Sunday, January 23, 2011
Adventures in Real Parenting: The Birthday Party
Micro Version: On Friday we finally had Sophie's twice postponed birthday party. If I ever mention that we're doing an overnight party that isn't Adults Only (safe words optional), please stop me. Whatever it takes, stop me.
Short Version: On Friday we had Sophie's twice postponed birthday party. The girls were every bit twelve years old. One minute they were laughing and goofing around like kids. The next minute they were verbally cutting up someone who wasn't there.
Girls deal in whispers, careful glances over their shoulders, common bonds of insecurity and false confidence, loud bursts of laughter, increasing decibels to be heard, shrill calls to hold my place, I'm next to tell my story, Has anyone seen my phone?
Who's in, who's left? Sometimes labels fit. The Queen Bee, Her Second(s), Miss Bossy, The Observer, Troubled, The Fringe, The Independent, The Bookworm, The Freakshow.
I was outnumbered. Eleven to one. I don't recommend it. And for party planning purposes of this nature, don't try to blend girls from different social avenues unless you have a very tight timeframe. Two hours or less. And planned activities. If I ever host an event like this again, it will end by 10p.m. Six hours is plenty long for the arc of the party to climb, peak and descend. If you've shooed them from your home by ten, you may finish before tears flow. Yours or theirs. Does it matter? Perhaps the party should end at 8:30 just to be safe.
Other things I learned:
1. Precocious and quirky becomes annoying and weird in the span of two hours. Please, parents, encourage individuality, but balance it with some social skills. I'm not talking socially awkward (I see that in the mirror every day). I'm talking about the kid who touches everything in the kitchen, thinks every word she says is funny and clever and believes being a picky eater makes her interesting. It does not.
2. There is never enough soda to satisfy kids.
3. When one kid accidentally drops her cake and ice cream on the floor, someone else is likely to do the same while laughing at the first kid.
4. Whatever you say about black people, gay people, and/or hoping that the President of the United States won't live to see a second term in office will be repeated by your children.
5. No matter how hard one tries to ensure that upon departing, everyone has accounted for everything they brought with them, the host or hostess will still find a pair of some kid's balled up socks stuffed between the sofa cushions a day or two after the party.
The long version: Is written. And ripening. And might never see the light of day. But holy cats, did it feel good to write it.