Birthday party at the Gatsbys’

This weekend my family went to a birthday party that Jay Gatsby would have thrown had he had a pre-schooler. Bouncy castles and ATVs for kids/motorized Power Wheels abounded. They probably would have opened up their pool if it had been any warmer. Maybe I’m just from the other side of the tracks, but I was a little overwhelmed. I was also petrified that my kid was going to hit someone when he was riding around on the mini ATV. As it was, he almost hit one of the party goer’s Corvettes.

Fighting Apatosaurus loves to storm the castle or wreck the construction site.

These vikings love to shoot things at our cats.

I know size doesn’t matter, but it was obvious that we got the kid the smallest present. I’m crap at picking out kids’ presents. Every piece of plastic essentially looks the same to me, and I have no idea what will be fun for a four-year-old I never met. The party was airplane themed, and since that was the only thing I knew that the birthday boy liked, my kid and I picked out an Imaginext plane for him. My kid and I are pro-Imaginext. We like that we can mix up the pirates and the dinosaurs and Batman for some sort of cross-over/alternate reality scenario for his “action figures.”

So I thought it could go with toys the kid already had or stand alone. But as we were leaving, the mom said, “oh, I’ve got a little plane party favor for your kid,” I was really scared that she would going to bring out, as a party favor, the very same plane we had purchased as a gift.

I think the rich parents could sense that we weren’t one of them. Maybe we smelled poor or my Old Navy jeans were from last season (if that) or they noticed how sad our meager offering looked in the pile of lavish gifts, but no one talked to us. I know my husband and I aren’t the most social people in the world, but we really did try to talk to people. We were unsuccessful. That may have been a good thing, though. I overheard a conversation between two of the moms, and they were talking about, as far as I could tell, making sure the color of the exterior of the car went with that season’s trends and when to obtain which color vehicle.

At least the kids haven’t yet learned to snub poor people, and our kid seems to be making friends. Though whether or not we will be invited to any more parties remains to be seen.


About emmawolf

I'm a freelance writer living in Baltimore with my husband, son, and two cats. I'm working on editing my first novel. I love reading, traveling, and the cello.
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11 Responses to Birthday party at the Gatsbys’

  1. sj says:

    Oh, ugh. This sounds like I would have had THE WORST TIME.

    • emmawolf says:

      I spent most of the party chasing kid around making sure he wouldn’t hit anyone (or anything expensive) and playing with their dog. And on the car ride home, husband kept reminding us that no one went to Gatsby’s funeral.

    • Heather says:

      This sounds like party hell.

      • emmawolf says:

        My husband thinks we were isolated because we were the only Jews. We did notice that the only black parent and the only lesbian parent were also social outcasts. Like the four of us were just invited so the hosts could say how inclusive they were.

  2. Raunak says:

    hahahaha…i could so relate to the post 🙂 I’ve been going to some of these overwhelming b’day parties and have gone through exactly the feelings as you.
    While I stand there, the only thought that goes through my mind is how simple we kept it when I was a kid….no bouncies, no fancy rides…yet we had so much fun.

    • emmawolf says:

      (this got caught my by spam filter…sorry about that.)

      “the only thought that goes through my mind is how simple we kept it when I was a kid….no bouncies, no fancy rides…yet we had so much fun.”

      Inorite. That’s pretty much my husband’s take on it too. He doesn’t understand what’s wrong with a party at home and letting the kids just play (I don’t either, for that matter) but at the same time he doesn’t want to be shown up by the other families.

  3. Pingback: I sought shame, but shame didn’t want me « emma wolf

  4. Piper George says:

    Oh I know the feeling. I have a rule about how much I spend on a child (non family) and I stick to it. I will not be shamed into over spending, just because they do! If they really annoy me, I’ll get their kid something noisy or messy and make sure the kid opens it before it can be ‘safely put away’. *evil cackle*

    • emmawolf says:

      “If they really annoy me, I’ll get their kid something noisy or messy and make sure the kid opens it before it can be ‘safely put away’. *evil cackle*”

      That is an excellent idea!

      How much do you spend on a non-family kid birthday present? (If you don’t mind my asking….I really need some advice!)

  5. Piper George says:

    Another thing I do is buy extra presents over the Xmas period when it’s all on offer – Buy 2 get 1 free etc, so I have a pile throughout the year for parties etc.

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