Double Trouble Invitation

by admin on February 9, 2015

I have twin 7 year old daughters (Thing 1 and Thing 2). They are in separate classes at school. Last year Thing 1 was in the same class as Jane. This year Thing 2 is in Jane’s class. However, they BOTH play almost every day with Jane and have extra-curricular activities with her.

Yesterday Thing 2 came home with a party invitation. On the envelope it simply says “From Jane”. Inside are the details about the party. I THINK Jane had an invite for each kid in her class and passed them out, but I was unable to confirm this with my daughter. I honestly do not know if one or both of my girls are invited. I do not feel that they both HAVE to be invited and there have been occasions when only one knows the child and only one is invited. My daughters claim that Jane said they were both invited, but I don’t want to trust the 7 year olds on that. 🙂

The invitation asks that I RSVP and it has a number. I’ve never met the mother so I don’t know if she knows that thing 1 and 2 are even sisters! I don’t want to make the mother feel obligated to invite them both when she was only intending to invite one. Is there a way I can possibly word it when I call to figure out if the invite was for one or both of my girls without seeming rude or as if I’m trying to guilt her into including both?

Thanks!
Mom of the Twinadoes  0204-15

As we’ve seen in recent Ehell blog stories, it is wrong to assume a young child can accurately convey information about an invitation.   The bottom line is this, an adult has issued an invitation that another adult must respond to.   Parents hosting birthday parties for their underage, pre-teen children must understand that their invitations are intended for adult eyes and should be worded appropriately for that audience.   That means including the host’s full name, address, and telephone number in the invitation.  You, as the guest parent, have an obligation to be the responder to that invitation and to affirm that the contact information is correct.  Children should never, ever be used as verbal conduits between adults because the risks of misunderstandings are quite high.

Call the phone number given on the invitation and make your introductions to Jane’s mother.   She is hosting at least one of your daughters to a birthday party presumably at her home so confirming her address is a good step.   Once those pleasantries are over, explain to her that invitation contained no indication as to who exactly was invited and you need to confirm which one of your twin daughters is the guest.    Here is how I would word that….

“I am in possession of an invitation to Jane’s birthday party but I cannot figure out to whom this invitation was meant for since there is no name on the envelope. Both of my twin daughters know Jane well so I’m not certain who has been invited. Can you please clarify for me?”

You will have informed her that there are two twin daughters that are friends of Jane’s but given her an easy out if Thing 2 was the only intended guest.

{ 91 comments… read them below or add one }

Marozia February 9, 2015 at 5:15 am

I agree with Admin on this. Call the mother and just ask straight out if both of your girls are invited.
It’s the only way to solve the puzzle.

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Amy February 9, 2015 at 8:50 am

No I think the point is to not ask straight out if both girls are invited, but instead to drop the information indirectly by saying “I have two girls, which one was it that you were inviting?” That way if the other mom wants to invite both she can say “Oh! I wanted to invite both of your girls!” or she can just say “The invite is for Thing 1 / Thing 2, thanks for checking!”

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just4kicks February 9, 2015 at 6:46 am

Oooh….that’s a tricky one!
I wouldn’t know what to do in that situation, kudos to you Admin.
Good plan of attack!

My daughter had a friend invite her verbally to a friend’s older sisters baby shower this year.
I don’t know the girl or her family, and have never met “Susie”, my daughter’s friend.
She wanted to go, but I said until she gets a real invitation with all pertinent info, I’m afraid the answer is no.
I didn’t know if the mom had let Susie invite a pal or two to have fun with at the shower, or what the deal was.
Come the Monday after the shower, (my kid didn’t go as Susie never gave her a printed invite), turns out the pregnant big sister is only 17, unmarried, and the family refused to go to the shower for a pregnant, unwed teen.
The grandmom to be (Susie and pregnant sister’s mother), decided to let Susie invite whoever she wanted in an obvious “gift grab”, since the whole extended family refused to come.
I was pretty ticked off at my daughter being used only to get a baby gift for a girl she (or I) had never met, and was glad I said no.
I wasn’t the only one, all the girls in my daughter’s class were asked last minute, and not one of them went.
Susie wasn’t upset in the least, because she said it really wasn’t HER party, it was her sister’s, but apparently Grandmom-to-be had a few choice words for myself and all the other parents who didn’t come and pony up an expensive baby gift.
I was flabbergasted at the sheer and utter GALL this woman had thinking we would all run right out and buy gifts for her daughter, whom none of us had ever met!

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Ant February 9, 2015 at 8:20 am

Just4kicks, Never underestimate the gall of some people.
I, not too long ago, put a notice up online that I was getting rid of a old drier (because we bought a washer drier and wanted the space). Anyway the first few replies were along the lines of “will you deliver it here”. Which I found a bit cheeky but brushed off. Then one man went all out rude and said “I could collect it but I think you would need to reimburse me for the journey and my time.” Wow, I was tempted to reply to that. Actually after that comment all replies stopped for a while.
However, a few hours later a woman came online and commented that she can pick it up for free and she’d be round after work that day to collect. The man suddenly snipped in that he hadn’t finished negotiating and he has the “right” to it first. I pointed out his negotiation failed when he put in an insulting offer and he would not be getting it. For a few days afterwards he messaged me complaining. When I looked into it I found out he owned a second hand store and and was probably going to sell it on.
Anyway the woman was a nice down on her luck mum who was far more in need of it. And thanks to her I now know I nice local charitable furniture recycle centre that work with people in need that takes and tests working electronics.

