Are you getting all you can out of kids’ birthday parties? Because there are countless opportunities you might be missing. Get a pen and take some notes.
Here’s what you need to bring with you to any kids’ party:
- A fully charged smart phone
- Tampon (new and still in wrapper)
- Big purse with a zipper
- Scissors (for the inevitable moment when that slinky from the pinata gets stuck in your daughter’s hair. True. Story.)
Here’s how it works:
- Opportunities to Showcase Your Parenting Skills: When you feel that the party is in full-swing– that magic moment right before the food is served– you need to position yourself in the middle of the largest clump of toddlers and start playing with them. I mean, really play with them. Get on the floor and “ooooh” and “ahhhh” over the crappy toys the kids think are “so cool.” Do crafts with children you don’t even know. Make faces. Talk in your best “public mommy” voice. Blow noses of kids you are afraid to touch without the barrier of a Kleenex. Do this for 10 minutes while other parents are getting a beer or trying to find someone new to talk to besides the boring neighbor who just wants to talk about her husband’s most recent deposition in Kansas City. Everyone will see your ardor, your veritable passion for children, and they will be awe-struck by your patience, your playful heart, and your ability to really connect with their children. After you are sure that all of the parents have seen you communing with the children, you can spend the next 2 hours ignoring all the children, especially your own (unless there’s a pinata, in which case you should keep at least one eye on your youngest).
- Bathroom Breaks: Once you have gotten off the floor and initiated Operation What Children?, you can whisper in your husband’s ear that you have to go change your tampon. Don’t actually show it to him, unless he asks to see it, but keep one in your purse. It strengthens credibility. While in the bathroom, check your Twitter feed, then your Facebook page, and then check Twitter again. Tweet out a funny joke about locking yourself in a bathroom during party for your kid’s best friend. Wait for people to star your tweet. If no one stars your tweet, prepare to eat an extra piece of birthday cake. (It’s called a “self-pity slice” if you want to look it up.)
- Soup’s On! Once you return to the party, the food will be served. Always grab two plates and announce loudly to everyone around you that you are getting food for your kids, even though you plan to eat all that mac & cheese yourself. No one else has to know that you will stab your own children if they try to take so much as a single elbow noodle off your monkey-themed plate.
- Pinata time: During the pinata-hitting time, be sure that you make lots of witty jokes about how you don’t sanction violence, so that no one detects how much you relish watching your 2-year-old brandishing a garishly colored stick. IMPORTANT: when the candy rains down, take an active role. If you want those Butterfingers for yourself, you must do a full-body roll on top of your child, pretending that you are protecting her from the bigger children who are diving for candy. When you throw your body to the ground, be sure your torso is covering the candy you like most. There is nothing worse than doing a swan dive only to find yourself eating Crackles or, even worse, Smarties. Make it worth your while: try to land your boobs on some Special Dark or a Mr. GoodBar. If you are a good aim, try to land your pelvis on the Mounds– that’s an expert move, but well worth it. Trust me. They don’t call them Mounds for nothing, people.
- Let Me Eat (Two Pieces of) Cake: The back half of the party may resemble the ninth rung of hell because your kids will have ingested more sugar from those damn juice boxes than is recommended by anyone with so much as a GED . You have choices at this point: You can do another run to the loo claiming you are having a heavy flow day or you can position yourself strategically for when they cut the cake. Stay within 4 feet of the cake. When the hostess starts to cut it, offer to help pass it around. This may be the only way to get yourself one of those buttercream rosettes or a corner piece. For yourself. Pretend you can’t find your kids and start eating.
- Leave Before Presents: For the love of God, please leave before birthday boy opens his gifts. Avoid all the awkwardness that will inevitably come when your kid starts opening and stealing his presents. Also, you don’t want to watch a newly-minted 3-year-old open 15 gifts you yourself passed over in Target less than 24 hours ago. How many Circo toys would you like to see? None. The answer is none. Go home. Tell the hostess in your best “mommy sincerely” voice that you hate to go, but you really have to get the kids home before they mistake her head for a pinata. You will be cordially dismissed.
- Goodie Bags: Don’t forget to grab your kids’ goodie bags, but you must screen them first. Take out the stuff you want– the cool straws (for your next Slimfast meal) or the mini-lip gloss that you think would be great for your everyday look. Stick the stuff you want in your purse while your kids are trying to find their shoes.