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.