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Goldie February 9, 2015 at 10:41 am

Wow, the nerve of this guy! Actually, I think “I am sorry, I can’t afford to pay for you to pick up my drier. Have a nice day.” would’ve probably been an appropriate response, that would’ve conveyed to the man the message that the deal is off (which he didn’t seem to understand).

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just4kicks February 9, 2015 at 1:07 pm

@Ant: The kids and my husband and I play a game whenever we put out an item with a “free to a good home” sign on our front yard.
The last time we did this was an old energy guzzler air conditioner this past fall.
We all throw in a buck and see how long it takes for the item to get picked up.
My middle son won the kitty with an estimate of half an hour or less from the time it hits the curb.

People’s rudeness and entitlement, in reference to your story, never ceases to amaze me.
I’m glad someone who needed it the dryer was able to have it.
“Reimburse me for my time and travel”….cheeky doesn’t begin to cover it IMO.

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Ant February 10, 2015 at 6:26 am

I didn’t reply because after posting the item I realized that it probably wasn’t the best way to try and get rid of an item. This was the first and last I’ve used a FB community/seek and sell page. If you’ve never gone on a FB seek and sell page it’s interesting. Though if you are lucky you may live in a sane area and only see reasonable requests. Here its full of some bizarre requests, which I didn’t read until after posting my dryer (The “I know you said collection only but can you deliver” comment is very common another example is people expecting 100% retail value for a old electronic products or to trade for a new one). Generally comments that you can’t accommodate are best ignored as negative reply only seems to provoke moaning and sometimes derision/berating. I think this guy even stunned the “normal” cheeky people on their. I’m just glad I eventually found someone nice.

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just4kicks February 10, 2015 at 10:55 am

About ten years ago, my husband put our old, but still in good condition, 1999 Dodge van for sale on Craigslist.
Oh my Lord, the weirdos that replied, or worse, showed up at our house to test drive it, were unbelievable!
That was the first and last time we used craigslist to sell anything.

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NostalgicGal January 9, 2016 at 2:08 am

For electronics, especially about 10-15 years ago, people considered that if it ran it was worth the original price plus all the software and games were retail too. I went into one rummage sale, he had an on the side box, little tube monitor keyboard wonder of circa 2000 and he had listed carefully all the programs and the original prices paid and was willing to knock off 25% off that number. In 2005. I started to head off too and he said, wait. I turned around. “I’ve had dozens of people look at this, what’s wrong with it (or them, or me)?” I said “The only thing that depreciates faster than a new car driving off the dealer lot is a computer. You may have PAID that much; with everything you have sitting there I value it at $50. It’s five years old and not even a Pentium.” He got mad, but but he paid all that good money for…… “I figure other than your connection to the internet, a computer costs you $500 year and you better replace every three. I bet your OS (operating system) is no longer supported and new software you want to put on it doesn’t want to run.” (both true I found out) I told him the name of the scrap/electronics junkyard business in town and said good luck if they’ll take it.

There was a news story last summer I think, a family that was moving put a note on Craigslist that they were going to be moving, stop by (next day) 9-4 and they’d have free stuff to leave set on the driveway. Then went out to eat about 6pm. They arrived home at 9 to find one broken kitchen chair and half a box of books. Someone broke into the house and people showed up and stripped it. The mother TRIED to get someone who had just loaded her grandmother’s treadle sewing machine to unload it again. NUHUH it was free and it was theirs.
By the time the authorities arrived the last few were leaving. They literally lost everything except what was on their backs. No charges got filed.
I held a rummage sale early 90’s , and wrote 9 am and no earlybirds and had garage door locked (it was broken latch you could not get it open from the outside.) and posted it garage sale column in paper (circa 1995). I had people playing with the garage door then pound on the door at 6:30 am demanding to get in. I said 9, locked my front door, and they got through the side gate and I inner bolt latched the back yard door and and said I haven’t let my german shepard out yet and he hasn’t had breakfast yet (hubby had got sent to put the jam bar and upper and lower case latches on the back patio door) At 5 to 9 I emerged to help with getting the door open. It was easier with one in and one out) and carry tables out. I had five cars waiting.
I had to lock the house and personally installed a hasp and padlock on the back gate during the sale. . Last rummage sale I held was during my last move in 2005, we couldn’t keep people out of the garage or the house and we lost a lot of stuff. Forget it. I just take it to the local thrift store now and donate it. No county listings, no internet listigs, no paper listings, no nothing.

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Rachel February 9, 2015 at 8:50 am

You must be joking. That the mother would think any of her actions appropriate is absurd!

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AnaMaria February 9, 2015 at 8:59 am

Wow, I’m sorry for the poor daughter who is dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, and now is dealing with all this family drama on top of it. If they need baby stuff, why hasn’t mom gone with her to the local crisis pregnancy center where people willingly donate, instead of trying to bum gifts off of a bunch of school girls??

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AthenaC February 9, 2015 at 10:56 am

That was my thought as well, AnaMaria. Although when you have a family that refuses to go to a shower for a pregnant, unwed teen – again, FAMILY that refuses help and support, to me that sounds like a culture / area where there just isn’t that much crisis pregnancy support.

Because dontchaknow, only babies that are born within the sacred bounds of holy matrimony need things. All other babies should have had the good sense to not be born to unwed mothers.

