Thursday, March 07, 2013

Let's talk about these school parties

Before I start, I'd like to mention that I'm spying on the neighbour through my window. The study looks straight into their kitchen. She's adorable with her baby and while I didn't do those baby noises and baby talk, it does make me smile BIG to hear other people do it :)

Did you do baby noises with your babies?



So last week when I fetched Connor on Thursday and was sorting through all the paper clutter, I saw a little pink envelope.

What's this, I thought, as I tore it open, and behold, it was an invitation to a Strawberry Shortcake party from one of the girls in his class.

At this point, Mrs FF is chuckling because she always says he's a ladies' man.

I don't quite know what to make of this and I need to process so I haven't RSVPd yet. This is HUGE for me - I RSVP immediately and add to diary there and then.

I asked Connor who this little girl is and he said she's in his class. First time I heard about this girl.

Then yesterday we get another little pink envelope.

This time there was no curiosity whatsoever but I will confess that I groaned and said, "oh no!" and the kids went, "what's wrong, Mummy?" and I said, "oh, I just need to discuss something with Daddy" and the blog ladies :)

Connor does talk often about this girl, not in a good way, more in a N pushed me today or N said this or whatever. I believe they need to sort these things out - pre-school is PERFECT for learning negotiation and confrontation skills, right? - so I never intervene except for that one time I told Connor to push that little boy back if he doesn't listen when C says "no, no pushing".

So seriously, my kids are in two separate classes. That, right there, is 30 kids. 4 of them would be here anyway - my friend's twins plus my two, and what? I'm then supposed to invite another 26 of their best friends?

Um, no.

I know some of you do throw R3000 + parties but I don't. I like cheap but cute! In my day (here's where I really date myself), you got your parents singing happy birthday to you, R50 and a cake. That's it.

D and I travelled to my psychometric test centre together yesterday and used the time to catch up on things. It was really nice - like date afternoon without paying babysitters :)

We discussed this party thing and I said, well, I would like to know more of the mothers (connection!) but they're twins and it's odd to leave one behind. I'm not one of those who will phone up and say "such and such is a twin, can the other one come?" Rubbish! They need to learn to handle rejection :)

Incidentally, I said to the babies, "Connor, do you want to go to these parties?" Of course my extreme extrovert said YES!!!!!!!!!!!!! and started dancing around the room. Kendra also said, "YESSSSS" and I said, "Baby, only Connor's invited" so Kendra clarified, "one kid has to stay here with a parent?" (she really talks like this - it's hilarious) and I said, "yes, Baby". They were fine - Connor said, "okay, Mummy, you'll come with me to the party and Kendra and Daddy can stay here". It is actually perfect - we are the social ones anyway.

I also really like giving gifts and my gift shelf is still relatively full. You have a gift shelf, right? I actually want to declutter mine desperately!

But the time!!! Oh, the time. My time is so precious and I've just this year felt like I have my life so sorted and relaxed again. You know life with twins is crazy.

D suggested why not just take Connor to the kid's house and drop off a gift. I'm tossing all this around but I do need to start RSVPing soon. Definitely this weekend.

Oh, D asked what I'm doing when it's their birthday and I said, "sending cupcakes to school. none of this overachieving mother business for me" (they will be P&P mini cupcakes :) One mother sent party packs for all the kids on Monday. I took and hid it straight away.

So what do you do about the school parties?


  1. Did you read my mind? I have a half written party post from today which I am planning to finish tomorrow. The boys have their first " separate" parties on Saturday- a biggy. I have a present box and have actually taken photos of the items inside to add to my post tomorrow re gifts and parties.

    We are asked to send one item only ( ie cupcake etc ) for the little ones. They even suggested my favorite " decorate your own cupcake " which I am without a doubt doing for the boys, from grade 1 on you can sort of do whatever you like they for instance had watermelon and icies. I just did cupcakes and a pack with 3 small sweety items.

    It seems as if at this school it is boys or girls parties mostly.

