Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: In-building playdate foul play

By Jamie Lauren Sutton  | July 13, 2011 - 10:45AM

Dear Ms. Demeanor,

I have a neighbor who has never been my cup of tea, but my younger daughter and hers get along, so I would occasionally drop her off for a playdate. 

My daughter is 3 and on the tinier side but still 'on the charts' and perfectly healthy.  I came to find out the following from this neighbor's former nanny and it was confirmed by my child:  This woman has put my daughter on her scale and measured her measured her height, not once but a few times, and looked up her percentiles on the Internet telling her nanny (in my daughter's earshot), "I just know there is something wrong with that child."  

I confronted the neighbor who said, "That woman and your daughter are damn liars."  

I feel so violated and simply furious.  

Have you ever heard of such a thing?

Enraged Mother


Dear EM,

I can certainly understand why you are upset.  The story, if true, is quite outrageous (but I would exercise caution in taking as gospel truth the words of a possibly disgruntled employee and a 3-year-old, no matter how precocious). 

Furthermore, it is completely immaterial that your child is 'perfectly healthy'; weighing and measuring another person's child is inappropriate, objectionable, and obnoxious, period.  Even with one's own child, those activities are best left to the pediatrician.  

It would appear that you should trust your initial instincts about this person (Who calls a 3-year-old a 'damn' anything?) and avoid any furher playdates at her home. 

If your daughter and the other child still wish to play together they can continue to do so on your turf and your terms but I very much doubt this will be an option, at least for the time being.  Not every neighbor on the same block gets along and the same is true in the vertical village even though we are separated by a few yards of hallway rather than a lawn or sidewalk. 

Channel your anger and energies in to finding worthier playmates.


Ms. Demeanor


Ms. Demeanor is channeled by a longtime Manhattan vertical dweller and real-estate voyeur who writes under the pen name Jamie Lauren Sutton. She is here to commiserate, calm and correct. Please email your quandaries to [email protected] and put "Dear Ms. Demeanor" in the subject line.



See all of Ms. Demeanor's advice here.



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