Posts Tagged ‘parties’


Birthday Parties Suck.

June 14, 2011

Last month, Mouse turned 13.  I had a frustrating experience planning her birthday party with friends.

We wanted to go to a cabin in Vermont – one that my family has been going to for years upon years – just like we did for Lemon’s 13th birthday.  Mouse had been quite excited for the trip.

But Mouse and her friends, they have sports to play.  Bat Mitzvahs to attend.  And scheduling became, shall we say, difficult.

It became apparent that an entire weekend was not going to happen.  Not with the crucial attendees.

So we had to revise the plan.  Flexibility is key, when parenting teenagers.  Nothing is more important than being flexible.  Head still attached to the neck?  NOT IMPORTANT.

Which is good, because the whole birthday-party planning thing did, in fact, cause my head to pop off in frustration.  Frustration with kids, with kids’ parents, with myself, with my parents, with my kids, with my spouse, with the state of Massachusetts – with everything.

The revised plan is taking place this weekend.  On Sunday.  We are going to an amusement park.  A big, famous amusement park with roller coasters and a water park, and lots of sticky pavement and nausea-inducing rides.

Yee ha.

But hey – wait!  Let’s not get all the way to the Big Day without throwing in a little more frustration? — to wit:

When we made the plan, we had 4 girls on the invite list.  This weekend/trip/birthday folly was always going to be enough of an outing that it was small numbers.  I would have preferred to have 3 girls on the list, but the dynamics of the group are such that it cannot be done.  So when one of them had a big sports tournament or other thing that couldn’t be avoided, it seemed perfect to me.  4 girls.  A nice, even number.

Oops, Mom!  Wait!

“I was walking to school with Friend 5, and I kind of forgot that we weren’t inviting her this year, and started talking about my plans and stuff, and since Friend 4 can’t come, can Friend 5 become Friend 4?  Please?  I really want her to come, and now if I don’t invite her, it will be awkward.”

I run through the issues in my head.  I think about group dynamics.  I think about seats in the car.  I think group dynamics will be improved by the addition of friend 5-now-4, and I realize that regardless of whether or not she is added to the list, our car isn’t going to fit the crew – so I’ll have to work out transportation in some fashion.

So I approved the switcheroo.

About 2 weeks ago, Mouse says, “Um, Mom?  Didn’t you say Original Friend 4 can’t come because of sports?”  “Yep, sure did.”  “Well, today she said she can’t wait to go – and I was confused, so I just played along.”

Original Friend 4’s mom is a friend of mine.  [And no, I can’t just use first initials.  They all have very similar names.]  So I called her.  “No, I really think that sports are devouring our entire life and she has about 15,000 games that weekend.”

I talk to another of the moms from the List.  “Hey, want a hybrid for the day?  So I can shove 7 bodies into your mini van and not pay a rental car company or zipcar to take the kids to the $50/head amusement park?”  She happily agrees.  Perfect!  5 girls, WD and me, fitting into a 7 passenger van.

A week later.  “Mom, Friend 4 keeps talking about my party.  I am confused.”

I again call mom of Friend 4.  “Now it looks like there are 20,000 games that weekend.  I really don’t know why she thinks she’s going.”

This past weekend, “MOM!!  She said something AGAIN!!”

Last night, I sent the reminder email with a list of things that the kids need to bring: “They need bathing suits, but can’t wear JUST bathing suits, because if we’re not in the water park, shirts are required.  They should have flip flops for the water park, but need other shoes for roller coasters, or else they’ll lose their flip flops and drop them on someone’s head.  Please don’t forget sunscreen.  Or towels.”

I sent it to all 5 girls. Meaning the girl who couldn’t come and the girl who was invited to replace the girl who couldn’t come.

Guess how many moms wrote back to say their kids cannot wait and are soveryexcitedohmygodthisisthebest!?  5.  Plus Mouse makes 6.  Plus me makes 7.  Plus WD makes 8.


So I’m in talks with another friend, because her van holds 8.  She thinks it will be fine to swap cars.  Probably.  She just has to talk to her husband.  Who is out of town.  He may be gone for a few days.  And maybe they’re going away for the weekend.  Not really sure.  But it should be fine.

