You attended the parenting classes and read the books. You might think you’ve heard it all about raising your bundle of joy—well think again. This advice won’t be found in any book or parenting class. It’s about the ‘b’ word that no parent speaks honestly about. No, it is not bibs, bottles or breastfeeding. It’s…birthdays.
Don’t Let the Cute Birthday Invitation Fool You
In your parenting lifetime you’ll spend thousands of dollars on birthday parties you’re throwing to ones you’re forced to be going. Invitations arrive looking cute and harmless. They have colorful balloons, or a cuddly critter adorning it, but don’t be fooled. Harmless, they are not. Receiving such initially obligates you to go to the store. You’ll spend a mind-boggling amount of time trying to pick out a ‘unique gift’ for a child that will 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. It’s often felt that the attendee must already have, or obtain, the same gift.
More Than the Monetary Investment
Then there’s your time obligation. The parties aren’t just for the youngsters. You, as the responsible parent, are obligated to attend to manage your sugar-infested-maniac. This was your 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. These
death traps fun places require 120% supervision. Hordes of small children are either throwing around 20+ lb weapons, or smashing into each other and everything else while attempting 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.
Nothing Says Birthday Fun Like Kids Wielding a Stick
Be it your party, or others, often you are faced with the piñata crisis. There is no actual means to avoid this. Initially it seems like a lovely idea. (As lovely as an idea can be of a bunch of kids swinging around a
weapon bat while blindfolded to be rewarded with more, and then more, candy can be.) 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, or have vats at home. Then they try to injure every other child that’s trying to do likewise. The results of this may have spawned the idea of the WWF.
Revenge Comes in a Birthday Treat Bag
Let’s talk treat bags. Either you’re obtaining the vile things—which pretty much cost you an arm and a leg and result in looking like a bag of junk—or you’re receiving them. If you’re unfortunate, you encounter a like-wise birthday-passive-aggressive parent who fills this treat bag with all the items you’ve tried to keep out of your home since the birth of your bundle of joy.
Warning: This includes play dough, paints, whistles, squirt guns etc. (Most youths don’t understand the boundaries of when and where squirt guns can be used and appropriate body areas to squirt).
You may think, “I’ll never have such parties for my child.” But listen now as I tell you that you will. If only for revenge for all those you had to attend, or to recoup some of the monies you invested in gifts. You’ll 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’.
Guilt—the Gift that Keeps on Giving
Then there’s the parent guilt factor. Your child will learn to manipulate this at a very young age. The day after their birthday party they immediately begin planning for next year’s party. You’ll hear about it the entire year. From where it will be, what will be done, what gifts will be obtained, and who they’ll invite.
Warning: Your child will firmly believe you must invite every single being they have ever met in their lifetime. They’ll ask you in public in front of those not invited for your reason for excluding them from the annual event.
You’ll find yourself unable to crush their tiny dreams and little heart and tell them that they can’t have thus party. Especially since EVERY one of their friends seems to have had one all year. How can such small children have so many friends anyway?
The Birthday Buildup
The cumulative effect of having to host multiple parties and attend bazillions wears upon your brain. A twitch starts at the mention of the ‘b’ word, or upon receiving any invitation in the mail. You try to remember other children’s birthdays. You attempt to fill those times with other activities to avoid having to attend parties. Then one day you receive the one-billionth invitation to a child’s birthday party and it happens. You snap…and lose your mind.
Something Sugary This Way Comes
As you sit there with your sweet, innocent little child I’m sure you think this is unlikely. But trust me, as a seven-year veteran of children’s birthday parties, I know. Don’t say you weren’t warned.