Cake Yes, Party No

by admin on August 21, 2012

I was reading the post “Your Hospitality isn’t needed but your Muffins are”, and it reminded me of what happened several years ago. When my daughter was younger, she went to the same daycare for about four years. The first year I invited everyone in her class to her party. (Invitations were put with the children’s belongings a month in advance) One parent RSVP’d and showed. The next year, (hope springs eternal) I invited everyone and a few RSVP’d and showed. (I promptly RSVP”d to every invitation my daughter received, and always brought a gift, or sent one when we weren’t able to attend.) The third year, no RSVP’s and no shows. After that I gave up, but something interesting happened a few days after the party. (I was fine with no one from the daycare being there; I had plenty of family and I always have plenty of food, and we had a blast.)

I had a message, garbled and obviously from a child on my voicemail at home. It was obvious that the child didn’t speak English well; all I could make out was something about cake. I shrugged it off. The next day, there was another message, still garbled but a little clearer. This child wanted some of the birthday cake that was left over! Thinking back, I had a pretty good idea who this child was. At the last party of another kid in the class, this kid had eaten nonstop and we all had to wait for him before we had the cake. His dad was there, and ate even more than he did. I thought, surely I’m mistaken. No way did this parent not RSVP or acknowledge this party in any way then have the nerve to allow their child to call me wanting the leftover cake.

Well, that’s exactly what happened. After the third message, I got the number off the caller ID (message was again garbled and from a child) and called. I spoke to the father and he openly told me that yes, his child wanted some birthday cake. Not one word about missing the party. Obviously they had my number; they could have RSVPed! After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I calmly told him there was no more cake left over and hung up. Good grief. 1114-10

{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathryn August 21, 2012 at 5:20 am

This is so ridiculous, I laughed out loud!!! The gall of some people!!

This poor child is going to grow up having no idea why he’s socially shunned. Shame on his parents!!



Cherry August 21, 2012 at 5:39 am

I have to say, I’m surprised by such a poor turn-out to the birthday parties. From the age of 4 to 7, I must have gone to at least one classmate’s birthday party per month. The parents loved them – drop off the kids and then have an afternoon to get on with things like housework or repairs without having to supervise or entertain the children.

I’d have informed both father and child “The birthday cake was for people who attended the party.”


Hemi August 21, 2012 at 7:47 am


Like Cherry, birthday parties were a huge deal when my children were younger and my sons attended at least one a month (each!). Some of the children whose birthdays fell around holidays, (Thanksgiving, Christmas) when most families would be busy or out of town, would have parties earlier in the year so their fellow classmates could attend.

From the earlier behavior of the child and father, eating nonstop at the last party, could they possibly have been struggling with hunger/having enough to eat at home? When I worked at HeadStart, we did have families with this issue and one of the big clues was over-eating at parties or lunch. We were able to identify those needs and address them and make sure the family had food.

Of course, I could be totally off and the child and father could be rude food hogs.


Coralreef August 21, 2012 at 8:11 am

What? And you didn’t send any take-away goodie bag along with the cake they so obviously deserve? That poor child is in for a world of hurt and rejection if the parents themselves don’t shape up! The sad part is that they will never really understand WHY no one wants them around.

As for the father being so eager to stuff himself with your party food, consider yourself lucky humans don’t have cheek pouches like hamsters.

I’ve been reading this site for a few years now and I’m always amazed at how greedy and entitled some people are.


Aje August 21, 2012 at 8:30 am

I agree it´s socially unacceptable and rude… but you can´t help but wonder about this. Since the child didn´t speak english well, I assume they don´t at home either? Is it some sort of cultural issue? Is their family struggling?

But yeah, calling about the cake is rude. Poor kid!


vanessaga81 August 21, 2012 at 8:31 am

I can’t even…where do people get this gall? IF my child did such a thing I would apologize profusely for it, not reiterate it.


PM August 21, 2012 at 8:33 am

Sadly, I’m not surprised.