  2. Lesley9:11 pm

    That made me laugh!
    When the girls were small they went to all the parties they were invited to. But when we moved to the land of RAIN, sorry i mean Ireland, there was not such a kid party culture (are you SURE you not called here??) lol. I didn't mind them going to parties, I always had a 'gift draw' so it was never expensive.
    When my son was at playschool last year parents bought in cakes for birthdays. Now at school he has been to one whole class party and had the whole class for his birthday as well - that's it.
    I really liked the way the children handled the fact that only Connor was going to the party. I laughed when Connor said 'Yesssss'- he is pentecostal after all! x

    1. Lesley, if i could take a nanny with me, I would feel certain that I was called there :)

  3. How do school years run there? The ladies will *NEVER* have school parties as their birthday falls in the middle of summer break! Problem solved!! People are always vacationing and unavailable.

    I've also started the family tradition, and as their gift we go away each year. I remember last year leaving their trip to come to NC! Who would pick a friend party over a trip?

    1. Our school years go Jan to Dec. The terms differ a bit - government (your public schools) schools have 4 terms and the private schools have 3.

  4. I have to laugh at this all - think I said it before but again - welcome to the life of school going kids :))

    Cameron is my little social butterfly and has always received loads of invites. I LOOOOVE kids parties so we went (and still do but now I send - I don't go).

    The thing is you probably aren't going to get 30 invites - not everyone does the big parties. I never invited an entire class - I sent cupcakes but never invited them all. I asked the kids who they wanted and went from there.

    Now I limit them to 10 kids including them and their sibling and a sibling friend - so basically they can invite 7 kids. It is different now they are older because there is alot more involvement from their side.

    Anyway I would go. Take him and go and have fun. TRUST me when I say this - other moms at your school will become your greatest allies and resource!!! So use it to make those connections!!!

    I don't have a gift shelf - I am more of a grab something en route to the party kinda girl :-p

  5. I will RSVP every school party. I am a little bit of a I want to know what the "parents" of Jadas friends are like. For her birthday I sent an icecream cake and icecream cones to school. But I have already decided for her 3rd birthday, I am only inviting 3-4 kids and keeping it small. The kids don't care whether they have a big party or small party.
    I don't have a gift draw...but I think it is a great idea...gonna have to put some thought into that one

  6. One of the (many) things I love about Little OL's school is that you are not allowed to send anything for their birthdays. What they want you to do is send a few photos - like one a year - and they will form a timeline and celebrate the child and thier progress. I love that idea. When they are older and able to write they make a big card and each write a thing that they think is special about that child.

    The with regards to parties - it is something I am dreading! I value my Saturdays/Sundays. The mornings are my time to run/cycle/swim. Already, the first thing I do is look at my racing calander and times of the race before I will say yes. However, besides my friends kids parties Little OL was only invited to one school kids birthday party last year. This year she has been invited to one already,but I said no. It was in the afternoon and I work full time. Apparently that mom had 43 kids there -yes for a 3 year olds party - insane!!!

    I restrict that number of kids at Little OL's parties to between 6 and 10. This year we had 8. I go a bit overboard and as you know love to make everything myself and there is no way I could do that if the party where bigger.

    1. YES YES and YES to your whole comment.

      I love how her school does it.

      There is only one party I take time off for and that is our fertility group leader's kid. I always have fun and I really appreciate and love her.

      Everyone else - no ways.

  7. I try and go to every party more to interact with the other parents and see how my kids REALLLY are around their school friends and to see who the suspected "bully" is! Like I Am Me said, just call me The Snoop Parent!
    But you raised a good point about teaching your kid to deal with rejection. In the past, I've always asked the party parent if I could bring Hannah along and stress that she doesn't need a party pack - she was always the baby so it was a matter of convenience for me to take her everywhere I went. But now that Hannah is older and also in school and gettting invited to her own friend's party, I think I need to stop this silly habit.
    But yes, as my time becomes more of a precious commodity, I do feel that I am going to have to start declining invitations to kiddies parties - I've already been to 5 this year!

    1. On the rejection, I just honestly feel this is life. It's not about them as people, it's just the way the world works and life is not fair :)

      yes, I'm a tough mother. I really do want emotionally resilient kids!

