants arriving on time or starting a party on time as designated – This is what an ‘amriki’ teaches us.
I think Suniti kind of hit it on the head with her post regarding “parenting” – its personal and very divulging of what kind of personality one is. Those people who let go, or rather loose control of their children in parties – which they never had, to begin with, cannot be changed. Their kids behave exactly the same in a party as they do at home. Yes, kids will have fun and don’t always know the difference between right and wrong, it’s the job of us parents (read – adults) to be their compass. If you pay attention to the Nanny 911 show – you will realize its not about the kids – its about educating the parents and changing them to be the leaders. This will sound completely wrong, but I LOVE the show “Dog whisperer”. If anything, it taught me a lot – the key to success is being the pack leader, if you become one, people will follow – be it at home or work. You don’t have to raise your voice to make a point, you just need to be in control.
To Desipapa – yes please raise your kids the “desi way”. Why give up your identity of being a proud “desi”? But let me ask you one question – do you plan to go back to “Desh – India” soon and take you kids back? If not, are we not subjecting our kids to the same risk of profiling we do to other minorities in this country – the “Chickoos” and “Chipta’s” (latinos and Chinese)? Our kids did not choose to come here – we did, in order to give them a better life and best of both worlds. I sincerely hope your kids don’t have to bear the brunt of “desi way” upbringing at school or day care. Remember, your kids will have to live with the decisions you make for them now. Being an army general papa is not the issue – be a parent, not a friend of your kids.
I like Sheetal’s view point very much as there are always circumstances that dictates one’s way of life. To those parents who think putting kids to bed early is the ‘amiriki’ way, though not incorrect, depends on the circumstances. 80% , if not more, ‘amiriki’ couples are working in order to achieve the good things in life – buy a house (in a good school town), send kids to private schools, send them to sporting and cultural activities for an all around development. In this case, putting their kids to bed at 11;00p only to have to wake them up next morning at 6:00a to get them ready for School/day care/pre-school is not only detrimental to the kid’s health and mental development, but a major reason for discord in the families. Maybe, most of us “desi’s” are fortunate to have good paying jobs and single paycheck house holds which allows the other spouse to be a home maker and take care of the kids without having to worry about the morning schedules and rushing.
Having said all I have, I am of the view point that we are only in control of ourselves and how we choose to deal with a situation. Be it a late running party, a kid having a meltdown or a missed meeting appointment. I feel no shame or hesitation in letting the other person know that I have other commitments that I need to meet and leave. If I am thought of as a “snob” or ‘snotty” person for this- then so be it. The impressions of such people rarely matter to me. I have yet to find a boss or business acquaintance who took offense to this. Many a times I have walked over to the host and asked to feed my kids if the party is running late – if that means I will be viewed as a “wuss” – so be it. I would gladly wear that label on my lapel than see my kids suffer. At any rate, Ramesh, wonderful article and spot on – on all 5 counts!
“…–make friends who are not Indian for a change!” means just that and only that. It doesn’t mean joining their religious or national observances, which isn’t what this is about. But it is sad that you’re asking, What is Lent? What is Sadar? What is Rosh Hashana? since it suggests you’ve up to now had no curiosity to find out for yourself. If you just go a little out of your way to develop friendships with people of other cultures, you’ll find:
1. They share the same human and family concerns we do, even if they don’t speak our language or share their religion.
2. You will have ample opportunities to invite each other over for a friendly dinner or coffee.
And you’ll find a higher degree of social sensitivity than what Ramesh described in his thesis.
Having decided to immigrate to a new culture, it behooves us to adapt and blend in and learn positive points. It’s always a great opportunity for people to go to another country and enrich themselves personally with the new exposures, instead of only wanting to enrich their bank accounts and not grow as individuals and develop some worldliness and maturity.
However, back to the crux of Ramesh’s observations–it just as much behooves us to assert our own individual constraints without apology. For those who enjoy such parties–have a blast! For those who don’t–you have ample opportunities to meet other people of similar lifestyles.
In the end, you live the life you want to live.
Well said Aditya, agree with you whole heartedly.
But just to let you know, I was not being critical of you, rather letting others know what it meant when you made that statement. I for one, have been blessed to have wonderful friends and neighbors, who have opened their hearts and houses for me and my family – and they are not Indians! I have been invited and attended a Thanksgiving dinner with a neighbor, my son’s God parents are a wonderful ‘amriki’ couple. My daughter’s best friend is an American, together they partake in all the “girlie” things a pre-teen does – sleep overs, pajama parties, summer camps etc.
Religion is nothing more than another avenue to socialize with other cultures, to share in their joys and festivities. Religion to me is nothing more than a set of rules one lives by, its not about giving up your god for theirs.
In any case, you are right – more power to those who enjoy these kind of parties, for us, we have Ramesh and Niri to give us hope.
I think there is a reason why people have jumped on the “parenting” aspect of things because the blogger has given a somewhat of a cynical view how he is raising his kids and how other people are. Parenting is personal – like Suniti said. Desipapa might only know only one way to raise his kids – the desi way. I don’t think Desis are exactly friends with their children like Qualguy mentions.
Parenting is personal – we all do it our way. So let us not be judgmental. You know your child better – so go ahead have fun raising them. If you don’t want to bring your kids to parties or want to bail out by 6- maybe your kids are very fragile and are better suited to stay at home. Don’t expect that all kids are the same.
Funnily enough I see many comments drag parenting in to try and divert attention from the topic at hand. Of course parenting styles have a role to play but I see no justification for the blatant display of poor party manners.
How you treat your kids is one thing, how you treat your host and guests is quite another.
and there you have it..
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