Re: Birthday parties

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Large birthday parties for kids are the worst. I've become convinced that birthday parties should be small, family affairs. Otherwise, it's an awkward cocktail party with the added stress of watching your kids.

Close behind in suckage are playdates, which seem to have about an 85% cancellation rate, much to the relief of everyone involved.

There's precisely one parent at my kid's school that I hit it off with, and she and I will chat for half-an-hour or so if we pick up our kids at the same time. We set up a playdate and then she suddenly cancelled and never spoke of it again; I'm pretty sure her husband put the kibosh on that. It's tough out there for a stay-at-home dad.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 7:06 PM
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We set up a playdate and then she suddenly cancelled and never spoke of it again; I'm pretty sure her husband put the kibosh on that.

Ughhhh, boo!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 7:18 PM
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Half an hour?! Do you get to school for pickup at ten AM or something?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 7:25 PM
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Maybe this is why Blume knows more about the parents at daycare than I do, notwithstanding that I do almost all pickup and drop off...


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 7:26 PM
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Small family affairs are kind of depressing when you don't have family nearby. But sticking with our friends and their kids seems great. It's tricky because in our group, no one is Hawaii's age, whereas everyone else seems to have a cluster. (Besides our youngest two.) so she doesn't necessarily get invited reciprocally to their parties. But she seemed fine with today.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 7:30 PM
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We went to Blume's sister's baby shower today. Hot damn these ethnics give a lot of baby shower gifts. How many strollers does one infant need?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 7:33 PM
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I just don't want anymore big birthday parties for the kids. It sucks ass. We had ~2 that were anything other than awful--both primarily at local parks, one mostly attended by friends from other crap we've hung out with a bunch.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 7:34 PM
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"these ethnics"?

Heebie, maybe Hawaii just doesn't have any friends?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 7:34 PM
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I'd consider doing it at home with a small party, but we're fucking gross. Our home. SMH.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 7:36 PM
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8: it seems that way.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 7:37 PM
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This year, my kid's birthday is going to involve me finally buying a TV big enough so that 8 kids can play Super Smash Bros at one time. I think we will also need a few more Wii controllers.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 7:39 PM
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Do you get to school for pickup at ten AM or something?

I'm not sure I understand the question. Pickup is around 11:45am.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 7:41 PM
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I had a lot of birthday parties with not many attendees. I'm sure it was just bad timing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 7:41 PM
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12: I dunno, the idea of having a spare half hour to hang out at school before some child or other parental responsibility exploded or caught on fire or whatever seemed implausible. But I guess not everybody is as inflexibly overscheduled as we are right now.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 7:43 PM
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8.1: as a prim WASP, I am unable to deal with large families with sun-dappled ancestral lands and colorful vocabularies, particularly if they're Yankees fans.

(Nah, they're great. Just really, really into presents.)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 7:45 PM
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Overscheduled we ain't. If the kids weren't in danger of melting down from hunger, I could hang out and chat all afternoon.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 7:51 PM
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16: well yeah, no, that's really what I was thinking. When we pick Zardoz up from daycare the clock is ticking for getting her fed and to bed in time to not melt down. If I was to pick her up with a half hour to spare I'd have to get there... a half hour before I do, which just seems implausible. Also, no other parents would be there yet, as far as I know.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 7:54 PM
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Isn't Blume's sister the same ethnicity as Blume, though? And isn't that ethnicity German?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 7:57 PM
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1: shiv normally takes the Calabat to storytime and he's made friends with a mom whose toddler is a bit younger than the Calabat but absolutely in love with shiv. There is talk of a play-date, but the mom has always suggested this as a play-date with me and the Calabat, even though she sees shiv every week and has met me once (when storytime coincided with a day off.) She is cool, and I'll probably meet up with them this summer, and I get why, but gah, stay-at-home-dad-dom can suck.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 7:59 PM
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We have been having medium good luck with basically foregoing all playdates in favor of inviting families where there is a general sense of mutual liking to our goofy fortnightly potluck dinner thing. Then the kids run around and socialize while the adults drink and no one has to be all "oh god, I have to *make arrangements* to host this other kid +/- escort." Obviously this will be less useful once our child has more independent friend-seeking opinions, but it's really nice right now!