A couple of gems from my kids birthday parties over the years:

– The parents who asked if they could take “some” of the leftover birthday cake from DS’s party. I made him an enormous cake, so there was plenty leftover. We’d used the church fellowship hall as the venue. I said sure and went to the kitchen to get some material to wrap up a few pieces of cake for them. I came back to find that they’d not only absconded with the ENTIRE leftover cake (the equivalent of a ten-inch round) but they’d packed it up in my expensive Wilton cake carrier and left!! It took me two weeks and several phone calls before I got the cake carrier back. Their excuse was that they had family coming over that night and needed a dessert to serve. They were not invited to another party.

– Byron, the kid whose parents didn’t bring him to the rec complex venue until the last minutes of the party “window.” (i.e. The party was listed on the invitation as 1-3, his parents brought him at 2:50.) He didn’t have a present for DD (which is OK, we were a little overwhelmed by what she received) or a card (less OK, DD would have been happy with a homemade construction paper card.) Byron walked directly past DD, ignoring her as DD said, “Hi, Byron, I’m glad you made it to my party!” He marched up to me and demanded “his share” of the cake and a goodie bag. His parents stood by the door while he did this and when I glanced up at them, they made “hurry up” gestures!

I had an extra goodie bag, so I plopped it into Byron’s hand and told him there was no cake available, and to have a good day. Instead of saying thank you, he shouted, “But I heard there was going to be a pinata, I want my share of the candy!” I told him that wasn’t possible and it was time for him to leave. He huffed off, ignoring DD again on his way out. I can only imagine that his parents were the ones who introduced the term “his share” because they seemed annoyed that he did walked away without any cake or candy. I suggested we not invite Byron next year, which was fine with DD.

– After the Byron experience, DD decided a smaller party was in order for her seventh birthday. She invited five girls to our house for a slumber party. We spent weeks planning the age-appropriate movies to watch, what activities and crafts we would do, what cookies to bake. It was going to be a unicorn princess extravaganza. One child, Jenna, was not allowed to come because her parents weren’t comfortable letting her sleep over at other kids’ houses. That was fine as we had just recently allowed DD to sleep over at her friends’ houses. So we had our four guests for the evening. They had a wonderful time, coated the house in a fine layer of glitter and crashed around midnight.

DD came home from school the next Monday and was very upset. Apparently, Jenna’s mom gave her the impression that since Jenna wasn’t allowed to come to the party, the party would be cancelled. Jenna was very angry to hear that the party happened without her and spent most of the day being hateful to DD. Nice.


admin August 21, 2012 at 8:47 am

It occurred to me that I have my own child birthday story. We invited several young boys to DS’s 9th birthday party and since we lived on a farm, pony and horse rides were the schedule of party activities. One of the families that was invited had moved an hour from us a few months earlier but they RSVPed they were coming. An hour before the party, the father calls me to inform that his wife and kids were running late but before they leave the house, the pony rides were still happening, right? When I confirmed that yes, we are still riding the ponies, Dad blurted out, “Good. That’s the only reason they are coming today.”

I never invited them to another party at our house.


Amber August 21, 2012 at 8:40 am

I’ve read stuff that made me angry on this site, and stuff that baffled me, but this one just made me laugh. I mean, I can hear the father’s voice matter of factly saying that of course he allowed his child to make multiple phone calls about leftover cake. I can see the OP trying to process such a thing. It’s so ridiculous that all I can do is giggle.


Jewel August 21, 2012 at 8:47 am

I’ve come to dread giving birthday parties for my 10 year old as well as having him accept birthday party invitations from his classmates. With the former, getting RSVP’s is always a dicey proposition and, often, I’m stuck with several non-responses to handle (do I call? not call?), which makes me resentful of the kid and/or his parents who don’t have the common courtesy to respond to an invitation.

With the latter, very few parents seem to find value in teaching their child to write thank-you notes, or even to express their thanks verbally these days. Couple that with the trend of the birthday child not opening their gifts at the party where the guests can see his/her reaction, and even the most altruistic guest can get tired of constantly handing over present after present with zero appreciation or recognition. One year, my son attended six birthday parties and was thanked for the gift he gave by just one child. Believe me, that I’ve made a mental list of those kids and will not encourage my son to accept any more of their party invitations.

