My offspring gets invited to a birthday party for a 3 year old. Excitement is in the air and we all feel it! They are excited because what kid does not want to attend a birthday party? The games, the fun, the free candy, the cake, but most important the goody bag! I am excited because it is semi-free pseudo-babysitting. Pseudo-babysitting, that is. That’s when you attend a playdate or a party and may have a conversation with other adults but not have to give the kids 100% attention because there are other adults (mostly moms) that will share (not by choice because they don’t trust anyone) the responsibility. Semi-free because you must bring a gift or risk the humiliation of not being asked to another birthday party because everyone will know that you the cheap one that should not be invited.
As a mother, you never want your child hear this from another parent:
“Listen, kids! It is not that Birthday Kid doesn’t like you, we all love you but your mother is one cheap woman. And it’s not like she’s broke because we all know that she gets her unemployment check every two weeks.”
Moving on, I asked my friend (let’s say her name is Cupkeiks) what does Birthday Kid like. She said she loves Tinkerbell and monkeys. I thought, “No problem. How hard can this be?”
It turns out to be harder than I thought. The first dilemma is how much should I spend? Everyone knows you cannot spend too much because it will look like you’re bragging. If you spend too little then you will be labeled as the “cheap blank chicken plucker.” I decide I will set that price when I get to the store because the items I see will determine what I should buy.
Time for the second dilemma. I now face the hard decision of what to get.
I go to Target with the intention of picking up one Tinkerbell item and when I get there, there is a crapload of Tinkerbell stuff. I remember back in the last century when I was a kid there were only 4 items for the character I liked: a lunchbox (did not use because my mom was not Martha Stewart), a pencil, a notebook, and the actual doll. Now there are books, pens, pencils, all types of stationary, dolls, puzzles, you name it. It was like Tinkerbell threw up in there and it reeked of her stuff.
Should I get a book? Maybe she can’t read, next item. Should I get a coloring book? Then I wonder can she draw? No forget it, I will get a costume. What kid does not love to dress up? The question of size pops into my head, followed by what if she has it? What if she doesn’t like this particular costume? Ok, forget that. I will get her a doll. OMG! What if she has all the Tinkerbell dolls? Every freaking item that I pick up, I am riddled with the anxiety of what if she already has this? I CAN’T TAKE THIS PRESSURE! What do I do? I am breaking into a sweat. This is supposed to be easy. This should be easy. SHE IS THREE! She is not a man or my mother. WHAT THE FREAK DO I GET HER?
After agonizing for days (I know what you are thinking, ‘WTF? Days? For a three year-old? SERIOUSLY!’) I finally just go back to old faithful and settled on my gift with a price. A VISA Gift card. Let it be her mother’s problem!
Number 1: This is why Ms. Dephicit does not have children and only buys gifts for the people who love her or who share her bloodline. (Sometimes the two are mutually exclusive!)
Number 2: When buying gift for a man the same rules apply as when buying for a three-year-old. Get them something new and shiny that makes some kind of noise and they will be happy. Neither one is that bothered about gift wrap.