• b-day party etiquette

    Because the baby is due just before my daughter’s 4th birthday, I figured it would be best to have her little friends’ party ahead of time–and out of the house (after listening to some sage advice from family members and friends). I am glad I followed their advice; this weekend’s party went off without a hitch.

    Since my daughter is very into crafts (she even “rescues” used fabric softener sheets for possible projects!), we had an hour and half-long crafting party at a kids’ place that caters to pint-sized Picassos. With stations set up for drawing (with pastels, no less!), painting and, lo and behold, reincarnating paper towel rolls and egg cartons into mini Thomas the Tank Engines, she was in heaven.

    I was pleasantly surprised by how well it went: no outbursts, teary scenes, fights over who got to use which color paint, etc. The kids are alright!

    Instead, I think I was more perturbed by the mom situation. That is, when it came time to RSVP, we still hadn’t heard from a handful of kids. Because I needed to give the crafts place a head count in advance, I wound up calling the missing people…only to receive harried calls from apologetic mothers, most of whom said they couldn’t make it for one reason or another. Didn’t their own mothers ever teach them the art of polite refusal?

    In fact, one of the moms I got to talking to at the party, who happens to be hosting her own son’s birthday this coming weekend at their home, had invited 30 kids–and had only heard from 19 guests. She was interested in my opinion in whether or not she should call the remaining bunch and find out their plans. I told her to me, it was a no-brainer–and even more important to know when you’re having a party at home, trying to plan how much food and goodie bags to make up. That’s one surprise that wouldn’t be a welcome one.

    Now, a few days later, thank-yous with photos are in the mail and one mom even came out on a rainy day and dropped off a gift, along with her regrets at being a no-show. (With a sick baby, a husband away on business and 3 other kids, this mom impressed me with her thoughtfulness, no matter how full her life was at the moment).

    I can’t say the same for those whose kids didn’t attend, and never sent over a small gift or even mailed a card. Isn’t that the right thing to teach your kids? Maybe it’s still a bit early in the game and/or my standards are a bit too high…but I don’t think I’ll hold my breath. Let’s see if I run into any of them at this weekend’s soiree–and if any of them even mention it.

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