Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Whose Kids are These and Why are They in My House?

Quite a few years ago a family moved to our street. Their children were similarly aged as our boys and thus began daily outside play time on the cul-de-sac. Eventually their time together moved to the indoors. I remember the first time they came to our house. When it came time to leave, one of the boys turned to his mother and asked, "What can I borrow?".

Huh, I thought. Hmmm.

"Well, I don't know. Why don't you ask", his mother replied. Then to me, "we borrow, if that's okay". Oh, well, nothing like putting me on the spot but hey! I was new to this kids coming over to play thing, so maybe this was considered normal. I mean, I don't remember borrowing anything when I was a kid except maybe some clothes from my best friend but I was a teenager at that point. Besides, what could be the harm in a little boy borrowing a toy?

Oh you sweet sweet stupid woman, Mrs. Farklepants.

Here's the harm: I mean, you're not quite so dumb to give the child your own child's coveted three inch plastic Cookie Monster, which of course being the temporary Woobie of sorts, is the toy that the child asked to borrow because well my child clung to it like dear life for the duration of their play time together so it must be something worth borrowing. No. So I chose a safe toy. One that never gets any attention. One that could be considered forgotten.

Have you any idea how valuable that toy becomes once it leaves the house for the negotiated twenty-four hour time frame? And it suddenly becomes valuable at, like say, 2am? And also that children that small have no idea what twenty-four hours, or a day, or tomorrow is? And now that you've let a neighbor child borrow some random toy YOU are not going to be getting any sleep that night?

After that adventure of parental trial and error; we instated a new rule around here: no borrowing. Borrowing is not the same as sharing. If you come over, my children will share their toys and you can play with them all the damn day but they're not leaving this house. Because that's what going over to play IS. You go over. You play with your friend's toys. You go home. The toys stay. The end.

It wasn't until later that I realized that they "borrow" because it was the only way she was able to get her children out of a friend's house without a complete meltdown. But I'm firmly in the camp of a good throwing your flailing, kicking, screaming child under your arm and leaving the house and letting them know under no uncertain terms that future playdates will be eliminated until one can learn to be a gracious guest. Because I kick it old school like that - now where'd I put that hickory switch?

All of the above was my long way of saying this short thing: When Girl-Child's friend came to play yesterday and expressed her desire to take Girl-Child's most prized possession home with her:


I gently let her know that she was welcome to play with it as long as she was visiting our home. She abruptly reminded me that it was nice to share. I was quick to tell her bite me if she wanted one for her own house she was going to have to ask her mother to add it to her Christmas wish list.

**3 photos by Dorothy Z.

56 comments:

Jennifer H said...

We borrow???

I have never, ever heard of such a thing.

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

Sure thing, kid, you can borrow anything out of the fridge that is green and hairy.

You can borrow my ass, little girl.

You can borrow some manners while you're at it. Here, take some for your mother.

O'Neal (The woman in charge around here) said...

LMAO @ Nanny Goats!!! Borrowing manners? Those things are so priceless they can't possibly be borrowed, I'm sure you'd pay big time to swipe a few off Ebay!


We also have a set of lovely neighbors like that, except they don't ask, they just take. Or I should say TOOK, because after I repeatedly found missing lovies and got to play "tear the whole house apart looking for said lovey at 2am only to find it NOWHERE in the vicinity of THIS house", I put my foot down. And NOT where I REALLY wanted to put it!

No, I'm not a total biotch, that "taking" stuff only started happening after their heathen mother asked if we would GIVE them toys EVERY TIME THEY CAME (and stayed ALL DAY LONG - even through our precious naps!), and being the good person I AM, I DID, feeling SORRY for their little snot nosed behinds, only to visit their garage sale that SAME weekend and find it ALL for sale for 5-10 cents EACH! Seriously???

Then when they began TAKING the toys, it was by FORCE. Have you ever felt the RAGE of seeing your 21 month old being pushed & held down by a same aged, green snot dripping (They are ALWAYS sick!) little mouth breathing sumo wrestler and THEN find TEETH marks on your babies arm???

