I was part of a movement of "dinosaur moms" when I lived in Maryland (Astrodon Johnstoni is the Maryland state dinosaur.) Which is nothing more than this -- dinosaur moms delight in the half-feral nature of the beasties they parent, even as they whisper Shakespeare and Kierkegaard in their ears at night.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

In praise of the humble house party

Jones just recently had a birthday. Girl is about to have one. Both milestones will be rung in by a good old-fashioned house party.

Said party will take place from 1 pm to 3 pm on some Saturday reasonably close to their actual dates. We’ll put up a couple of balloons and put on some inoffensive party mix. Every kid in the class and every kid in the neighborhood close to your age is invited. Exceptions are allowed after third grade or so.

Said party will consist of 30 minutes of arriving, a craft, some punch, some pretzels and such; 20 minutes of breaking and looting a piƱata, 30 minutes of decorate-your-own cupcakes with several kinds of ice cream, more punch, blowing out the candles; 20 minutes of opening the presents, which devolves into playing with the presents, which devolves into running around like sugar spaz banshees; and 10 minutes of collecting up your goodies and saying goodbyes.

The themes have been more or less inspired (Make-your-own superhero was a hit.) The fare has been more and less healthy -- though seldom rising above the level of celery with peanut butter on it (Once, we made our own pizzas.) But after some experimentation with Chuck E. Cheese and his brethren, this is the formula I’ve come to.

I am bourgie enough that I essentially do think of a birthday party as a right, not a privilege. And I am proud enough that I do try to be clever. I have had my moments, but I’ll never out-do my writer friends (Let’s play Calvinball and then go geo-caching!) But I also deliberately try to tamp it down.

I'm with Dinosaur Mom. I mean, why mess with it? It’s not your debut. It’s not a field trip. It’s not a statement (Unless the statement is -- Get me. It’s my birthday.) It’s a party -- cake, ice cream, goodie bag -- what?

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