Party Conundrum

I have a conundrum.  I would call it a dilemma, but I just misspelled that in a post yesterday, so why repeat myself.

We have entered the age, thanks to daycare, of the birthday party.  I was perfectly happy living in the world where birthdays were a family affair.  I thought I would stick with the idea I shamelessly stole from my cousin.  You get family parties until you are five, or in school, and then you get to invite one kid for every year old you are.  It is simple, manageable, uses math. Then the invites started coming.  They started when she moved in to the older preschool class.  At first I could ignore them.  After all, she had just started in a class with these kids.  It was understandable that she would skip them.  We didn’t know them.

Now though, the game has changed.  We have entered the season of birthday, hers included.  She has started to notice them.   They are a topic of discussion. Who is going to Pump it Up, who is getting a Rapunzel party.  I can only use the “mommy has to work” excuse for so long. Sure, not every kid has a party, but enough do.  Enough of her little girly possy has parties.

Today, we got the invite.  The one for the Rapunzel party.  The reason she wants a Rapunzel party.  The party that everyone will go to because it is for the daughter of one of the teachers.  I got the shiny pink envelope and I knew what it was.  I haven’t told her yet.  I haven’t wanted to project my fear and social anxiety on her.  I don’t want to have to start shelling out money for gifts when I know that there is no way we’re going to have a party for her this year, or maybe even next year.

I don’t know what to do.  What do you do, you parents of kids in daycares? Do you go to some, go to all? Do you suck it up and have a party? Do you stick to your guns?


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  1. Posted March 14, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    We have a small daycare which is nice, and have only been invited to one party so far (it was a no gifts party). We are invited to this kids party again in a few weeks and will go but will likely stick to family parties for a few more years until 4 or 5. We just don’t have the funds to do it. That being said, I would probably go to parties I’m invited to with a small gift (Target can get a gift for $5-10 easily) and try to get to know parents better for my own parental community as much as for E’s
    Liz recently posted..A Lutheran Geek Book Review- A View from the Back Pew

  2. Posted March 15, 2011 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    I was not well socialized as a kid (we moved ALOT) and I maybe went to one or two birthday parties my entire childhood. As an adult, I am very self conscious and have to make a real effort to relax and enjoy parties and gatherings. I want Otto to be more comfortable and confident in social settings than I am so we’re making an effort to get him out there a little bit more.

    We’ve been invited to several parties and gone to a handful of them. Our rules are that we have a big (healthy) meal/snack BEFORE the party (to minimize the sugar binge) and our gift is always a book or art supplies (crayons/markers/paints plus a coloring book or paper). If I know its going to be a fancy themed party we usually have some dialog before hand about what we’re expecting, etc.

    We had a 3rd bday party for Otto and kept it minimal- it was actually super fun for all of us (even me)! We got a park shelter (cheap) right next to a playground. We served bottled water and 100% juice boxes, veggies and dip, “ants on a log” and homemade cupcakes to a few friends and their parents. We also had sidewalk chalk and bubbles.

    That said, I say go with your comfort level. This is our comfort level. There is no shame in making the social decisions that you feel best about!
    birdie recently posted..Book Report plus Hair

  3. Posted March 16, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    I think you can easily attend parties without spending much on a gift…
    I always invite lots of kiddos to our parties and always request no gifts…people NEVER listen to me and always bring gifts…just what we REALLY DON’T NEED! Of course, I always bring gifts too – but I bring things that are more ‘useful’ IMO – bath toys, arts/crafties…sometimes, even toys I’ve picked up on super clearance throughout the year…Yes, I’m that Mom…I have a rubbermaid tote full of things to choose from…When crayons are just one penny during the school supply time of year – you bet I pick up 1o boxes to give with fresh paper…What kid doesn’t love that?? I think it’s very important that you don’t let your own anxiety and insecurity carry over…Give M the chance to socialize…even if it’s uncomfortable at first…We are nice people out here! Really we are! ;) xoxo
    darcie recently posted..Home is Where your Story Begins

  4. Posted March 18, 2011 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    We’ve entered that place now, in fact j’s 7th birthday party is tomorrow. It is his first friends party and we invited every boy in his class because we don’t know who his “friends” are yet. We’ve opted to do a bowling party at Brunswick Zone, $140 for 10 kids. I wasn’t going to have a house full of 1st grade boys, and I think I would have spent at least that much if I’d tried to have the party at home.

    But, we’ve adopted a policy from a friend. You get a big kids/friends party every other year, and on the off year you get to do something special with 1 friend (Movie, sleepover, dinner out etc.) and have the typical smaller family gathering.

    This way, with 2 kids we can alternate who gets a party and not shell out a ton of dough each spring for a March and May birthday kid.

    As for the do you go and what do you give, I’d probably squash my own social anxiety (of which there is a lot) for the sake of my kid, and I’d probably make something out of my fabric stash to save some cash. Crayon roll, kid purse, super hero cape.
    Kim recently posted..Two Truths and a Teeny Tiny Lie

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