Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Birthday Parties Everywhere!

Within one weeks time, our kids have been invited to 6 birthday parties! I guess this was a good month to have babies. Two of my son's friend's birthdays were today. The kids are all excited. One was a sled riding party. Another is a bowling party. Another is at the local indoor water park.

I remember when I was little. None of my friends had big birthday parties. If they had a party, it was at their house, just some games with prizes and cake and ice cream. When we got a little older, a few of us would have a slumber party. I don't do a lot for my kids parties. I really can't afford to do big parties for 4 kids every year! I let them have a party or two, but usually we just do something small, like letting them invite a friend along to go bowling with us. Last summer I let my 7 year old have his party at the local outdoor pool. It was great! We invited his whole baseball team. We brought our own food, and just had to pay for each kid to swim ($3.00). He's already talking about where he wants his party to be this year. What party? He can go swimming again! No, he wants friends over the house, but I don't know if I'm up for the chaos of little boys running around my house. Actually, if I could, I'd do a big party almost every year. The kids have so much fun, but that's just out of the question.

My husband can't believe all the parties my kids have been invited to. He once told me that they don't have to go to every party that they're invited to. Sounds rational, I guess, but then I reminded him of "the birthday party story":

When my 11 year old was in 3rd grade, he got an invitation on the last day of school to a skating party for a boy that was not exactly his best friend. He was considered by many to be a "bad" kid. "Bad" as in just a troublemaker, but not a mean kid. My son said he didn't know if he wanted to go, because he wasn't really friends with him. I convinced him to go, because he loves to skate, and there would probably be lots of his other friends there. Well he went, and had fun. When I went to pick him up, I talked to his mom and asked her how many kids she invited. She told me 24, but only TWO showed up. The other kids didn't even call to RSVP, so she wasn't sure how many would actually come. She brought with her 24 treat bags. I was shocked. All I could do was agree how rude that was. I was SO glad my son was one of the only 2 who went. From then on, I decided that my kids will go to any birthday party that they were invited to, unless, of course, we couldn't. So the "bad kid"... I don't think that helped him much. Even Monica Lewinski never forget how Tory Spelling invited her whole class, minus Monica, to her birthday party.

So why don't people RSVP? It means to say if you're coming or not, unless it states regrets only. I'm sure maybe a few of the kids forgot all about it. Maybe some just didn't show their mom's the invitation, but 22 people? The birthday parties at the indoor water park are very expensive. The last time my son went there, the invitations said "regrets only" on it. I knew that was a mistake. I don't know how many didn't show up, but the mother told me the place made a lot of money on their party. They paid for a lot of people that didn't show up. It would have been cheaper for them to just pay for each kid that came.

On the other hand, last fall, my 7 year old was invited to a birthday party for a girl in his class. The whole class was invited over her house. My son didn't care to go because she was a girl. I, once again, convinced my son he'd have his other friends there, and that he'd have lots of fun. He went. I got bad vibes from the minute I dropped him off, but just brushed it off. My son walked in their house and said to me, "What smells?". I was embarrassed that my son was so rude. There were a couple adults standing there and I didn't know which one was the mother. After a few minutes I realized it was the one standing right in front of me! She didn't say anything! OK, whatever. Then I came back to pick him up and my son ran out of the house and said, "This was the worst party I ever went to!". I still thought he was just being rude. Then, on the ride home, he told me the mom was putting all the boys in time out. At a birthday party? Then they wouldn't let my son have any pop because they told him I said he could only have milk or water. I didn't say that. My son asked them for a phone to call home and ask me, and they told him they didn't have a phone. Later I talked to some of the other moms, and they all agreed that the house was dirty and it was a strange party. What do you do when you show up at a party, then decide you don't want your son to go anymore? I know what I'll do next time. I'll, at the very least, pick him up very early and say we have to go somewhere. I guess this is the other extreme, and usually very unlikely to happen. One of the moms told me, "I can't believe how many parents just drop their kids off without leaving a contact number!". I didn't. "Oh, I know", I lied. Sometimes you just are trying to be nice, and it just doesn't work out.

23 comments:

Amy said...

It is great that your son went to the skating party. I'm sure that it meant a lot to that boy.

Kitty said...

My son had a football party last year - a couple of the guests didn't RSVP, and just didn't turn up. I do think it's rude. My two go to almost all the parties to which they're invited. It's fun! x

Irene said...

I just feel SO bad for those kids that think they are having a huge party, only to have a couple kids show up. Unfortunately, it has become a common thing to happen. Maybe it is because there are so many parties now? Like you said, when we were kids, it was a BIG deal to have a party, so everyone showed up!

I do love the story about the "stinky" house. Time outs. Too funny.

Karen said...

We do parties for our kids every other year, because of the expense and the stuff that they get and don't need.

I'm with you on the RSVP thing. We went to a lot of bother for my 6 year old's party last year and 3 kids showed up from his entire class. ARGH! I've been known to RSVP the day before because I've forgotten, but I do it!

For an inexpensive party we went to the local state park one year. They had an awesome playground and tons of space to run around. The kids had a blast and there was little clean-up and supervision on my part. (Supervision as in too small a space and not enough to do so I have to entertain them.)

kimmy said...

When I was little, my birthday parties were held at McDonald's with the big jug of orange "soda." My kids used to have big parties too, but now that they are older I usually let them invite a few friends to sleep over!

