The Writers Voice
The World's Favourite Literary Website

Party Purgatory


Nathan Hartswick

So you've decided to conform to the pressures of a learned society and send your child to kindergarten. Congratulations! This will no doubt be an exciting time, as your child discovers the world of letters, numbers, colors, and all the other amazing things he or she has known about for the last two years.

The main differences in sending the child to school are that A) due to the larger number of children, there is more punching, and B) your taxes pay some other sucker to be responsible for these children for much of the day.

But the other interesting thing is that only 50% of what constitutes kindergarten happens in the actual classroom, while the other half, to the great surprise of most parents, consists of either planning, executing or attending birthday parties so lavish as to make Madonna's wedding reception look like your cousin Phil's basement bar-mitzvah.

And so the following is meant to be a primer for parents unaware of this gigantic and unexpected responsibility. Read on, and prepare yourself for a year replete with so much premeditated fun that you would hurl yourself from the top of the Sears Tower if you could only find the time.

No, You Cannot Get Out of It

The first thing you should know is that attending these parties is absolutely mandatory. If your child has a life-threatening disease, and the day he or she is scheduled to have surgery is also a classmate's birthday, you should consider asking the host if the doctor could perform the surgery at the party. ("Look, kids! A gall bladder!") The only other option is to reschedule the surgery for a date after the party, even if it is post-mortem.

Yes, You Must Get the Kid a Decent Gift

Sorry, dads. It doesn't matter that you couldn't care less about some kid in your child's class you've never met. Mom is trusting you to pick out the gift this time. And no, the child does not need a variable speed orbital jigsaw.

But What Does the Child Need?

The important thing to remember about gift giving at this stage is that while it is ostensibly about the children, there is an unspoken competition going on between the parents. So while the child may be happy with his brand new pet brick, the parents will brand you as the weird, poor, smelly family unless your gift requires a degree in aeronautical engineering to operate.

Gift tip for girls: This year's hot items are dolls with heads that are three times too big for their bodies, as if they have had an unfortunate accident while trying to keep their lips sealed around the nozzle of an air compressor. They are stylish, independent dolls with plenty of "girl power" (power evidently derived from the six AA batteries hidden in their shoes). The doll our daughter got says things like, "I'm totally smart," and "I'm so into this green top." Being conscious of what one is wearing is highly important to these toys, which is surprising considering they are usually dressed in a manner that would get them kicked out of Mardis Gras for indecent exposure.

Gift tip for boys: Anything that promotes repeated, senseless, brutal violence.

What to Do When Your Child Gets a Lousy Gift

Suck up and deal. The PTA is more powerful than the CIA and the FBI combined. If you destroy the gift, they will find you. If you attempt to "lose" the gift, they will know. And if you even think about "re-gifting" it, you should not be surprised to wake up one night with the head of Toys R Us Mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe in your bed.

The Golden Pool Rule

The practice of forming strategic alliances is no longer isolated to the reality television show. If you befriend another set of parents who agree to take your child to half the parties if you return the favor, you will cut your obligations by 50%. This is an option many resourceful 21st Century parents are adopting, until such time as their child comes home and announces that "Jimmy's dad drank a whole lot of smelly stuff from a brown bottle and punched Happy the Clown in the face."

Some of These Kids Must Have Summer Birthdays

No they don't. We know, it is a statistical anomaly, but all the children in your kid's kindergarten class were born during the school year to ensure that you must attend the maximum number of parties possible. This is God's revenge for the time you left your date standing in the rain for six hours on junior prom night.

What to Do When It's Your Turn

Book a ridiculously expensive place with a name like "KidFunTimeManiaLand" where the children, with the help of a 17-year old professional party hostess, can ingest an unlimited amount of candy and caffeinated soda and become so over stimulated by videogames and club music that the sound of their 25 collective heartbeats almost drowns out the noise of their own screaming.

Any deviation from this pattern will result in ostracism. And you don't want to be weird, poor and smelly now, do you?

We hope this has shed some light on what to expect as your child goes off to kindergarten this year. It is sure to be an amazing experience, with all sorts of new developments and exciting growth happening every day. That is, if you can even be bothered to send them to school to begin with.

After all, you've got a party to plan.

Critique this work

Click on the book to leave a comment about this work

All Authors (hi-speed)    All Authors (dialup)    Children    Columnists    Contact    Drama    Fiction    Grammar    Guest Book    Home    Humour    Links    Narratives    Novels    Poems    Published Authors    Reviews    September 11    Short Stories    Teen Writings    Submission Guidelines

Be sure to have a look at our Discussion Forum today to see what's
happening on The World's Favourite Literary Website.