So, we have completed our Kindergarten Birthday Party marathon. No one set any record times, but still, we finished the race. Just in time for Super K. to come down with the fever/cough/plague that is racing through his school. He basically collapsed on the finish line and is currently ailing on the couch. It is a matter of time before he passes this to his siblings, so this post will be pretty brief. You don't have time to be reading about birthdays anyway; not while you have Jesus' to get ready for, that is.
Here's the thing: living in an university town has ups and downs. Ups being cheap booze and downs being dealing with undergrads who think that leggings are pants. There sometimes feels like there are more downs, but a definite up is the vibrant international community that universities attract. Nearly half of Super K.'s class are children of people from around the world, brought here by the university. Some are professors, some are students, all are fascinating and opening up our eyes to the vast and beautiful world out there beyond the Michigan snow.
3 out of the 4 birthday parties in our recent marathon were for some of these international children. Which meant we got to dance, sing, and party with Chileans, Indians, and Brazilians all within a week. We also bounced with most of them, as the parties were mostly Bounce House Xtreme affairs, and then we feasted with them. Thankfully, in that order. Oh Readers, the food. I can't even tell you about how amazing the food was. I seriously can't; there are not words lush enough.
But interestingly, despite the balloons, goody bags, cakes, and all other hallmarks of traditional American birthday parties, we did NOT open gifts with them. Oh, gifts were brought in, handed to the birthday child, who gushed thanks and appreciation, but then they were tucked away in a pile somewhere, totally forgotten by all the children in their glee for bouncing houses and free-flowing juice boxes. There was no ceremonial opening of the gifts. No tearing through paper and desperate parental attempts to remember which gift came from which person. We ate cake and then each guest was presented with goody bags overflowing with tiny toys and more sweet delights. The children all left on a cloud of mirth, probably due to massive sugar highs, and I didn't even notice the lack of gift opening until we were in the car and I had no lingering shame about my child attempting to open someone else's gift, like usually happens.
Was this just happenstance? Just these three families? Did it have to do with their international status? They are all from various parts of the world, so it isn't like the whole rest of the world could be less materialistic than the USA, right? (She asked with a slightly self-aware smirk.) I don't know. And frankly, I don't care why it happened. It happened and it was delightful. And I am totally gonna try to steal it for the next birthday party I host. How much luck do you guys think I will have with this plan?
Is this truly an international thing? Or was Awkward Mom just raised in extremely gift-opening-right-away environments? Please let us know in the comments. We want lots of ammunition at our fingertips when we try to sell this plan to Awkward Dad....
Because any attempt to minimize this kinda thing would be welcome.
And really good for Awkward Mom's mental health.