Hosting a child’s birthday party is stupidly stressful and I move to get back to my modest roots and reinstate the McDonald’s birthday parties of 1981. Goody bags? Here’s your Happy Meal. Games? Run yourselves ragged on that poorly constructed plastic labyrinth of fun: The Mcy D’z playground.
Where the rulebook? Every time I deliver my kid to Buffy’s Birthday Extravaganza, I just want the escape, I crave to hear those heavenly words, “feel free to drop him off and come back to 2pm.” But even then, I have to worry about the menacing dog or the delinquent older brother with the really bad skin who appears to be planning his own natural disaster. So, here’s the Official Rulebook on Children’s Parties:
To Drink or not to Drink? Even worse are the parties that are merely a means for the adults to booze. I’ve been known to take the bait and knock a few back with Buffy’s great aunt, but it never feels right, does it? Trying to swallow warm chardonnay while listening to some stranger complain about the public school department is right up there with hearing about dental work. Please, just stop.
Hosts and hostesses, stop urging parents to grab a drink when you’ve provided one bottle of white wine that’s been fermenting for an hour. I do not want to arm wrestle the grandma for a glass. And, really, I’m going to need eight screwdrivers to null the sound of the bouncy house mayhem.
The Lost Art of RSVPs is Mortifying: Buffy’s mom & dad, we all know HOW busy you are, mostly because it’s the only conversation we ever have, “I’m so busy I forgot and spoon-fed Buffy gluten!!”, but here’s refresher: RSVP is a request for a response from the invited person. It is derived from the French phrase Répondez s’il vous plaît, literally “Reply if you please” or “Reply please”. So, if I am going to invite your bundle of joy to my little shindig the least you can do is call, text, email or throw something at me to let me know if Buffy is gracing us with his adorable presence. The same can be stated for adult parties (yes, I still throw some of those, too). Just do it, you’ll feel so much better.
Let Them Eat Cake. Really, just let Buffy eat the damned cake. Nobody wants to listen to the insipid negotiation over having a slice of cake. Please, just let Buffy eat the cake, and the ice cream and the potato chips. It’s a party.
Watching the Detective. How did you get your house so thoroughly clean? We’re all engaging in some investigative research while attending these parties. I’m spending every moment wondering how people clean their house so well, but other questions I’m pondering include how often the parents get it on, if they have a housekeeper, how much the parents love/loathe each other and I’m also scouring the joint for pictures from their youth. Just beware, we’re all doing it.
Cheers to the kid that recently greeted me at his elaborate front door with the greeting, “we’re rich, and we have tennis courts!” Yes, Buffy, you are rich and you do indeed have tennis courts. Unfortunately, your home birthday party was still a terrible bore, your parents appear to tolerate each other’s presence and your aunt is a lush. Happy Birthday to you!