POSTS WITH TAG: birthday parties

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    All parents want to throw their kids a memorable birthday party -- only in the frenzy of planning, it's easy to go overboard and buy things that you might think are important, but add nothing to the big day. So save yourself the trouble and don't buy these 10 things, which both parents and party planners agree are a waste of time and money.

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    I've been to a lot of kids' birthday parties. While I've had fun at some, most were a form of low-grade torture, and I'm sure many other parents would agree (my husband flinches every time he hears another party's on our calendar). So, in the hopes of alleviating widespread party guest misery, we decided to poll party planning experts on guests' pet peeves. Here are ten dos and dont's at a kid's birthday party, from the instant you send off your invites to the end of the festivities.

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    Thanks to hot days, warm nights, plentiful sunshine, and verdant backyards, summertime in itself is an excuse to party! Not to mention that it's the perfect season to celebrate kids' birthdays or graduations outdoors. But unfortunately, along with those celebrations often comes activities with inherent dangers.

    As much as we want our children to be able to enjoy jumping up and down in bounce houses or diving into the pool, we have to consider potential related injuries. Here, the six riskiest party playthings and what parents can do to guard against related accidents ...

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    How's this for a parenting conundrum. Your kid comes home from school clutching a birthday party invitation in their little paw, and they just can't wait to go spend a day filling up on cake and bashing on a pinata? But then you look at the date: little Junior is having a birthday bash on Father's Day.

    Hey, Dad, we love you so much we're going to run off and spend the day without you! Can you imagine someone scheduling a kid's birthday party on Mother's Day?

    Not gonna happen! But it's come to our attention lately (thanks to a number of party invitations) that people have no qualms about throwing a birthday bash on dad's big day.

    And, quite frankly, we're a little annoyed on Papa's behalf.

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    Beyoncé and Jay Z have the world at their fingertips and there's no doubt they could have thrown daughter Blue Ivy whatever second birthday bash their hearts desired. I don't know about you, but I was expecting something BIG -- a champagne bash at the Waldorf Astoria, maybe -- since we all know toddler birthday parties are usually more for parents and their friends than for the child of honor. Oh, and let's not forget the entertainers spent $200K on Blue Ivy's first birthday AND gave her a diamond-encrusted Barbie. So you can't blame me for making assumptions.

    But the duo did something far more surprising to celebrate their little girl. They held as much of a kid-centric party as you can possibly can (considering how much privacy you'd need if you were these two) and closed down Jungle Island bird sanctuary within the Miami Zoo to give their princess a fairly modest bash she'll never, ever remember. 

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    As mothers, we all play countless roles in a single day: Nurse, Chauffeur, Chef, Dentist, DJ, Fashion Director, Janitor, Launderer, Banker, Dietician, Personal Shopper, Photographer, Plumber, Caregiver, Maid, Cheerleader, Counselor, Storyteller, Teacher, Exterminator, Coach, Negotiator ... The list is endless.

    So, please tell me: Why is it so difficult to take three seconds, play secretary, and freaking RSVP for a kid's birthday party? There are few things that infuriate me more.

    I mean, there are certainly valid excuses for not RSVPing, but I'm pretty sure none of them apply to most parties in this day and age.

    But, for the record, I won't hold it against you if ...

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    Over the weekend I happened to see a letter to an advice column that nearly made me spit out my Sunday brunch coffee. A 5-year-old girl was invited to a boy's superhero-themed birthday party. And then she was uninvited (unvited?) because of the party's "masculine" theme and invited to a separate party just for girls. The writer was trying to figure out how to explain this to their daughter and also wondering if they should say something to the host because "something about this feels wrong." Yeah, something here feels wrong, but I just can't put my finger on it ... hmm ... oh yes, I've got it: Wow, that's hella sexist.

    The social guru responded that the parent shouldn't mention anything to the host. And that's reasonable advice -- I can see how bringing it up would just lead to conflict. But for those of us who are, let's just say, not so afraid of conflict, I give you: An Open Letter to the Parents Who Planned the Boys-Only Superhero Party.

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    So here's something parents never want to see their toddlers doing: Puffing on a cigar. A young uncle took a video of his toddler nephew smoking a blunt and posted it on Instagram. Which is awesome, because now the child's parents know that this happened and can commence freaking out. I mean, wouldn't that just make your day? "Hey, look, it's our precious child, polluting his innocent little lungs with smoke for all the world to see! SHOW ME MY BROTHER SO I CAN WRING HIS LITTLE NECK." 

    Something tells me this uncle is never going to be left alone with his nephew ever, ever again. It almost makes you wonder if he did it just to get out of any future babysitting obligations. Why would you post this self-incriminating video online?!? But seriously -- I would have a conniption if I caught anyone letting my child puff on a blunt. I don't care if it's not as bad as a toddler doing bong hits with mom. It's still awful.

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    We've been getting birthday party invites with some unexpected fine print lately. Instead of "bring your bathing suits" or "feel free to drop off," it's "no gifts please." Sometimes in lieu of presents, they ask for a charitable donation and provide a link. I can't decide whether I think this is a great idea or a terrible idea that deprives a child of one of life's simple thrills -- tearing open tokens of acknowledgement on their special day

    The first few times I got invites like this, I admit I blatantly ignored the request. Not getting a kid a gift just seemed so ... harsh. But more recently, the wisdom's started to sink in.

    After our daughters' joint 6-year-old dance party last year, the amount of presents my husband and I hauled home literally made us sick.

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    It was little Cayden Bibeau's 2nd birthday party. His family and friends were gathered to celebrate, and after he blew out the candles on his Elmo birthday cake, everyone was ready to dig into the sugary goodness. Only when they went to cut into it, what they found baked inside of the cake was anything but sweet -- a knife.

    It appears that somewhere in the production of the cake, which came from a Walmart in Lewiston, Maine, a paring knife was left behind in it. What a big, huge bummer. Of course, no one wanted to eat the cake after that, but what the parents did next was ridiculous.

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