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(Geocities is still being very flaky and won't let me edit this entry--so things are still looking very weird on this page...sorry!)


25 July 2002

We get lots of free magazines in the office. I guess when you have a medical office, magazine companies feel it's good PR to give you free copies, in the hope that a patient may decide to subscribe.

I get to look through them before they go out for patient consumption, and for that reason I end up reading magazines I might never, ever have thought of picking up. Yesterday it was some high fashion magazine that I was thumbing through. (Actually, it was not so much out of interest in the subject, but because some of those issues have featured anorexic looking models and I felt it was not in the right image of the office to have them on display, so I've refused to put them out. This issue, however, seemed OK.)

If I hadn't looked through the magazine, I never would have stumbled across an article about birthday parties of the affluent children of New York. Talk about an eye-opener. I normally lose interest in long articles, but this one so shocked me that I was hooked all the way to the end.

I realize that the rich lead a life I can't begin to comprehend, but it's difficult for me to find justification for the ridiculous extents to which the parties in this article went and I'm wondering what we are teaching children by elaborate spending.

Thousands of dollars spent to hire clowns for a child's first birthday. One group of kids went to a premiere private screening of a new movie and then had a private skating party at Rockefeller Center. A magician is the favorite of the birthday set. His price starts at $625 and can run as high as $1500 (now there's a real bit of sleight of hand!). A young girl had a private party at RSVP, an exclusive club, complete with "the surprise visit of an enormous Hello Kitty." One family held the one-year birthday of their daughter in the ballroom of the Hotel Pierre and gave it a Mickey Mouse theme. "I ended up buying giant Mickey and Minnies just because of the scale of the room," the mother said. The invitations were stuffed animal with a card attached. This is for a one year old!! Another group got a behind the scenes tour of the penguin enclosure of the Central Park Zoo.

One family, when contemplating their daughter's 7th birthday party, decided they were tired of the big parties and instead took her to Paris to celebrate her birthday.

One of the saddest things I read in the article was how the hostesses don't spend a lot of money on adult food (for the parents), because most of the adults who accompanied the children were nannies (and obviously one doesn't need to feed nannies, right?)

I just have to shake my head, and think back over the parties that we hosted for our kids through the years. One of my brainstorms was the Painting Party for Ned's 3rd birthday. We had a wooden back fence and gave the kids poster paints (easy to wash off, I figured), and then filled a wasing pool, so when the kids finished painting the fence, they could play in the wading pool and get all the paint off. (As an aside--poster paint does NOT wash off wood...but it was still a fun party!)

There was a pirate party, when the kids were in nursery school. We borrowed the school grounds for the day and bought the kids scarfs to tie around their heads while they ran around pretending they were pirates. We stacked up a couple of boxes so the kids could "walk the plank." I made a cake that looked like a pirate chest, frosted it with chocolate, and stuck little chocolate gold coins in it.

There was the Star Trek Party for Tom one year. We played "pin the ears on Spock" and I made a "tribble cake," which was a bunch of cupcakes frosted in different colors and sprinkled with various textured sprinkles to look like tribble fur.

When Jeri got older, I was taking cake decorating classes and had learned how to make sugar eggs. She invited some friends in and all of them got to make sugar eggs. It was a great success, though I swear I'm still wiping up the sugar from that one!

The point is, I think the kids had a great time at all of the parties. They didn't take a huge amount of planning, they didn't cost very much and everybody had fun. And I certainly didn't spend $1,500 for a magician to entertain the kids.

Not only that, but parents brought their kids--and often stayed through the party. Nobody came with a nanny.

I guess it's nice to have money. But I think I have it better--I have fond memories and don't have to cringe when I think about how much money I paid for a kid's birthday party (especially not for a ONE YEAR OLD!)


Quote of the Day

The happiness we discover in life is not about possessing or owning or even understanding. Instead, it is the discovery of this capacity to love, to have a loving, free, and wise relationship with all of life."

--Jack Kornfield

Picture of the Day

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Tom and his Tribble Cake

One Year Ago
the naked truth is there staring at me that I’m at an age where if I were to die, nobody would think it was "premature," or such a tragedy that I "died too young." People my age die all the time, having lived a long life.

Two Years Ago
Mind Over Bladder
...when I looked at how far it was from the closest parking spot to the bathroom, I decided I would call my legendary "tremendous bladder control" into play, and I made it home without having to stop..

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