My daughter (Lucy) is turning seven and we decided to throw a small party for some of her friends. We booked a local party centre, and sent out invitations to 11 children about two weeks in advance. The party centre requires a minimum of 10 children; if less than 10 attend you are still billed for 10, so we figured 12 (including Lucy) was a manageable amount plus it gave us some leeway if not everyone could make it. Lucy has friends of both genders, so she invited 5 girls and 6 boys.
The responses came trickling in, and 10 children responded ‘yes’ – including Lucy this gave us 11, 6 girls and 5 boys, a comfortable mix I thought.
Three days before the party, a boy in Lucy’s class (H) sent out invitations for a ‘boys-only’ superhero party to be held on the same day / time as Lucy’s. Not a big deal I thought, we don’t have the right to claim a particular day for a party. The following day, the mother of one of the boys who had said they were coming to Lucy’s party emailed me to say that her son would now not be coming as he’d prefer to attend H’s party – she was sure I’d understand.
I did understand of course, but I was a bit miffed; I was taught that a positive reply to an invitation meant you were coming providing there wasn’t an emergency – not providing something better didn’t come along! This also turned out to be just the beginning as over the next 24 hours 2 more boys dropped out, citing H’s party as the reason.
I was left with a dilemma. Firstly, I was bound to pay for a party of 10 which now only had 8 attending. With only two days until the party, it was too late to invite more guests without it being obvious they were on the ‘B’ list, so I decided to suck it up and pay for the 10. Slightly annoying but no big deal.
Secondly, this also meant that the two boys who had said yes and stuck to it were now going to be outnumbered by the girls. I didn’t think we needed an exactly equal number, but I did feel sorry at the thought of two boys (both heavily into football and traditional boys’ toys) stuck with 6 girls, all of whom are into pink, glitter and princesses… I just felt bad that the boys who were taught to fulfil their commitments probably wouldn’t have a particularly good time.
A bit of creative thinking and we invited a slightly older boy from another class (a friend of Lucy’s whose parents we know well, but one who would never expect to be invited) – he and his parents were so touched that we’d invited him, thankfully the idea of a B list didn’t rear its head. This has evened things up slightly. I’ve also bought some extra ‘boy-stuff’ to add to the party decorations to make it a bit less girl-centric.
The party is this weekend so we shall see how it goes. I’m sure I’m over-thinking things and everyone will play well together and just enjoy themselves (I have found in the past that us parents get much more caught up on this stuff than the kids who just get on with it). But for future reference, does anyone have any suggestions on how to deal with stuff like this? We could have a ‘girls only’ party but Lucy has male friends too and it seems mean to exclude them. Invite lots more children (and run the risk of everyone saying yes and having an unmanageable amount and lots of extra expense)? Also, is there a dignified way to handle the parents who contacted me to say their kids had changed their minds? I suppose I should be happy that at least they had the decency to contact me rather than just not turn up! 1002-15
This is a great way to train children to be social pariahs. Why bother inviting someone to your party if you know, for a fact, that they will leave you for an better offer that happens to come up? I don’t extend further invitations to people who treat my hospitality with such obvious disdain.