October 3, 2011

The Super Belated Birthday Party

This weekend, I received an invitation to attend a birthday party for my neighbour's 5 yr. old  grandson.  My son brought it into the house excited to attend the party which happens to be the following day. When I opened the invite I thought two things:
1. Why am I just getting this invitation the day before the party?  and
2. Didn't his birthday pass already?

Later on in the day I see the birthday boy  and ask him "When is your birthday?" and he replies, "August 26th" in the cutest little voice ever.
In my head I'm thinking, "WTH!!! It's October??? Why is he having a birthday party?" also, "They don't expect me to get him a gift, do they?"

  Birthday parties, in my opinion, have gotten out of control.  I remember when clowns used to be special. Now they want entertainers and fireworks. And don't forget the bouncing castle. You better have a bouncing castle!
The pressure parents feel to have a party every year is ridiculous.  Celebrate the day, but you don't need to spend all of that money.  My favourite memory of a birthday was the one where my uncle baked me a cake and it had the face of a clown made of jelly beans on it. Best cake ever!  
I only throw parties at ages 5, 10, 13, and maybe 16 (strong maybe).  All other years you get a cake and ice cream and Auntie and Grammy can come and sing "Happy Birthday". Our parties may be few and far between, but they are usually pretty good. Check out this party
Secondly, in our society the host is expected to feed both parents and children.  The children are fed hot dogs, hamburgers and chips. The parents, however, get a plate with green salad, pasta salad, three types of meat, and two sides.  My philosophy is that I did not invite the parents, I invited the kids. I am hosting this party for a child, and the children I invited, therefore EVERYONE will eat what the kids eat. 

Back to the story...
So the next morning, I strategised my plan. I'd take my son to the party, stay a little while, then leave to collect him at the pickup time.  Now in my day, parents didn't stay to the party, at least not mine.  They dropped you off, and picked you up at the appropriate time.  I know times have changed, the world isn't as innocent etc. etc. but If I know the parents well enough (which I do), then I am confident that I can leave my kids there and they will be safe. We leave for the party and I'm expecting to be home in half-an-hour to an hour.

 We get there and I exchange pleasantries with the parents who are already there.  I see the hostess and make small talk with her and made the following mistake,  
I asked, "Do you need any help?" 

It just slipped, I swear, I'm polite like that! 
Honestly, I didn't ask because I really wanted to help, I asked because I didn't want to be the loser parent who just dumps her child off to get an afternoon nap.

She quickly answered, "Can you help me serve the food? My girlfriends are all running late and I could really use the help."

"Serve the food!!??" I think to myself, "That means I have to wait around for at least another hour!"  Most of the kids hadn't arrived as yet.

So I stayed. Not only did I serve the kids their hot dogs, I also served the parents their huge plates of food. I got home three hours later.  

My plan was destroyed by common courtesy. Damn you, manners!!

And yes, I asked birthday boy's mother why she was having his birthday party now.  Her reply was that he just started a new school and had no one to invite back in August. Now that he knows his classmates, he can have a party.

No, now that he knows his classmates, he can invite them next year

BTW, This is my favourite version of "Happy Birthday"!

1 comment:

  1. Same at my house. We don't have birthday *parties*, and i write parties like that because even though it doesn't seem like a party to other people to my sons it a party!!! We do a birthday cake (homemade)in a theme they like. Like, for Lei's 3rd bday i made a cake that looked like a fire truck. It's usually just the 4 of us, and then we bring cake to grammies and other family.
    I was thinking of a bigger party for his 5th, and that is only because he'll be 5(!!!!!) and now he has so many new homeschooling friends.