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.