This past weekend, Maggie turned seven. It is hard to believe that ready or not, time marches on. In a moment of weakness, or perhaps insanity, I decided to let Maggie have that McDonald's birthday party she's always wanted. The "good" factors - relatively inexpensive, no cleanup afterwards, no getting ready for it, and no cooking. The "not-so-good" factor? Inviting all 21 members of her first grade class.
In reality, only 14 kids showed up. Being around other people's children who were also my daughter's age for a little over an hour really helped me take stock and realize that my kid is pretty darn well behaved. For instance, when we are out somewhere and I tell my child it is time to go, she says, "ok" and we leave. I saw at least two parents who had to physically restrain their children to keep them from climbing back in the funland plaything when they told them it was time to go. My child would have got a butt smack if she would have tried that little trick, and I wouldn't have cared who saw me do it.
One thing that really made me proud of Maggie was that I told her beforehand that if we were having a birthday party for her whole class, that I was putting on the invitations, "NO GIFTS PLEASE" and she was perfectly fine with that. I just wanted the kids to be able to come and eat cheeseburgers and cake and ice cream and play in the germ-laden play thing and not worry about having to buy a gift. Quite frankly, I also didn't think Maggie needed to have all the junk that I am sure would have come from her classmates. (She did have a family party on Sunday where she got presents.)
Maggie has been invited to two birthday parties in the last month. She only attended one of them. The one she didn't attend was held at Chuck E. Cheese in Bloomington and the mom rented a school bus to take all the kids there. I thought it was a little too over-the-top for me, plus we don't really know their family, so sending my child 50 miles away via school bus just didn't seem like a good idea. The party that she did attend was held at the YMCA here in town. On the invitation, the mother had actually written: "4 - 5pM - swimming; 5 - 6PM - eat cake and open gifts." In other words, BRING A GIFT! It's not as if I wouldn't have sent Maggie with a gift, but c'mon - a little class here, please! I must say though, I responded in kind: the gift Maggie brought? A multi-pack of Play Doh and 2 bottles of fingernail polish. Enjoy, mom.