A Post About Excess

I want to talk about excess here for a minute. We went to a birthday party for Steve’s niece last night; she will be turning a year old tomorrow ( a YEAR. Yes, that is important to embed in your minds. One. Year. Old.). the family always has parties at a local pizza joint, so the venue was no big thing; however, we usually go in the back and sit at a couple of long tables they have back there. Last night, we were directed upstairs to the banquet room where there were, I kid you not, at least 50 people there. For a first birthday party.


*** I will freely admit here that part of my annoyance is petty and ridiculous; the only reason anyone came to Owen’s first birthday party was because we had it at the same time as Steve’s mom’s 60th birthday, and only a couple of people brought Owen gifts. No one in the family save Steve’s parents came to Owen’s 2nd birthday party, and they bought him two cheap outfits from Kings and a couple of balls. So to sit there and watch the baby rip open these really expensive toys and clothes and such, surrounded by such a huge number of people, kind of made me see green for a minute (I am over it now, as I am well aware that Owen has a whole lot of things that this baby is NEVER going to have that have nothing to do with material shit and who shows up at a party).***


Anyway, there were games and gifts and balloons and cake and ice cream and more gifts, and all the while I was looking around thinking two things. 1. Is this really necessary? and 2. Good thing the baby isn’t going to remember this party, because she will totally expect this every year if she did. Am I the only one who thinks this is just a little ridiculous? I am all for celebrating birthdays, don’t get me wrong, and of course we buy gifts and have a family party. However, that whole renting-a-banquet-room-to-accommodate-everyone-thing just seems nuts to me.

While we were there (and continuing on with the whole theme of excess), I was talking to another of Steve’s sisters (she has two kids, one boy who is 8 and they recently adopted a little girl the same age, or close to) about the holidays at their house, and she was just livid. Apparently, the kids were not impressed with their gifts from mom, dad, or Santa, and threw a couple of them away and then threw the brand new Wii on the floor and broke it. Can you believe that shit? Come ON, if they didn’t want the damn Wii they could have given it to us; really. I have several different thoughts about this as well. One is that this is not the first time either of them have done something like this. Two years ago when camping, the boy broke his Gameboy (and who lets a kid bring their portable DVD player and a Gameboy camping?) and then told MY kids, “It doesn’t matter, my mom will buy me a new one, and I didn’t like this color anyway.” And then he took a steak knife and sliced the upholstery on the seats in their $50,000 camp trailer because the DVD player was skipping. This kid is a menace, and now that they have adopted the little girl, they are BOTH like that. So mom gets all bent out of shape and hurt and angry when they pull something like this, but at the same time really does nothing to prevent it from happening. I shudder to think of the pain those two are going to have to go through when they get into Jr. high, when their shitty attitude and sense of entitlement are going to have people running away from them in disgust.

I just don’t understand the mentality of some parents; I mean, really, can they not SEE that nobody really likes their kids (not the baby; despite the ginormous party, I think her mom and dad have enough sense to make sure that she is well-balanced)? They are cute kids, sure, and somewhere under the spoiled rotten mess they are surely sweet, but even adults (meaning other adults, not JUST me) have a hard time being around them. I don’t get it.

However, it makes me grateful that my kids are NOT like that. Don’t get me wrong-they can be real jerks sometimes, and lately Sam has been on a kick of pestering everyone in the house to the point of needing to run for fear of being grievously harmed, and they all get shitty attitudes at times. We are far from perfect, nor are we even close. However, it would never occur to my kids to throw brand new toys away, or break them simply because they don’t like the color, and it would never even cross their minds to pick up a knife and slash the upholstery on a piece of furniture. First of all, the things that they have are pretty important to them, they have generally had to wait to get whatever it might be, so they tend to take pretty good care of them. Second, if they did something like that, they know well that they will experience the Wrath of Mom, and it won’t be pretty.

And selfishly, there is this as well. Here I am, doing it alone and having done it alone for quite some time, and yet my kids are the ones that people-other adults and kids alike-genuinely enjoy being around. Go figure. Kind of warms the cockles of your heart, doesn’t it?

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16 thoughts on “A Post About Excess

  1. Totally warms the cockles of your heart :0)And you know what? Your kids probably realize how disgusting those other kids are and realize that although the brats may get all this great stuff whenever they want, that they (meaning your kids) are better off with their life…They probably also realize that people like them and not the brats :0)I completely agree that that is CRAZY excess for a 1 year olds birthday party…We are getting ready for L’s 2nd, and it will be small, grandparents, my brother and his family, and 2 families that are friends of ours as was last year….there will be Papa Murhpy’s pizza and a home baked cake…nothing fancy, which is the way I like it :0) I am on a message board with people who have kids my sons age and some of them are talking about spending $400 or more on their kids’ second birthday party!?!!?! Are you friggin’ kidding me? SERIOUSLY.