I don't play like that! And their 26 yr old, 4 baby Daddy's having, denture wearing Mama STILL calls my answering machine 3+ times a day! Did I mention she STALKS me every time I exit my front door or even open my blinds??? She's going to make me use my angry eyes!

Sorry to be so long winded in your comment box there, you just struck a nerve with me! Reading that post got my blood boiling at 5am! Who needs coffee? ;)

for a different kind of girl said...

Wow. The borrowing thing is new concept. I'd have been floored.

calicobebop said...

We borrow? I'm with Jennifer H - that's a new one to me! What a nice way to make new friends - by taking their STUFF!

Hee hee - I like how the little girl was quick to remind you about the goodness of sharing. It's amazing how they can remember manners when they want something!

The Rockin' Wife said...

We say "neither a borrower nor a lender be"..... but what is worse is we have a friend that just "takes" - conveniently stuffed in his little cargo pants pockets. Hilarious when my husband frisks the kid on the way out the door, all the while his parents are clueless that he is STEALING!

We have let THESE SAME PEOPLE borrow in the past. (We do not anymore, which is why he elevated to stealing) ....Once I drove by their house, a few weeks later and saw our Candy Land game sticking out of the trash, presumably torn to shreds and all cards lost by the little kid. I do not have the nerve to ask for it back, just to see them squirm!

jenontheedge said...

So borrowing = not having to say "no" to her child? That's a new one to me.

Laura said...

Rockin' Wife - come on, I double dog dare ya' to ask for that Candyland game back. Be brave - just do it! The rudeness of adults who pass it on to their kids never ceases to amaze me!

Debbie said...

I wish you had said "bite me" to that kid! And whoever heard of Borrowers - except the book and that is fiction.

Madge said...

i'm always amazed when kids say things like that. when they ask another adult if they can take something. what is that?

we borrow... i got something you can borrow......

Jenny said...

This is some hilarious shit! You need to go over to their house with a shopping basket and start picking up random precious objects, then tell the mother you're just borrowing them. Seriously. Take all the kid's wubbies, and find the mom's medication or vibrator...something personal! heehee!!! That should make a point.

I just found your blog, and can't wait to read more! Rock on, mama!

Jen

RuthWells said...

What the hell ever happened to parenting your damn children!? This floors me.

Twenty Four At Heart said...

WTF? Three kids and I've never heard "we borrow"! Well, until they get older and borrow DVDs (which you never see again), or make-up & stuff like that.
Weird! And I thought my neighborhood had all the neurotic parents packed onto one block!

apathetic bliss said...

borrow?????
that is the stupidest most insipid way of parenting !!!!
you are so right...she doesn't want to deal with a tantrum...too bad, mamasita!!!
I am so with you, Mrs F!
smooches

Persnickety Ticker said...

We run an exchange program at my house. After a toy was "borrowed" from my child and not returned I set down the rule that if they take anything, they must bring something. It has actually worked out quite well...like a lending library of toys. Kids will come over with a toy fully expecting to leave with a different one. The funny thing is, when we go to the friends' houses, the original toys always seem to find their way back to their rightful owners.

I would have told that little girl to bite me, too.

Oh and Jen? Borrowing a vibrator? Priceless! TFF!!

LuckyMe said...

Hahaha. Great post! Never had to deal with borrowers, myself. Rude kids? Yes. But I don't mind teaching them manners when the folks aren't around.

Parents are wimps and it comes back to bite them later. Say no often and early. Kids learn to stop asking for stupid stuff. Like my friend says, "we don't negotiate with terrorists."

I also like to tell my kids that it's actually harder to say no. It's worth explaining that to them. They get it.

barbra said...

My girls and their friends are always figuring out things to borrow from each other after a playdate. If I catch wind of this, I put the kibosh on it, because...
it's weird - when did this whole borrowing thing start?

I am always saying "where is your ___?" and they are always answering "I lent it to ____." Luckily, they aren't asking for the thing and crying over the thing while it's gone.

