Let's talk over the top birthday parties shall we????
When the twins were 10 years old, I threw their first "party". You know the one where you have to invite half the school - well, not actually, but it sure as hell felt like it! I did this party to recognize the milestone of the twins being alive for a decade. I'm corny like that sometimes - I can't help it.
You stress out over party favors and what the hell to do for entertainment for all those kids without the party being dubbed "the bummer of the year", and my being labeled the lamest mom in the community and having your name headlined in the school newspaper the next week:
"NADIA AND JULIAN'S MOM HAS BEEN VOTED
THE STUPIDEST PARTY
FOR ALL TIME!!!!!
A TAR AND FEATHERING
HAS BEEN SCHEDULED"
Well, luckily that didn't happen. After a hilarious blindfolded makeover session, a few pinatas, food, a few eggs tossed, and a serious airsoft war where my poor brother had to chase 15 crazy boys all over a hilltop as plastic pellets whizzed by his ear, it became a party that the twins friends raved about the rest of the year.
Did I mention that I slept for three days straight after that weekend and lost my favorite hot pink coffee-to-go cup at Chili's in the process?
So..... back to the point of me writing this post.
Toni was invited to a birthday party last weekend where the invitation announced that there would be a water slide, cotton candy maker, snow cone maker, and a swimming pool. WHOO HOO! Sounded like a heck of a party for an eight year old to be at! Hell, I even wanted to go! I thought about dressing up like a little girl sporting one of those giant sized multi-colored swirly lollypops, slapping a bow in my hair, and calling myself Willamenia.
Nah! Didn't have a Hannah Montana swimsuit handy in my drawers that day.
So I drive up to the house in a neighborhood full of those mini McMansions. Notice I didn't say actual McMansions cause these were one story suburban sprawls instead of those two story suburban monstrosities.
It was easy to see that these people were in that exact tax bracket that Obama is thinking about socking the new taxes to. *Scary music plays*
This is where all the McMansion owners start emailing me about how I'm discriminating against their house choices and calling them bad homeowners and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
WHAT..e...VER - This is about a stinking birthday party people!
I arrive more than fashionably early - like a half hour TOO early, so I drive around the neighborhood and noticing that every freaking house is EXACTLY the same accept some decided to trim a bush or two in the shape of their favorite sea creature of the month.
It wasn't just a fluke that I started yawning as I drove cause they must have the most uncreative, most archaic home owners association in this town, cause this neighborhood was downright boring - just big brick houses everywhere and no style as Gallagher would say, right before he'd slammed one of those houses with his Sledge-O-Matic just to prove his point!
After checking my iPhone for messages, emails, and post a tweet or two, I finally drove Toni back to the house to drop her off. Got out and noticed another monstrosity: The WaterSlide.
This was no ordinary waterslide - it was the T-Rex's of all portable waterslides. This thing could easily consume almost the entire width of my backyard, and it came with double slides! Double the kids could go up and down, and up and down, and up and down, and bump and drown all over each at the the pee-pool waiting for them at the end of their long. wet. journ-eeeey.
Toni's friend quickly took notice of our arrival and came up squealing that squeal only little eight year old girls can do. She was quite the hostess as she showed us where to put Toni's towel, change of clothes and, of course, the present.
Cause that's the only reason why we give them birthday parties, so that we won't have to foot the whole bazillion-dollar cost on the odd array of presents our kids will want.
Then I began to examine this little kiddie soirée. Let's see: 9 banquet tables under a tent, 4 end-to-end banquet tables jammed packed with snacks, BBQ, hot dogs, hamburgers, etc., etc., six separate male/female click-ish groups happening-complete with beer and cleverly disguisted vodka/tonics, and... and... and....
25+ God blessed, stinking, assorted dead forest animals lined around the walls of that garage!
I literally mean "God Bless Them", but I'm not quite sure about the stinking part cause I didn't get that close to find out.
