Recently, my brother in law’s twins had their first birthday. He booked a place because his wife wanted it to be a big deal. He hired caterers, a magician, a master of ceremonies, and even these guys magictouchfacepainting.com.au to make sure there was entertainment. I will not dispute that it’s a big deal, but then I looked around the place. Every adult that wasn’t family had a kid tagging along, and none of them seemed to know each other. The sight of it got me thinking. Just who are these parties for, anyway? I don’t think it’s the kids who just turned one. They’re too young even to realize there’s a party, let alone know how to enjoy it. They might enjoy the sights and sounds, the new things their senses pick up. Do they process it as a party the way an older kid might, though?
Going by what I saw, it sure wasn’t for the slightly older kids either. They enjoyed the entertainment and the food, sure. I didn’t seem them mingle too much, though. They didn’t talk to each other and make new friends. The ones did look more like they were sticking to their cliques. If a children’s party isn’t for the children, was it for the adults then? I have to admit, that does sound plausible. The adults spent a lot more time talking to each other than the young ones. They made plans, shared gossip, discussed all sorts of things. All this time, they were letting the party distract the little ones. It was almost as if that was the whole point of the event, from their perspective.
A couple of days after the whole thing, the question still bothered me. I decided to talk to a few people, the folks I know who had kids and had these parties. I asked them why. One of them said that she didn’t like the idea, but had a party because it was expected. If your kid has a birthday and they’re not teenagers too cool to hang out with family, you had a party. It was a tradition. It was a social expectation. It was just what people did. My sister just shrugged and said that was what people were supposed to do. Nobody questioned that kind of tradition, so it just keeps happening.
Another one I asked said it was a celebration, but it was mostly for adults. She had parties because the grown-ups celebrated the milestone, not the children. The last one I asked was blunt about it. He said the parties were just to hobnob and get together with friends, family, and contacts. It was about impressing and showing off and making connections. The kids were just a convenient excuse. I admit I wasn’t entirely expecting anyone to look deep. I appreciate them doing so and getting to the bottom of their reasons, at least. Though now I have to wonder. Do the reasons remain the same as the kids get older? When do we start letting them enjoy their own parties?