I keep telling them, JUST PLAY TOGETHER, YOU DON'T HAVE TO LEND THINGS TO YOUR FRIENDS!

(Just so you know, I do try to praise the generosity that motivates this behavior. I don't want to beat the generosity out of them.)

Oh, and just to make this comment even longer, I've never seen a parent actually support this borrowing thing. "We borrow, if that's okay"? That's really weird.

Lynette said...

Psht. I say kick it REAL old school. Make that kid pick her OWN switch. LOL.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

That is such BS parenting. For crying out loud. I'd like to ask the bookstore if I could "borrow" a new book so I'm not sad when I leave. Or the tavern to "lend" me a Guinness so I don't cry while I drive home. Sheesh.

Baby Favorite said...

Okay, I have officially HEARD IT ALL.

You are f'ing kidding me. "We borrow." Yeah, well, "We STEAL. What time will you be gone from your house and can you please leave it unlocked? THANKS!"

A--holes.

http://anglophilefootballfanatic.com said...

Very smart, Mrs F! Let Santa get the toy. I love when parents placate to keep kids from melting down. WONDERFUL parenting, isn't it? Good grief. Smack 'em and be done with it.

The Glamorous non-borrowing non-trading Life said...

And wait..it gets worse. My boys are going thru a 'trade' thing. I see them taking toys in their backpacks to school to TRADE them for something else. Only THAT kid forgot to bring his. And KEEPS forgetting and now my kids want me to call that mom and insist they give back the TRADE toy. Only when I call the mom says that her son was never given any toy. FULL ON LIARS.

So no borrowing. and no TRADING

Amen

laughingatchaos said...

I've lost count of the number of times I had to grab A, toss him under my arm, and run like hell. Parenting is like the Secret Service; sometimes you just have to do that.
And can I come by with the hickory switch for that little girl? And her mom? Good grief.

Anonymous said...

I kick it old school too! Shit, what is up with "we borrow"? Um, no, sorry, you don't, not from us anyway.

Jemez2 said...

*grrrr* it's a shame you didn't have an emily post book to "lend" the child. oh - and "'WE' borrow" is asshole code for "I'm a crappy parent who thinks you're too stupid to realize it or speak up for yourself"

If you loaned them your phone number, you should ask for it back.

g said...

Damn.

Too bad her parents didn't think manners were an important skill to teach her.

We never encountered that. We did once encounter a mother who parked her kid with other families (going through each family in the neighborhood as she wore out her welcome in turn). That ended when another family's kid contracted some kind of skin disease from his guest - the mom had known her kid had the disease, but didn't mention it to the host family.

Swirl Girl said...

borrowing is for sure NOT the same as sharing.

Screw that lazy mom for not bribing her kid the old fashioned way, like the rest of us.

She probably never brings her own bottle either.

Minnesota Matron said...

Remember that Gilligan's Island where they staged some kind of Shakespeare (vaguely): "Neither a borrower nor a lender be"? Came to the Matronly mind. Good policy. If you haven't carried a screaming kicking kid out of someone's house yet, your doing your child a disservice.

Becky said...

Hilarious! I must say, I've recently had the pleasure of carrying my 2 year-old screaming out of a friend's house, because he is a would-be borrower.

It's hard when the other mom says, "Oh, let him take that with him!" And I'm all like, well, I've drawn a line in the sand now.

Glad I found your blog--looking forward to reading more!

Mrs. G. said...

"We borrow" is code for "I'm scared of my kid"...sad.

thedailysnark said...

Wow. "We borrow." What even happened to teaching kids that they don't get everything they want? What happened to telling kids "No"? These are the kids who grow up to be self-centered, spoiled adults who don't know how to get along in life. My husband (who has raised 3 kids) and I don't have any problem reminding kids of manners. Parents just aren't doing their kids any favors.

manic mariah said...

We borrow??? WTF? And that girl telling YOU, the adult, that it's nice to share? Kids these days have NO RESPECT

manic mariah said...

