OP- I agree with the other posters who believe that it is perfectly okay to say to Abigail to not touch your food, color on your shoes, etc. I don’t think I’d go so far as to discipline another person’s child… but if they are in my space/ destroying my stuff, then yeah, I’d say something.
All of that aside, I have 2 kids myself and they are less than 2 years apart. I don’t live near family, and my husband travels for work, so when my kids were little, I didn’t get a break from them very often. My oldest (daughter) did behave poorly when my son was an infant…. and did do some things in front of a friend of mine in public, that she didn’t do at home. It was mortifying. Part of it, I’m sure, is that she was jealous of her brother and seeking attention, part of it was because she was tired/grumpy that day, some of it was because she was showing off for my friend….. and I’m sure there were times that I didn’t respond to her in the ‘best’ way, bc I was exhausted, too. She wore my patience thin, sometimes and I was much better in managing her inappropriate behavior when I was better rested, myself. Still, there were many days when I knew that I wasn’t going to win mother of the year. 😉
If my friend would have told me that she didn’t want to go out with me unless we were alone/ without kids, that would have been the end of that friendship. I rarely was able to go out alone when they were babies/ very young. My son also had a dairy allergy and we didn’t know about it when he was tiny. He was just grumpy/unsettled and he vomited a lot. Even if I had someone who was willing to watch him (for free!) I probably wouldn’t have gone out very often as he was a very difficult baby, especially to someome who wasn’t completely familiar with him. I had many people tell me to just let him ‘cry it out’ and I didn’t want to do that as I knew he was in physical pain- I just didn’t know why. As an aside, the dairy allergy is now identified/ under control and he’s a MUCH different child 🙂
Anway, I guess what I am trying to say is that… do I think Abigail’s behavior is acceptable or normal? NOPE.
But do I think that your friend is likely overwhelmed/ exhausted? PROBABLY! and in that situation, a little extra kindness and understanding would likely go a long way.
If you want to maintain a friendship with her, then I would do something for her that would make a difference. Bring her a meal, clean your friend’s kitchen, whatever you think would be helpful and appreciated. A neighbor once brought me a warm roaster chicken from Costco and a bag of salad. I cried I was so happy. I would bet that your friend realizing that you aren’t judging her and are only trying to help would make a huge difference.
Just some food for thought. Abigail sounds like a challenging child, for sure!