Why My Kids Won’t Be Coming To Your Kid’s Birthday Party
My kids are no longer going to any birthday parties. That’s it. With class-wide invitations and twins in two separate classrooms, last year I received invites to somewhere between 40 and 500,000,000 birthday parties. I tried to keep up in the beginning, but now I say, no more.
For the first couple of months of school, I would tell the kids about every Evite that ended up in my inbox. “Oh look! Matador has invited you to his birthday party! Do you want to go?” In case you were wondering, no kindergartener ever says no to a birthday party. So I would reply yes, and then spend a half hour or so explaining to the other twin that they weren’t invited to Matador’s party because Matador doesn’t know them. This rarely went well.
Then it’s time to go shopping for a gift. Shopping for a gift for a five-year-old I have never met is one of the most emotionally taxing experiences I’ve ever had. I never had any clue what this kid was into or what his parents approved of (bless every parent who includes a list of things their kid likes on the invitation), and certainly my child, a.k.a. Matador’s super best friend, had no idea what he liked either. We would spend an hour wandering around the toy section while my child compiled their Christmas list, and I searched for a benign and almost-sure-to-please gift.
When party day came along, I would realize that I had no idea if I was supposed to stay for this shebang or not. Do I just drop my kid off and come back in an hour and a half? Or do I pretend to be social and make small talk with the other parents? And sometimes, there’s the “you don’t have to stay but you can if you want to” thing which then makes me feel like an asshole, because of course I don’t want to stay but I also don’t want to look like I’m unfriendly and desperate to get away from my kid for a little bit, both of which I unfortunately am.
After the party comes the time when we get our mini bag of crap to take home. I appreciate the effort that goes into these bags, I really do. And I get that a lot of parents do it because that’s what all the other parents have done. But after a few birthday parties you start to assemble quite the bounty of tiny plastic toys around the house. And for the love of all that is quiet and holy, please don’t give me kid a whistle. That’s just mean.
A few months into last year, when we had already gone to five or six parties and were getting invitations to new ones every weekend, I just decided no. I’m out. Unless our kids are way close, I am going to say thank you for the invitation, but we will be unable to attend. I tell the kids, “Kids, you got invited to Calisthenic’s party, but unfortunately we already have a thing that weekend. A thing. I said a thing now stop asking questions.”
This year my twins are in the same classroom, which should cut down the number of birthday parties significantly. I’m not sure how many we’ll go to this year, but it looks like half of their class was born in January. I’m going to pray for a blizzard that settles over my house, leaving me unable to dig out for the entire month except to send the kids back to school. It’s going to be a weird weather pattern, but I think I can sell it.
(Photo: Pressmaster / Shutterstock)