I messed up.
I’m not even sure how to start, it was just one of those things that while it was happening I never even considered that there would be repercussions. I never thought twice about it. Does that make me a narcissist? Maybe I’m on overload? Lazy? Stupid?
I don’t know. You tell me. This is what happened:
My daughter, F just turned 7 on April 17th. F is having a birthday party in a few days. When we started planning the party, I asked her who she wanted to have and she gave me the names of 4 girls. I was confused because I know she hangs out with more girls than that. Those girls may not be her best friends, but when she tells school stories they still get honorable mentions. I asked her about those kids, and she agreed to have them—but honestly, I don‘t think she would have cared if she only had three or four friends.
I didn‘t understand that. You’re having a party, don’t you want to invite your friends? I was so confused. Why doesn’t she want to invite anyone to her party? Does she not have that many friends? Is she weird?
My one girlfriend, “Caren” and I were just talking about the weirdness of boys and girls at that age. For example, F whines that her younger, 4 year old sister has a “boyfriend,” yet all her boyfriends dump her after 2 minutes. (I guess she has a point though. Two minutes isn’t really giving the relationship much of a chance.) Anyway, Caren said with 1st grade boys, it’s different. They’re not at the same place as the girls. They’re just trying to make it through the day without crapping in their pants.
But I didn’t know that. I didn’t know there was such a behavioral spectrum in 1st grade, so, left to my own devices, I started questioning a lot of things. Lucky for me, I was scheduled to be the Mystery Reader in F’s 1st grade class the next day.
I went in like gang busters. I’m the mom that all the other moms are like “Ugh, she’s just SO MUCH, I can’t stand her,” but the kids love me. And I love them. Kids are my business. My husband is a director at a sleepaway camp in Northern Michigan and we live there all summer, so kids are not only my business, they’re our livelihood. I have to love them and they have to love me. And for the most part, both sides are pretty even.
I got to know most of the kids in F’s class during my time there and as I walked out, I realized that I was proud of F’s friend choices. The kids that she’s not that into, I wasn’t really into either. She is particular and she is discerning.
Now, JJ. JJ is my 4 year old daughter. JJ is a whole different story.
JJ’s birthday is in June, the end of June, and we are never home for her birthday because at that time of the year, we are living up at camp. I figured since F wasn’t filling up the 15 spaces allotted to us at the birthday party place, I would let J pick a few friends and that way, not only does she get a little birthday party for herself, but…one party, 2 stones!
JJ got very excited that she was allowed to piggyback on F’s party. She started shouting about 100 names as soon as I told her about it. I don’t even know if all of the people she named are REAL. Either way, there is a protocol for birthday parties:
First, we invite the friends that invited her. Right? That’s just good manners. It’s the right thing to do, and I am all about the “right thing to do“—which is WHY this story gets so messed up.
After we got through the people whose parties she’s been to (except boys, no boys) we still had a few more spaces left. I asked F again if she wanted to add anyone, but she didn’t, and besides, she was about 45 minutes past that conversation. It was old news.
For JJ, though. It was all too much. I thought she was going to burst like in Violet Beauregarde in Willy Wonka. J is friends with everyone. She, for real, loves everyone. But we only had room for a few more.
We came up with the names, I fired off the invites, and that was that.
Except JJ couldn’t quite grasp that you can’t keep adding onto the list after the invites go out. Every day she would come home with another kid she wanted to add. Ok, well, we can’t. And I would just go about my business. I never thought, never thought for one minute that I might be hurting anyone.
But I did.
Turns out that in JJ’s class there are 7 girls. Out of those 7 girls, 5 of the girls were invited to the party: 2 girls weren’t.
Even as I type it, it makes me sad. When I tell you that the last thing I ever want to do is hurt a child—that is the LAST thing. When I tell you that I never even thought TWICE about what was happening outside of my kitchen, I never did. I was all “Sweet! That’s 15 kids. Done deal. Let‘s order a cake!”
Had I known that there were 7 girls in JJ’s class, I would have called the birthday party place and said “Listen, I need to have 17 kids instead of 15,“ but I didn’t, because I didn’t know.
That’s on me. Not only did I not know that there are 7 girls in JJ’s class, but I never even thought to check. And I have no excuse. Actually, I do have an excuse, but it‘s not good.
I’m kind of on the older side to be a mom of a kid who is 4 years old, and in some situations (school situations) I can be kind of anti-social and sucky.
F did pre-school for 2 years. Then after F, JJ went and now we’re in the home stretch of her last year. This is my 4th year of pre-school and I’m in my 40’s. I’m pretty much, “Don’t let her choke on anything, see you at 2:15!”
I know a few of the moms at JJ’s school, but not many. I hardly ever go in unless I want to surprise her, or I forgot her lunch. I know a few of the teachers and I know Morris, who sits by the front door. For pick up, I am a puller-upper. I have ELLE in my car to look at while I wait, or I search through lyrics to Eminem songs. I delete everything from the school that comes to my email, unless it‘s from her teachers. I get happy when something comes in JJ’s bag that I get to recycle because it means I don’t have to put anything on the calendar. I pretty much suck.
