How many children’s parties in a weekend is enough? On Saturday DD had very kindly been invited to two parties by pre-school friends, one a joint one. In the morning, me and DH took DD and DS to the party at a local soft play centre. It was lovely, tho noisy, and for some reason DH thought it would be a good idea to push his 14 month old son down a 10ft slide. The sliding bit was fine, landing on small face and cutting lip at bottom not so brilliant.
There were lots of kids there, plus the mums and dads I see on the nursery run, some of who have become friends. Lunch consisted of a bowl of Wotsits for DS to match his hair, and DD munched her way happily through cakes, sausages, chocolate spread sarnies, and misc. potato starch snacks.
I put our pressie on the present table. And then started to panic. There were loads of huge boxes, like the other mums had bought the contents of ELC
. And none of them looked like a token present. I had thought about what to buy all three birthday girls, bearing in mind that only one of them is an actual playdate friend. I like buying books and creative stuff for children, and I know what DD likes doing, so I settled on those really nice Usborne dolly dressing sticker books, with an extra one for the friend we see outside nursery. With a card and wrapping, this came to between £6 and £10 each. I heard one of the alpha mums commenting that at her son’s party (to which we were not invited) she was really surprised by how generous everyone had been. Our gift seemed rather meagre, suddenly.
For DD’s 3rd birthday in August, we had a joint party in the village hall with her best friend. It was bloody hard work with 24 kids, but all of the parents were good friends or relatives and we all chipped in to help. But now she’s in pre-school, and the trend seems to be to invite everyone in the class to parties. So what are the Rules here?
Is there some kind of protocol about who to invite, whether you have to accept, and how much you spend on a gift? I know these organised parties at catered venues cost money and sometimes the party bags alone seem to have cost more than the birthday present I’ve bought, even if the plastic stuff does end up in bits in the bin within minutes of getting home. If you accept an invitation to the party of a child you don’t know very well, are you are entering into a contract to purchase a large gift? Or is a small, thoughtful present OK?
On Saturday, DH took DD to the afternoon party by himself while I looked after DS. They had a ball, with the exact same set of kids and parents as in the morning, although DD came home with someone’s footprint on her face from the bouncy castle. I don’t know who was more knackered, DD or her dad, after two parties and rather too much sugar…