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Birthdays R Us Again-o

Feb
23
2006

Well, we may not be fully settled in yet, but you’ll be happy to know we’re back on the birthday party circuit.
Hanging out on the fringes of kids’ birthday parties, sneaking the peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches meant for the children and chatting with the other parents (many of us (moms) wearing unusually clean and matching clothes to signify the festive nature of the occasion for us) has been a major part of my social life for several years now. And, oh yeah, the kids have a good time too.
Now, Son the Elder has made it onto the invite list at his kindergarten, so we’re back in the saddle, hoo-ray.
Or I would be more excited, except my big money-making idea has been stolen. Spain apparently already has a places-to-throw-kids-birthday-parties industry. I thought for sure we in the States were way ahead on that concept. I was just going to sell the idea to someone and walk away, the Billo Gateso of Spanish play centers. But no. The parties we, I mean he, is invited to are both being held in these party-away-from-home centers.
My other money-making idea, and on this I’m pretty sure I’m way ahead, is bringing the rent-a-jumpy business to Spain. That I haven’t seen yet. Of course, the fact that more people live in apartments and that homes and yards are smaller might be a problem. But I’m not deterred. I’m sure I can peddle my American expertise to someone.
No, the real problem is going to be when we have our own birthday party. See, the kindergarten class parents like to invite all the kids in the class to the parties, and they think that if each child brings a present it gets ridiculous – the birthday kid gets way too much and doesn’t care about any of the gifts. So the parents agreed at the beginning of the year that no one would bring presents.
This is a great idea, and I admire this gang for carrying it out. Back in California, land o’ overconsumption, we often complained about our spoiled rotten kids getting too much stuff, but no one I knew was tough enough to carry through on a no-presents party. Frankly, it always seemed a bit mean, if it’s just one kid in the crowd – and no one managed to unite the crowd. (Not that there aren’t parents who have a stronger approach to limiting the excess, like this Slate editor.)
But I’ll have to explain the concept to my present-tallying kid when it’s his birthday. That should go over well. And I also wonder what it means for goodie bags, those collections of candy and plastic junk kids get to take home as a bribe for not grabbing the birthday kid’s present back. Party equals cake and goodie bags in Son the Elder’s world view. That’s it. Otherwise, it’s some boring adult thing. I’m not even sure how big goodie bags are here anyway. If there aren’t any, that’ll be fun to explain too.
So we’re looking forward to the parties. I’ll see if they need a jumpy.

Share  Posted by Deborah Klosky at 4:10 PM | Permalink

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