I have been musing about the feasibility of adding some kind of similarly casual and recurring project + dessert night later on, when everyone in the kid generation has homework and other projecty stuff they want to get done, to putter alongside adults' same. Could be nice, right? Conceivably? Alternate Fridays, maybe?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 8:00 PM
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18: there may be at least one other person involved in Blume's sister's need for a baby shower.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 8:02 PM
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Oh, right, and the other good thing about 20 is the way that it is very all-parent friendly. After a few rounds of that, I think everyone's pretty used to the idea of interacting in whatever way with either dads or moms of the kids in question, though hm, on reflection, I also suspect we're getting a pleasantly biased sample.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 8:03 PM
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21: Ah. I suppose the fact that you were there implied that this wasn't one of those baby showers that only women attend.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 8:04 PM
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Anyhow to keep strictly with the regrettable I-am-WASPier-than-WASP joke I made in 6 German-Anericans would probably count as "ethnics" as well.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 8:05 PM
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suggested this as a play-date with me

Right. I've been on precisely zero playdates; it's always arranged with my wife and the other mom. I mean, that's fine with me, because I don't want to socialize, but it would be a real barrier for a dad who wanted to integrate into a community or whatever social people call it.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 8:05 PM
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I confess that, contra the trends in this thread, I have made Snark be the social director as much as possible. This has proved much easier in the preschool/preK years than in the nanny/daycare/storytime period.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 8:09 PM
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25: I'd worry not so much for shiv but for the Calabat who seems to regard other small children as odd creatures who move too fast and don't know how to comport themselves around adults. He needs a bit more interaction with other kids.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 8:14 PM
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We just go to parks when the weather is warm (sorry, that should be past tense: when there was still such a thing as warm weather in Chicago, we went to parks). Lots of kids there.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 8:17 PM
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My late crazy uncle threw a kind of awesome birthday party for his kids on Boston Common. They were probably 9 or 10, and I was 4. He rented out an ice cream truck. It was so exciting to be able to go up to an ice cream truck, order whatever you wanted, and not have to pay.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 8:28 PM
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Most of my kids' birthday parties have slipped into a hazy memory. Two that stand out negatively:

1) Carpet happens to be coming the day before my daughter's 5th or 6th. Rolling it out they discover that a forklift to something had torn large heretofore hidden rips in the carpet. So we had the party on the pad the next day.

2) for some insane reason we had a party for my youngest (at 11 or 12) which started at bowling and ended up at our house (to watch the end of a Big East championship game involving Pitt. There was a very bad storm and a power outage, and then I think the basketball game went into overtime and lasted forever. And I disliked most of the little jockoid shits*, the majority of whom I coached in soccer (sorry kids). Felt like I'd been with them for a month.

*A very good child-rearing moment was when my third kid finally figured out that you could play a sport and not hang out with the other players. (really did not happen until 11th grade, however).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 8:31 PM
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Φ's day-care classmate had a 2nd birthday party a couple of weeks before hers. It was inspiring: they invited the whole day-care (8 kids or so) but only 3 of us had the bad form to show up, and the party consisted of hanging out in the back yard with pretty good wine, cheese and barbecue and no child-oriented activities other than some toys left in the driveway. The mom, who is French, was hugely caught off guard when people showed up on time. "In France, no one ever does that." I explained that we're usually better about dinner parties than kids' events and that anyway everyone likes being told to carry cheese out to the back yard.