I know it’s bad that I’m like that, but she’s having fun and learning a lot and that’s what’s important. The school and the faculty are awesome. If there is something I need to attend or attend to, someone over there is going to tell me.
But someone forgot to tell me that when you’re having a birthday party, you need to invite the whole class.
I can’t even blame them. I just want to. But I should have known better.
At the same time though, what an opportunity to sit down with your kid and say “Life lesson!! You aren’t going to be invited to everything. Sorry! Be happy with the good people in your life and forget people like that JJ Coden. She’s not so great. And her mom sucks.”
But I’m glad the moms didn’t do that because it wasn’t JJ. JJ is a good girl. She would invite everyone. It’s me. I didn’t stop to think that these are 4 year old girls—and it’s a little early for a life lesson like that. JJ, too, would have been crushed if she was left out.
I’m just so wrapped up in all the other things going on in our lives that I blew it, and I didn’t even know it. I never even considered that there might be a problem until I came home from a night out with some girlfriends and got blindsided by a very sweet message that basically went like this: Hi, how are you, Robyn? Guess what? You didn’t invite 2 kids to JJ’s party and all the other kids are talking about it in front of them. SLEEP WELL!!
I was up at 6:00 am firing off emails to get phone numbers. To some, this whole scenario might not be a big deal, but to me, it was. I wrote an apology letter and sent it to the moms. I felt really bad. I still do. I don’t think I have felt this bad about anything in a long, long time.
It was a mistake. It’s not my first and it won’t be my worst, but I’m trying, and I’m learning.
What about you? Any massive screw-ups on your end this week?
Thanks for being here!
Facebook : DimSumandDoughnuts
You did the most important of things I. This situation….. You as the adult., apologized to not only the adult, but to. The child. Do you know how many moms don’t apologize to their child or even another?
The best thing we can show are kids is when we make a mistake, that we as an adult can say I f—-d up. Of course you did that. That lesson in life is the one that they will learn from…. Big people say they ae sorry even if they didn’t mean to mess up! Xxxxx
I will go nuts on the kid when she shows up at the party today. It was a total oversight. Thank you for your kind words. You were the first to comment so thank you for being positive right out of the gate. You’re awesome, Julie. 🙂 So happy that I have you for a reader!!
Marianna (aka 'Diva' says
We live & learn. Thank you for sharing, because now I’ll know. Sienna starts PreK in August this year – can’t wait!! So this bit of information that you shared I not only enjoyed reading, but also learning the protocol that needs to be followed. Xoxo
Oh, Diva! You know you have me for everything! I’m so glad you liked it. I will always mess up more than you. You’re Diva 1!
This is a tough one… Pipers party is next month and only after walking into Pipers classroom to a SOBBING 4 year old, was I told that if you invite only some kids, do so on your own time:if invites are handed ut in school, invite the whole class. (Side note:sobbing kid was invited after this but never went to that b day party!). So I have invited her 12 classmates, my friends with many children, my ex and his family (pipers request)… I think I invited 40+. … I live in a two bedroom apartment.. This may be a screw up this week but I will let you know after the party 🙂
Karin, I have to tell you the weirdest thing! I am doing the goodie bags and I swear to you, I just did one for a kid named Piper. What are the chances??? I love that name. So different and cool. Let us know how it goes. You guys might want to ask your neighbors to vacate during the party, not because of the noise but because you might need their space!! 🙂
Don’t feel bad, it’s a mom’s right to f up, u fix well. Oh, and little girl down the street from me named Piper 😉
Hate messing up when it comes to kids. (Unless they’re my kids.) 🙂
Hazel Wheeler says
Okay, I”ve been lurking since you restarted (something about a WordPress password and sheer laziness) but must respond.
First, you did fine. Caught the mistake, made an effort to fix said mistake.In the grand scheme of things, anyone who disses your awesome kids’ party because they have a bone to pick– well, that’s on them, right? I think we are all allowed a faux pas or two in our parenting (on a daily basis!), and you didn’t justify or retrench your position– you got the message, fixed the problem. Now, there *should* be no problem.
Second, Frankie and Kiddo SHARE THE SAME BIRTHDAY. How freaking cool (and entirely coincidental) is that? Kiddo had the choice of summertime birthday with everyone he wanted to invite — this, because it rains in April here– or an afternoon of fun outings with one friend. Here’s the thing: He chose the one friend option. Maybe he and Frankie are both weird,who knows? I think he makes a solid case for weirdness at times, but he had a blast with his buddy yesterday.
And yes, we did have to threaten death (by removal of all Legos from his world) that he would not mention the birthday date in front of other kids.
I think you did fine. Love that you returned to this. I did a ‘blog away from blog’ thing earlier this year and just returned to the original because it was entirely too confusing for regulars. Feels like our lives are on parallel tracks with blogs and children’s birthdays, although I don’t know if I’ve ever heard an Eminem song in my life.:) Keep on writing, Robyn!
