Sunday, July 16, 2006

The children's party arms race problem

Having Molly's party yesterday has made me think about parties for children and the modern problem that we see with them.
Which is that it just isn't good enough nowadays to just have a party that your child will simply enjoy.

Harbourne mom (see here) wants to have a party for little Tarquin not because she wants little Tarquin to have a good time and share his special day with his friends.
Nah, she wants to have a party so she can attempt to impress all the other Harbourne moms.

So these parties are distinguished by their deliberately unusual location, ridiculous themes, crap food and horrible children.
The location is due to the circle of friends all trying to outdo themselves, party venues will go in and out of vogue faster than designer fashion.
One week it's a skiing party, then toboganning, then it's magicians, followed by authentic steel bands, nature centres, theatre tours, in fact anything to try to impress the parents of the children attending the party.
I'm fully expecting on day to have to take Molly to a behind the scenes at a sewage plant party because moseley bloody mom has decided that's the most original thing she can think of and no-one's done it yet.

Every time we ask Molly what she wants to do for a party she always comes back with Wacky Warehouse or the NIA because she knows these two places will let her friends do something that most of the other parties wont do; have fun by running around like crazy monkeys on acid for an hour.
And because Molly is a clever girl, we think it's a good idea as well.
Imagine, actually listening to what your child wants. It's a revelation.

Added to this is the whole goodie bag problem.
Every party now seems to demand a party bag. It used to be okay to just send you home from parties with a slice of birthday cake, but now you have to give each child a goodie bag.
The arms race thing occurs here as well.
Because it's not good enough now to put a couple of sweets in a bag, you need toys, balloons and assorted crap as well. But Harbourne mom has to be slightly different here as well. The perfect goodie bag for Harbourne mom's party would seem to consist of a french dictionary, bunch of grapes and bloody organic raisins.
Strangely enough Molly wasn't too keen on our idea for doing away with the goodie bag entirely for her party, so we went with the sweets and balloon combo. Some of the kids were seen dipping into their goodie bags before they left and the combination of the e-numbers in the sweets and the excitement of the party probably kept them up all night and raving on well into the next day.

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