We borrow??? WTF? And that girl telling YOU, the adult, that it's nice to share? Kids these days have NO RESPECT

MamaNeena said...

We borrow?

Well, we dont!! Sorry you have crappy toys, kid. But, that is your mama's fault. Come back and play never!

Mama Wheaton said...

Ok 6 kids into the program and I have never heard of borrowing. Sounds like rude, lazy, disrespectful parents raising rude, lazy, disrespectful kids. Too bad.

Helena said...

Borrow? Well, I don't have kids so I don't know how it works nowadays. We certainly didn't borrow back in my days.

Simply Victoria said...

yes, I kick it old school too.
how preposterous AND hilarious!!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Oh the teenager tips I'll be able to give you! Not everyone has the balls for parenting Juggling Life style.

Removing bedroom doors from their hinges and storing them temporarily in the garage is quite effective for stopping door slamming.

semtaylor said...

I have never heard of anything like this. She needs a better way to leave. semtaylor(at)yahoo.com

The Girl Next Door said...

Yeah chalk me up to another WTF on "we borrow?" How 'bout mama borrows some of Tootsie's backbone so that she doesn't have to whimper her way out the door with her kid?!

Kristin said...

Let me pull my jaw up off the floor...okay, good. SERIOUSLY? "we borrow" like its some new trend, like babywearing. I am with ya tootsie! Sharing does not equal borrowing, get your own stuff! This is just crazy!

PradaPrincipal said...

You borrow - we CUT kids for less at our house. Mmhmm, that's how we 'rollz' yo'. Now scat chile before I do you harm!

Michelle Hix said...

Oh my goodness! So instead of actually parenting her own child she lets him "borrow"? What the? I can't imagine what the rest of her life is like if she thinks it is stressful to end a playdate.

katydidnot said...

she says: we borrow, if that's okay.

i say: we roast and eat borrowing children for dinner, if that's okay.

how bizarre.

Saucy said...

"What can I BORROW?" Manners.

MamaMo said...

SO sad to see a parent afraid to parent.

mommypie said...

Yeah, that's just weird.

Super Mommie said...

Borrow? Excuse me? A cup of sugar? A pinch of salt? You plan to borrow my stuff before you come to my house? I'm not sure that they'd be allowed back. I kinda like my stuff. That's why I have it!!

The Introvert said...

That's ridiculous! I've never heard of that either. If my friends had tried to take my toys with them, the only thing they would've left with was a black eye. (Sorry. I'm an only child. That's how I roll).

kmbrknits said...

"We borrow." Yeah, I had that happen once. The mom was a kindergarten teacher for heaven's sake. I might have even fallen for it out of momentary shock, if the "borrow target" hadn't been a toy my kid had finally become enamored with just that day. I said no, and after they left it took me while to recover from the possible ramifications of such a stupid proposal.

Another day, at their house, the mom proposed a borrow to my kid. Which I handily refused. As if I want to keep track of some other kid's crap.

Since when is a nice time with friends not reward enough? Aren't playdates partially about visiting a new plate of toys?

Borrowing: the equally stupid and pointless goodie bag of playdates.

All Adither said...

Well that was ballsy of that mom.

Sue said...

'Bite me' is one of my favorite sayings in my head. Sometimes it slips out, but usually it stays put.

Borrowing is ridiculous to get a kid out of a house.

sari said...

My ten year old had a kid from his class over about a year ago and the "friend" "borrowed" my son's gameboy. And I didn't find this out until later. And then the "friend" kept conveniently "forgetting" to bring it back. I was so mad I was stalking the boy and even came into class once and asked him about it. I had to call his mom to get it back, and the kid has never been back to our house.

I'm not still bitter or anything, can you tell? But yes, now we have a no borrowing rule.

kcinnova said...

Oh. My. Goodness.
I just read this and I am floored.
I've had parents come to pick up their kid and the little brother or sister holds tightly to some small toy, but the mom always deftly trades it out for a coat or bottle or something!

Good grief!!

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