It's not that I'm against hunting - for FOOD that is! This does not look like the kind of family that needs to be hunting for food - and mounting THAT many dead animals on a wall kinda creeps me out! It's a kinda bad karma thing happening there.
Little did I know.
"But where is the MOM of this place?", I'm wondering to myself as my daughter skips off with her friend to join the other set of animals going up and down the water slide.
So I stand around and look - walk this way and that - look some more - then finally walk over to Toni's friend and ask where her mom is so that I can introduce myself as THE parent of Toni. I mean, isn't that what we responsible parents are suppose to do when we take our kids to a house we haven't been to before? Let them know who is actually SUPPOSE to be picking the kids up when it's time to kick them all out and send them home to momma and daddy?
She points me to her grandfather instead. Well, at least it's a blood relative, so I introduce myself and stick my hand out to shake his and then confirm that I am Toni's mom and that I will be the one picking her up at the end of the party. Then I kiss Toni good-bye, confirm with here when I'll be back, and all that yada, yada, yada, and then I go home.
*Jeopardy tune plays*
So then it comes time to pick her back up at 5 in the evening. This was a three hour party so I'm thinking that the parents of this little girl might have all the kids lined up at the curb like it's the end of a school day while rushing them to the appropriate parents car/van/suv/hummer-at-large in order to have a peaceful homestead again.
Nada! - Not even close!
I find myself in the exact same predicament as I was when I dropped her off: standing and waiting, looking and searching - except for my daughter this time. There's still all these kids going up and down the water slide, various adult clicks still in this group or that, no one watching the kids, and everyone ignoring me for at least 10 minutes (yes, I waited THAT long before doing anything), as I stood there looking like a lost ninnie for my daughter.
As other women/mothers(?) walked by me constantly with varied shapes of glasses clinking with fresh ice and whatever they could put in that drink, I finally went over to two of them and asked where/who was in charge, where was the mother of the birthday girl, been standing there for 10 minutes and can't find my daughter - help!
One of the women "thinks" the girls mother is in the house - the big McMansion house that I'm just suppose to walk in and meander through it trying to find my daughter.
I go anyway, but stop to ask another woman who I "think" is the little girls mother - but it's not, and she points me to the little girls grandmother. Well at least I'm meeting the grandparents. Again, I introduce myself, make eye contact, shake hands, then ask for help looking for my daughter because I can't find her and I don't feel comfortable searching someone else's house who may - or may not- think I'm there just for the jewelry - or one of the dead animals on the garage wall!
"She may be in the pool.", she quietly tells me as she motions for me to follow her in the house.
"Who the hell needs a pool with a water slide the size of a small Six Flags Water Park sitting in their yard!", I mumble under my breath as I follow her in.
The stinking house is FULL of partying adults, drinking and eating. And may I mention - NO ONE is watching ANY of the kids except for a stray mom taking a picture of someone wiping out as they come down one of the slides!
We wind around and I find myself being lead out to a cover courtyard (yep - they are definitely getting a tax hike from Obama), that has a huge kidney-shaped, rock waterfall adorned, tree lined pool. There plays Toni with four other raging children and NO ADULTS WATCHING again! Well, unless you count the two old bags drinking and yacking about 20 feet away in the sunken area of the patio/courtyard/gonna get a tax increase area of the pool.
Not wanting to make a scene by throwing one of the mission-styled wooden lawnchairs at the rock waterfall because my child was swimming with four other children who were hell-bent on slam dunking one another in the water until one of them eventually drowned - or came close to it, I bent down instead and quietly informed Toni that it was 5, and it was time to go.
After a few short whines (thank you God!), she was out and following me to get her things. I told her to find her friend and thank her for inviting her. I wanted to find the MOM, but still had NO luck hunting her or her husband down to tell them... eh hem... thank you.
