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?