Φ's birthday was a couple weeks later. My in-laws hosted, which meant that however close we aimed for something like the above, it enjoyed the addition of ladybug-themed decorations, circle time (grandma used to teach kindergarten) and grandma yelling at people to get off the trampoline.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 9:08 PM
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our goofy fortnightly potluck dinner thing

We have four friend-couples all of whom have two kids, the youngest of whom are slightly older than Φ, and have a weekly pizza party. It feels awkward having to ask to be invited. Party aside, there's a slight feeling that we kind of missed the formation of a family friendship clique even though we're friends with each group individually.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 9:16 PM
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1.3, 25: I give you http://www.lyceechicago.org/, better half has made some great friends with other parents, mostly but not exclusively women, never any of the weirdness you're finding. Circle of friends just naturally extends to the working parents, dinner parties, etc.

Birthday parties at gym type places were my kids biggest nightmare, loud and disorganized, he'd invariably find a charming mom and spend the entire party chatting her up.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 9:27 PM
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We'd of course have made ourselves scarce - why waste a few weekend afternoon kidless hours? Only one sensible use for those!


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 9:32 PM
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||
Finally watched the original "The Fast and the Furious" tonight. 2001 was... a simpler time.
|>


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 10:59 PM
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Speaking of birthday parties I just found out there's a Chuck E Cheese in the blighted exurb where I work and if I get a new job and anyone offers a farewell lunch I am dying to have it there just to be the worst.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-11-15 11:40 PM
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There's precisely one parent at my kid's school that I hit it off with, and she and I will chat for half-an-hour or so if we pick up our kids at the same time. We set up a playdate and then she suddenly cancelled and never spoke of it again; I'm pretty sure her husband put the kibosh on that. It's tough out there for a stay-at-home dad.

I appreciate your efforts to help the economy. Four divorce lawyers suffer now bc of that husband. Two of my best cases last year came from daycare/school friendships blossoming into fun time.

But, I agree with ogged about birthday parties. Small family parties are the way to go. We never did the large parties. Those are the worst.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 5:34 AM
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Obviously this will be less useful once our child has more independent friend-seeking opinions, but it's really nice right now!

Our friend group does the bring-adults-together-and-let-kids-sort-it-out thing, which is wonderful, and the older kids (the oldest pack is finishing up 4th grade) seem to have formed very close friends within this group over the years. So I'm sure they do have other friends and they play sports and such, but I don't think it has come up much for them.

Also, at that age you can drop them off at a friend's house and not stay yourself, which raises the whole frightening question of how to ask if the household has guns kept outside of a locked cabinet.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 6:12 AM
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37 was the plot for some book that was made into a movie, wasn't it?
Our kids are close enough together that we do a combined family party for them. Last year we gave them the option of having parties or just getting to pick a restaurant where we'd all go to dinner. Fortunately they all picked dinner which probably ended up cheaper and was certainly more pleasant.
Other kids still seem to do some kind of organized thing though. The common thing seems to be at some gym-like facility- there are some that have lots of those inflated houses in a warehouse, others that have rooms full of trampolines. They're all drop-off parties fortunately. This seems to have tapered off for the 10 year old, but the 8 year old is invited to a ridiculous number of parties and playdates. Everyone in his class seems to think he's they're best friend and we've never heard of these kids. I don't know how he's so socially popular- he also has a different hair color from the rest of us, maybe he was switched in the hospital (where he did spend two weeks as a newborn.) 5 year old is still in the phase of parents invite the whole class.
Yesterday my oldest kid put on a magic show with his friend for the friend's younger sister's party. He got paid 10 dollars. He's pretty good at it, his best trick is he'll walk up to you with a deck of cards in a closed box, ask you to name a card, open the box and fan through them until he finds one card that is face down while the rest are face up, and it is invariably the card you just chose.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 6:35 AM
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daycare/school friendships blossoming into fun time

There are some cute moms there, and they can't all be in happy marriages!

But at this school, it's the teachers who are, as we used to say, super hot. There was a funny scene a few weeks ago at a school fundraiser/social event where some of the kids' art was being auctioned off, and one of the pieces was being held up by one of the hot teachers wearing a borderline inappropriate dress. Another teacher (my kid's teacher, who is awesome) heckled her from the wings: they don't know what they're doing! they think they're bidding on her! this isn't fair, she could be holding toilet paper and it would still get the most money!