I agree though, it is frustrating when people don't RSVP.

Kimmy

Dawn said...

This was a great post. The story about the skating party was so sad. RSVP's are something that don't get much of a response where I live either- it drives me crazy because I like to make nice treat bags- I usually have to call the parents and ask a couple of days before the party.

Laurie M. said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. You have great information and helpful hints so I'll be coming back often.

I too send my kids to every b-day party they are invited to unless we already have plans. I can't believe 22 kids didn't show up to your son's friend's party! so rude!

We do parties for our kids about every other year. Too expensive to do 4 big bday parties every year!

Jen said...

I'm glad your son was one of the ones that went. I do not understand why it is so hard for people to RSVP anymore either. I usually get RSVP's for only about 1/3 of the people who actually show up.

I love to plan birthday parties for my kids, and they usually have a party every year. It's fun for me, fun for them...

Kellan said...

I think that birthday parties are out of control these days and I have been guilty of contributing to the chaos. I've tried to cut back over the past couple of years - seeing the error of my ways - they just don't need these GREAT BIG parties - they don't. I'm glad you son went to the skating party - I let my kids go to most of the parties they are invited to, but sometimes I don't. Take care and I'll see you later. Kellan

Zoe said...

i get so irritated by people not rsvping. it drives me nuts when i am trying to get a ead count. kids parties can have so many emotions attached to them...

girlymom said...

Ya know I start to get kinda cheap on party gifts because I have a hard time spending more money per year on their friends gifts than on what I would spend on my own child. The kids are at an age now that I can find anything girly on sale and it will work for any friend. I love them being invited, it gives me a chance to meet more of their friends and parents, but the gifts add up so fast! We did a party last summer and filled a kids pool and ran sprinklers and slip and slides- they had a blast..and it was outside so the house wasn't destroyed. Have fun at all the parties!

OHmommy said...

Monica wasn't invited? I will remember that. I am so glad you took him to the skating party. I think this BIG party is a new trend. I too, do not remember HUGE parties growing up. It gets really expensive attending so many parties. Isn;t it?

KIDZMAMA said...

I really like the new, new layout. It's colorful and happy!

The birthday thing is tough sometimes. I leave it up to each kid if they want to go or not. But I always RSVP. For the past few years we have the older ones invite two or three friends for their party. We go swimming, mini golfing, bowling, or just over to the house for movies. The kids love it and it's meaningful to the few kids that are over.

The little ones get "family" parties for the first two years and then I'm done. I actually tried to convince my family that we don't need a party for the soon-to-be one year old. That didn't fly so well!

Leah said...

I've had very bad experiences with RSVP's in the past; it seems people just don't care anymore!! It makes it very hard to plan out all the details for the party. This last year, I went down the list of people who'd been invited, and anyone I hadn't heard from two days before the party, I put in a phone call to. One mom was clearly annoyed by the phone call, but I apologized for being pushy in the matter, but I wanted to make sure I had everything I'd need for all the guests. I wasn't at all disappointed when that family opted against coming! LOL

We so far haven't had to deal with being invited to a million parties, and I'm thanking my lucky stars because those gifts start to really add up financially!!

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

6 parties?

I like a party as much as the next person but 6 kids party!!

Hallie

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

Note to future self: Always encourage Toddler to attend all birthday parties, provide her with an "out" when necessary, and absolutely always RSVP. Got it!

MAGIRK said...

I just love reading your blog. :)

I never had birthday parties when I was young. We couldn't afford it. I guess that's why I prefer to just be home and with family on birthdays.

You're an awesome mom! I LOVE reading your parenting stories and experiences. :)

Hope the kids have fun at all these parties...!

Amy said...

I love your new, new layout and your banner! For the past several years, we've kept the boys birthday celebrations small usually we let them pick one friend and a place they want to go and then they usually have them spend the night.But I agree that it is always important to RSVP

Amy said...

we do pretty simple parties here. i feel like people are trying to out do each others wieth parties these days! so many of them are just too over the top for me!

Kila said...

Parents don't RSVP around here, either. Drives me crazy!

When I get those bad vibes at a party, I stay the whole time. I'm known as "overprotective", but that's OK ;)

Becky said...

I think proper ettiquitte, as far as RSVPs are concerned are a dying art. It was expected when I was a girl, as that was how all the moms determined how much food to have.

LOL on the 'worst party' your son had ever been to! I mean, not for your son, but how you wrote it! We went to a party one time where I got a bad vibe after seeing some creepy adult relatives skulking around in the background, and so I handed the gift to my son and told him to give it to the birthday boy, and we left. I told the mom I was sorry, having RSVP'd he'd be there, but we'd had an emergency come up and had to leave right away.

My son asked on the way to the car, "Am I in trouble?" I laughed, "No, bud...I just didn't feel good about leaving you at their house."

Shellie said...

I would have said we needed to go somewhere soon and stayed to wait and take him home after a little while at that weird party.

Deb in OPKS said...

Sorry, I am behind on reading some of my blogging friends, but I wanted to comment. I did a party for Diva when she turned 5 an no one showed. They did RSVP, the problem is, Diva's b-day is July 2 and everyone was on vacation. Thankfully she didn't realize I was doing a party and the only expense was tutu's I made. I sold most of them and got my money back. I'm horrible at RSVPing, but get it done eventually. I've also been known to leave my kid without a contact number. Oops! Thanks for the eye opener on that!