Friday, November 7, 2008

Call Me Scrooge

I feel like a bad person, but I'm getting a little annoyed by birthday parties lately. Of course, I'm referring to the birthday parties that my wee ones are constantly being invited to. After all, they're in daycare, preschool, Sunday School, playgroups, neighborhood and my friend "groupings" which all seem to have children who have birthday parties.

My personal favorite is the invitations to birthday parties that Little Miss gets invited to from daycare. She goes two days a week in the afternoons only (after preschool). The daycare is also a preschool where children go for mornings only. And we have been invited to two birthday parties so far since school started for kids that Little Miss has never heard of. I've politely called and declined the invitations. Wouldn't you check to see if the children you're inviting are at least friends of yours?

I got an invite in the mail today for a friend of mine's daughter who is turning two. She's been part of our playgroup since our older children were only a couple months old. Mister Man was not invited to her older child's birthday party last month because it was limited to "only" twenty-five children, and apparently Mister Man didn't make the cut. She felt compelled to call to tell me about this to be sure that I was ok about it. What am I supposed to do when she calls, regardless of how I fell, tell her that Mister Man has to be invited?

Now her daughter, who is over a year younger than Little Miss, is inviting Little Miss to her birthday party. Oh, but it isn't just her birthday party. It's her birthday party and the party for three other little girls that I've never heard of. You know what? I think I'll pass, thanks.

I get wanting to minimize the number of birthday parties, and sometimes the cost, but if you're doing a party for multiple kids, invite only people who are friends with all the children. We went to a birthday party this summer for another friend from that playgroup where it was her party and the party for a boy from her preschool who we'd never heard of. And it was at that boy's house. It was really awkward for all of us who were friends from playgroup but didn't know any of the preschool people.

And this day was coming, I knew.... We received an invitation for the daughter of a friend of mine via Evite. Yep. "My daughter is having a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese on November X at 10:30am. A light lunch will be served at the end of the party. My daughter has created a birthday wish list at Target.com. A printable list is also available in-store."

Really? It's come to an Evite? What happened to the invitations that you painstakingly pick out and write so that the child has something to open in the mail and tape to the calendar to look forward to? That part makes me a little sad. I get using Evite for casual get togethers -- I've used it for my Super Bowl bashes. But for a little kid's birthday party? Maybe it's just me, but it rubs me the wrong way.

Oh, and if I want to ask you what your child is interested in so that I can get a "good" gift for you, that's my choice. I think it's horrendously tacky and just feels yucky to me to send me a link of where your child has created a birthday wish list. Like I said, call me Scrooge.

Plus, the party -- for a girl just turning three -- is at Chuck E. Cheese which is a place I loathe. Little Miss isn't old enough to play the games, and the noise is just a bit overwhelming for her. It's so not my favorite place, let alone for a birthday party. Unfortunately, that birthday party is being held on a Wednesday morning when Little Miss has preschool, so we won't be able to attend that one either.

I feel like a crotchety old lady with my birthday rules, but it still just gives me an odd feeling. Birthdays to me should be fun celebrations made with thought and care that involve people you truly care about and want there to help you celebrate. All of these seem more like a grab for presents at a minimal cost and effort for the parents.

Am I being too harsh here? How do you celebrate birthdays?

19 comments:

Smoochiefrog November 7, 2008 at 5:37 PM  

Seriously? That is the stupidest thing I've heard of in a long time! Evite and a Target wish list?

Dang.

Jen November 7, 2008 at 5:40 PM  

I agree with a lot of what you said. I plan to have small parties at home in my backyard for as long as possible! I'm lucky that my kids have summer birthdays but still. I also agree that Chuck E Cheese parties are awful!! I'm dreading that first invite too. And I think it is strange to invite kids your children aren't friends with...makes no sense! And a target wish list?? really tacky!

MaNiC MoMMy™ November 7, 2008 at 5:44 PM  

When did YOU have time to blog about birthday parties today in between running, delivering popcorn balls, drinking pear martinis, lunching, shopping, massages, pedicures, and goodness knows what else you were able to do today!!!