Sure enough, it raised almost twice as much as any other piece, and it wasn't, if I may say so, the best kids' art. After the bidding ended, the hot teacher sashayed by and gave the heckler a playful, withering, sidelong look.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 6:36 AM
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5 year old is still in the phase of parents invite the whole class.

Yes, this! Isn't it weird that Hawaii's kindergarten doesn't do this?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 6:54 AM
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Did most of the parents in kindergarten know each other before, e.g. transitioned in from mostly the same daycare? I think the "invite everyone" is when it's assumed no kids or parents know each other better than any specific subset.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 7:15 AM
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I have no idea - like I said, we've gotten invited to exactly one party so far, which we were unable to attend. There's no room parent or anything. There hasn't been any time which I might have met the other parents or found that out. We know next to nothing about her kindergarten experience.

It seems strange! I'm not particularly bothered by this, but it seems anachronistic in the age of helicopter parenting to have a kindergarten like this.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 7:19 AM
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When my friend's older kid transitioned from our daycare to kindergarten, there was a whole cohort. With Hawaii, there was one other kid, who got put in a different class, so she was essentially starting from scratch. All the daycare parents in her year seemed to live in nearby (read: whiter, wealthier) towns and commute to Heebie-ville.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 7:22 AM
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At my kid's school, invite everyone seems to be the norm. I get invites from people I don't know at all.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 7:23 AM
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That's how it was in daycare. Which we were fine with. I was just surprised that the norms switched so abruptly.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 7:33 AM
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Ogged:

We just go to parks when the weather is warm (sorry, that should be past tense: when there was still such a thing as warm weather in Chicago...)

I lived in Chicago (or Chicagoland), on and off, more than half the time from the mid 1970s through the mid 1990s (missed the Bears superbowl win, remember one glorious summer when both the Sox and Cubs were in first place until early-mid August: 1977?). My son has lived there for 5 of hte last 6 years. Shortly after moving back in late August 1988 with my wife, who had only ever been to Chicago once before, my wife said she felt like we'd moved to a resort. Mid-May through late October, the climate is glorious in Chicago, at least if you live within a mile or 2 of the 51st ward (aka "Da Mere"). I have very fond memories of taking my then infant & toddler kids to the beach for a couple of hours after dinner back then.

And don't tell me how dank it is now. I live in northern New England, which I have to admit I prefer to Chicago, and we still have 1" or so of icy snow on most of the front and back lawns, punctuated by piles 2'-3' deep (mostly what fell off the roof and compacted). It's likely to be another couple of weeks before it is all gone.


Posted by: marcel | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 7:41 AM
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There are some cute moms there, and they can't all be in happy marriages!

You can assume lots of cuteness and lots of unhappiness, but the intersection of those two sets is going to be small at any reasonably sized daycare, unless being cute positively correlates with being unhappy. Plus, you need cute, unhappy, and finds you attractive.

You should hit on the teachers, is what I'm saying.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 7:41 AM
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And how could I not mention in that parenthetical being in Chicago for the first 4 of the MJBulls championships.


Posted by: marcel | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 7:42 AM
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Moby seems very well informed on the subject.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 7:43 AM
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Little Children, by Tom Perrotta. Pretty good, really.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 8:17 AM
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Yeah that was it. Read the book didn't see the movie. I didn't like the book that much, the characters seemed fake, I kept thinking who actually does that ("that" being any number of stupid things.)


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 8:22 AM
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Well, there you go, then.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 8:24 AM
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Jesus, you people. Yes, parties for 3-5 years olds aren't that great. But 8-11 is terrific. My daughter was born in late June, after school lets out, so not everyone was still around, but we had whole class parties in those years. Always fun.

(Eg one year we broke them into teams, each with cards featuring constellations. They had to find theirs, and then, after the winner was declared, had to show everyone. We heard back in the fall that kids were showing their parents constellations all summer. A little earlier that same year we had bat counting -- DC summer nights are good for stuff like that. Camped out at the C&O another year.

