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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Warning~ Children's birthday parties ahead!

You attended the parenting classes, read all the books and think that you have heard it all about raising your bundle of joy, well think again. This advice will not be found in any book or parenting class. It is the ‘b’ word that no parent will talk to you honestly about. No, it is not bibs, bottles or breastfeeding. It is…birthdays.
In your parenting lifetime you will spend thousands of dollars on these things, from birthday parties you are throwing to ones you are forced to be going. Invitations arrive looking so cute and harmless with colorful balloons or a cuddly critter adorning it, but do not be fooled; harmless they are not.
Receiving such initially obligates you to go to the store and spend a mind-boggling amount of time trying to pick out a ‘unique gift’ for a child that will receive a multitude on this day and probably barely give yours a second glance.
Warning: bringing the birthday attendee with you to the store causes the cost of shopping for the gift to double, for it is felt that the attendee must already have or obtain the same gift.
Then there is your time obligation. For years, upon years the parties are not just for the youngsters. You, as the responsible parent, are obligated to attend as well and manage your sugar-infested-maniac that was a calm normal child prior to arrival. Then if you are (un)lucky the party is held at some festive place like a roller skating rink or a bowling alley which thus requires 120% supervision as hordes of small children are either throwing around 20+ lb weapons or are smashing into each other and everything else while attempting to learn to ambulate with wheels.
Warning: the best time for your munchkin to learn these new techniques is not necessarily when infused with soda, cake and candy and surrounded by a gaggle of children all in the same predicament.
Next comes the day of the actual festivities. Be it your party, or others, often you are faced with the piñata crisis. There is no actual means to avoid this, for initially it seems like a lovely idea, (as lovely as an idea can be of a bunch of kids swinging around a bat (weapon) while blindfolded to be rewarded with more, and then more, candy) that is until the piñata breaks. Then the child instinct kicks in which is ‘hoard or hurt’.
Warning: this is defined as attempting to obtain every last morsel of candy, despite the fact that they may not like that candy at all or have vats of it at home, and then try to injure every other child that is trying to do likewise. I believe the results of this may have spawned the idea of the WWF.
Let’s talk treat bags. Either you are obtaining these vile things which pretty much cost you an arm and a leg and result in looking like a bag of junk or you are on the receiving end. If you are unfortunate and you encounter a like-wise birthday-passive-aggressive parent who fills this treat bag with all of the items that you have been trying to keep out of your household since the birth of your bundle of joy.
Warning: such items include play dough, paints, whistles, squirt guns etc. (most youths do not understand the boundaries of when and where squirt guns can be used and appropriate body areas to squirt).
So you think, “well I will never have such parties for my child” but listen now as I tell you that you will, if only for revenge for all those that you had to attend or to recoup some of the monies you have invested in gifts. You will also want to recycle some of the mass quantities of piñata candy acquired over the year and ‘pay-them-back’ with their own torturous shopping trip as they try to acquire ‘the gift’.
Then there is the parent guilt factor which your child will learn to manipulate at a very young age. The day after your child’s birthday party they will immediately begin planning for next year’s party. You will hear about it the entire year long from where it will be, what will be done, what gifts will be obtained and who they will invite.
Warning: your child will firmly believe that you must invite every single being that they have ever met in their lifetime and will ask you so in public in front of those not invited as to your reason for excluding them from the annual event.
You will find yourself unable to crush their tiny dreams and little heart and tell them that they cannot have thus party; especially since EVERY one of their friends seems to have had one all year and…how can such small children have so many friends anyway?
The cumulative effect of having to host multiple parties and attend bazillions of them begins to wear upon your brain, causing you to start to twitch slightly at just the mention of the ‘b’ word or upon receiving any small invitation envelope in the mail. You try to remember other children’s birthdays and attempt to fill those times with other activities just to avoid having to attend parties. Then one day when you receive the one-billionth invitation to a child’s birthday party, it happens. You simply snap and lose your mind.
As you sit there with your sweet, innocent little child I am sure you think that this is unlikely, but trust me, as a seven-year veteran of children’s birthday parties, I know. So do not say you were not warned.


Mary Ricksen said...

Not too long, perfect, I never had a birthday party. Christmas birthday. One sweet TWRP author gave me a book because she felt bad I'd never had a party. I will never forget that.
Since I don't have kids I never had to deal with the party thing for them. But despite all the warnings I'll bet you love it!

Debra St. John said...

Great post! We are heading into birthday party season as September approaches. We already have three invitations for that month alone, so I feel your 'pain'.

Maureen said...

My nephew is a christmas birthday too! That's so hard!

Judy said...

It's been a long time ago, but I remember those days . . . and do not wish them back! But now I have a grandchild, so . . .

LynneRoberts said...

LOL. Great post. Over the twenty years that I've had children, I've hosted a lot of birthday parties and you are right on the mark.

I love theme birthday parties... it's easier on me. I also have a Christmas birthday girl. Sometimes we'll have her 'friend' party in June or July, just for fun. I once had a relative tell me they were buying her a present for Christmas and her birthday. I politely asked them if they'd like me to re-wrap it for the latter event. It did the trick. : )

Beth Caudill said...

I make my kids Birthday cakes. It takes hours sometimes to decorate and the munchkins devour it in 15 seconds. (Followed by much complaining of tummyaches.)

I do all the planning and organizing and have yet to enjoy said parties. Although, my husband, kids, parents and inlaws all say they've had good times. I guess that's what matters...but once in a while it would be nice to actually enjoy one of my childrens birthdays.

Maureen said...

Lynne- lol about rewrapping the gift- that's a great idea! I know my nephew hates it if his bday gift is wrapped in christmas paper.
Beth- alas, sometimes I believe it is only us moms that know and appreciate all that goes into a party.
Debra- sept is our biggest bday month also- good luck getting through the month :)