I hate birthday parties. Kids birthday parties, to be exact. There's not much to love about 30 kids traipsing through germ-infested jumpy castles followed by cheap pizza, cake, and an over indulgent present opening session where the birthday child tosses masses of toys and wrapping paper to her left and right after looking at them for all of three seconds regardless of how many beers you can ingest during that two-hour period.
Unless you're the birthday child or the child with a 6th birthday in a few weeks, I'm pretty sure I just described hell.
On a cold day.
I thank my lucky stars that I've got at least one kid born in the summer, which I have decided somehow relinquishes my obligation to throw such parties.
Instead, she picks a friend to take to a special afternoon out - like last year's kid-adapted High Tea at the Four Seasons or this year's mini-pedi at the local nail joint.
And then, we celebrate during our annual family vacation at the Jersey shore, with a few family members and friends, a gigantic supermarket bought cake, and a couple of presents.
Up until this year, it's been the highlight of each year - the ring of the Boardwalk games and rides, the bustle of the sweaty underdressed beach crowds, the discomfort of sand in every single body crevace.
While it has become increasingly expensive for us to make the haul, given that we must now rent a car and a condo (since we can barely squeeze ourselves in the in-laws' teeny place), it's a tradition that I'm happy to keep up - if only so my kids can experience real pizza, frozen custard dipped in Jimmies (not sprinkles thank you very much), and the accents.
Yes, it's wooter ice, not wah-ter ice.
Unfortunately, it's become harder to distract her from the extravagant party - not because she wants to run laps around an inflatable castle kingdom, but because she wants the presents. And it's hard to explain the value of a family trip to the glorious Jersey shore to a near 6-year-old, crammed into a bathroom sized condo with her entire family after inhaling hair spray fumes from too many girls wearing shorts with "Property of Vinnie" airbrushed on their asses.
How can you put a price on that?
But then I remembered that I turned six once.
So I told her it costs around ten American Girl dolls for her yearly family birthday vacation extravaganza. And that instead of getting presents, she should just ask her grandparents for money so she can buy whatever she wants.
And that just about did it.
Score one for mom and birthday party hating parents everywhere.