Thank you, Hazel. That means a lot to me and our kids have the same bday?? Crazy!!!! We have such a cyber connection, it’s as weird as they are! I love that they make solid cases of it though. They own it, for sure! Love hearing from you. LOVE IT! Thank you!!! XOXO
Arden Rembert Brink says
First, good job on the recovery! It’s tough, these little “subtleties” that we often just don’t know about until it’s too late. Which brings me to *my* screw-up. Didn’t happen this week, and unfortunately hurt my daughter rather than the other kids in class, but this sure reminded me of it.
In 4th grade, my daughter REALLY wanted to have an end-of-year party for the entire class. Okay, we could make this dream come true. We planned it out, made a great invitation that she delivered at school, included a superb map made by an artist friend (like many in her school, we lived slightly out of the “town” itself), stocked up on hamburgers and hotdogs, laid out all the games, and awaited the date.
The date came. Four kids showed up, out of a class of about thirty. NOT because they didn’t like my daughter and not because they didn’t want to come to the party, but because I don’t like to use the telephone. And accordingly I had convinced myself that those great invitations distributed at school were sufficient, whereas what I REALLY needed to do had been to call all the parents, make sure they’d gotten it, make sure everyone was clear on the plan — you know, all the things I should have known needed to be done, but turned a blind eye to because deep down I didn’t want to do it.
Jen survived, but was devastated. The kids made the best of it, and life went on. (And we ate a lot of hamburgers and hot dogs over the coming weeks.) But, given that she’s now 34 (with a 3-year-old of her own) you can see it stuck with me! Ironically enough, I’ll bet she hardly even remembers. 😉
Ahh, the joys of parenthood! So glad you’re back writing. Really enjoy the blog.
Omigosh, I love this, Arden. I even read the whole thing! I have the attention span of a gnat. I love your story. I can picture the whole thing playing out. And I am dying over the phone part because I am as bad! I will put things off just so I don’t have to make a phone call. I love your story so much, I can’t deal and yes, I agree with you. Jen probably doesn’t even remember, but you’ll never forget.
Will you ask her? You have to ask her. You know you’re curious now…
so happy to have you. You are AWESOME!!!!!
Arden Rembert Brink says
You know, I think I will definitely have to ask Jen now! (I think I’m afraid to find out it traumatized her as much as it did me, but I’m hoping for the opposite.)
Ironically, we returned home (to the U.S.) after years in Costa Rica because of our granddaughter (Jen’s little one) and are now providing “day care” about half the week, shared with the other grandparents. SO I feel like I’m facing all the “issues” of motherhood all over again, hence my new passion for mommy-blogs which, of course, didn’t even exist 30+ years ago. So great to have a way to share experiences!!
Well, I’m glad you found mine and I hope you come back. I need to know if Jen remembers! If it were me, I would tell that you that I DO remember and that you should throw me a repeat party so I can get over it. But that’s just me. 🙂
Oh, my stomach hurt just reading this, but to be honest, I kind of wish some of my daughter’s classmates parents were a little more like you and a little less “Pinterest-y perfect” so I wouldn’t feel the odd-man out when I make similar blunders. Cheers 🙂
Celeste! You will always have me for blunders and we can sit in my car and read magazines together instead of actually getting to know the rules, or other people. 🙂 Love your comment. Thank you so much!!! Cheers to both of us!!!
My daughter, who is in PreK, was upset she did not get a birthday invite when all the girls in the class had one. Even at this young age, she was upset. Turns out, she did get it the next day as it was stuck in the wrong cubby.
For the young ages, if you invite kids at school, it’s all the girls.
As kids get older, then it can just be friends.
Hi Mrs. Sunflower! I like that because I love sunflowers, they are happy flowers. Well, I don’t know if they are happy but they make me happy. I am sad that your daughter had to go through that. I would be crushed if someone did that to JJ. I wasn’t thinking, that’s for sure. Live and learn, right? Thank you for commenting. I loved it!!
i never screw up. 🙂
truthfully, i knew all was good when my girls would get invites from kids in their classes, look at me & say~ I am not even friends with them, why are they inviting me”? YES!
We just recently got one and I have no idea who the kid is. That’s weird to me but, cake is cake right? I mean it’s not mac and cheese with the STUFF on top but it’s cake…right?
Thank you for spreading the blog around. I’m excited to have your people on board. I hope I don’t let them (or you) down. But if I know you, you’ll let me know. 🙂
crap, I want mac & cheese now! and don’t yell, but me & the girls don’t really like cake at all. I have been known to eat all the frosting off of a cake & I will indulge in an end piece due to the 2 sided frosting. We always celebrated with the huge chocolate chip decorated cookie. I am excited my peeps are “in” also. No pressure…. 🙂
The cake is really just a vehicle for the frosting, as far as I’m concerned.
making notes now as to what i need to do in the next couple of years when i really throw more of a party for friends vs Family. I would not think to invite the whole class…