Saturday, December 09, 2006

Popular

My kid is in preschool. Couple of weeks ago, we got a red envelope with a birthday party invitation from one of her classmates. It has caused me a ridiculous amount of angst and worry. Ridiculous.

My first thought was that the (clearly insane) parents had obviously invited all 19 kids to the party. We have never had a play date with the kid; she's almost a year older than HM and they do not seem to play together more than any other kids when I see them after school. It simply did not occur to me that this child-- a perfectly OK kid with genuinely lovely parents-- would have chosen my child specially.

This is not to say that I do not think my child is likable. In fact, I think she is fabulous and wonderful company and by far the only kid I want to spend any extended time with. I know she is lovely, for sure. Still, it would never occur to me that she would be invited to a party unless it was a particularly close friend or the whole class was invited.

On the day we got the invite, I was ridiculously unsure about what to do. A good friend came over to pick up her child (X)-- who is in the same class-- and I wondered if I should mention it. I did, sort of obliquely, and I was so relieved that her kid was invited too. I was so glad I didn't have to make it a secret between the girls, which would have been ghastly. Of course, I only mentioned it because I assumed that the whole class was invited. X's mom was not at all sure that everyone was invited. At that point, it hadn't even occurred to me that they might not have invited everyone.

Am I thinking about this too much yet? Can you imagine what a mess I was in jr high? Feel free to begin mocking me now. As if you haven't already.

A few days later I was shopping with X's mom and another mom (B) while the kids were at school. In order to entirely avoid mentioning the kid's name, in case B's kid wasn't invited, I found myself saying things like:
"oh, I need to buy a present for, um, a princess party this weekend. This would be perfect!"

I expected B to chime in that they were going, too, but she didn't. I was puzzled. Her kid seems much more likely to be popular than my kid does. Or is it that B seems more likely to be popular than I do?

Am I going to worry like this the whole time my kid is in school? I think DH would smother me with a pillow if he knew I was thinking things like this, and really, who could blame him?

Then Friday evening, another mom called to see if we could get our kids together Saturday. I said we could, in the morning, because we had a birthday party to go to in the afternoon. Again, no snap of recognition from the other parent. Again, I was surprised. And glad I was remembering not to mention names.

I feel completely awkward and uncomfortable in these situations. I feel embarrassingly pleased that my kid got picked, but also I feel very self-conscious about it.

To say that I feel like a freak for even thinking about it this much is a bit of an understatement, but here I am, sort of wondering if it means anything that my kid got invited when someone else's kid didn't. It turned out to be a small party (I told you she had sensible parents) and HM and X were in fact the only kids from the class invited.

I can't imagine that other parents give a damn if their kids are invited, and here I am thinking about it all the time, being half proud that my kid was chosen and sort of feeling like it means something, which it does not. It's just that it would have meant a lot to me as a kid, once I was old enough to understand that not everyone gets invited. Which my kid is not. Old enough, I mean.

I need to get over this. I can't relive my childhood angst about being chosen-- or not-- every time one of my kid's classmates has a birthday. Right?

And don't get me started on what I was like when HM and I were discussing who would be invited to her party. I was a wreck over that, too.

I am pathetic, aren't I? You can tell me the truth.

3 Comments:

Blogger Miss Cellania said...

Not quite pathetic, but I think you are obsessing over this too much. Because its just gonna get worse.

2:41 PM  
Blogger annie said...

miss c speaks the truth when she tells you it's only gonna get worse.
after raising 2 females, i can definitely agree!
however, i can recall similar obsessive thoughts regarding parties, and perceived injustices.

6:26 PM  
Blogger fineartist said...

Oh honey lemme tell ya, I obsess over birthday parties too, but mostly when it's my kid having one.

See I don't want to have a birthday party for fifty kids, yet my kids have always wanted to invite everyone, and well, I don't want anyone who isn't invited to get their feelings hurt, and omg, I can't have fifty kids running around in my little house, I'd go absolutely insane, not to mention them beating the floors in....and who could afford all of that cake and ice cream? And what if, when my kid hands out his invitations at school, that some other kids notice and they get their feelings hurt, what then?

See hon, I obsess over the party thing too, God help me! Always have, and when I was little it was the same...

And yeah the girls are right, it only gets worse...

Little rays of sunshine aren't we? Heh heh. xx, Lori

11:27 PM  

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