I think I’ll go reserve a zipcar now …




First, I’d like to just say:

I’ve come a long way from the days of throwing phones into walls because of a lack of grocery money.  But I’ve rounded the corner from that into the days of saving for college tuition.  My financial planner has us saving quite aggressively for this.  At the same time, my kids keep coming up with new camps & stuff that they want to attend this summer.  Result?  I’m freaking broke – all summer long.

So the extra ticket to the amusement park – groan.  But knowing that the kids are so very excited about the FAIR part of the park?  You know, the part where you shell out crazy amounts of cash so they can throw balls into holes and then make ME lug giant stuffed animals all over the place?  I’m not thrilled.  Not at all.

The finances of the whole day are actually freaking me out.

But I know it will be fine.

(I think.)




Halloween … the End of an Era?

November 1, 2010

Wow.  So that was … weird.

WD and I left the house yesterday evening at 5:30ish.  We told Lemon from the hallway, “hey – we’re leaving – you have to give out candy if the bell rings before you go to the party, and when you leave, be sure to turn off the lights and lock the front door.”

Mouse was already at a friend’s house, “getting ready.”

Costumes?  Pfft.  Who needs stinkin’ costumes?


14yo costume:  Jeans (same ones she wore the day before to a sleepover party); flannel shirt (same one she wore to school last week); hair pinned up & a baseball cap.  She dressed up as a boy.

12 yo costume: Washington, D.C. souvenir t-shirt with the text of the constitution on it, jeans (same ones she wore last week), blue suspenders borrowed from her sisters’ closet, thick frame glasses borrowed from her sister’s friend.  “I’m a nerd!” I guess it’s nerdy to have the text of the constitution on a t-shirt?  When we reminded her of the cold, she went and got the same hoodie sweatshirt that she wears every single day, except for those days when we have to pry it out of her hands in order to insist that she wash the ketchup, sweat, and whatever else a 12yo gets on her clothes, out of it.  We pointed out the fact that she – at that point – looked the same exact way she looks every day.  What did she do?  She tucked in her sweatshirt, and put the suspenders outside ….

WD helped her re-design a warmer version of a nerd (a turtleneck, one of his button-down shirts, a tie … couldn’t find a pocket protector).

But all-in-all, those costumes kind of described this year’s Halloween.  Outside of last weekend’s pumpkin carving, it was pretty much a non-holiday.  Which is kind of sad, because it’s one of my favorites!

We did hang out with other parents of Mouse’s friends for a while.  WD got himself all worked up because he noticed a posse of boys lingering on the corner waiting for Mouse’s posse of girls to finally get going, so they could meet up.  He was frustrated with the lack of transparency about the plans.  And thought maybe the girls didn’t WANT to be with the boys.  (It was the boys from their grade — so very innocent, just maybe unwanted.  Maybe.)  We tried to convince him and other dads that it was actually very much wanted.

Meanwhile, Lemon was across the street from our house at a party.  I think it was mostly a “t.v. watching” party.  Yee ha?

We had a good bit of debate during the day about Lemon’s curfew.  She was just across the street, so it wasn’t like she would be all over town, but it was still a school night.  And she had been to a sleepover party the night before, and and and.  I first said, “9 p.m.”  Then she convinced me that was too early, and I thought about how that was the time I had in mind for Mouse, so maybe Lemon should have a little more time?  7th graders and Freshmen typically should have different privileges, right?  So I said 10.  But then she still fought!

But I didn’t want to fight, but I didn’t want to relent, either, so I did the middle-ground wishy-washy thing and said, “okay, we’ll play it by ear, and we’ll check in at 10.”  With every intention to say “okay, come home now, it’s late.”

I had a flicker of thinking, somewhere in the midst of all of that, “I bet the party doesn’t even go that late.”  And I evern told her to check in with the hostess-peoples.  The report back was that the host-mom had said 10, but the host-child was trying to push that to later.  I said, “tell her to stop pushing, 10 clearly works for everyone!” Response: “it doesn’t work for ME!”

