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Ask Amy: Uninvited guests at children’s party leave host with a big bill

Dear Reader: Due to the syndication schedule, I write and submit my columns two weeks prior to publication. Due to this time delay, the Q&As will not reflect the latest information on the global COVID-19 pandemic we are currently facing.

Dear Amy: I recently hosted a birthday party for my preschooler son.

I invited 20 classmates. Sixteen replied “yes.”


At the party, several of the guests took older siblings that we had never met before. This would not have been a problem if this was a party at home or an outdoor park. But we were at a trampoline park where you have to pay $ 20 per participant. Non-participants (like parents) are free.

When we got the bill it showed that we had 27 children!

I felt it was unreliable to bid on the invitation that only the said guest could attend. Is there a polite way to make sure we don’t pay for siblings we don’t even know when throwing a party at an entertainment center?

– Lost

Dear Tapped Out: I guess the parents also accompanied these very young kiddos – and brought their other kids with you, maybe assuming you had a group speed.

I shared your question with Gay Cioffi, longtime principal of Little People’s Preschool in Washington, DC, who publishes a useful parenting newsletter, “Little Folks, Big Questions (littlefolksbigquestions.com).

Cioffi replies: “I have been a witness to all possible sizes and shapes at a birthday party. Everything from keeping the guest number in line with the child’s age: four years old equals four guests (I love it), to an extravaganza of 300 people at Four Seasons Hotel.

“Because you are dealing with families and small children, you must expect the unexpected, that is, a” bug “is in progress, and many people do not show up, family members visit and join the invitation or birthday children are overwhelmed and cry all the time (usually).

Since young children are not always anxious to be released, or if parents are actually invited, you can assume siblings may come too. I don’t think there is a polite way to say you don’t pay for siblings. If finances are a problem, next year I will plan a smaller collection with room for growth. “

Dear Amy: My sister and I have disagreed about diet for years; I’m vegan and she and her husband eat meat (I think only about twice a week).

We love each other, our relationships are cordial, and we never argue about her diet. When my husband and I visit, she happily accommodates us.

Although my central reason for not eating animals is that “they don’t like it”, health is also a major problem, and sometimes I send my sister a link with a scientific study that points out the health-protecting benefits of herbal diets. .

I try to be frugal with the links, because I know that people who always send health advice can be annoying.

With the COVID-19 epidemic, my concern for my dear sister’s health is increasing. We are both well over 65, she has had major health crises in the past, and I want her to live and have a good time for many more years.

I would like to send her some links to show that a planted diet quickly promotes a healthy microbiome (intestinal flora) that increases her immunity – without prolonging her.

Amy, I know that physical health dispenser is not your job. But if you consult some nutritionists and check this out for yourself, and – if you find it compelling – mention it in your column, it can help my sister decide to stop eating animals, at least during the epidemic.

Knowing that there is something we can do to strengthen our immune system now can actually help many, especially the elderly, to be less afraid. Fear can hurt society a lot.

– G

Dear G: You seem to have advocated for your point of view, over and over again. Your sister has responded politely by respecting your diet choices.

I agree that fear can do a lot of harm. And then maybe you should stop trying to scare your sister.

Dear Amy: “Don’t see” was a widow in an assisted living facility. He was shocked when female residents came to him.

In addition to your advice to him, I hope you will encourage all sexually active elderly people to use condoms!

– Concerned

Dear concerned: STDs are a growing problem in the elderly population. Yes, condoms!

(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

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