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jca's avatar

Should I ask the neighbor why they suddenly don't bring their son around to play with my daughter?

Asked by jca (36043points) August 9th, 2010

My mother and stepfather babysit for my 3 year old daughter several days a week. My mom is retired and my stepfather still works. Their neighbors are a couple in their 40’s who have a son who is turning 4. The father used to bring the son over to play with my daughter when she was there. Several times per week, when my daughter was there, the father would knock on my mom’s door and say his son was asking for her, and they would play. He said once that his son knew my car, and he got excited when he saw it because knew that when he saw my car it meant my daughter was going to be there.

My daughter’s birthday was in early June, which is now over 2 months ago. My mom had a small party in her backyard, just our family went. My mom invited the neighbors and their son. They came, it was fine, it seemed a good time was had by all. Our family and the neighbors are all middle class or upper middle class professionals, so that is one similarity. Nothing negative happened at the party, that i know of. They brought a birthday gift for my daughter, i sent a thank you card a few days later.

However, since around the time of the party, the father has not brought the son to call for my daughter at all. My daughter is invited to the son’s birthday party, which is this weekend. I just think it strange that they went from playing a few days a week (whenever my daughter was at my mom’s) to not once in over two months. My mom went there once with my daughter to call on the son but they were not home.

Should i ask the father, not at the son’s birthday party of course, but in the future, should i ask if there’s a reason why they don’t come to play any more? or should i just let it go and chalk it up to “it’s just one of those things?”

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19 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

From what you describe, I can’t find a reason as to why this is happening – I really think there must be something on their end not having to do with you or your child. You can of course briefly ask about it – say something like ‘oh, I’m so glad our kids get along, they really play well together…too bad they haven’t had a chance lately to get together…I noticed you don’t bring your son around anymore, is everything okay?’

chyna's avatar

It could be so many things that has absolutely nothing to do with you or your daughter. Maybe they are having family problems and aren’t home much now. Since your daughter is invited to the birthday party, that tells me that they still like her. I wouldn’t worry about it much.

MissA's avatar

I’d be more apt to say, “It seems as if our children really enjoy each other. If there is ever an issue, please let me know. It is important to us.”

Austinlad's avatar

You could be direct and just ask rather than beat around the bush. You might get a very straight answer back, and then you’d know.

Frenchfry's avatar

I would ask . Be nice and ask casually. Or when you are leaving the party just say you are always welcome at our house to the son as you are leaving out the door.

wundayatta's avatar

Or you could just say, ”[daughter’s name] missed [boy’s name] this week.” Maybe that would reveal something.

Trance24's avatar

I think even at the party it would be appropriate to just simply say, “So where has (insert name) been, we haven’t seen him in a while.” I do not think that would be out of line at all it is very polite, and something anyone would say.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

First thing that came to my mind is simple timing on the dad, maybe he’s got an obligation he didn’t have before? They invited your daughter to the son’s party which they didn’t have to do if they wanted the kids to stay apart. Let the birthday go off as planned as see what happens. The parents might speak up about what’s kept them and if they don’t then you can say you think your daughter has missed playing with their son and watch and listen to how they react.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I would chalk it up to a schedule change or a change in child care arrangements on their part. If you were being snubbed for some reason, you wouldn’t have received the party invitation.

jazmina88's avatar

I say, dont poke the bear…or dont put your hand in the bee’s nest. I’m glad you are going to his birthday party. Enjoy.
@Neizvestnaya has it on the head. be casual.

shilolo's avatar

Maybe the neighbor’s child now goes to preschool and isn’t around as much? Seems like a random thing rather than a “snub”.

ninjacolin's avatar

gotta love this vicarious dating drama. :) haha, cute.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@jazmina88- I lurve the saying about “don’t poke the bear”! It’s been a favorite of mine for a long time. Yay :)

rooeytoo's avatar

I hate wondering which leads me to awfulizing, so I am for the direct approach, just ask!

truecomedian's avatar

Yes ask. Fuck all the unspoken niceties. Just do what you did here, ask. I would want to know why.

truecomedian's avatar

Sorry for that crude answer. What I meant to say is I feel like I killed the question. You know that happens, someone will come along and give a reply and it’s like a gate crashes down, the responses stop. I don’t give myself that much credit though. But basically, give yourself the benefit of the doubt and trust your gut. There might have been something that happened behind the scenes that changed the show. I have a funny feeling that the truth is going to be elusive, like it’s just going to be uncomfortable silence. The kid is learning how to be discerning, if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s, I don’t like the rules that certain people play by. I thought it would be great to be rich, it would have been if I knew what I know now. Kids can be fickle too.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Middle class neighborhood + 40 YO or older SAHM dad during the day = 90% likely dad works from at home OR dad has been laid off. If dad works from at home, or is laid off and gets a job and child is 3 years old, then the probability of the child not being available during the day to play is also 90% likely that he’s in a preschool or day care program, and is not at home. Especially if grandma knocks on the door during the day and no one answers.

Parents do not send a party invitation to someone they barely know and have a reason to snub. Do not read more into it. These are 3 year olds. And Grandma’s neighbor’s, not your neighbors.

jca's avatar

@BarnacleBill: Dad is not laid off, child does attend pre-school. My mom went to their house on a Saturday. (note: child not being home that one day is not my concern, i just added that to my question to talk about the history of the past few months. child not coming to play in over two months is what i’m concerned about).

To All: i will post an update (as i like to see others do) saying what i chose to do and how things turned out.

truecomedian's avatar

There could have been some foul play date involved.

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