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Saturday, September 04, 2004

Childrens' Birthday Parties

Today I attended yet another birthday party with my son. We seem to be on a birthday party tour that began with his last year. After inviting his Dayschool class, my friends' children, and a friend or two for his older sister, the number grew to 30. Figure 2/3 show up, there's twenty birthday parties you've just signed up for the following year.
Watching the kids play together is nice, but after ten weeks of Saturday parties from 11-2, I've grown weary of singing the song, eating the cake, and most of all, spending more money. On average, a decent birthday gift with mandatory gift bag, runs about $15. Unlike some of my friends, I don't spruce a bag up with wads of tissue paper. Here's the gift, there's a bag you can recycle at another party, ta da! Kids don't care if it's wrapped in day old, grease stained brown paper - they want the present.
It's the parents that like the tissue, colorful wrapping paper, coordinating bows and ribbons......great if you are taking a picture but not functional at all.
This is a mother's duty, I guess. Very seldom do you see father escorting their children to a birthday party unless Mom's very sick. You can spot them sitting on the edge of the fray, away from the gaggle of other moms trading birthday party stories. His eyes scan the crowd for another man to at least share in his misery and trade golf scores. When the cake is served, the lone father will swoop his child out of the group for a quick goodbye. And for that single afternoon, the father will feel as if he has paid dues that extend far past a week, month, or even a year for any other birthday party/play dates.
Maybe we mothers should have Birthday Tour 2004 T-shirts made up and add each party attended in concert format. Like Girl Scout badges of honor and once the shirt is completely full, the mother earns an automatic pass from all birthday parties in the following year. Like an exemption, you could say. But if you throw in a shirt, husbands might show interest and then, before you know it, they will have it on ESPN as a new sport. Cameras will follow Dads around, trying to 'score' another party before the other Dads..........what a reality show that would be!

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