Meanwhile, my oldest son Nicholas, who is five, has found a friend in the seven-year-old girl next door. She's a bit brash and occasionally crude, but more in a silly way than anything I'd consider serious. I don't mind her coming in and playing at our house, and I've invited her to stay for dinner a couple of times. However, in the last few days she's taken to inviting herself for dinner, or at least trying to, which I find very annoying.
I've talked to Nicholas about not putting me on the spot, telling him that if he wants to ask if Alex can stay for dinner then he needs to approach me in private rather than asking me right in front of her. He's having a bit of difficulty grasping the concept, but I think he'll get it eventually. However, I don't really know what to do with Alex herself when she says things like yesterday's, "I told Nicholas I'd keep on being friends with him if you let me eat dinner here," and tonight's announcement of "My mom says I have to be home for five-thirty, unless I stay here for dinner." (I somehow suspect that her mother did not phrase it in those terms, myself.)
I told Alex, in both cases, that I would not be inviting her to dine with us that particular night, and even been so blunt as to suggest to her that it is not polite to invite oneself to dinner and that I will invite her again some time when it's more appropriate/convenient, but she doesn't really seem to get it (or perhaps just doesn't care). She seems to think that if she just finds some clever new way to phrase her self-invitation, it'll work.
Perhaps I would feel more soft-hearted about this begging business if I didn't know that Alex lives in a perfectly nice house with a mother and father who provide her with regular meals (she is not, shall we say, a skinny girl -- not obese, but certainly solidly built) and also seem to spend a quite reasonable amount of special time with her, taking her for outings on weekends and so on. So I think it's just a case of the grass is greener syndrome, which doesn't exactly incline me to sympathy, any more than being put on the spot does.
Am I a harsh and ungenerous person for wanting to dig in my heels and refuse to invite this girl to dinner until she stops inviting herself? Because that's really how I feel at the moment...