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Colleen February 9, 2015 at 10:16 pm

I don’t think we really know *why* the family wasn’t there. There may be years of this gimmepig behavior and this isn’t the first time they’d declined to support that. Just because you are *family* doesn’t mean you are required to help people who won’t help themselves. And sadly, I’ve come to believe that people who play the “But we’re family!” card are the ones looking for you to provide your time, your money, your energy, your home, your car, etc, but will rarely, if ever be there for you in return.

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AthenaC February 10, 2015 at 12:13 am

Except we’re talking about a baby – an innocent that quite literally cannot help themselves in the natural order of things. I’m not saying they should have run out and bought a solid oak crib or anything like that, but diapers? Basic, solid-color onesies? Blankets? Towels? Things that one actually NEEDS when caring for a baby?

kit February 10, 2015 at 12:00 pm

Eh, weirdly enough, where I live actually the parents of a newborn child are expected to provide it with diapers and the like, not to speak about caring about it. (I’ll have my third kid in two months.)

just4kicks February 9, 2015 at 1:11 pm

@Rachel and @AnaMaria: I do feel badly for this girl that her family turned her back on her, and grandma to be must be beside herself with worry, however, thinking a bunch of fourth graders parents would supply all her needs is ridiculous.
I also didn’t appreciate that the mom said some very awful things about all of us parents who turned down the invitation. I wouldn’t know her or her daughter if I fell over them!

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AthenaC February 10, 2015 at 12:09 am

Oh wow – 4th graders?!!!! That’s ridiculous. I was somehow under the impression that these were high schoolers – you know, people that could theoretically have spent their own money.

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just4kicks February 10, 2015 at 10:57 am

@Athena C: Nope,fourth graders, which is why I originally thought my daughter was invited to have a little buddy for the sister to pal around with.

imc February 9, 2015 at 10:31 am

Mmm… That makes me curious on the etiquette side, so if anyone can answer I’d be happy to know what you all think.

If your young, pre-teen child is invited to an older people’s event, say a baby shower or a wedding, ONLY so that she can keep company to the younger sibling of the bride, groom, or mom to be, is the child required to actually bring a gift? (Provided the families aren’t otherwise acquainted)
If I were the one issuing the invitation, I wouldn’t expect anything and I would actually consider that the child’s presence would in itself be a gift, since it keeps the younger sibling occupied and not feeling left out. But if I were the child’s mother, I might wonder about it and possibly end up bringing some small token or some flowers along my child, but probably not a full-fledged gift.

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AthenaC February 10, 2015 at 12:15 am

The way I’ve always seen / done it – the child’s name gets put on the gift that the adults pick out. Sometimes my kids want to spend some of their Christmas / birthday money on the person on their own, but generally for an event like that, my gift is from me, husband, and kids.

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imc February 10, 2015 at 7:45 am

But I was thinking of a situation where, just like the one described, the family of the child being invited has never met the family or person celebrating, would have no reason to otherwise be involved in the celebration, no one but the child is invited, and the person celebrating is not the child’s friend, just a relative.
The child is basically being invited as a peer-sitter, so the question is: would that require buying a gift for virtual strangers that goes beyond something merely simbolic (flowers/trinkets)?
Is that such a common occurrence?!

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AthenaC February 10, 2015 at 10:31 am

Oh I see now – that’s interesting. I would do what I suggested but scale the gift down to reflect the fact that you don’t know them – maybe a nice card, signed “Best wishes” or some such with a token gift card – say, $5 or $10.

Goldie February 9, 2015 at 10:44 am

My, what a nice extended family they have! NOT. Sorry, just4kicks, I know you got dragged into that situation and you absolutely did not owe that family anything (not to mention there was no written invite, so for all intents and purposes, your daughter was never invited). But for the whole family to refuse to go to the shower for this reason!… Grandmom-to-be should’ve saved her choice words for her overly judgmental relatives, instead of using them on complete strangers!

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just4kicks February 9, 2015 at 5:29 pm

Agreed….I hope they changed their minds eventually and offered her some support during what I’m sure is a terrifying go of it for a 17 year old.

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Rebecca February 9, 2015 at 6:00 pm

It’s the 17-year-old unwed pregnant girl I feel sorry for in this. How dare her extended family treat her like this. Sounds as though the pregnancy was unplanned and they didn’t approve of how she found herself in that situation, and fair enough, but it’s happened now and the least they could do is show some support of her when she needs it most.

The mom was most definitely rude to expect people she didn’t even know to kick in, though.

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Angeldrac February 10, 2015 at 7:10 am

Was it really an “obvious gift grab”? Is there a possibility the GTB just wanted her poor daughter to have some bodies at her party have some fun, play silly games and try and have some semblance of a “normal baby shower” in rather difficult circumstances? That was my first assumption, any way. But in Australia, our baby showers are a lot less gift-focussed.

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just4kicks February 10, 2015 at 11:07 am

@Angeldrac: Good point, but, unfortunately, a gift grab.
The Monday after the shower, my daughter’s friend was telling everyone that her mom was SO ticked off that not ONE of “Susie’ s” classmates came to the shower and “now I guess I HAVE to shell out money for everything this kid needs! Hopefully, some of your classmates parents used their heads and sent a gift or cash to school with their kids today…. just because they blew off the shower doesn’t mean they don’t have to send a gift!”
Had my daughter not come home spouting such garbage from the grandma to be, I probably would have gotten some small baby gifts for Christmas and sent them to school for Susie to give to her big sister.
Just because you invite my daughter, without a real invitation I might add, doesn’t mean you automatically get a gift whether or not she comes to the shower!

