Sunday, August 11, 2013

Snarky birthday party rant

Beware, a snarky little post to follow. If I offend anyone whose birthday party tendencies run counter to mine, then I do apologize!

We have attended several birthday parties for 1, 2, and 3 years olds in the last few months. Today was the most recent.

At one party, we were there for two hours and no cake, no ceremony, nothing. Finally the mom said just in passing that she wasn't doing a cake---"all that sugar."

[sound of brakes squeeling]. OKaaaaay. Your choice. Can we leave now?

Really, I don't mean to be a jerk but two hours is a long time at a birthday party full of 1, 2, and 3 year olds when your 3 year old son keeps asking when the cake will arrive.

Do I need to stop telling Owen to expect cake at birthday parties now? HAVE WE COME TO THIS oh progressive Northeast??

And what is the deal with taking the gifts swiftly to another room where they are never seen again? This has happened REPEATEDLY at kids' birthday parties lately!! It is now commonplace that presents are opened behind closed doors after the guests leave. Is it somehow unsavory to acknowledge that there will be material things given, to a one year old, at a birthday party? (It's not that I don't understand this objection, but if that is indeed the problem, then don't accept gifts in the first place I say).

If I buy a cute little teddy bear and dress it up in a birthday outfit for a 1 year old I adore (as in today's party), then by-gosh I want to see him open it. And it's not just about me---Owen was SO excited that he picked out the gift and wrapped it, and he was very confused by the whole thing.

I guess I just don't understand the reasoning behind these things. Clearly, I'm a bit of a traditionalist.

Ok, I am done now.


Ali said...

That makes me kind of they might also feel the need to have droopy balloons on ribbons because helium is in short supply. Let them eat sugar, it is just one day of the year! And the gift thing is just awkward. It is ok for another child to witness a baby getting something when they don't, people need to teach their children this concept eventually!

Billy said...

I must say I do understand not having a birthday cake because of all the sugar. Especially for a little one year old. I have seen this birthday "cake" someone made and I hope to make something like that for my daughter's next birthday
[oh, I can't copy paste - anyway it's a train made entirely out of fruit]
That being said, it might have been a good idea for the host to mention beforehand that there will be no cake so that mothers can prepare their kids as this is so much the custom.

As for the presents - the general custom here is to open after the guests leave. Don't really know why, maybe to not embarrass the person who gave the present if you don't like it? Maybe the mother of the birthday child comes from a place where such is the custom? [though when it is only family we do open before at the party itself..]

Meg said...

No cake? That doesn't sound very party like!

I like to watch my gift being opened too because I typically put a lot of thought and TLC in to them.

I will admit that I have a bunch of presents waiting to be opened from T's birthday party last week. He crashed hard after eating lots and lots of cake frosting and it felt weird to open them with out him. Now I'm trying to find time to re-dress him in is birthday shirt and take photos/video of him opening the gifts. Preferably after his big brother goes to bed.

Jo said...

I do think there are cultural differences inre gift opening, and I also understand that there are always extenuating circumstances (like sugar-crashing kids) that change the plan. Maybe it's a product of the huge parties that everyone is throwing these days, too--a party of 30 people for a one year old is a lot and the gifts would take hours to open. But I also think that what I said is true (at least among my circle perhaps), that there is a thinly-veiled disdain for acknowledging the material aspect of the party. I agree with Ali,... kids watching another kid opening presents is a part of life! If there is one thing we cannot shelter them from it is the truth that they don't always get what they want....(and, probably, sugar)...I am all for alternative birthday cakes...but I think where this mom fell down was not telling the group anything about it and then mentioning it as if in passing. Ok, well, enough of my judgmental Monday I guess! To each her own.

Dora said...

The cake thing is ridiculous. You cut small pieces. It's a party. But the gifts, I agree that kids need to get used to seeing other kids getting gifts, but there's a tough period between about 3 and 5, when they sometimes have a hard time with it. So I've seen it dispensed with if there's a bunch of kids in that age range. By 6, they're about old enough to handle it. But I hear you, I bought a great gift for a one year old last summer, and Sunshine was excited to give it to her, and it was a let down that they didn't open it. At Sunshine's parties I've tried going somewhere private with the guest and Sunshine to open the gift if we can. But sometimes they do get opened afterwards.

MeAndBaby said...

So I know I am way late with my comment here (I am getting caught up on my reading! :)) but I have to say 100% I agree with you on both counts! AND one of my boys can't even have cake if there is a chance it has nuts in it. I still vote for cake at birthday parties and even more so, the GIFT opening.

I did our first big party this year for the twins 3rd birthday. It was at a toddler gym place and I asked to have the gifts opened there. They told me 90% of their parties do not have gifts so the kids can get more gym time. I wanted the kids and parents to be able to see my kids open the gifts they took the time to get them. I paid for an extra 30 minutes of party time and sat in the middle of my boys as each kid brought his gift up and presented it one by one. There were about 20 kids there and I helped moved it along so it didn't drag. One of the kids explained how his toy worked to my kids in a really excited way. Totally worth it. On top of that, my kids also handed out the personalized party favors to each kid. It was a huge success.

Yeah, I clearly agree. :)

MeAndBaby said...
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