Monday, September 15, 2008

Happy Birthday....?

The Cheeseguy and I went to our very good friends' daughter's birthday party yesterday. E. is the first grandchild on one side, and the only grandchild on the other. Lovely food, lovely conversation, cute games (who doesn't like the Hokey-Pokey?) but then the gifts started coming. Wow. It was as if FAO Schwarz, Target, and The Children's Place all had a colossal collision in mid-air over this house and vomited all their contents into their living room. Okay, that's a bit of hyperbole, but when E. opened a box and started to play happily with the tissue paper, I wished we could have stopped there and given her the rest of the presents later (as in months later, for Chanukah, and she STILL would have had plenty to open). My friend told me she tried to veto the party but was overruled. She really tries hard to keep her daughter grounded, but in the face of overwhelming opposition, I can see how her resolve failed. Now they have to figure out what to do with an entire dollhouse with the entire contents for every room. How many pieces? I don't know if I can count that high-- I know E. can't (although she is very smart, in my completely unbiased opinion). I feel badly that we contributed to the madness with three Crayola coloring pads, ponytail holders and a placemat with a fill-in-the-blank map of the United States (that came from Cheeseguy, who insisted that despite E.'s inability to fill-in-the-blank, it was still okay since it was for ages 3+. He loves maps so much that I thought it was adorable that he wanted to share that with her).

So what do you readers think? How have you handled birthdays for your children? There's got to be a balance between Mommy-Dearest giving away all but one present and the toy-explosions that are all too common today. Share, and let others learn from you!


Anonymous said...

Hi Doc,

I grew up in a big family so we never had these types of windfalls of presents for our birthdays - I have carried this over to my kids. So far I have been able to have parties for them (they are 2 and 4) and told parents and family NO presents. It is all about the games and cake in my opinion and my kids seem to have fun with it. We do buy them small presents (2 each) and give them to them at a different time - they really have no idea what day their birthday is anyway.

Peace, Morocco Fitzys

MeanMommyDoc said...

And your kids are SO wonderful! Speaking as their American pediatrician, you guys are doing a great job keeping them grounded. Plus, living in Morocco is giving them the greater world view that so many of these uber-entitled kids are lacking. Hopefully we'll see you before you leave Morocco. I know Class Factotum and SH are coming to see you, and we're hoping for sometime next year. Hugs for all of you!

Mean Mommy said...

We do friend parties only every other year, and even then we keep the guest list manageable--about 7 or 8 friends? Even that seems a bit overwhelming at times.

Within the family, we get one "big" gift (a new toy or game) and then let siblings pick out their own gifts from the dollar store or something equally modest. The excitement of a sibling giving something that truly came from him is the best part.

My brothers and sisters and I have a "dollar per year" policy for giving birthday money to each other's children, and our kids are always elated to have a little spending money. And yes, even $3 seems a fortune to a three year old.