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Cat February 11, 2015 at 3:59 am

That is so over-the-top that I am speechless. I can understand the family not wanting to have a party to advertise an out-of-wedlock pregnancy. They can certainly provide for the child without having a party. I hope it is the only the party that they vetoed.
Inviting young children who do not know the mother-to-be just as a gift grab is beyond belief. One would expect a seventeen year old to have friends who would be willing to host a small party and others who could be invited to the shower without raiding the local elementary school.

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just4kicks February 12, 2015 at 6:45 am

@Cat: Yes, the “I hope the parents used their heads and sent a gift or cash to school” comment REALLY pissed me off!
I would NEVER do it, but part of me wanted to send a card saying “Maybe if you used YOUR head, and talked to your daughter about birth control, she wouldn’t BE in this awful situation!!!”

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just4kicks February 12, 2015 at 6:47 am

….not to mention putting her ten year old daughter in a crappy situation where she is expected to shake her friends down for cash and prizes.

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NostalgicGal January 9, 2016 at 2:45 am

Showers, pregnancies and families. In some cultures girls were second rate to any brothers. There was some of this in my own town (I have several stories about it) but one of the worse ones. G/B/G family and oldest broke her arm in first grade and missed too much school so got held back a year. So we had both the first two in one class. Sophomore year Boy gets a 7th grader pregnant. She decided to keep it (her mother had similar so she was a grandmother about 28) and her mother supported it. The father’s family could not be so PROUD of their granddaughter and were paying support because the Boy couldn’t. Senior year the 19 year old oldest girl was engaged and got pregnant and dropped out her last few months. Her parents treated her like satanspawn and in her last few weeks kicked her out of the house. They could not understand how the entire town decided suddenly to ostracize them. After about a week and being told to their face, their son could do no wrong at 15 and sire a granddaughter they were proud of and they tossed their engaged legal age daughter out of the house for DARING to get preggers. She was back home within the week. Her fiancée was finishing at a vo tech so he could get a job, and they were going to be married in a few months. She had the baby a week later. I was a senior and had privileges and had two periods off, so I went to the clothing store and asked for a baby jumper (onesie) and picked a light green one the size after newborn and made the store wrap it with card and bow. I then walked over to her place and knocked. She was massively surprised, even moreso to see the box in my hands. “Congratulations.” is what I said. I did tell her I had to be back at class at X so we had some time. She showed her ring, she told me when the wedding was going to be, her mister stopped by and I met him, then she realized she should show off the kid so she went and got him. He was up from nap and being good boy so I held him for a few moments, uttered awwwww and gave him back. We all felt like kids trying to do grown up things except it wasn’t play… I wished her the best and left. By end of day it was all over town what I’d done. I said she was a classmate, she’d just had a kid, he was cute as a bug, and yes I took him a present. That was a Monday. All the moms of my classmates decided to hold her a shower and some of the classmates were invited. I went wha? the following Monday and they said they didn’t invite me because I’d already taken him something. I was told much later what I did precipitated her getting a real baby shower (and soon) and stuff she really needed. She also got a wedding shower being the first one to marry.
For the entire class the moms held wedding and/or first baby showers for all of the kids. As for the 7th grader, she was allowed to remain in school and her senior year she dropped her daughter off at kindergarten and went upstairs for her senior year…. (he never did marry her). Me, I was the last shower, marrying shortly after 20 and didn’t produce any kids. I still got my shower as all the mothers had agreed on. Nothing fancy, potluck, no strange games, and mostly a gather and eat. Only thing was I was GOH and I insisted my elderly grandmother go first. We held it in the school lunchroom.

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Anonymous February 9, 2015 at 7:48 am

I like Jeanne’s approach, because, besides giving Jane’s mother an easy out if she didn’t mean to invite Thing 1, it also gives her an “easy in” if she did, or even if she just didn’t realize that both twins were friends with Jane. I mean, maybe she doesn’t know your family well, and if Thing 1 and Thing 2 are identical, and they both attend extra-curricular activities with Jane, AND the friendship was formed entirely by the girls, without the OP or Jane’s mother involved, then maybe Jane’s mother has only ever seen Thing 1 and Thing 2 in identical ballet leotards or Brownie uniforms, and legitimately doesn’t know there’s two of them, because she’s never seen them side by side–classic case of mistaken identity that many sitcom plots are made of. If they’re not identical, and she just doesn’t know they’re sisters, again, that’s a misunderstanding that can be easily cleared up as well. Anyway, I’d make that call as soon as possible, so that Jane’s mother can adjust numbers accordingly if she decides she wants to invite Thing 1 after that conversation, or so she can relay the information to the party venue, if it’s not too late to add one more kid there.