I, too, pity the child whose parents encouraged him to call and ask for the cake after not having bothered to respond to the RSVP. He’s in for a lot of pain unless he eventually figures out proper behavior by himself.


llamaqueen August 21, 2012 at 8:57 am

I am surprised that you bothered to call them back, and when you did, you told them the cake was gone.

What would have been wrong with saying, “the cake was for those who came to the party” or something of the sort? Why get sucked into a PC answer for such rudeness?


jena rogers August 21, 2012 at 8:58 am

This is so sad, and I would be concerned particularly for that child. I also wonder, as others do, about the welfare of the family.

I absolutely loved helping my DD with her birthday celebrations over the years. We were fortunate enough to have positive experiences overall except for just a couple minor incidents, one in particular which I’ve never forgotten (and this was 13 years ago!):

DD’s party was just getting into full swing with most of the guests having arrived. The doorbell rings, and standing there is another of DD’s friends who had been invited, and behind her is her mother. Her mother said something like, “Little “Lulu” has a contagious viral infection, and I told her I would leave it up to you as to whether or not she could attend…” I gave Lulu a gift bag and said, sympathetically, I was sorry that she could not attend and hoped she’d feel better. (She looked a little sick, but not awful; the contagious aspect, as confirmed by her mother, was the deterrent to her entering my home).

Of course I’m sure this youngster was disappointed; what I didn’t understand was why the mom didn’t have enough of a spine to tell her own daughter she needed to stay home, instead of making the hostess the scapegoat.


josie August 21, 2012 at 9:08 am

Regarding the cake, my first thought was “Wow, you must make an awesome cake!”. Also wondering if the family that was inhaling the food perhaps had money issues. Or maybe a lousy cook at home.


badkitty August 21, 2012 at 9:09 am

Wow. This woman actually thought that her daughter’s presence at your daughter’s birthday was so vital that there could BE no party without her? See, this is where the Snowflakes come from, and we all have to suffer them as adults: they’ve been told their whole lives that they’re so “special” and that they can have anything they want… Poor Jenna is in for a surprise when she’s out on her own and discovers that the rest of the world doesn’t think she’s all that special or important. Shame on parents for setting their children up for that pain. Same with the “my share” parents: I was raised to understand that “my share” was whatever I’d worked for and EARNED, but some children are being handicapped with the belief that they are owed something everywhere they go (or don’t go, in the case of OP’s party)


Stacey Frith-Smith August 21, 2012 at 9:20 am

Hearing these stories makes me think that parents who have their children celebrate a birthday with a few select friends and family are wise. They know their child, they know their guests, and unhappy surprises can be kept to a minimum. Having said that, there is a certain vicarious joy in carting a group of children off for an outing whether it’s a birthday celebration or a weekend fun day. Watching them experience the world is a delight found nowhere else.


siamesecat 2965 August 21, 2012 at 10:05 am

The entitlement of some people just boggles my mind! And sadly, as shown by some of these stories, the kids learn from the parents. I’m not surprised though; I see it every day; unfortunatley, there is a lot more of “it’s all about ME” than there used to be.

I can remember my own birthday parties, and those of friends. It would have never ocurred to me as a child, or my mother, to demand cake, goodie bags etc if I wasn’t able to attend. And if for some reason it was a last minute thing, i.e. I got sick and couldn’t go, she’d make sure she brought the gift to the birthday child ASAP! I’m also sure if I had a friend who last mintue couldn’t make the party, my mom might have save a cupcake for them, but that was her doing, and not due to anyone demanding it!


L August 21, 2012 at 10:13 am

I just can’t fathom that behavior, it seems too crazy to be true! But alas, now I know better.


sashathebrit August 21, 2012 at 10:25 am

No one’s addressed something that really made me sad about this story –

No one, or very few people attended the little girl’s birthdays.

That just breaks my heart. All during middle school I never had any birthday parties because I was bullied so much and really had no friends whatsoever. I can’t imagine what that must be like for a kid younger than I was.


sashathebrit August 21, 2012 at 10:26 am

Sorry, no one from SCHOOL I should have said.