  8. I love going to kids parties mainly for the cake and alos to see how other parents do their parties! But I don't think I could just take one child, if only one was invited. I would decline the invite if only one child was invited. I try not to have more than 12 kids at their parties but as they get older it's going to be tricky as they will have their own friends.

  9. I dread the thought of children's parties. Dread. Big surprise, right??

    1. LOL Oh, how I love you.

      You are totally like D - he hates all this stuff :)

  10. Oh my word...I never knew that life with twins can be so complicated. It is wonderful that Kendra already understands this...she is one amazing little girl.

  11. Wow...that's a lot of kids!!! We only have a total of 8 kids in the girls' preschool class, including two sets of twins, so that's only six families. And our "friends" circle isn't all that huge, so it's manageable. Within our circle of friends, most families do a "no gifts, please" note on the invitation (I think they're following my lead...woo hoo!). ;) But even if not, that's not a crazy number of invites we could potentially get over the course of a year.

    My advice, just reading your post and not having been in that exact position, is that you don't have to go to every party you're invited too...certainly not with that many kiddos in total! At the end of the day, it's YOUR time, and you manage it as best you can. My general rule of thumb might be, if C or K is truly "friends" with a kid (as best you can tell), then I think it's great to go.

    I have gotten to know all the parents of our girls' classmates during drop-off and pick-up, but it's been nice to see them outside of school a couple of times, too. At this age, I'm not comfortable to drop the girls off somewhere. (Although one day that will be worth the price of the gift...hahaha!)

    And as to your party...there again, do what's comfortable for YOU. I think a "party" at school, with cupcakes and special plates and napkins, maybe, is perfectly appropriate. Then go about your party-at-home plans as you'd like...invite true friends and family...and enjoy! Easier said than done, I know, but that's the way it should be, at least. :)

  12. I agree with MandyE...choose the parties you want to attend and that work with your schedule, and don't sweat the others. That's pretty much what we do. There are 17 kids total in the girls' class, and I'd say we get 5 or so invitations over the course of the year. So obviously not everyone is inviting the whole class. I did send an invite to the class last year, but because it was spring break only one kid came that wouldn't have otherwise.

    This year, we are doing cupcakes or cookies at school and very small party at home, with just "real" friends.

    I absolutely hate being overscheduled with parties and events, so it doesn't bother me to turn down invitations when we just don't feel like going anywhere. : ) But it sounds like the parties might be perfect for you and Connor to get a little social interaction! Keep in mind the invites probably come in spurts too--more when the weather is nice, for example, and kids can be outside!

  13. we've only been invited to two. and we went to both. mostly bc both kids were invited and the parties would provide new experiences (one was in a bounce house, the other at a party place--both were sensory overload!). we're the "part time kids" at we don't get invited to a whole lot of stuff. in general i'm okay with it, but sometimes wonder if my kids are missing out on having "friends". i don't do a lot to arrange playdates with kids from school. most of them go full time and i would like to think that their parents might want to spend some time with them on the weekends??? who knows. i have never overly planned a party for M and T. Mostly this is b/c it is during football season and we live in a big football town. so...most weekends are taken over. we've done small family gatherings at our home, but that's about it. next year (for bday 4) we may consider doing something at our local hands on museum....but i have not given it a lot of thought yet. :)

    on the gift note: i ordered one kid a personalized cape (which my kids LOVE) and the kid or the parents didn't even acknowledge it (they opened presents later). the second gift we got something small, then B drew the card. the mom was so nice and made a big deal about how she thought it was great. and then we got a thank you card later. :) i'm a strong believer in thank you notes!

  14. Your boy is definitely the ladies man and every bit as outgoing as his mama!!!! And I love the way they rationalised the whole party episode. Mature beyond their age if you ask me. Though I would like to see what happens when K is the one invited and not C. So did you decide if you will attend this party?

    I am sure as the year goes by you will have a good feel for which parties to accept and which to neglect. And your idea of sending cupcakes is just perfect considering the number of kids in question


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