Yes. I did it again. Although last year I swore I wouldn’t, we put on another Brazilian birthday party for my daughter’s 4th.
I thought it went well, thanks to my Brazilian sister-in-law and birthday party expert who now has decided to channel her talents into a birthday party production company (Boutique Festas). The details were really incredible.
Aside from the oddities experienced last year (see Barbies and Brigadeiros), there were some new or unaddressed issues that I would like to discuss this year.
First, no one RSVP’s to these parties. Despite my two requests for RSVPs, the only ones that did were the foreigners. Ok, a few Brazilians who had lived abroad did let me know they were coming, but it was only a few. Because of this there were a LOT OF KIDS. I don’t even know how many. Ya see, we not only invited kids that Sophia knew from her current and previous schools, but also the kids in her cousin’s class(es). On top of that, kids not only come with their brothers and sisters, but cousins and babas (nannies) to boot. So at some point we ran out of cups and I ran out of giveaway bags at the end… resulting in one small boy not getting a gift. Horrors. I promptly delivered a newly constructed one the next day, but it’s not the same. (My daughter would have been devastated had this happened to her). Also, when you don’t know how many are coming, there is no strategy for crowd control. Which leads to the second bizarre occurrence.
The entire place was scavenged by the time the event was over. We had decorations both inside and out which included lanterns in the trees, signs and blow up flamingoes. All gone. The place was stripped. My sister-in-law caught some kid and her baba trying to pull down a caterpillar made of paper lanterns IN the room as well.
But the most disturbing activity of all was that performed by my daughter. She approached each guest as they arrived and promptly demanded the whereabouts of her gift. This was a little bit cute maybe the first time. One little friend responded to my daughter’s inquiry with the following classic, “But I AM your gift.”
It got worse when we got home. Of course, a lot of guests equals a lot of gifts. My daughter blew through the unwrapping like a foreman at a peanut shelling factory.
This child received more gifts than I probably received in my entire childhood. Let’s be honest, she received more gifts that any child should in one sitting. I didn’t like it. For a reason I can’t quite put into words, seeing her sitting amongst piles of overpriced toys didn’t feel right. Didn’t feel good.
Don’t get me wrong, she received some really lovely things for which I am very grateful (many of which were not tax and duties laden barbies, but things really thought out). However, I didn’t really think through how this kind of experience might impact the a child’s young, impressionable mind. I’ll have crushing of expectations to do, especially now that we are approaching Christmas.
I also didn’t expect how tired I would be throughout the whole thing. Luckily, we had this sign on display to remind me…