Casey August 21, 2012 at 10:48 am

My family and I just moved back to the U.S after living overseas for almost two years. In our host country, the birthday tradition is the exact opposite of what you’d find in the States. The family of the birthday child might give a large gift to the community on the child’s birthday . No gifts would be given to the child. Basically, on a child’s birthday, the child “honors” the community, not the community “honors” the child. If the family that called was from that culture, that might explain some of their behavior.

Note: For those who would argue that one has a responsibility to learn and understand the culture in which they are living, please understand that there are A LOT of cultural quirks and nuances to learn. Many of them are the opposite of one’s cultural upbringing. I did my best to learn the culture in my home country, but I am so very grateful to all the people who extended a “learning curve” to me. Not everything is covered in books!


Kim August 21, 2012 at 11:15 am

Wow. The only problem I’ve had with my kids’ birthday parties is getting RSVPs. People really don’t seem to understand the importance of RSVPing. You have to prepare food and goodie bags for attendees, but even without that issue, it’s still just good etiquette. Are you attending or not? If not, that’s fine but tell me!

I ALWAYS RSVP and try whenever possible to work out our schedule so that my kids can attend bday parties of their friends. What’s not to like? Drop your child off for a couple hours and they return fed, tired and happy. I consider the gift an entrance fee of sorts. 🙂


postalslave August 21, 2012 at 11:37 am

I find this story heartbreaking. I feel very badly for any child who’s parents use them as a pawn.


Ashley August 21, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Now I think I understand why my parties were not allowed to have more than five guests, so my parents wouldn’t have to deal with this kind of nonsense. That whole story is just ridiculous.

I frankly would have said “Sorry, the cake is for people who actually RSVP’d and came to the party” so it became clear that just because you were invited doesn’t mean you get something out of it.


Angie August 21, 2012 at 12:08 pm

I also found that people were bad for not RSVPing, or RSVPing but not showing up, when I used to have birthday parties for my kids. Or else showing up for the last half hour with no gift. And yes, my kids usually got more than enough gifts but I would never think of sending my child to a birthday party with no gift.

One time my two younger sons were invited to a birthday party that was being held at a fast food restaurant. I dropped my kids off a bit late, and nobody else was there except the birthday boy’s family. At the time I thought everyone else was just later than we were – but the mom told me later that my sons were the only ones who showed up out of everyone who was invited, many of whom had said they were coming. I was so glad my sons did come – imagine how that little boy (I think he was turning 7) would have felt if NOBODY had shown up.


June First August 21, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Re: no-shows–
I remember an elementary school birthday party of mine where only one person came. I think I invited 5 total, and I remember calling asking why they didn’t come to the party. I had very carefully selected little prizes for the games, etc. I’m sure my sisters filled in, but I remember being so disappointed that people couldn’t even call to let me know they weren’t coming.

@badkitty- I interpreted it that the girl was told there wasn’t a party so there wouldn’t be an argument about whether she could go.


Otter August 21, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Wow, I thought I’d seen everything! The only few bad experiences we had cannot compare but: One of the more popular girls showed up, mother in tow, and we could loudly hear them arguing about coming at all. Mother said, “don’t worry, Shanna will be here and you’ll have someone to play with.” We had about 20 kids, none of them good enough? Also, one little boy was dropped off on the lawn with no parental introduction, no gift, ate everything in sight (3 pieces of cake too) and then stayed 2 hours after everyone else left while I tried to call his mother to come get him. She had turned her phone off! His teenage sister walked to our house to get him. I assume mother didn’t care about the party, just the free 5 hours of babysitting. We no longer have “invite the whole class” parties.


PM August 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm


No, the mom knew the party would continue as planned. My impression was that she wanted to save herself any whining and complaints from Jenna, so she told her we weren’t having the party without her. Jenna went to school that Monday and heard the girls talking about the party and demanded to know, “WHAT PARTY? My mom said you wouldn’t have the party because I couldn’t go!”

And for the rest of the day, Jenna would roll her eyes and tell the girls to shut up if any references were made to said party. She shot DD dirty looks for the rest of the day and snatched paints/brushes away from her in art class to the point that the teacher told her to cut it out. She didn’t have to worry about DD’s next party because she wasn’t invited.


