She calls herself ‘the cool aunt’ to her best friend’s daughter, 6-year-old Ella. Although she doesn’t see Ella too often, when she does, she brings her small gifts and activities that will interest her and keep her occupied. After several years of staying at home with her daughter, her mom Riley decided to get a part-time job. The parents have yet to find proper childcare, so she helped them out one Saturday with babysitting while both parents went to work.
She is very crafty, has a small online store, and works with local businesses to sell and distribute small batches of her product, which are hand-painted wooden figurines. She thought bringing some of the figurines and introducing Ella to her hobby and business would be fun. So she packed ten unpainted figurines so Ella could pick the one she wanted. She also brought a few tubes of acrylic paints and some paintbrushes.
Ella picked a turtle to paint and loved working on the project. The problem arose when it was time for her to leave when Riley came home. When she began packing all her supplies, Ella became visibly upset. Riley insisted that she leave the supplies behind so Ella could keep them and play with them.
She disagreed and said she had no obligation to give away her belongings. She felt she was already being generous by babysitting Ella on her day off and providing a fun activity for her. Riley pointed out that she already has a large stock of items at home. She said although that is true, allowing Ella to keep the supplies and figurines would have resulted in a loss in profit for her business.
Ella cried when she didn’t let her keep anything, and Riley argued that she should never have brought toys over that she wasn’t willing to let Ella keep. Now Riley isn’t responding to any of her messages or calls. She thought she was doing something nice by babysitting and providing a fun activity. She did let Riley keep the turtle that she painted. But she is asking an online community if she was wrong for not leaving behind the remainder of her supplies when Ella became upset.
One reader joked, “Does Riley start dismantling the swings when she leaves the playground?”
Many readers believe that Riley is acting like an entitled parent and should have appreciated her friend watching her daughter when she needed help.
“I’m guessing OP has professional quality paints. That cost can add up. There are nice paint sets for kids, and most are non-toxic. This could’ve been such a nice learning experience for Ella and intro to art or a new hobby, but Riley had to ruin it by acting entitled to not just OP’s time but the tools of her business. Poor Ella.”
“Tell her to buy Ella some “toy” supplies of paint and figurines with the money she didn’t pay you for babysitting.”
Furthermore, those were likely professional acrylic paints that would likely not come out of clothing and other items. There are better and less expensive supplies available for children.
“Not all “toys “belong to her just because she’s a kid. And acrylic paint isn’t a toy. Tell her mother to buy her some damned watercolors.”
However, one reader pointed out that every time she came to play with Ella, she said she would bring her small gifts. Perhaps Ella believed she was gifting her everything like she typically did.
“I would just point out that the precedent had been set by OP of always giving Ella something when they babysit her. I would hope that it was explained from the outset that this is something new/different. We will do this activity together, and you get to keep the finished product but not the supplies. She is 6, and she might not have full comprehension of finished product vs. supplies but definitely old enough to know she wouldn’t get to keep everything.”
What do you think? Should she have known better not to bring expensive craft supplies to the house for Ella to play with? Is her friend Riley justified in being angry that she didn’t allow Ella to keep the rest of the figurines and the paint when she already owned more?
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