Birthday Parties Run Amok
Birthday parties just aren't what they used to be. They are more — too much more.
When I was a kid, birthdays were fun. My mom made us whatever we wanted for dinner and on the closest weekend, family (cousins, aunts, grandparents) came for cake and ice cream. We only had birthday parties for what my mom deemed to be "special" birthdays: 5 — because you weren't a baby any more; 10 — because you were in double digits; and 13 — because you were finally a teenager. I also had a sleepover when I turned 16, but I was totally responsible for it.
I remember these parties vividly. For my fifth birthday, five little girls come to my house dressed up in their mama's hats and dresses and high heals. We played musical chairs in our dress-up clothes and had a tea party. My special gift was a Tammy doll cake. There was a real doll, and her dress was made of the cake and icing. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. My mom used Tammy because she thought that, at five, I was too young to play with a doll that had breasts (i.e., Barbie). It was a lovely, sweet party where the thrill of dressing up and putting on a little lipstick remains a tender memory for me more than 40 years later.
Nowadays, kids have birthday parties every year — often elaborate, expensive birthday parties. Parents are "encouraged" to invite everyone in the class so no one feels left out. While I can appreciate the underlying premise of this "fairness" policy, I found with twins that it got to be ridiculously cumbersome and expensive: one birthday, two children, two classes of 20+ kids. I refused to buy into it, but it did get hard to limit the invitation list.Continued on the next page