RMM0278 August 21, 2012 at 2:29 pm

The father and son eating non-stop sounds like a hunger issue. Granted the kid was a little too persistent when it came to following up about the cake, but the fact that the dad thought this was an appropriate request as well sounds like there’s way more going on behind the scenes.


Catrunning August 21, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I wonder if at least some of the children’s parents were recent immigrants who do not understand the OP’s culture and/or language and do not appreciate the importance of RSVP’ing. Where I live – Southern California – this is very common when you invite the whole class versus inviting just the children/ parents that you already socialize with. I would not expect that an invitation sent home with the child rather than delivered directly to the parent would necessarily be answered, if in fact it even makes its way into the parents hands.

Adding to that, some of the classmates might come from low income homes. Their parents perhaps felt they could not afford to purchase a birthday gift, could not arrange transporation, may not talk the same language as the OP, or whatever, and just did not want to deal with the situation.

This isn’t to say that not responding to RSVP’s isn’t rude – it definately is!! It’s just that many people are ignorant of that type of etiquette. And the father allowing his child to call up and beg for food – over a period of several days – just appalling! Extreme poverty might account for that, but still…go to the food bank if you’re that desperate!


Calli Arcale August 21, 2012 at 2:40 pm

I wonder if, in order to enforce the “no sleepover” rule without having to be the one to say it to the child, lied to the child and said the party had been cancelled. Not that it was cancelled because she couldn’t go, but just cancelled. And I wonder if this child hasn’t had to endure a lot of social shame because of her mother having given her the wrong impression about things in order to avoid difficult moments. I’ve known people who would do that, not to hurt the birthday girl’s feelings or because their child is a precious snowflake, but because they are either compulsive liars or find it easier than actually having an honest and perhaps awkward conversation with their child or, in some cases, because they actually want to sabotage their child’s relationship with others to avoid losing control over the child. If this is the case, I feel sorry for the kid; not realizing her mother lied to her, she finds out about the party and probably concludes she was actually uninvited. That’s a horrible feeling. If this is the case, my heart goes out to her, because it’s only going to get worse as she gets older. Right now, her mother’s only interfering with her social life. Wait until there’s a boyfriend on the scene.


Jay August 21, 2012 at 3:01 pm

@Casey: That’s… a bit of a stretch. That maybe this one family happened to have just immigrated and hadn’t been to parties before? And that in this other culture (why wouldn’t you just say what culture, btw?), it’s okay to call up for free cake several days later? I’d think any society that expected the birthday child’s family to donate to the community would also NOT have such a large sense of cake-entitlement!


PM August 21, 2012 at 3:13 pm

@Calli Arcale

I agree that she wanted to avoid an uncomfortable conversation with Jenna. She didn’t want to have to tell her kid no. Based on comments Jenna made at school, – “WHAT PARTY? My mom said you wouldn’t have the party because I couldn’t go!” I can only assume that Jenna was told there was no party because she couldn’t be there.

I totally understand not wanting your child to sleep over at a home where you don’t know the host parents very well, but there are WAAAAAY better methods of handling it. Considering the way she behaved toward DD afterward, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for Jenna or her mother. Mom threw us under the bus and Jenna took out her disappointment on DD.


MichelleP August 21, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Hi, OP here. Thanks for all the feedback, all I could do was laugh about it.

I do not know the family’s culture/heritage, but their son was in my daughter’s daycare for several years, which means they have been in this country for at least that long. I have no idea what their income was, but the daycare was a very nice, rather expensive one and no one in their family appeared to be going hungry. (I certainly aren’t either!!)

Love the site, admin! And thanks for posting my letter!


TimeLady August 21, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Oh wow. After reading all these stories I’m terrified for DS to become old enough for me to start hosting parties for him (19 months old so far). His first ‘party’ was just family and ‘family’ (close friends of mine who are practically family) and was a good method of cheering him up after a particularly nasty operation. I know I can’t keep doing that though – he’ll make friends and all when he starts school (and even when he’s in the older section of nursery). Time to start reading up on what the safest plan of action might be!


