Monday, June 13, 2011

Asshole Monday: Kid's birthday parties

Everyone wins when kids get to paint stuff

Hey everybody! My apologies if this blog is incoherent or just completely retarded (I know this word has been deemed inappropriate language but I have to disagree. I would never call a mentally handicapped person retarded, that would be mean. But I am retarded sometimes and I can call myself whatever I want) but I am typing it up from an iPad.

Oh, no no. Wait. Don't get me wrong. This isn't mine. I don't own an iPad. This is my sisters and she is wonderful and she is letting me use it while my phone just keeps on deciding not to work (please, first generation iPhone, don't crap out on me. I'll die) so I can do important things like check Facebook, email people and write a blog about using an iPad. You are all welcome.

Today (written Sunday) was Garrett's sixth birthday party. It was the first pool party that we have had at this house and I have to say it was... I have no idea. I wasn't there for it.

Look, people. We all know how much I love him and Whitman and they really are wonderful kids the majority of the time and I honestly like all kids (well the good ones) but there is something about kid's birthday parties that I cannot stand. I don't know if it is the loud noises. The frenzied grabbing of presents. Children running around in circles. Crying. Screaming. Convulsing. Fits of laughter. Jealous rage. Crazy sugar freak outs. The constant need for juice. Inflatable things. Things deflating. It's just all too much so I usually bail.

Look how happy and calm.

His birthday party today was at my actual house so bailing completely wasn't really a valid option for me. So I did what every good nanny does; I helped out with whatever I could help with and then I drank in my room. Duh. It was hot as hell outside and there is just no way that a dozen or so screaming kids is going to make that any better for anyone. Maybe having all those kids in one place at one time all going crazy is what I dread the most? I dunno. I just really can’t stand kids birthday parties and if the day comes when I have to throw one, I am not exactly sure how I will survive it. Maybe it’s different when it’s your kids?

There was an episode of The Office (when it was good) where Oscar describes something that he doesn’t really want to go to but he goes anyway and he likens it to a kid’s birthday party “There really isn’t anything for you to do there, but the kids are having a really good time so you’re kind of there.” Yes. Exactly.  You are kind of there, standing awkwardly, waiting for the kids to stop having fun so you can go.

I had to take Garrett to a birthday party last weekend. A party for one of Garrett’s school friends. A kid’s birthday party where I knew no one. To say I was dreading taking him is an understatement. But I had an idea. If I can take him, drop him off and then come back and get him, that would be ideal. I am not his mother. I don’t have to make friends with anyone. I am not there to plan play dates or swap recipes or whatever the fuck it is that mothers in the ‘ville do at these things. I just had a kid, that isn’t mine, that wanted to go to the party so leaving early sounded like the best option…but it didn’t to Garrett.

Before we got there, he was adamant that I stay. I guess he needed that sense of security that someone else he knows is there? I don’t know. I also think he thought I wasn’t going to come back for him which is preposterous (but maybe not unwarranted???). To say that I was dreading taking him is an understatement. I had terrible visions in my head of chit chatting with people and small talk and fake smiles. But he really wanted to go so of course I would do whatever he wanted. I got him to the party (fashionably 10 minutes late) and I walked him to the backyard where all the other kids were. I stood there making my presence known so Garrett would know that I wasn’t going to leave him and then something pretty amazing happened: He told me I could leave.

Garrett came over after playing for less than two minutes and he said “You can go now, Stacey. I will be fine. Just come pick me up in a few hours.” At this point I was equal parts proud, relieved and excited. I reached out to give him a hug for being so brave and he gave me this look that said “Please don’t hug me in front of my friends,” so I said “I won’t hug you now” and I gave him a little pat on the back. He said “Thank you” under his breath and ran off to play. I should have been overwhelmed with love and adoration for this kid that is growing up so fast but really I was just happy that I got to leave. If I had been forced to make awkward small talk with Collierville parents, things would have gotten hairy.

“But, Stacey,” you are asking yourself (no), “Is there any kid’s birthday party that you don’t hate?” Yes, yes there is. There is one exception to my kid's birthday party avoidance rule: when I get to make stuff.

For the past two years, Whitman has chosen to have his birthday parties at a pottery painting place and I was all about it. If I get to paint, color, sculpt, trace whatever, I am down. If I can make a fucking teddy bear, where do I sign up? Yes I know that the painting is for the kids but I don't have any of those. Don't invite me to a kid’s birthday party if I can't count for one of those kids. Sorry but those are the rules. If I ever get one of those kid things, I will let them do all the cool stuff (and I will sulk quietly to myself) but for now, I am painting a unicorn, dammit and there is not a thing you can do to stop it.

No, seriously. I painted a unicorn. You can kind of see it here.


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