However, there’s a good chance that Jane and her mother did exclude Thing 1 intentionally, but not maliciously. A lot of schools have the “must invite the whole class,” or “must invite all of one gender” rule, for those distributing invitations at school, but don’t give out contact information for privacy reasons. For all we know, maybe that rule exists in the Brownie group or the ballet class, or whatever extra-curricular group(s) the girls are in together, which would mean that inviting Thing 1 would mean also inviting Thing 1’s whole class (or at least all the girls), plus the dance kids, the Brownies, and grade one, grade two, grade three, grade four, grade five, grade six, AAAAAAANNNNNNND kindergarten!!! For the uninitiated, that’s a reference to Moira’s Birthday, by Robert Munsch (link here: http://www.amazon.com/Moiras-Birthday-Classic-Munsch-Robert/dp/0920303838), and I’m obviously exaggerating, but too many “invite all or none” restrictions can result in a party that’s way too big–too big for the party space, too big for the party parents’ budget, and even too big for the birthday kid, who might get overwhelmed by a birthday party with too many people, and may prefer a smaller gathering. It’s kind of like planning a wedding for adults, where you have to invite people in family groups, or “social units,” which puts a lot of people in the situation of, “I want to invite Uncle Awesome, but not Aunt Toxic, but I have to invite both or neither because they’re married,” or “My partner is close with his sister, but doesn’t speak to his brother, so can I get away with inviting Sis and BIL, but not Bro and SIL?” The problem gets magnified with kids’ birthday invitations, because when the schools (or other kids’ activities) enforce the “all or none” rule, they’re forcing “social units” that are really way too large (30 kids in a class, or 15 boys, or 15 girls, assuming equal numbers), and often preclude inviting anyone from outside said “social unit.” Therefore, if Thing 1 was intentionally excluded, Jane might be legitimately upset over that, because, “Why do I have to invite Betty Bully just because she’s in my class, but I can’t invite Thing 1?” If I ever have kids, I might not even introduce them to the concept of birthday parties, and just do an outing, or a sleepover with one or two friends, instead of the “invite the whole class/all of one gender” thing.

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BeachMum February 9, 2015 at 10:56 am

I have always ignored the invite all or none rule. I do so by mailing invitations rather than handing them out and asking the parents for their addresses at pick-up or drop-off. However, the question I always had was, what would they (the school administrators) do if they found out I broke the rule? Would they kick me out of school? Would they punish my child? It seemed to me to be a silly rule for the reasons cited, so I ignored it, but did try hard to remind my child that she wasn’t to discuss the party at school.

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mark February 9, 2015 at 3:06 pm

I think the typical penalty is to be drawn and quartered during recess. 😉

I personally don’t understand the arrogance of school administrators attempting to control behavior off campus. And a party counts even if the invitations were handed out on campus.

The only exception I can think of where the school should concern itself are safety issues. Such as criminal behavior and getting vaccinations.

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Anonymous February 10, 2015 at 8:37 am

I’d leave vaccinations out of this, but you’re right–when I was a kid, the pendulum swung too far the other way, with the school claiming they “couldn’t do anything about” the boy in my class who beat me up on the way home from school in grade four. They addressed it when my parents pushed the issue, but their “solution” was to send him home earlier. He ended up lying in wait for me behind a snow bank.

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Betsy February 10, 2015 at 7:37 pm

In our school district the “all or nothing” rule only applies to invites handed out on school property. What you chose to do on your own is your own business.

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Ann February 9, 2015 at 9:43 pm

Every school that my children have gone to the rule has been, “Invite all (or all of a gender) if you want to distribute the invitations through school. ” I’ve never heard of a school district mandating the invitation list of a private party where the invitations were delivered off on school grounds.

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A different Tracy February 10, 2015 at 9:08 am

I think you misunderstand the rule. I’ve never heard of a school attempting to make you invite everyone in the class (or all of one gender) unless you distribute the invitations in class.

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P February 11, 2015 at 3:51 am

Even then, it’s a ridiculous rule. Firstly, nobody gets to decide what I do for my child’s birthday party and who is invited and how those invitations are circulated except me. Secondly, this “everything must be fair” culture is ludicrous. When do children learn that the world does not revolve around them?

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Anonymous February 11, 2015 at 9:51 pm

>>When do children learn that the world does not revolve around them?<<

I think they learn it in high school, when parties don't have to include everyone, even when the inviting is done at school. Hormones are running high to the point that the tiniest emotional slight can be absolutely crushing, but hey, at least we did the right thing for those kids by treating them exactly identically for the previous fourteen years of their lives.

Amanda H. February 9, 2015 at 11:30 am

This is why I’m glad my kids’ school provides parents with a directory of phone numbers and e-mails (but not physical addresses) for the kids in school, so parents can get a hold of each other. It also means that when I want to invite just a few kids from my children’s class to a birthday party, I can e-mail the invitations to the parents instead of worrying about the “all or none” rule.

I mean, I can understand the reason for the “all or none” rule, because kids will get their feelings hurt if someone’s handing out invitations (or valentines, or treats, or whatever) to some kids in the class, but not others, but at the same time it’s frustrating as a parent because it makes it just a bit more difficult to keep parties at a manageable size.

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lakey February 9, 2015 at 12:33 pm

‘I’m obviously exaggerating, but too many “invite all or none” restrictions can result in a party that’s way too big–too big for the party space, too big for the party parents’ budget, and even too big for the birthday kid, who might get overwhelmed by a birthday party with too many people, and may prefer a smaller gathering. The problem gets magnified with kids’ birthday invitations, because when the schools (or other kids’ activities) enforce the “all or none” rule, they’re forcing “social units” that are really way too large (30 kids in a class, or 15 boys, or 15 girls, assuming equal numbers), and often preclude inviting anyone from outside said “social unit.” ‘

Well, the simple way of dealing with this is to not pass out invitations at school. Parents can mail the invitations or find a way to pass them out somewhere other than at school. You need to understand why schools do this. There are often certain children who are outsiders, less popular kids who are almost always the ones excluded. Sometimes it is one child who has to watch every other kid in the class be invited. Then has to have this embarrassment repeated throughout the year. Therefore schools set up a rule that IF invitations are passed out at school they must include all of the class or all of the classmates of the same gender. The school usually applies the same rule to Valentines. Most teachers and school employees have seen what it’s like for the child who is always the one to be rejected. That’s why schools have this rule.

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KenderJ February 9, 2015 at 4:32 pm

Except it is entirely unenforceable and extremely shortsighted. There are so many ways this can go bad. Scenario 1) parents email invites directly to parents of invitees. On Monday morning everyone in the class is talking about the party which is how 1-3 children find out they were excluded. Scenario 2) The silent pity invite. Child receives invite knowing that the only reason they were invited was because of the rule. Parent makes child go to the party where child is snubbed by the other kids because the child should have “known” they weren’t really invited. Scenario 3) The verbal pity invite. Party child hands invited child invitation while saying “I’m only inviting you because I have to, but don’t you dare come. I don’t want you there.” Children are very clever at finding ways around adult rules of forced inclusion. Besides, who would want to be invited to a party because the host “had” to invite them.

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JO February 10, 2015 at 6:34 am

^ this. In my experience, the more you try to force inclusion, the more children will get frustrated – and take it out on the child they didn’t “really” want there. It also doesn’t do much good to raise your child expecting to be included in everything because “they have to invite me!” Real life doesn’t work that way.

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Kimmy-lu February 9, 2015 at 4:42 pm

The new rule at my DD schools is the entire grade must invited. That means about 60 children. The school wants you to send invites straight to children’s homes and bypass the school all together.

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Anonymous February 9, 2015 at 5:06 pm

That’s true, but I think “invite all or none” is still a bit much. “Don’t talk about the party in front of non-invitees,” or “Don’t invite everyone BUT that one kid, barring a bullying situation,” are better rules–those were the rules when I was a kid, and they weren’t enforced by the school, but most of us were raised with them. Also, I don’t think schools should be able to have it both ways–they shouldn’t be able to say “invite all or none if you’re distributing invitations at school, but we also aren’t going to provide contact information.” Yes, it’s possible to get addresses at drop-off and pick-up, but what about kids who walk to school alone, or take the school bus, or get picked up by a babysitter? You might not necessarily see a parent for every child, and the youngest kids might not know their parents’ contact information. It’s better to just have a directory (even if it’s just phone numbers and e-mails, without physical addresses), and be done with it.

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Mary February 9, 2015 at 7:57 am

Love the way Admin phrased it!

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Tracy W February 9, 2015 at 8:19 am

Good answer admin.

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another Laura February 9, 2015 at 8:27 am

I’m puzzled how your daughters can have multiple extra-curricular activities (activities outside of school time) with Jane but you have never met her mother. Who takes these children to events and collects them afterwards?
Another question: did Jane have a birthday party last year? If so, was only the daughter who was classmate invited?
It sounds like your daughters get along really well with Jane, perhaps after the party you should schedule a playdate with Jane’s mom and get to know her better.

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Anon February 9, 2015 at 9:36 am

Um, maybe their father takes them??

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Miss Mercy February 10, 2015 at 11:10 pm

But if their father takes them, and OP has met the father, why not contact him instead of Jane’s mother, whom she’s never met?

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Ulla February 9, 2015 at 9:41 am

Maybe they walk/bike. If it’s really near that is very possible even for 7 y/o. Also, there are probably set of dads. And if the extras are after school hours, they might stay straight from the school, if it’s not long wait. (I think also some places try to place these kind of stuff straight after schoolwork, if they are held in school gym so that students can easily stay, even if the parents are still at work.)

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JO February 9, 2015 at 10:23 am

The parents may just drop off/pick up their children from school or playgroups or extra curricular activities without introducing themselves to the other parents there. The parents’ paths may not even cross, if they arrive a few minutes apart. But I agree, the OP should seek out Jane’s mother and get to know her better. This sounds like a friendship worth cultivating.

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Jays February 9, 2015 at 10:42 am

Well, I work days and my husband works nights, so he takes takes/picks up our boys from most daytime events. And in many families, both parents work, so the children might have alternate arrangements to get home, etc.

Not everyone has the time, unfortunately, to make playdates just to get to know their children’s friends’ parents.

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KA February 9, 2015 at 11:51 am

My oldest daughter takes dance. Even though I handle drop off & pick up, I don’t know which parent belongs with which child.

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manybellsdown February 9, 2015 at 12:34 pm

Or everyone is on a schedule, and with the picking up and dropping off paths don’t cross for more than a few seconds. Or the kids get picked up and dropped off outside and mom/dad/grandma don’t get out of the car.

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renee February 9, 2015 at 1:02 pm

When my daughter was in grade school she participated in extra-curricular activities. Some students walked home. Some took the afterschool bus. Some had other relatives that picked them up. Some were dropped off by the coach. Some were dropped off by other parents via carpooling.

It quite plausible for the OP to have never met Jane’s mother.

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cassandra February 9, 2015 at 1:31 pm

All three of my girls are in multiple extra curricular activities that I take them, stick around for, and take them home each time. I know many of the other parents but some I only know by sight and wouldn’t feel like calling and pretty much asking for an invite to a party.

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B February 9, 2015 at 8:31 am

I’d just, “Hello, it’s X and Y’s mum – thank you so much for the invitation to Jane’s party. I don’t see a name on it, can I just check which one it’s for?”

I would definitely phrase it as an assumption that only one girl is invited. The problem, for me, with Admin saying ‘both of my twin daughters know Jane well’ is that it could well embarrass the hostess if she hadn’t realized there were twins and has indeed only invited one. It seems to imply ‘both my girls are equally deserving of an invitation’ ie faux pas if the hostess didn’t mean both.

I’d be surprised if Jane’s mother did not know that your daughters are twins though.

