Of Bouncy Castles, Birthday Cake and, um...Beer


First: This is possibly a Judgey Judgerson post. Hate me.
2: I live a sheltered life.
C. I like my bubble.

And, if at all possible, birthday parties should not be scheduled on a Sunday afternoon.

I knew something was a little different as Annelise and I entered the home and made our way through to the back patio. I took notice of the large number of adults mingling in groups here and there, and then I noticed the the kiddy section where children were making crafts (bracelets, crowns or coloring a paddleball) or waiting in line for a clown to make their balloon animal.

Annelise set her present down (another Lego City RV camper set) and got in line. No one had really greeted us, so I made my way to stand near a familiar mom. As I stood there chatting I glanced behind me and noticed a dad holding a beer. Then I noticed a few more between various moms and dads. Okay. I hoped that the brewskis were in a different cooler than the juice boxes.

As the afternoon wore on I noticed something else, the kids were doing kid things and the adults were obviously doing their things, yet few adults interacted with the kids.

At a birthday party for a child.

Not only was there a clown making balloon animals and face painting, there was a bouncy castle with a slide and a cotton candy machine. The kids basically moved from activity to activity, or played in the playroom inside the house as their mood struck. The adults occasionally checked on them or when the child came to find his or her parent. The kids loved it, but it seemed soooooo over the top indulgent (to me) and it broke my heart a little that the kids didn't even realize they were being ignored while they were entertained.

After almost TWO hours no cake had been cut and not one present opened. I realized that this kind of party could go on all evening. What on earth? Would they break out the tiki torches around the bouncy castle once the sun set?

Finally, finally, finally, the mom cut the cake. Soon thereafter, we said our thank yous and goodbyes. (Which was the first time the mom spoke to me, by the way.)

As we made our way to the car I could have sworn I heard another beer tab pop.

Annelise was oblivious to the whole adult scene, which was a blessing. To me, a birthday party for a six year old child should be child centered, and even with all the child party bells and whistles, this one was not. It made me uncomfortable. And sad.


  1. I completely understand. I have posted before how all of the parties and drinking around here are totally out of hand. From Bunco to the kid parties, it's all a little much!

  2. I would NOT have been comfortable with this kind of party at all, and definitely wouldn't have made it for 2 whole hours!

  3. I'm on the fence on this one. I don't like that the parents basically ignored the children, but the beer doesn't bother me, not much anyway. We went to a birthday party for my son's classmate earlier this fall. A party company did all the kid stuff, but I still had to keep up with my little ones, so I was busier with that than visiting. But beer was served and it didn't bother me. I trust the adults to make the responsible decision regarding consumption. I liked that the parents made a point to invite families, so that we could get to know each other at the beginning of the school year. Of course, I didn't get to visit as much as some parents, since I was chasing a toddler, but I liked the gesture.

    Would we host a party like that? No, because we couldn't afford the party company and because I have no problem expecting ids to come up with some of their own entertainment. We host a big fall family gathering to celebrate our kids' birthdays, and we do serve beer and wine. But it is more of a family event than a kid party, and we don't invite classmates and their families.

    I guess, given the situation, if I was hosting a party and did not know the invitees well, I would probably err on the side of caution and keep it alcohol-free.

  4. Were you at the same birthday party I was at last weekend? There wasn't beer at mine (I'm not too bothered by that, but completely see how that could bug you) but everything else sounds the exact same.

    Was you clown super-scary-ghetto-looking, too?

  5. I think that was what made me most uncomfortable, the way it seemed to be a combined party instead of focused on the child--even though they bought child entertainment. Does that make sense?

    Personally, I think they could have had a focused hour of kiddy party stuff, have cake and open presents, then send the kids home. THEN they could have had their adult friend party and their booze. Especially since her whole class was invited (though not all attended).

    The clown was actually very nice and seemed like a sweet grandma type. She was even kind when an unsupervised diapered toddler knocked over her face paint tray. Twice.

  6. My 3yo gets invited to a school classmate's party AT LEAST once a month. He has 20 kids in his class and the rule is, if you pass out invites at school, you have to invite the entire class. The first couple times I thought I should go for my son's sake...good socializing skills, etc. Both parties were just as you describe. And first of all - don't know the birthday child. Second of all - don't know the parents and they don't know me. Barely a "hello" when I walk in the door. Another mom from his class that I am friends with said it almost feels like we are intruding. They go on forever....hello! Cut the cake already! So, I just stopped going unless I at least know who the parent is and can get a feel for what kind of party it will be. This year I am bringing Adam's party to the class during school time. Cupcakes and a craft and out the door.

  7. Oh, and I agree that two hours with no cake is pushing the limits of fun. Kids want cake. Parents want to go home, especially on a Sunday. Cake and presents should be done early in the event, and then people can stay and play longer if they want to do so.

  8. Holly, I too would have felt uncomfortable at this party. I may be old school but "kids and alcohol don't mix!" As parents, we need to set a good example and inhibitions fly out the window when alcohol is around. I think this was in poor taste, mainly because school classmates were involved.

  9. Would not have lasted the two hours!!! YOu are a trooper~

    Seriously, Yall are real party hoppers!

  10. I know, it was really draggggging along (for me), Annelise just kept bouncing and playing. This was a school friend's party and I wanted to be supportive, but now my eyes are opened to the possibilities when you don't know the child/family.

  11. So not cool. So not a children's party...in my humble opinion. IMHO. I would have felt like a very out of place placerson.

  12. My friends and I have parties like that...but they are not called birthday parties! They are "get togethers"...meant for us to hang out and the kids to hang out. That sounds crazy to me for a birthday party. Also? Almost the rudest thing in my eyes was that the mom didn't come over and welcome you/introduce herself.

  13. We've been to quite a few of those parties. Awkward. I totally agree with you.


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