1.08.2009

Preschool Birthday Politics

We had drama at preschool yesterday. A little girl in Emily's class had handed out invitations in cubby holes at school. The drama came when some of the little girls realized that not everyone was invited. Emily was one of the girls that didn't get invited. Surprisingly the school does not have a policy on this issue. In my experience most schools have a policy that it is all or nothing with bringing invitations to school.

I understand the need/want to not invite 17 four years olds to a birthday party. We neither have the money or the space to do so (but we probably will anyways with a July bday we can have it outside but that is beside the point). However we (the mighty PTA) created a contact sheet for the entire school for situations like this. If you do only want to invite close friends you should mail the invitation to the home and speak to the parents invited directly to make sure that they too are aware of limited number of invitations.

It really is sad. Emily searched HIGH and low for this invitation that she was sure would be in her box SOMEWHERE. I too thought of course no mom would only bring invitations to a select few so I asked the teacher and her response was "yes, unfortunately that has been happening a lot more lately". UGH.

This is not the first time this has happened to Emily. Last year Emily had a very close friend at her school. Her mom was very reserved and quiet and not very "hey, how ya doin?" sort of person. Emily came home for a week telling me about this little girls princess birthday party that was coming up and I had no idea what she was talking about. We never got an invitation but Emily had so many details about what was going to happen that even I started to wonder if maybe an invite got lost. So I called another mommy from the class that is a good friend and asked her if her daughter got invited (I know this is a lot of running around for a silly birthday but you have to understand that a birthday party is almost as good as going to Disney to a 4 year old little girl...this is serious people). This mommy said that yes her daughter got invited but that she knew that only one other little boy from the class was invited and that was because the mom's were all old friends. While this made me feel a little better (it wasn't that most of the girls got invited and Em didn't) I still wasn't sure how to explain the situation to Emily.

I don't like to explain to my child the unfairness of life at such a young age. I teach her that everyone is her friend and that it is not nice to exclude people. I am not sure if I would even let her choose one friend at this age because I don't want her to think that hurting other people's feelings is not nice either. I learned this direct. When I was 3rd grade I wanted to have a sleep over for a bunch of girls. I went to a pretty small school and I wanted to invite all of the girls except one. (I think there were 9 girls in my class). The girl I didn't want to invite was very poor and worse yet she smelled. My mom was adamant that everyone or no one was to be invited. The only compromise my mom gave me was I could have one girl over instead. I really wanted a real slumber party (and one friend was not going to cut it) so I invited everyone and hoped for all that was holy that the one girl couldn't come.

Much to my dismay she came. I. WAS. HORRIFIED. Third grade is a rough year and I just knew that this was going to ruin me. Long story short I realized that the girl was nice and SUPER quiet/shy. I felt sorry for her and so did a couple of the other girls. Don't get me wrong in no way did she become my BFF and I am sure that this was not a life changing event for her but it made me a better person and taught me that as a mom it is our job to teach our kids to be considerate. As I step down from my soapbox I digress.

Luckily I am an active member of the school's mighty PTA and you better believe that this will be a subject we talk about. We have new students to add to the contact roster and there will be a note addressing the new invitation policy. Who knew that it would start this soon? Sometime I will tell you about a little girl that brought another little girl in the class to tears talking about how fat she was. I am not sure that Emily even knows what fat means.

Don't forget to vote for your birthday party theme. One of the activities planned for the dinosaur party would be to decorate papermache eggs (that are stuffed with their goodie bag stuff) and for the train party they will get to decorate a train shaped cupcakes with frosting and candy and things.

Also in light of my birthday post a fellow PA blogger is celebrating his birthday today and his only wish (probably not his only but...) is for some crazy traffic on his blog. So stop by Dr. Zibb's blog That Blue Yak and wish him a happy birthday from the fans of From KS to PA (all two of you :).

3 comments:

Angel said...

Wow...I never would have thought drama starts in preschool but it seems so. I agree with you completely that is very sad that other parents can't realize that doing a small thing like that will really hurt the other kids feelings. You go girl and put your foot down about this issue!!!

Julia said...

That mother has absolutely no tact what so ever! I'm sorry for your daughter.

Autumn Joy said...

There are FIVE of us thank you very much :p
When my mother was younger she got invited as a "joke" to a b-day party and when she arrived she found out it was the younger sibling that had called her to tell her she was invited and that she really wasnt invited. The rest of the part (including the parents) spent the rest of the day reminding her that she was invited by a "fluke" and the mother kept saying things like "for those of you that actually WERE invited I have party favors, I only have so many, so Suzie (and then looked right at my poor mother.) So when I was a kid we also had an all or nothing invite list. We didnt have to invite the boys but if we wanted to invite the girls it was all or nothing. I totally feel ya here hun!! :)