  2. Whoa! I honestly do not believe it is normal for an 8-year-old to pick up a knife and start cutting something in anger. I get the whole spoiled rotten bit, throwing away toys and breaking them. But the knife thing is very disturbing. His mother needs to take those parenting classes. And maybe a call to SuperNanny would help as well.What clueless agency actually allowed these parents to adopt? Now they get to ruin another kid’s potential. Shame. As for the party, I am so with you. I didn’t bother with parties for my boys’ first birthdays because I just felt it would be wasted. They aren’t old enough to anticipate the day or the presents, or enjoy all that sugary stuff; so what’s the point? The first party we did was for Andy’s 3rd birthday, since I figured it would be the first one he had a chance of remembering. And we’ll do one this year when Hunter turns 3. But seriously, renting a banquet hall? I don’t get that. Maybe if it was your only child’s 18th birthday or something, and you wanted them to have a big coming-of-age blast or something. But a baby? Forget it! I think that falls into the category of being an unfaithful steward of the money God has blessed you with.

  3. I’m very exasperated with the mother here. It’s easy to blame the children, but if they’re not learning that it’s WRONG to do that kind of stuff, then that falls on the parents. Those stories are just as bad as that 4-year-old I told you about!

  4. I totally know this feeling. I have a friend who spends thousands of dollars on a birthday for kids just barely hitting the double digits. And then they complain about how they never have any money.I believe that in 4 years, I will see them on My Super Sweet 16 acting like total assholes expecting a birthday party with 6 figures.Such a shame.

  5. I got mid way through your post and then started to feel a little nauseous. That kind of behavior is toxic. Excess doesn’t even begin to describe it.

  6. Sounds like that Mother could use a visit from Super Nanny. She always seems to get the bad little heatherns to mind.You and your family definitely warm the cockles of my heart.

  7. Reminds me of those brats on that reality show about sweet sixteen parties. I don’t think these parents realize they’re doing their kids a disservice. They’ll see the error in their ways when it’s too late.

  8. I find that type of conspicuous consumption strangely choking and disengenous…that type of behavior when you take it to it’s larger concept is why we’re in the economic debacle we’re in…okay off my soap box now…but I am warmed to know that there are genuine kids who are amazing and wonderful!xo G

  9. Yeah, I’m down on the parents of that 8 year old and his adopted sister, not the kids. Just like you should be applauded for the way you’ve raised your children, those parents should be ashamed. That knife thing is way disturbing. My “friend” had a 2nd birthday party at the ZOO (!!!). Special rented room, etc. For a TWO YEAR OLD. When you go to the zoo’s page to look at birthday party packages (because you know I looked), they don’t even reco parties there for kids until they are at least four, because I assume that’s when they can appreciate it. This mom is crazy when it comes to her daughter, though. I shudder when I think of her future… I used to feel a little bad for not being able to “keep up” with her, but not anymore.

  10. I have never understood these extravaganzas for babies! My kids’ parties-up until they are about 4 and actually have some preschool friends-are my mom, my sister and some pizza! That’s about all the baby (or I!) can handle!And the kids that throw away or break toys–a very sad state of affairs!!

  11. Surely these are parents who have abdicated their authority and handed it over to those they are supposed to educate, in all manner of things. I feel bad for those kids later in life because surely it will be hard for them to learn and grow as people if they have no internal or external discipline.

  12. People say this all the time and I know that it sounds cliched, but some people should just not be allowed to have children. Really. I am not one of those people that thinks procreation is a right. It’s a responsibility. At least make people take a parenting course.

  13. we never go overbaord on a baby’s 1st birthday because its makes no sense to spend all that money and the baby won’t remember a thing and this is from a woman with 5 kids. Thats excess for a baby.They could use that money elsewhere.

  14. Scary. Hope they won’t hurt someone or something next time when they don’t get what they want. They need help, professional help and now!Also, they have too much if they behave this way. Time to cut back. Also the Wrath of Mom is needed, but clearly lacking! The idea the kid thinks mom will get him another one show she has in the past. Time for that to stop. Not only will no one like these kids they won’t like the adults they will become. And before adulthood may really hurt someone if this continues on.

  15. I have been horrified recently about what is "required" at kids birthday parties today! My little sister turned 10 this year and my Mom took her and 3 friends to the beach, rides, stayed in a hotel, got haircuts & manicures. A friend of hers did an overnight trip to great Wolf Lodge with like 10 kids for her bday. WTH? When I was a kid, we got a cake and to have friends over to the house, maybe a sleepover. There was no spending hundreds of dollars on an older kid. Let ALONE a 1 year old! Until they're like 3, they don't even know what is even happening anyhow!

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