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To Party or Not To Party

Okay, Internet, I have a question. What is the appropriate age for leaving your kid and running away during a birthday party? I am very serious about this question because apparently I am wrong.

So wrong.

First, let's rewind. When Alexis was little, I dreaded birthday parties. They are the worst for introverts because I am expected to sit there and talk to other humans. I am really very bad at talking to other humans, especially when that talking needs to stay superficial and small talk-ish. If we could get past the weather and basic niceties, I might be able to cope, but I can't cope. Small talk with strangers is dumb. And, thus, the very second I felt Alexis could handle being at a birthday party without my supervision (somewhere around age 6 or 7 because she was insanely shy), I was sooooo out of there.

It was glorious.

And then came Mila.

There are many things that have been a hard reset now that Mila is around. Diapers and middle-of-the-night feedings and OMG I HAVE TO DO BIRTHDAY PARTIES AGAIN. I hadn't considered that particular reset, so I was very much so not amused when Mila received her first party invitation. Any and all "Oh, man, meh baaabyyy is growing" thoughts were quickly replaced with, "OH NO, I HAVE TO EXTROVERT" thoughts.

Extroverting is the worst.

But, whatever. She and I walked down the street to her very first birthday party because, as luck would have it, her best friend from preschool lives in our neighborhood. We got there and Mila was really very excited, but a little hesitant to let me out of her sight, but whatever. She's three. It's not like I'm leaving her at the party and running away to go be productive somewhere where I won't have to talk to people.

Buuuuut ... I was the only parent who didn't run away.

Parent after parent showed up with their 3 or 4-year old. Parent after parent ran off, leaving the kid at the party. I heard every last one of them introduce themselves to the party hostess, so it's not like they already knew her.

I was literally the only parent who stayed. Which, HI. THAT'S SO AWKWARD.

So, Internet, is it just me or is that super weird? Because if I'm free to run away, I might have to rethink the next few years of my life. They might just be a lot less painful that I was expecting.

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Reader Comments (4)

It's super weird! I experienced the same thing when my kiddo was little. ALL the parents disappeared at every party including swimming ones. I was always secretly tempted to run away too but didn't feel comfortable till she was a lot older. But, OMG. SO. MANY. PARTIES!

March 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

My kid is 4 1/2 and I haven't yet left him at parties but have left him in the downstairs playroom at a friend's with the other kids. I feel weird when other parents try to escape -- particularly when it is in a public location and I feel like I have to keep the kids in said location. Ex: Last year's party at a frozen yogurt place where parents didn't want to stay. It seemed like the wrong place to leave them being that they could walk out the door into the parking lot and the public was still coming in/out. Now, if it was at my house that'd be different.

March 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRobin

I say generally around 5 - 7 years old but it really depends on the kid. If at 5 your kid is fine with being left alone at a party for a few hours then fine. But like it was with Alexis, sometimes kids need more time to feel comfortable.

March 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

My question is this...do you want the parents to hang at your parties or do you prefer them to drop and run. It’s hard enough to plan a bday party that lives up to the child’s expectations and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. , I don’t want the stress of having to plan on “entertaining” the parents of my kids friends too.
As to if i stayed, my rules were fickle... it depends on who’s party, where it’s at and if i could melt into the background somewhere and never be acknowledged, did i know the parents..etc.
As far as gift giving goes, hit the clearance aisles, create a bday party shelf in your closet and let Mila choose out of the closet. it worked for us for a while.

March 21, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterkimmjo87
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