Monday, July 25, 2011

What Do You Do When The Birthday Girl Leaves The Party?

You remember the song "It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To" - how can you not remember that classic? But what do you do when the birthday girl really is crying? And she has to leave her own birthday party? What's the etiquette there?

What, you've never faced this dilemma before? Lucky you.

I did mention that Little Miss broke her arm at her own birthday party earlier this summer, right? When it first happened (she was jumping in a bouncy place and a friend pushed her - she landed wrong), I knew it was broken. I could tell just looking at it. And the party was just thirty minutes in. Of course it was late enough that all the doctors' offices had already closed, so we'd have to go to the ER regardless, but there was a small hope that she could stick it out and head to the ER after the party was over.

I say this only knowing that setting a broken arm immediately or setting it in a few hours won't change anything with regards to healing.

It wasn't going to happen, however, as she was miserable and in pain. My husband and mom took Little Miss to the ER, leaving me behind with the party and 18 children still racing through the bouncy house.

Ummmm. What are you supposed to do in that situation? The birthday girl is gone. Do you send everyone home? Do you still have the birthday cake? Uhhh....

The first issue was figuring out what to tell the other kids. They had all gathered around Little Miss as she sat in my arms sobbing and holding her arm. They knew something was up, and they saw when she left. I figured they already knew something was up so the truth was the best - we were taking Little Miss to the ER because she hurt her arm, but we didn't yet know if it was broken. And yes, the party would go on.

When we got to the party room, we handed out the food we'd previously arranged to have served. That wasn't a problem. The cake was still a dilemma though. Do you simply cut it up and hand it out, or do you not serve it at all when the birthday girl is missing?

I came up with a better solution. I put the candles on the cake and asked all the kids to sing happy birthday to Little Miss and blow out her candles together, and I'd capture it on video so that she could watch it later when she was feeling better. It worked wonderfully, with lots of the kids wishing Little Miss better after the singing was finished. So sweet!

That made it easy to then pass out the cake and pretend like this was a normal birthday party. The one factor I hadn't counted on? As parents arrived to pick up their children, they came up to me asking "Is it true?" Oh. Oops. I hadn't thought about the fact that each child would immediately run to a parent and tell the whole story. Eh, they would have found out anyway.

And yes, I made it to the ER in time for the doctor to read the X-rays and determine that yes, it was a break. And both bones in her forearm were broken. At a pretty severe angle where she had to be sedated to straighten the arm before putting he cast on. Poor kid.

My hope is that you're never in a situation where you need to figure out what to do when the guest of honor has to unexpectedly leave his own birthday party, but just in case... I've figured out how you handle it at least.

PS Yes, she's doing fine and the cast will come off soon. No weight bearing activities for three months, however.

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Kim/reluctant renovator July 25, 2011 at 11:21 PM  

Oh, I remember seeing all the status updates that night. Poor kid. Poor Mom. You may be on to a new kind of etiquette book! Hope she's doing well now.

Melisa with one S July 26, 2011 at 7:46 AM  

I think Kim's onto something...

The video of birthday wishes was a genius move. Love it!

Debbie July 26, 2011 at 1:37 PM  

How about when the host and hostess of Thanksgiving go to the hospital to give birth to a premature baby? Wait - that was me! Left my brother and sister to finish cooking and host my *difficult* in-laws without us. Wasn't about to let all that food go to waste or leave the whole family without a Thanksgiving dinner. But I think the holiday celebration was mostly overshadowed by worry about me and the baby. Luckily, all ended up well.

Glad the break is healing well, but good luck with keeping the little one from any weight bearing activities. She is so active and likely to forget!

Pat July 26, 2011 at 5:31 PM  

Oh, poor Little Miss. I hope she has a smooth recovery. Is she right-handed or left-handed? You came up with a very clever way to continue the bday party without the bday girl! Best wishes to the little one.

septembermom July 27, 2011 at 7:16 AM  

I'm so sorry for Little Miss. I hope she heals quickly. I think you came up with a great idea to keep the spirit of the birthday party going.

Tara R. July 27, 2011 at 12:28 PM  

Awww... poor Little Miss. I hope she is well on the mend, and recovery is quick and easy.

Gina July 28, 2011 at 9:29 AM  

Awww...poor thing! The cake idea was great, though. I was once at a baby shower where the guest of honor had to leave just as it was starting because she went into labor.

Michelle July 28, 2011 at 11:52 AM  

Kim - Yeah... I can only imagine how that etiquette book would go. Ironically, my husband was just telling me the other day I should hold classes for kids on etiquette. He thinks I'd make a bundle ;)

Melisa - She may be, too. And the video? She burst into tears when I told her about it. I'm hoping she'll be ok with it soon so I can show it to her.

Debbie - Welllllllll yeah there is that, too! I'd forgotten about that one :) It definitely ended well, and glad it still IS well.

Pat - She's left handed, of course. Mister Man broke his right arm and is right handed and she did and is the opposite. Whee.

Kelly - She's healing, although I can now actually *feel* the bone, which sort of creeps me out.

Tara - She's on the mend, and she's been a pretty good sport, but this is definitely not easy for her to be quiet and still!

Gina - Oh wow! That's another one that's pretty special. At least she was able to enjoy a bit of it?

Not a Perfect Mom July 31, 2011 at 6:19 PM  

Last April my Jack had to leave his pool party for his birthday...crying his ears hurt-sure enough the next day the doc confirmed a crazy awful double ear inf...
But I left with Jack and the hubs stayed with his friends...we paid for the time and space and had all the food/cake/etc...and how could we tell all the excited kids the party was over?
and yikes, that's some break...

Michelle August 11, 2011 at 10:57 PM  

Holly - Not that I'm *glad* I'm the only one who's had this sort of issue, but ... at least I'm not alone? Poor kid! And no, you can't tell the kids they have to leave.

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