Nowadays, I suppose all the kids would have ipads.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 8:37 AM
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My son had ipatches for lazy eye, but he's never had his own ipad.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 8:38 AM
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OT: The most fundamental division in the world in between those who see the SAS ODS system as an overly complicated to output your results and those who are wrong.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 9:00 AM
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I don't really care whether small and intimate or invite-the-whole-class is better. I just want validation that you'd expect invite-the-class to be the norm in kindergarten.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 9:01 AM
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3–5, not that great but manageable. The next few years were tougher, since most of the time they were in separate classes (they're twins, for anybody just tuning in), so each had her own school contingent, and we ended up having one party for classmates and another for their neighborhood friends. It was at the second of these on their eighth birthday that the dishwasher caught fire. The last two years have been sleepovers, which is another level of difficulty, but at least I get to park everyone in front of a movie for part of the evening (this year was especially good, because the movie they chose was nearly four hours long).


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 9:04 AM
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54 assumes facts not in evidence, eg that parents are generally able and willing to think up and implement clever engaging and age appropriate activities.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 9:59 AM
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59 -- I'm pretty confident that anyone reading these words is fully capable of figuring out a fun way to entertain a troupe of 8 year olds.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 12:55 PM
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Speaking of kids, this is the year I found out that the child tax credit only goes to kids who were under 17 the entire year so one of mine aged out of it. WTF, who wrote that rule? That godamn kid is more expensive than ever.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 12:56 PM
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I know you're authorized by the state to use deadly force, but it just wouldn't be Unfogged if I didn't note that now your daughter is old enough for me to date.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 1:01 PM
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That's the kind of bad math that'll get you a felony. Still not 18 and you're more than ten years older.

The other day my fifteen year old had her first, "stranger on the train pulls out his penis while sitting directly across from you" experience. Apparently after a moment of shock she pulled out her trusty pepper spray and he decided it was time to him to get off the train. She had a slightly traumatized "what is wrong with people" look on her face that probably wasn't helped by my wife and I bursting out laughing when she told us the story.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 1:06 PM
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I'm young at heart, your honor.

Probably not, eh?

I admire your parenting, though.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 1:09 PM
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63: My daughter had her first Trenchcoat Flasher Experience early on in college. She just laughed and kept walking. The TFer is lucky she was in a good mood.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 1:16 PM
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61: It's the Nanny State's way of telling you that it's time for her to get a job.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 1:20 PM
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66: too bad robots took all the barista jobs.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 1:22 PM
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Hear that, gswift? It's all heebie's fault!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 1:33 PM
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The parties-at-a-park for the whole daycare are my favorite thing ever. We show up at this lovely shady spot in the hills with tons of coffee, bagels, and a Crixa cake (if you have to ask, it's good that you're not stuck craving one for the rest of the day now that I've mentioned it), all the other parents are cool people, the kids need extremely minimal supervision and play together like champs, they run themselves ragged while you talk about grown-up stuff, and a six-year-old tells you the cake is "literally the best thing [he has] ever tasted in [his] life," then the rest of the day is quiet. Gold. I don't want anything more complicated than this.

Farewell Chuck E. Cheese lunch is awesome except that I have heard from credible informants that the food is bad far beyond whatever level of badness you were expecting, so presumably inedible.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 1:39 PM
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The pizza is edible.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 2:02 PM
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The pizza at Chuck E. Cheese is better than the skeeball at Pizza Hut.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 2:05 PM
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Speaking of being creepy, if somebody one FB refers to a woman pictured as "my baby girl," can he mean anything other than that the photo is of his daughter? Because her whole butt is in the picture. He put a lot of pictures of that woman up, but only the one with the whole butt visible did he have any mention as to who she was.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 2:10 PM
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Oh hey I'm at a party for a two year old right now, I forgot we had it today. Also combined with a 40th birthday party for his dad.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 2:26 PM
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I got locked into a birthday menu three years when I told my daughters they could have whatever they wanted me to make, within reason. It's been omusubi, sushi, salad rolls and pad Thai ever since. A fair bit of work, but if it prevents me from ever having to experience Chuck E. Cheese, it's worth it.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 2:39 PM
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What's a salad roll?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 2:49 PM
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one of the hot teachers wearing a borderline inappropriate dress

All her chadors must have been at the drycleaners.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 2:53 PM
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60: How many 6-year-olds could you beat in a fight entertain for an afternoon?


