I made a very stupid mistake eight years ago when my oldest child was about four years old and had just attended his first children's birthday party. He wanted a similar party for his own birthday. I said, "Those are expensive, and a lot of trouble. Maybe when you turn ten." I forgot that I was talking to a child who, if he does not become a successful trial attorney and support us richly in our old age, will have to redeem himself in some other way that makes his legalistic, argumentative, "But didn't YOU say..." personality worth it to have brought unharmed to adulthood. And so anyway when he turned ten he had a party at one of those places with a claw machine and skee ball and air hockey and so forth. Whew! THAT'S over with!
Sadly, I had forgotten the other four children.
Yes, yes, I realize I could say I had changed my mind or that it hadn't worked out or that life wasn't fair or WHATEVS, and I DO say such things quite often, but this is an idea the kids are soooooo excited about, and also I'd say nine-tenths of my reluctance is pure social anxiety (the other one-tenth is a mix of "dislike of other people's children" and "OMG THE COST"), and also I think it's nice for them to each get to have ONE big fun-location party per childhood, and also it gives me a fast answer every OTHER year ("No, only for the tenth birthday"), and so anyway I'm sticking to this, despite advising everyone I know to avoid making similar commitments because OMG I HATE THIS SO MUCH AND I HAVE TO DO IT FIVE TIMES.
Anyway. William's ten-year party is coming up. We have booked one of those places where the site shows photos of children who look so unpleasantly out of control, I can't IMAGINE any parent seeing the photos and then going on to book a party there. Nevertheless, we have done so.
The party may include up to fifteen children, including the Birthday Child. My first layer of agitation is the sending of invitations and the anticipated Total Lack of RSVPing. And they REALLY MUST RSVP (ideally via email), because the party costs the same if fewer than fifteen children come, and so BY GUM WE ARE HAVING FIFTEEN CHILDREN THERE, and so if some kids can't come we need time to invite other children. So I'm all pre-agitated about THAT, because I don't know if you've ever had the pleasure of encountering an RSVP situation, but if not, you would not BELIEVE how few people RSVP. I mean, you'd think, "Well, of course a FEW inconsiderate ungracious ill-mannered wolf-raised PINEHOLES won't RSVP, but even _I_ can make a few follow-up phone calls, no big!" And then when you are calling EVERY SINGLE PERSON you sent an invitation to, you will start to wonder why you didn't just call them to invite them in the first place, since at least then it would have been a HAPPY phone call and you wouldn't have had to deal with the fuss and expense of the paper invitations and stamps.
But what I'm working on NOW is party favors. And goodness, I could drop $50 on party favors and have fifteen frankly-pitiful favor bags. And I would like NOT to do either of the halves of that sentence. And yet I DO want favor bags, because I don't know about other people's kids, but those are my kids' favorite parts of the parties they go to, which makes me wonder if we should just have a party where people arrive, eat cake, and collect bags. Maybe we could skip the cake. Maybe we could just mail them the bags.
Question one, then, is "What would be cool to put in a favor bag for fourth graders (a mix of boys and girls)?"
And question two is "Where should I buy the stuff, if my goals are 'not spending $50' and 'not having to buy two 12-packs in order to get fifteen of something'?"
And if your answer is "Well, WE try to AVOID bringing a bunch of CHEAP CRAP into OUR house," I would point out that this answers neither question one nor question two, and also that perhaps you'd like to work on that tone of voice so as not to be quite so off-putting.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...