Monday, January 14, 2008

Super Kiddie Sweet 16?

© 2007 Leighann Lord
One of my concerns about having kids is the expense of raising them. The cost of college (not optional) is daunting. But higher education may be a lofty goal if we can’t financially survive the kid’s birthday party. "My Super Sweet 16" has trickled down to the preschool set. These mammoth soirees are a competitive sport that can break the bank long before junior high school with catering, flashy favors, and entertainment. We’ve come a long way from party hats, horns and pin the tail on the donkey. Spending over a grand for a child’s party? Who’s the ass now?

eighann, you don’t understand. You don’t have kids yet."
No I don’t, but once upon a time I was one. When I turned four my parents gave me a birthday party. Our house and yard were full of family, friends and food. We had music, party games, cake and ice cream, and I hated every minute of it.

I looked adorable in my pretty dress, lace stockings and patent leather Mary Jane’s, but I wasn’t actually allowed to run around and play because I might get dirty. Since the party was at my house I was in the precarious position of being both guest of honor and host. A guest of honor can do whatever she wants. A host has to please her guests and share her toys. Really not big on the sharing back then. Not that big on it now either.

I was a kid who preferred the company of adults as I found other children to be mean, nasty and willfully insipid. I didn’t dislike all children, just the ones I came in contact with. The fact that I now had a gang of them at my house was not my idea of a happy birthday.

I didn’t even enjoy my cake.

One of the joys of childhood is continually discovering something new. At my birthday party I discovered I hated pineapple cake filling. There was still the ice cream. What kid doesn’t love chocolate ice cream? That would be me. I, of course, preferred vanilla. In case you’re wondering, yes, Oscar the Grouch was one of my favorite characters on "Sesame Street." Clearly curmudgeons aren’t made, they’re born.

Before my fifth birthday rolled around I mustered up the vocabulary and the courage to ask my parents to please not give me any more parties. I just couldn’t take it. That money was saved for college, where the parties were a lot more fun.

Less you think I’m completely antisocial I did learn something positive at my fourth birthday party: that I prefer to celebrate my personal new year quietly, with immediate family and very close friends. Dinner and thoughtful presents, graciously accepted throughout the entire fiscal quarter is really all I need.

I can only hope that someday I’ll have a kid like me but I know it doesn’t work that way. I suspect fate will bring me a popular social butterfly who wants to party like it’s 1999. But on my budget, they’ll pin the tail on the donkey and like it. They’ll thank me later when they go to college.

For News About Leighann's TV Appearances and Upcoming Live Comedy Shows: Please Join The E-Mail List

No comments: