Friday, May 12, 2006
A Dithering and Anxious Mama
Emily got invited to a birthday party this Sunday.

Alarm bells started going off a little right away, because isn't Sunday, you know, Mother's Day and all? Not that I'm unwilling to have some nice, quiet, childless time on the day devoted to my reproductive skills, but it seems a little unusual to schedule a birthday party that day. No?

Then the alarm bells got louder when I saw the birthday boy's name. Brickton. Not that I have a problem with the name itself - though now that I think about it, I kinda do - but he has a reputation among the Mommy Set as being a wee tad bit of a bully.

But Emily said she wanted to go, and I couldn't come up with a good reason why not on-the-spot like that. (And WHY did we think it was a good idea that she learn to read??? It was so much EASIER to lie to her about things like this when she couldn't check for herself.) So I called to RSVP. Which, I know, just isn't DONE these days, but sue me. I feel obligated to take the high road, mostly just because I get a thrill out of just how flustered and surprised people get when I actually call like the invitation says. "Oh... I wasn't expecting anyone to actually CALL."

Anyway. Here's the conversation I had with Brickton's mom. For real.
ME: Hi, this is Kate Whatsmyname. [PAUSE] Emily's mom? [PAUSE] Calling to RSVP? [PAUSE] For Brickton's party? [PAUSE] Do I have the right --
HER: Oh, RIGHT! Yes! Brickton! Party! Yes! Great!
ME: So, the party starts at 3:30. Should a parent stay, or are we just dropping her off?
HER: Oh, just leave her, you know, wherever. Here, I mean. Leave her here. Um. We're thinking of maybe walking everyone over to the Rec Center to play basketball for a while, or maybe to the McDonald's Playplace. I don't know yet. I really should call about that.
ME: Hmm. Maybe. Can you give me any gift ideas?
HER: Gifts?
ME: For Brickton? [PAUSE] For his birthday? [PAUSE] Ideas?
HER: Right! Brickton! Yes!
ME: Are there any things he really likes? Anything you don't like him to have?

*** WAIT FOR IT ***

HER: Oh, he LOVES guns! Loves them! Um. And maybe, hmm. He has a lot of guns, and we're buying him a BB and a pistol Nerf shooter fun cute thingy to play with. And wheelies and a Nerf bat. Hmm. Maybe if you didn't want to get a gun, maybe a water pistol? They make 'em really lifelike now.
ME: [NOT FAINTING UNCONSCIOUS ON FLOOR] Oh. My. Well. We'll just go shopping, then, and see what we come up with.
HER: Great! See you Saturday! I mean, Sunday! For Brickton!

So now I'm dithering and anxious, as may be obvious by the almost-2:00 timestamp here. I have a big big issue against guns and won't buy them, so that's fine. We'll find something. But to not have a single thing planned three days before the party? To encourage me to buy the most lifelike weapons on the market? To not be entirely certain of your son's name?

I don't know what to do. Cancel and come up with an alternate activity for Emily? Which means lying to Brickton's mom because I don't have any need to impose my entire lifestyle and every thought about parenting upon her when I tell her why Emily can't go?

Okay, that's not true. I kind of have a need for it, but I won't satisfy that need. It won't change anything anyway. And no need to make myself into That Mom.

Anyway. I need to sleep on this and see if I'm still as paranoid and goofy about it all in the morning.