Fun meeting up with you!!! : )

Michelle November 7, 2008 at 6:02 PM  

Smoochiefrog - Ok, now I don't feel like I'm totally over-reacting. Just sad...

Jen - For Mister Man's party (next Tuesday), we invited his whole preschool class and then I went person by person with him on the daycare list to see who was actually in class with him to ensure he knows everyone. And 80% of them HAVE YET TO RESPOND.

Manic - Umm, it's called scheduled posting. It works really well for those days I know I'm swamped or at work :) I just got back from my mani/pedi and am waiting for a friend to get here so we can go see a movie! (And I started saying "have a nice adult movie night" but I figured that was going to be taken the wrong way! :) Good to see you, too!

georgie November 8, 2008 at 11:16 AM  

Goodness-to be honest with you I am so glad those days are behind me-my beans are older now so B-Day parties have become a thing of the past...
I am stopping by from allmed to say Hi-I like your blog!

Irene November 8, 2008 at 11:35 AM  

I SO agree with you! Birthdays are out of control. When I was a kid - many many many years ago - we had my aunt and uncle over and we had a cake. Period. And, I think, one year my mom actually invited a couple kids from the neighborhood over and we had cake and ice cream at my house. Period. Some kids these days are treated like they are royalty, and then we wonder what is wrong with kids these days, being so bratty and demanding...hmmmm, wonder why?

psychoknitter November 8, 2008 at 11:55 AM  

I don't have kids, but I couldn't stand that stuff - would make me nuts! Especially doing gift wish lists - err...yuck!

JourneytoFamily November 8, 2008 at 4:02 PM  

Your "entry" into my giveaway is hilarious!

And I think if one of my kids was invited to a b'day party and the other one wasn't I probably wouldn't attend. That's rude.

I must admit, though I'm not a fan of Mr. Cheese myself, I've had a number of parties there, simply due to the convenience of not having to set up or clean up afterwards. (some Chuck E. Cheeses have baby/toddler rides, and I always pick one that does)

I haven't used Evite yet for kid birthday parties.

And registries/wish lists for birthday parties are just plain TACKY!

Michelle November 8, 2008 at 4:22 PM  

Georgie - Welcome! I'm looking forward to the days when birthday parties are past. Does that make me a bad mom?

Irene - I will do a pretty "big" birthday party (e.g., inviting the kids in class and a few good frients) but I HATE goodie bags and don't do them other than whatever craft or goodie we make while at the party. But it's all about having fun and not the over the top STUFF that I see so often. I do like the parallel you're drawing.

Psychoknitter - Gift wish lists are not the norm. At least not yet. I've had moms ask what Mister Man or Little Miss like, and that's fine but ... I will *not* be doing a wish list. Ever.

Journey to Family - I'm glad you liked the humor :) I'm ok with my wee ones being separated out with birthday parties since they are getting to the point of having their own friends (except for my friend who called to explain why Mister Man wasn't going to be invited because there was a 25 person limit - thanks. Good to know he doesn't rank in your daughter's top 25 friends), especially where some of the activities aren't appropriate to the 3 year old age range. And I get having the parties not in the house (Mister Man's will be at a restaurant next week where they'll "make" pizzas). I just find Chuck E Cheese overstimulating :)

Outnumbered2to1 November 8, 2008 at 6:32 PM  

Oh no they do not have a birthday registry!!! That is crazy. If they make them for their birthday, can you even imagine these children as adult getting married? You are no scrooge...you are NORMAL

Jaci November 8, 2008 at 8:39 PM  

I am stunned at the idiocy of people today. Gift registry for a three year old? Toddler parties with over 25 kids? It's ridiculous.

You aren't a Scrooge. I would react the exact same way (and the evite would have gone straight to SPAM). Elizabeth just had her 3rd birthday, and it was with grandparents and parents only. When she's 5 or 6, the "friend" birthday parties can start. Until then, she's still a baby. And it's still a private, SMALL celebration.