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Tracy P February 9, 2015 at 11:08 am

I prefer this to the admin’s response. Mentioning that both daughters are good friends of Jane sounds like it is fishing for an invite for both daughters. Your’s sounds more like you realize it’s just one and expect to bring only one.

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AIP February 9, 2015 at 12:09 pm

With all due respect to Admin, because I think the advice is excellent, this is a far more natural way of saying it, and as you said, should eliminate any notion of the conversation being a potential guilt trip. (They shouldn’t, but as they say “common sense isn’t very common”).

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Justine February 9, 2015 at 1:43 pm

“B” – I like the way you worded that. It gives the mom an out; her not having to feel obligated to invite both.

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rachel February 9, 2015 at 8:37 am

Good advice from admin.

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JO February 9, 2015 at 9:05 am

Perfect advice admin. I have seen instances where parents just show up the party with extra kids in tow, just assuming that it’s fine to leave them even though they were not invited. So rude. Good for you for wanting to be sure, OP!

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Shalamar February 9, 2015 at 9:35 am

First of all, I LOVE that you call your daughters Thing 1 and Thing 2! 🙂

This is somewhat related – many years ago when my younger daughter was 6 or so, she brought home a hand-written party invitation from one of her best friends. The invitation was obviously written by the friend herself, but it had all of the usual party details – date, time, etc. I phoned the friend’s mother to RSVP, and the following conversation happened:

Me: Hi! It’s (Daughter’s) mum. Just wanted to say that Daughter will be coming to Friend’s party.
Her: What party?
Me: The one you’re having on (Date).
Her: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Me: Um … Friend gave Daughter an invitation to a party …
Her: Well, I don’t know what to tell you. There IS no party.
Me: Oh. Well – just to let you know – if Daughter got an invitation like that, chances are Friend gave out similar invitations to other kids, so you might be getting more calls like this one.
Her: *silence*
Me: Anyway, uh, thanks. (No idea why I thanked her.) Goodbye.
Her: *click*

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imc February 9, 2015 at 10:38 am

It we would probably have been hilarious to later find out that some people had not thought to RSVP and showed up at Friend’s house directly on the date of the party.
It’s probably what Friend had been hoping for… She might not even have been aware that the reason you put a phone number is to RSVP and that her mother would have found out about the party beforehand.

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Goldie February 9, 2015 at 10:47 am

Why was she so mean to you? You were being helpful.

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Shalamar February 10, 2015 at 10:04 am

No idea, Goldie! That mother hated me for some reason and was always rude and curt every time we had to interact. Funnily enough, Friend and my daughter are still very close, but luckily I never have to meet her mother any longer now that the girls are grown up.

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AthenaC February 9, 2015 at 11:00 am

Wow! Did you ever hear what happened after that? Did the mom have people just showing up for a party that didn’t exist?

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monkeys mommy February 9, 2015 at 12:06 pm

I totally did this to my mom when I was little. She found out the exact same way! 😀

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Sarah February 9, 2015 at 12:06 pm

Ha! Reminds me of the Ramona Quimby book where Ramona decides to invite her whole class to a party but neglects to mention it to her mother until kids start showing up.

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AIP February 9, 2015 at 12:12 pm

I think Thing 1& 2 and “Twinadoes” is adorable too – it’s lovely to see a parent being realistic about their kids, especially when they sound lovely and lively.

(And I think you thanked her because you are polite. Shame it’s not catching).

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manybellsdown February 9, 2015 at 12:36 pm

Wow. I can see being confused if your kid was giving out invitations without your knowledge, but she was pretty rude about it! It wasn’t your fault!

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DMouse77 February 9, 2015 at 6:19 pm

This happened to my daughter also! She and another friend of hers were verbally invited to a party at another little girl’s house. Turns out the girl just randomly invited people over, her parents had no idea! (Luckily we checked first before sending her over.)

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kit February 10, 2015 at 12:26 pm

I don’t know what voice was used, but from plain text it could as well be “the rude mother” was just totally shocked into almost-speechlessness.

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Raven February 9, 2015 at 9:47 am

This is why it’s important to label things! A simple “Thing 2” or “Things 1 & 2” on the envelope or the invitation would have prevented this problem. Anyway, Admin’s advice is spot-on.

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Ripple February 9, 2015 at 11:42 am

I totally agree with you Raven. How hard can it be to put a child’s name on the envelope? This would also help to cut down on the people who think, if you invite one child, you’re inviting all in the family. Not that OP is thinking that, obviously.

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A different Tracy February 9, 2015 at 11:33 am

Why would any parent write “from Jane” on the envelope instead of addressing it to someone in particular? The only reason I can come up with is that she didn’t know the names of the children she was inviting – she was just told “there are 10 girls in the class so you need 10 invitations.” And in that case, I think it’s extremely likely that she only meant to invite Thing 2, since she’s one in Jane’s class. So if you don’t want to use the Admin’s tactic, I’d assume Thing 2 is the only sister invited.

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A different Tracy February 9, 2015 at 11:35 am

Edited to add… not that you were planning to bring Thing 1 without confirming her invitation! I just meant that I’d only bring Thing 2 and not worry that you were unintentionally leaving Thing 1 out of a party she’d been invited to.