MichelleP August 21, 2012 at 4:46 pm

OP here again.
@llamaqueen, I called out of sheer curiosity, and frankly I must be a glutton for punishment. I couldn’t believe that the child was actually calling and asking for cake, and I had to find out if that was the case. Unfortunately, it was. I also was sick of unclear messages on my voicemail every day three days in a row and wanted the kid to stop calling. I was so shocked when the father told me that was what his kid wanted I couldn’t think of anything else to say except the truth. There’s no reason to respond with rudeness to rudeness.

As far as anyone wondering if the culture, language barrier, income, etc. could have affected the parents’ coming to the party, I state in the post that the child and his father have been to other kids’ parties before. The father spoke fairly clear English and they had been in the country for several years.

The invitations were placed in the individual cubbies for each child, and the parents were the ones who got the kids’ things out of them every day. This was when my daughter was in daycare, not school. I know for a fact that every parent got the invitation for two of the three years of birthday parties I told about, because I asked them. They simply didn’t bother to respond.

My daughter was too young too understand then, but for her tenth birthday a few months ago, for the first time in several years, (was skittish to try it again), I sent invitations to every kid in her class for a party for her in the park. Two weeks in advance, RSVP requested. Not one person RSVPed, one kid showed. I have given up.

Thank you to all of you who have posted kind responses!


Emmy August 21, 2012 at 5:27 pm

I never had “invite the class” parties. I understand why now (I never missed them, I don’t like that much attention on me, and socializing with too many people like that makes me nervous).

I heard a tip once that parents should invite the same number of kids as is the age of their kid. Ie: a 9 year old gets 9 or less friends invivted, it was suggessted to keep birthday boy/girl from getting overwhelemed, but I think it would also help keep away parents raising special snowfalkes.


gramma dishes August 21, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Emmy ~~ Yes, that’s what we did. We had no birthday parties at all until the children were four. They got to invite three friends for a total of four partiers. In between years (odd years) they got to invite one child to go to dinner with us at the restaurant of the birthday child’s choice. I don’t remember either requesting or getting RSVPs, but on the other hand I don’t remember EVER any invited child not showing up! To me this behavior I’m reading about today is totally shocking!


Kimberly August 21, 2012 at 9:07 pm

With my grade it was invite all the girls. I didn’t like that there were some MEAN girls I would have loved to exclude. I don’t remember being invited to their parties.

With Sis’s group (large percentage were younger siblings of kids in my class) it was boy girl parties from the beginning. Around 3rd or 4th grade Sis kept insisting there was 1 boy she did NOT want to invite. Mom refused to exclude one child. She should have,

Petey deliberately fractured another boy’s arm. It was a roller skating party and there was this one space with a brick “wall” about 3 or 4 feet high and a heavy gate. He body slammed Hans against the wall, forced his arm into the opening and slammed the gate down on it. The adults had to run on the skating rink to get to him. (The gate wasn’t to a public area but let the DJ in and out). Mom said she saw evil glee in Petey’s eyes when he realized he had seriously hurt Hans. He also kicked Mom and the other adults full force in the shins with his roller skates on.

Petey was to young to press charges against (In Texas kids 0-9 are assumed incompetent and can’t be arrested) – but even if he was older he was diplomatically immune. Hans’ parents were also diplomats. It was a pretty big deal. Petey was withdrawn from school shortly after and sent to a private school. I’ve always wondered if he should be added to the list of Sociopaths that attended my elementary school list. The list sadly has several name on it.

Mom nixed any more boy girl parties for sis. After they hit JH Mom stopped letting sis go most of the parties. One resulted in a club owner* losing his licence, several cases of acholol poisoning, and several girls having to get “morning after” treatments in the ER. Didn’t stop the “parents” from either one of our grades from calling Dad** and trying to buy kegs for parties seriously under the 21 year mark. There was a serious lack of judgment with these people – they thought they could buy their way out of anything.

*The owner happened to mention the party (they rented out the place) to Dad. Dad warned him these people were bad news. He didn’t listen.