Again, people are freaking stupid. :)

Michelle November 8, 2008 at 10:14 PM  

Outnumbered2to1 - Actually... I can imagine her getting married. and it isn't a pretty picture :) The funny thing is (I'm just a *touch* behind in my reading) that in the Parents Magazine for March, I just read they did a survey and 83% of parents think that gift registries are a no-no. The shocking thing to me is that 17% think they're fine then!

Jaci - In the 25 person defense, it was for a 5 year old not a toddler. And ummm I've had large parties like that ... at home though where it's more like a huge playdate because I'm friends with the parents :) At least I did respond nicely that she couldn't make it because (truly) I was working during the party time.

Cookie November 8, 2008 at 11:01 PM  

OMG! I SO hate CHuck E cheese! Unfortunately my kids love it. BUt so far, I've managed to avoid having any of my kids' parties there. One place I do love is "The Little Gym." They do a Fantastic job! My son is turning 4 next month. I looked around and finally we agreed to invite 8 kids to our house and I promised him a pinata. I'll let you know how it goes. Oh and it's 2 weeks before Christmas :S Not the best timing, but not much I can do since his birthday is 12/17.
Some of those things you mentioned are annoying or inappropriate, but the one about inviting everyone on the preschool list (even if your child doesn't know them) sounds normal to me. The teacher gives you a list of kids and you just invite all of them. It's one way to keep it simple. Of course, maybe not so simple for you since you get invited to 25 birthday parties as a result!

Michelle November 9, 2008 at 1:20 PM  

Cookie - Glad you're with me on Chuck E Cheese! I don't think we have a Little Gym by us though unfortunately. And I feel for you on the timing of his birthday. You should have arranged his birth better ;) BUT the inviting everyone thing is actually for daycare - and some are there in am, some in pm, some full time, some MT, some WF, etc. I'm talking about being invited to parties for people at daycare who are not IN daycare at the same time my wee ones are so not only do *I* not know them, but the wee ones have never heard of them! I totally do the whole class list for preschool :)

Gina November 10, 2008 at 9:04 AM  

I hate HATE the registries!! I'm all for it for a wedding, so i can know what pattern of china or whatever, but for a kid's birthday? Forget it. Whatever happened to being graciuos and appreciative of whatever you are given?

Michelle November 10, 2008 at 8:11 PM  

Gina - I'm with you. I'm SO with you (and yes, I'm grateful for them for weddings, too!). Kids don't NEED presents. Literally, for parents who are asking for Mister Man's birthday party -- which is tomorrow -- I'm telling them things like books or puzzles or activity books. None of this $30 toy that he'll play with twice stuff! And I'm climbing off my high horse now. My is the view good from up here though....

Beth November 11, 2008 at 1:41 PM  

HAHA! I agree - we usually have a big party for our girls - mostly family and mostly adults! But for my 2-year old's party this past weekend - I said NO! Instead, we as a family went to the zoo for the day and then to a late lunch/early supper. We had several people meet us there - my sister and her kids; brother and his kids; my mom; my husband's mom; - but it was totally up to them and the kids had such a GREAT time!

Then we had cake and opened a few presents at our house with just us there on her birthday...there was no pressure and no worries who showed up and who didn't!

Michelle November 11, 2008 at 7:48 PM  

Beth - It truly is all about the kids having a good time, isn't it? That sounds like a lovely way to spend the birthday! I like it... and we've started spending birthdays at the zoo, too, but we still end up with a friend party, too!

Crystal February 4, 2009 at 3:24 PM  

We keep our parties to just family. We have plenty of cousins and attending parties uninvited is tacky. Being invited when you barely know someone is ridiculous and sounds like what I call a "gimme". Someone has a party and says "gimme presents"!Registries , to me , are the height of tackiness in any situation! If someone gives you a gift, it is just.. that a gift.It is appropriate to give everyone your "list" of wants like you expect them to play Santa! If someone wants to ask you for suggestions they can do it on their own. Everyone has different budgets and ideas of how much is too much to spend.Whatever happened to..just come and share my special day?We stay out of what we call the birthday circuit. If you go to one you are roped into them all or face Queen Bee Mommy drama ..going broke in the process!

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