Wednesday, October 19, 2005

What Is Your Earliest Memory?

Close your eyes. Think back, way back. What is the very first image or sound you remember?

How old were you? 4 years old? 3 years old?

I need to know.

I need to know because I have a sneaking suspicion that my wife is spending way too much cash on birthday parties my daughter will never fucking remember.

At least I am getting away cheaper this year - we're only throwing a WEST COAST birthday party as opposed to the bi-costal extravanzas the previous ones were.

Year One:
East Coast Party Only (at 1, Ella's extensive social circle didn't quite reach California yet)

A Private room in a restaurant. Full menu, full bar (for the adults stupid), we bought those interlocking puzzle mats to turn one corner of the room into a safe play area. My wife had a photo of Ella blown up as a sign in board like a freakin' batmitzvah.

We rented an "Elmo." My daughter loved Elmo. All kids love Elmo. All kids love 18 inch high Elmo they see on the television. A 6' tall red, hairy monster with huge eyes? Not so much.

Sesame Street Balloons: $55
Lifesize Elmo: $200
Kids screaming in terror and running for their life: Priceless.

Not to mention the party favors (I think they were Frabrige' Eggs or something). Ah, that was money well spent.

Year Two:
East Coast Party - My Gym. 30 kids. Dora the Explorer theme. Dora plates, Dora cups, Dora napkins, Dora table cloth, Dora center pieces, Dora balloons, Dora, Dora Dora and fucking Dora.

Snacks, pizza and soda for kids. A full Jewish deli spread for the adults.

We rented a "Dora." My daughter loves Dora. All kids love Dora. All kids love animated Dora they see on the television. A 6' tall woman, with a huge Mardi Gras sized head and a backpack with a creepy face painted on it? Not so much.

Full compliment of Dora accessories: $185
Lifesize Dora: $250
More kids screaming in terror and running for their life: Priceless.

West Coast Party - Playsource. Identicle to the East Coast party except for the cake. This one was a $75 cake handmade in the shape of Dora. This wasn't some fucking Carvel Fudgy the Whale that they flip upside down to make Santa every December - this was a honest to God Michelangelo Dora the Explorer made from angel food cake. I didn't know whether to eat it or use it to solve the DiVinci Code.

The other difference was the Dora. See, Dora has protection. She has her best friend Boots, she has the contents of her backpack, and she has a little thing called "copyright law." So, technically speaking, we didn't rent a "Dora," we rented "Adventure Girl" (not be confused their not-Barney, "Purple Dinoasaur"). We were assured, Adventure Girl was Dora, it was just a little precaution so the Nickelodeon cops wouldn't bust down his door and slime his ass.

I know Dora, and this my friend, was no Dora.

This was Dora from the wrong side of the tracks, this was Dora after a few divorces and alcoholism. Adventure Girl was so ghetto she didn't have a backpack, she had a plastic A&P bag.

She also came with her pimp, a magician. We told them we didn't want a magician. A magician is like the devil to 2 year olds. They don't appreciate the tradition of slight of hand mastery passed down through the ages. You made a fucking red sponge ball dissapear and pop out of my ear and that's fucking weird.

Dora Cake: $75
Adventure Girl: $200
My wife almost physically kicking Adventure Girl's foam ass while the magician begged me to hold her back: priceless.

So this year, its a Halloween theme. We rented out a freakin pumpkin farm complete with animals to feed, ponies to ride, a playground and a shit load of pumpkins. My wife spent 3 months scouring the internet for the perfect pumpkin bags to put party favors in. (She sent back two previous styles because they were not to her liking.) I don't know what the cake is yet but it's probably some life-sized statue of David or some shit.

My wife told me how much it is costing and I'm pretty sure she is lying.

I love my daughter, I mean I LOVE my daughter, but any smart business man needs to make sure he is getting a return on his investment. Will the 6' Elmo get me a "get out of jail free" card the first time I tell her she can't have another Malibu Barbie? Will it cut me a little slack when I punch her first boyfriend square in the face (and I will punch her first boyfriend square in the face)? And what about all those times I am planning on not wearing pants when her friends are over? Nada. Zip. All this ain't gonna buy me shit.

So people, before you get a second mortgage to throw a wedding sized birthday party for a kid who still shits in their pants, ask yourself?

Are they even going to remember this?

Then do yourself a favor. Go to McDonald's and get them a Happy Meal. They'll play with the plastic wrapper the toy comes in and be just as happy.

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