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JD February 9, 2015 at 11:53 am

Good advice, Admin!
And just for an example of how this can work: each of my two girls (not twins) had several twins in their classes, and they seemed to alternate almost every year as to which twin was in their classes; Twin 1 this year, twin 2 next year, twin 1 again, twin 2, etc. Whichever twin they had in their classes was one of their friends that year, and they would have that twin over for parties, but not the other twin, which worried me until I discovered this was what the twins themselves expected and were perfectly content that it be that way. No one seemed to mind at all, and the twin who had been “left out” the previous year was a friend for the next year again. By the time they reached puberty, though, the friendships became more real, if that’s the word I want, and each of my kids ended up either staying friends more with one twin than the other, or being equally close to both twins regardless of which one was in their classes. The OP’s child’s invitation could well be to only one of the twins with full knowledge that there is another twin.

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kit February 9, 2015 at 12:30 pm

When my husband received a wedding invitation from a friend last year, only his name on envelope, no addressing on card, we agonized over who is invited and who not – there was no evidence that anybody but himself was invited, but at the same time, at least here it would be extremely unusual to invite to a wedding a husband but not wife. The wedding was in a town 3-4 hour drive away, too, and my husband said if I was not going so wouldn’t he, but he’d go if I was invited, too. He asked advice from another married friend who was also invited, only to discover they had similar problem. At last, when the RSVP date was approaching and we still had no idea what to respond, I suggested that we could very well have a family outing in that town anyway as we had never been there before – we’d drive there, he’d go to registration, I could walk around town with kids, and spend time together afterwards if he chooses not to go to party. And if meanwhile it turned out that I was invited, after all – well, our children were old enough to be able to spend a couple hours on their own in hotel. So my husband wrote to his friend that “I will come”, and guess what, the groom answered that he hopes that it meant ALL our family would come. I would never have expected that our children were invited unless definitely specified.

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manybellsdown February 9, 2015 at 12:42 pm

I’ve had sort of the opposite problem with wedding invitations the last few years. People will address them to myself and my spouse, and leave our daughter off – and then be shocked that we assumed she wasn’t invited. But she wasn’t! Her name isn’t on this invite! I am not going to assume anyone is invited to a wedding, and it’s very frustrating that people seem to think I will.

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cassandra February 9, 2015 at 1:37 pm

uggghhh wish I had thought of asking this question before! My girls are a year apart but very close and have a lot of the same friends. But my older one usually recieves party invitations with a verbal invite from the birthday girl for my younger one. I always just ignore the verbal and send the older much to the dismay of my younger daughter. Now maybe I can try to use this tactful way of asking and make sure my younger daughter isn’t missing out on fun she was actually invited too!

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Cat2 February 9, 2015 at 3:03 pm

Eh. I have a problem with Admin’s setup, as it assumes that all of these children don’t know who the invite was handed to, and can’t be relied on to know at least that basic standard of information. I think that either makes the asker look like a dingbat or manipulative on a different kind of level.

However, I see no issue in cross-checking a verbal invite, and a potential miscommunication. “Hi, my twin girls are both friends with Jane. Thing 2 is in her class this year and came home with an invite for the birthday party. I think it’s just for Thing 2, because Jane gave it to her, but Thing 1 and Thing 2 say that Jane told them the invite was for both of them. Can you please clear this up?”

This kind of setup – assumes the lesser, indicating that the asker is willing to be told the lesser, and gives Jane’s mom the valuable info that she may need to talk to Jane and explain that Jane can’t verbally invite more people to the party.

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mark February 9, 2015 at 3:09 pm

I agree with Admin as well, though I would broaden the

“As we’ve seen in recent Ehell blog stories, it is wrong to assume a young child can accurately convey information about an invitation. ”

to include adults/anybody. 😉 (And yes I include myself in this.)

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don't blink February 9, 2015 at 5:17 pm

Call and ask. I would say straight up – “I’m sorry, but I have twin girls…is the invitation for one or both? Please do not feel obligated to invite both…. I just need to know.” Laugh and make your voice inviting and friendly. Make a joke about the confusion of having twins. Whatever works for you but definitely you need to have a conversation with the mother.

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ArtsBeatLA February 9, 2015 at 9:16 pm

^ Perfect!

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MyWorld February 9, 2015 at 6:00 pm

First of all “Bravo” to the writer for raising her twins to not be attached at the hips! I think the Admins advice gives the party girl’s mom plenty of room to invite both or not without feeling guilty.

Several times I have had an invited child’s parents call and ask if a sibling might attend my child’s birthday party or join in for a playdate. Even worst, I have had parents simply show up with a sibling in tow leaving me to be labeled the meanest parent in the world if I dared to say no.

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Cat February 11, 2015 at 4:04 am

If you do make a habit of saying no, those people might stop trying to get you to baby-sit their extra children. If every child came with one extra friend/relative your party could double in size, leaving you without enough food/favors for everyone.
Every good parent has been called mean at least once. Wear the label with pride.

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Last Dance February 11, 2015 at 4:35 am

This has got “publicity stunt” written all over it…

About Beyoncè, perhaps she’s trying not to engage the crazy? Let’s assume for a moment this is real (or at least that it was cooked up only by West’s stuff without warning anybody else): if she pulled him aside and told him to stop embarassing her, what would he get?
That acting like that is what it takes to get her attention.

It’s like de Becker said: if a man calls a woman 20 times and she picks up the phone the 21st to tell him to stop, he will not hear her words, the only message that will go through is that it takes 20 calls to reach her – so he’ll keep calling.

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Enna February 12, 2015 at 1:49 pm

I think it is best for the OP to call and claify who the mother intedned to invite. Most people are reasonable and might even find the story amusing. Are the twins idenitcal? Could be a funny story to tell in years to come. I am sure the firend’s mother would appreicate the clarification.

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