** Dad was in the beer business.


Kate August 21, 2012 at 9:42 pm

I’m not sure about how polite this is, but when I was a child, my mother used to write “please RSVP so we can prepare a party bag for you! We don’t want you to miss out so please let us know!” and the like on invitations. It was the norm for there to be no RSVPs at all, and with this extra line of writing we would sometimes get a few despite there being many more children actually attending. It’s sad. Even when it is explicitly written to parents that unless they make a quick phone call, their child will be disappointed (or will not come away with the coveted party bag), they still don’t bother.

Jena Rogers and PM, both those parents are pathetic. There really isn’t any other word for it. Not even having the spine to deny a child something as trivial as a birthday party and using a blatant lie or forcing someone else to be the evil scapegoat is terrible. What an awful thing to do to a growing child.


Just4kicks August 22, 2012 at 5:51 am

Just WOW. THAT takes some stones! While my children certainly aren’t sporting shining halos they are well mannered and polite, especially in public. This is a huge pet peeve of mine. I cannot stand ill mannered brats. I have been to lots of my kids classmates parties and there is always one or two who make me cringe with their entitled spoiled attitudes. I understand kids will be kids and a party is exciting and meant to have fun at. I would never have the nerve to call a parent, or allow my child to call begging for treats. As Charlie Brown would say, “Good Grief!!!”


spartiechic August 22, 2012 at 10:35 am

To those of you who are arguing that this family may be in desperate straits. I don’t think this family was hungry…I think they were rude. My family was quite poor growing up (eating mac and cheese several nights in a row, borderline homeless, etc). There were several times we didn’t know what we would eat for dinner. First, I would never go to someone’s home and pig out. I’d eat my share and that was it. Second, I would never, ever call someone and demand cake. My mother raised me better than that. Hunger and hard circumstances are not excuses for rude behavior. There are many helpful agencies that can give someone food. Demanding birthday cake is crossing a line.


Cat August 22, 2012 at 11:33 am

The worse party I ever attended was for a girl in my fifth grade class. This was forty-two years ago and I still recall it clearly.
She was newly arrived as her father had been stationed in Germany and her parents were recently divorced. She invited the entire class to her party, but did not include RSVPs.
I arrived at her house, but no one else did. Her Mom had cupcakes for thirty children.
After about an hour, one other girl rode her bike over. She didn’t bring a gift, but at least she put in an appearance.


technobabble August 22, 2012 at 11:53 am

My little brother’s birthday is on December 30. Because it falls right between Christmas and New Years, a lot of families are busy with their own stuff, so the poor guy never really had a birthday party with kids from his class. The last year my parents tried to throw one ended so badly I think they just gave up. He was turning 6 or 7 and wanted to have his party at McDonalds. My parents booked the party and sent out the invitations a couple weeks before classes were let out for Christmas break. The parents at our elementary school were pretty good for RSVPing, so almost all the invitations sent out got a response, either positive or negative, and about 8 or 10 kids were confirmed to come. Because we all lived fairly close to each other, my parents had made a note in the invitations that they could pick up the kids from their homes and drop them off after the party if the parents. We were only asked to pick up one child.

So the day of the party comes. It’s been booked with the restaurant, the cake has been bought, Brother is very excited. Aside from the little boy we picked up and drove to the party, NOBODY else showed up. Even the parents who had RSVPed that their children were coming had forgotten about the party. It was understandable, I guess, as holiday stress could cause something like that to slip the mind, but I felt so bad for my brother. It wasn’t all bad, though. The kids that were there (Brother, me, his friend, and two cousins) had a blast, and I remember at least one of the boys who hadn’t come to the party gave my brother a birthday present when classes were back in anyway.

Nobody called us demanding their share of the cake, though.


technobabble August 22, 2012 at 11:53 am

*if the parents preferred


Kim August 22, 2012 at 12:43 pm

I chase RSVPs if I must. Most people DO get back to us, because our kids are friends and they talk about the party, but for those that don’t, I politely pursue it by either tracking them down in the yard before/after school or emailing/calling if I have the number. We’ve also in past sent along a second invitation with a handwritten note on it saying they must have missed the first invitation. I mention that I have to plan the food and goodie bags. They understand and it rather gets across in a polite way that I really do need to know if their child is attending and at least for a minute or so they feel bad they didn’t get back. I’m sure it doesn’t change long-term behaviour, but I do my part toward teaching an etiquette lesson, LOL.