Toni got her clothes, her towel, and her own present of a huge bag of candy to bring home. After getting in the car, we assessed her candy collection and after being at a mini McMansion that spent roughly no less than five to ten grand on this party; Toni got the absolutely cheapest assortment of candy I've ever seen. Not even on Halloween does one get this crappy assortment of candy.
She looked at it, "ugh'ed" a few times, then proceeded to throw it all out except for three Butterfingers. That's all that was salvageable. Well at least I won't have to worry cavity levels yet until Halloween then.
So we talked about the party and how she had just absolute fab of a time. Then she began to tell me the "extras" of the party.
"We had someone come in with one of those cotton candy machines like at the fair, and they made us all our own cone of cotton candy. But I didn't like it cause it was too sweet!", she raved in her best speech since she's lost both her two front teeth at the same time and understanding her when she consistently talks 90 miles an hour is a bit of a challenge these days.
"Then they had the ice cream truck man come and we all got to pick whatever ice cream we wanted AND WE DIDN'T HAVE TO PAY FOR IT! I got double dark chocolate!", she blurted out in that best eight year old squeal again.
"A real ice cream truck?", I quizzed her.
"A real one mom! Just like the one that comes down our street in the summer!", she squealed again.
"Holy. Freaking. Crap!", I'm thinking to myself.
Talk about your "Keeping Up With The Jones'-Style Birthday Party"! I can only imagine what their neighbors kids are gonna want for their next birthday party after being at THAT one.
Note to God: Thank you for not allowing the financial means to move into that neighborhood!
I have nothing against people with lot's of money, I just have issues with young children having birthday parties that are about a thousand dollars short of being featured/exploited on a MTV reality show.
So let's have a little recap of what was at that party:
- T-Rex size Water Slide with double slides, sans supervision.
- A full size swimming pool, sans adult supervision.
- Lot's of banquet tables with lot's of adult groups talking, sans children.
- A huge house full of those same adults, sans children.
- A large assortment of dead animals who seemed to be the only thing with eyes pointed AT the children.
- A private cotton candy machine complete with trained individual to run it.
- A private drive-by from the neighborhood ice cream truck-man complete with a free all-you-can-eat pig out.
- A bag of crappy candy from..... probably The Dollar Store (one does need to make a budget somewhere).
- Absolutely NO ONE checking to see if the person picking up the kid was ACTUALLY the person that the child belonged to. Just thought I'd make a note of that because with all the rash of abductions happening in Florida lately - it kinda freaked me out.
If you do not know the meaning of "sans"', then now is a good time to search out that dictionary that came included with your other computer software goodies.
I'm sad to report that the snow cone maker-guy was unable to make it to the party.
So the lesson to this whole sordid story is that no one, absolutely NO ONE should take their child to a party where the mother/father is NOT there to greet them - stare them in the eyes - and KNOW that that kids belongs to THAT parent.
If you have a party where there are more than ten kids and your brain cells have issues with keeping with who belongs to who, then you better get help that can help YOU remember who goes with who. If that is a stretch, then go to that same Dollar Store that you bought the crappy candy at and getcha self a Sharpee and some big fat labels and slap a name tag on that kid, complete with their mom and/or dad's name, address, phone number, social security number, and stinking blood type and MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHO THAT KID BELONGS TO!
By the way, just remember - you plan a party for your kid like that at a young age - you will wind up in bankruptcy court sooner than later cause your kids will demand bigger and better from then on until they turn 35 freaking years old! That is unless you are "blessed" to be a Rockerfeller or something along those billionaire lines. And good God people - what are you doing to the neighbor's kids wants and desires in the process?!
Please remember to keep kids parties for the kids, and adult parties for the adults. The safety factor works out much better if you just remember not to combine the two elements into one decadent orgy of a party just so the "adults" don't have to "deal" with kids since they are all "playing" with each other anyway. Unless you like dead people/kids matching the dead animals on your walls.
Ok-AY - that's my rant for the day - and I'm sticking to it!