Said party at-issue was for both aprents and children.  I didn’t plan to be at the party, but a friend called at 8 and said, “I think since our girls are there, we should stop by.” And said calling-friend is a very fun person to be with, and she could probably talk me into going on a toilet-cleaning adventure or something, just based on her general fun-ness, so I said, “okay! let’s go!”  We said we’d go at 9.  Then, maybe we’d see that our kids were tired, and if things were dying down, we’d be able to take our kids home!

Here comes the awkward part of the post:

We walk into the house of the party.  We say “hi” to the kids in the front room.  They were watching Desperate Housewives.  Lemon said, “I voted against it! but I was outnumbered!” I ignored her, and made my way to the adult-part of the house …. it was empty.  Host-man was sitting in the dark kitchen, fussing with his laptop.

Um.  Hi.  I guess we’re on the late-side.

I guess you are.

Well, then, maybe we’ll just collect our kids, then.

I wish you would.

So guess what?  We did!

Host-mom was upstairs, taking a shower and taking costume-related stuff out of her hair.

I called Lemon over and whispered to her the content of the conversation.  She was horrified, as was my friend’s daughter, and they collected their stuff and snuck out the door with us.  Other kids were left behind, but they weren’t my problem.  Some other parents were going have a fine time collecting THEM an hour or so later, finding a totally dark house and unwelcoming hosts!

So then Fun-Friend and I went back across the street to my house and (foolishly, considering the wine I had earlier) begged WD to make us yummy drinks that contained vodka and limoncello.  Fooooolish, said my stomach all morning today.  Blech.  (Not a volume issue, but rather a combo issue.)  Disgusting.  Bad.  Horrible.  Blech (again).

And that was Halloween.


14 Years Old – To Party or Not to Party?

September 18, 2010

[I am writing this post with absolute resolve not to whine about work even one time.  Let’s see if I can do it.]

Lemon is turning 14 one week from today.

This past Thursday was a pretty busy day for me.  For reasons that I shall not mention.  But still, at 3 p.m.-ish, I texted Lemon to say “Today was yr due date!” [Note how while I did type “yr” instead of “your,” I am still not a child because I did not type “wuz” instead of “was.”]

Every year, since 1996, September 16th stands out in my mind.  I looked forward to that day for 9 months!  And then I spent 9 days afterward, wondering where my baby was.

Lemon told me later that she was hanging out with a handful of friends when the text came, and she was slightly freaked out – momentarily – thinking she missed some kind of deadline.  “My due date for what?  What was I supposed to finish?” Then it dawned on her, and she laughed, and her friends asked what was up, and they all proclaimed me weird.  (Not for the first time.)

Last night, WD was showing me some birthday gifts he procured for the Lemon-head.  Notwithstanding the above paragraph, I said to him, “how can you wait that long to give it to her?  Aren’t you so excited that you want to give it to her NOW?” He said, “no, Suzie, I can wait.”

It wasn’t until this mroning that I realized that when I asked the question, I was thinking the birthday was weeks in the future.

Not one week.

Of course he can wait one week.

And I can see what I can do about some kind of birthday gift during that one week that I have left …

And then there’s the “party” situation.

For reasons that we shall not discuss during this post [see first statement, above], we will not be having her party on her birthday weekend.  Nor will we be having it on the weekend of October 1st and 2nd.  Perhaps we will have her party during Columbus Day weekend.  Maybe.

But what will her party be?  I thought “oh, I can send you and your friends out to a fun/nice dinner and a movie.”  She thought, “oh, we can rent/borrow a cabin and spend the weekend.”

Where would she get such an outlandish idea?

Oh, because that’s waht we did last year.  Oops.  Silly me and the setting of a bad precedent.

This year, she wants even more peoplei nvolved.  I made her do the research on the cost of renting a car to fit that many people ($300), and she gave it up.

So what’s her next alternative?

“A zipline!”

[$90/person, and still need a large car.]

“oh, that’s too expensive.  How about a high ropes course?”]

[$100/person, and still need a large car.]


Dinner?  What about dinner?  And some streamers?  And a cake?

Or – what about “you’re old enough now to give up the birthday party.”

How normal is it for birthday parties to continue into the teens?  I mean – other than those who still throw “sweet sixteen” parties?

I thought I was done with this.

I want to be done.