Seriously, lack of RSVPing is a huge pet peeve of mine. It’s just completely rude. No one is required to attend anything they don’t want to, just tell me whether or not you can attend! It’s really not that difficult.


Enna August 22, 2012 at 3:09 pm

OMG! I could imagine a child getting something like this wrong but people should wait to be offered cake. Not expect it esp for other events cos they are too lazy to make something or go to shops.


Sara August 23, 2012 at 5:37 am

I’m reading this as we prepare for my daughter’s first birthday party (it’s going to be a simple affair in the fellowship hall of the church where I work, just a few close friends, a simple buffet lunch and homemade cake.) I know that when they’re babies, the birthday party is more for the parents than the kids–with only a couple of exceptions, all the kids there will be toddler age or younger and won’t even remember it–but these stories are getting me pre-emptively freaked out about when the whole birthday-party thing apparently gets much more complicated later on….. 🙂


Angel August 23, 2012 at 8:16 am

My daughter is turning 7 this year. This is the first year I have opted to not have a birthday party for her. I decided this just last week. After reading these posts I remember why LOL.

It’s not like we won’t do anything for her birthday, though. I think we will take her out to dinner with a friend and maybe have a cake. We are re-doing our kitchen starting next week and when her birthday comes, the downstairs portion of our house will be in total chaos!

The bottom line for me is, birthday parties have gotten to be SO stressful anymore. And those invite the whole class parties never work. Even if the whole class comes, it is overwhelming for most kids. My daughter had her 6th birthday party last year at her gymnastics school. She hated it and wouldn’t participate in any of the activities. I had 20 kids there and she didn’t want to socialize with any of them. It was a miserable experience. I knew this year that if we did have a party it would be a lot smaller, but in really thinking about it–I didn’t have that many birthday parties as a kid–and I turned out okay. So did my husband:)


whatever August 23, 2012 at 9:27 am

where i live it isn’t common to invite a whole class to one’s home for a kid’s birthday party. instead, it’s expected by the kid’s parents to make a cake for the class to share during break.

home birthday parties are for closer friends of the child, you know, the ones they actually meet for activities outside of school. naturally, those parties are way smaller, with only a few kids, and not much fuzz.

from what i’ve read in the comments here i’m really glad, for several reasons:

– bullying in class does not affect the outcome of the parties, possibly making the kid sad on their special day. the classmates are in school anyways and won’t refuse free cake just to shun the birthday child, and the REAL friends of the child will show up for the party at home.

– the kid doesn’t get smothered with 30 cheap presents it doesn’t need, and the friends that are invited to the home party know the kid well enough to actually choose meaningful presents that the kid will love (and with meaningful i don’t mean expensive, it could well be something that the kids made themselves, but they are likely to put an effort in for their friend).

– for the friends your kid spends their spare time with, you are likely in regular contact with the parents anyways, so the RSVP thing becomes a non-issue. just ask the parents personally if the kid can make it.

– you don’t have to send your kid to multiple parties each month because they will in turn only be invited by their closer friends. i can imagine the whole affair getting rather stressful fast.


NicoleK August 25, 2012 at 8:17 am

Maybe I’m being rude myself, but if I haven’t heard back in time, I’ll call people to see if they’re coming. Saves a lot of trouble.


Jewels0813 August 26, 2012 at 11:29 am

I keep hearing that maybe the family did not have enough food or money. When my son was a child he was invited to lots of birthday parties as well. I was a teenage mom. I had very little food at home and it wasn’t unusual for my son to eat while I went without.
That said, if I couldn’t afford for my son to attend he didn’t and I always responded the next day of receiving the invite so the parents can be well prepared. I cannot even think of my son gobbling up his share of the cake or stuffing himself. If I was invited to eat I would have maybe 1 slice of pizza. If I noticed that my son was stuffing himself I had a quiet word and never did it again.
I think it is unbelieveable that even if you are poor that you think you can impose yourself on the guests like that. I am amazed that the father and son received anymore invites. I wouldn’t never invite them. If they asked why they weren’t invited I would tell them outright. There are times when etiquette need to be ignored.


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