Monday, November 5, 2012

Birthday party dilemma

For the past 5 years, all of Jasper's friendships have been facilitated by me. I took him to playgroups, gymnastics, swim lessons, soccer games, and through that we made friends. I clicked with some of the moms more then others, and nudged Jasper into being BFF's with their kids. That's just how it works when you are a stay at home mom. He has made great friends, and has had many of the same friends since he was a toddler.

And then kindergarten began. Our small neighborhood school (about 100 kindergartners split into 4 classes) was a completely new territory for him. He didn't know a single child going into it. And I didn't know a single parent. 

No longer am I the one 'picking' his friends for him (though from the way a couple of the kids act, I'd like to still be!) and it's a completely foreign concept to me. To allow Jasper to not only make friends on his own, but to try to help those friendships grow outside the classroom walls. 

I was stuck trying to figure out how to grow these friendships. The way his school works is that we pull up to the circle in the back, and the teachers all come around to the cars and unbuckle and take your child out of the car. The adults never step foot outside of the car. It makes for a quick and smooth drop off, but it doesn't leave any room for getting to know them as we drop/pick up our kids. See the dilemma here? 

Then the birthday party invitations started rolling in. Three birthday parties for boys in his class within 4 weeks! Okay great I thought. This will be the perfect time to get to know all the other parents that will be there taking their kids to the birthday parties.

The first one was a month ago, and I had to work so Drew took Jasper. I got a text within 10 min saying 

"Uh, pretty much none of the parents are staying, they just dropped their kids off and left, what should I do?"

I frantically replied
"Are you kidding me? STAY! You aren't leaving Jasper there!"

He stayed. And was one of I think 5 adults there. And then three of the moms that did stay ended up leaving to go get a drink down the street and returned later to pick the kids up.

Drew said it wasn't awkward at all, and he helped supervise the kids. I mean would you want 25 kindergartners in your house with very little adult supervision? No thanks.

Then came the second birthday party. This time it was at a local bounce/play house and was about 20 minutes away from our neighborhood so more of the parents stayed and I was able to talk to a couple of them and attempt to get to know them. But slightly difficult with a baby who was going through a growth spurt and wanted to nurse about 80% of the time we were there.

Then came the third. And after Drew had told me none of the parents had stayed at the previous party I got nervous. Did these strangers really expect me just to walk up to their door, say hi I'm Darlene, this is Jasper be back in three hours? 

I had no idea what to expect. And Drew had to work so Tindra, Jasper and I showed up.

One by one I saw parents walk out the door as I was getting the kids out of the car seats. Without their kids. Hands were sweating at this point. There was NO way I was leaving him there, and if they were expecting me to it was about to get SUPER awkward.

Luckily it wasn't. We walked in and they told me where everything was, asked if I wanted a mimosa (which they had prepared so I think they were assuming some parents would stay?) and made me feel completely welcome. I tried to stay out of the way and just observe and let Jasper do his thing. Thank goodness for Tindra keeping me occupied!!

But what are your thoughts on this? Would you/do you just drop your kids off for birthday parties? Do you stick around for a few minutes or do you stay the thole time and party crash like me? 

A couple of pictures from the last party- they had brought in this guy with probably 15-20 animals (reptiles mostly) and all the kids got to pet them and learn about them.


  1. no offense but i think you are being way to paranoid. i just leave mine after going in and introducing myself

  2. I don't have a child old enough to leave yet but I would imagine I would be like you. Or it may depend on location. If there were a store or coffee place realllllly close I may go there or even sit in the car. I would also leave my number.

    But I really wouldn't want to leave!

    Heather r

    1. Its hard! Hopefully as the year goes on and I meet the parents a few more times I will be more ready to leave him

  3. This is Shannon from the wte 2012 board! I dont think your overeacting at all about staying. You never know these days whats going on with kids expecially at that age. I would be staying too! Luckly I dont have that problem as I know all the parents of the kids that Colby will be in class with (our town has a pop of 250 and the next town over 300)

    1. Hi shannon! I'm a little jealous- would be so much easier to know everyone!! I grew up in a small town, 8000 thousand- but still everyone pretty much knew each other!

  4. Eh i think you are being too much of a helicopter mom. let them live a little!

  5. I always stayed! I was a very young parent and was often told that I was overprotective. But, I cannot imagine dropping my child off at the home of someone I do not know. I always made sure that other parents felt welcome to stay when we hosted a playdate or party. To this day, with my girls in high school, they do not go to anyone's house without me talking to the parents first. My children are not sheltered, but they are loved more than anything and protected because of that.

    You are NOT a helicopter parent. You are a great parent, who protects their child.

    1. Thank you for your kind comments! In this day and age I think it's just much better be safe then sorry. It used to embarrass me when my mom used to do that in high school but now I 100% get why she did!

  6. It would be different if you knew the hosts well, but without knowing them well, nope I'm staying. Our kids are the most precious thing in the world, how could I leave them with strangers? Plus it's a great opportunity to meet his friends and the few parents who feel the same you do.

  7. I stay. I can't leave my kiddos without me. when Judah had his party a lot of people just left their kids and they didn't even know me.

  8. Oh and I should mention that we live in townhomes and one of judahs class mates lives 3 doors down from us. I have let the mom babysit yet when she had a birthday party we went with him.

    1. I wouldn't expect two parents to be in charge of 25 kids without adult supervision even if I knew them- that's So many kids!

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