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 2:57 PM
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75: These.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 2:57 PM
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A spring roll, that I heard of.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 3:03 PM
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Spring roll, summer roll, salad roll, fresh roll—multiple names, singular deliciousness.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 3:05 PM
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||

It's time for the annual bitching about the extraordinary marginal tax rates we always seem to encounter. Our adjusted gross income went up $8k and our federal liability went up $3k. Using precise numbers, it's a marginal tax rate of 31.9%. How is this possible under $75k? WTF is happening?

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 3:21 PM
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Pork-free eggroll.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 3:21 PM
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In thread-related news, Iris, 11, has eschewed a party this year for successive 1-on-1 sleepovers with... we're up to 4 friends, with at least 1 to go. Pretty simple for us, but hell on Kai, who hates that he's not part of the sleepover. Every single one involves him raging at the injustice of his sister's closed door.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 3:22 PM
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60: ah, but willing?

We had a good run by inviting everyone to the insanely fun kid art studio owned by a friend. Homemade cakes and good wine for the adults, everyone happy. Playing in a park tricky to schedule in SF. Kind of a drag to have to dress for all climatic conditions within a 30 degree range, and the wind makes outdoor eating unpleasant.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 3:32 PM
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Those are in our regular meal rotation. We were turned on to them by some relatives we stayed with in DC a few years ago.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 3:46 PM
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I really need to institute a birthday party policy rather than just doing what seems easiest at the time. Last year Nia had all the neighborhood kids who go to public school, which was fun, especially the Lego station in the back yard. The year before she did Chuck E. Cheese with her relatives and a special zoo outing and overnight with her best friend. Mara usually has and mix of friends and her relatives. Selah only had a relative party last year. I never have invited the whole class and never would, though I think everyone was invited to the two kindergarten parties (one a Frozen-themed princess dance at a VFW hall, one watching Frozen in a theater in a tiny river town a half hour's drive away) Mara attended, but she's gotten no invites in first grade.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 3:55 PM
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Not a birthday party, but at Anand's wedding the kids found each other just fine. Beautiful formally dressed kids zooming by like a school of fish is so great.

My friend alternates (yearly) party and adventure for her boys. The adventure is something like: pay a grad student in herpetology to take the kid out looking for lizards and snakes. Get a big telescope and go camping for a good night sky. Cuts down the number of parties.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 5:01 PM
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Also, it may cut down on the number of herpetology graduate students if it leads them to reflect on their job options.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 5:17 PM
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89

81: Some deductions are phased out as income rises.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-12-15 6:01 PM
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89: We've never crossed the line where itemized matters, so it's just the standard deduction.

However, I did realize afterwards that I'm still missing AB's student loan info*, so that should change things. Although, based on where it goes on the 1040, that shouldn't be the key difference - it changes Gross Adjusted, not anything that happens after that. So who the fuck knows.

Oh, wait, maybe I've got it: AB had somewhat more W2 income last year, and so more withholdings. But wait, I'm looking at last year's 1040, and there's no withholdings listed at all. Which is definitely wrong. Hey, maybe they owe me a few bucks from last year! You can always resubmit over a factual error, right?

*for some reason they don't mail us anything, so she needs to go online to get the info, and she hadn't done it yet


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-13-15 8:35 AM
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Summer birthday means that party-in-the-park works for us, and it's been great. It's a popular enough thing to do that we've even been to a couple where multiple kids were having birthday parties at the same time.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 04-13-15 9:02 AM
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