Author Topic: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"  (Read 24968 times)

RetiredAt63

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #50 on: February 22, 2015, 11:21:37 AM »
Sure, I can see it if it is an "everybody drop in" party - then you will have parents and all the kids.   But if your husband is taking them to the YMCA then it isn't a "family drop-in" type party anymore, it is "birthday boy and a few friends and Dad off to the Y" party.  Time to be firm, a change in party type is the perfect time to change the attendance rules.  Otherwise you will be hosting siblings until you stop giving birthday parties. Which could be sooner than planned if this keeps up.

Since when do siblings of invitees get invited for a birthday party?  This is for your kid's birthday, right?  Wants his friends, right?  So why would older/younger siblings of those friends make the event better for kid and his friends?  They are tagging along and/or you are just baby-sitting.  Kids don't have any reason to go to birthday parties of siblings' friends.  Sort that out and your parties will be a lot easier.  (Or am I that out of touch with present-day parenting?)

Being even more cynical - I bet it is almost all younger siblings, the older ones wouldn't usually be caught dead at a younger kid's party. 

We did the age thing - age of birthday child = maximum number of friends invited.  And no need to get up to that maximum, either.  Plus DD and her friends enjoyed the parties at home (summer birthday = outside fun) as much as they enjoyed the fancier ones.  And they pretty well ended by age 12 - after that it was sleepovers with only 2 or 3 other girls.

My husband hated it.
He's planning year 9 this year at the YMCA.  That's going to be at least $300 with the rental fee, food, and "gift bags".  Ugh.  You see, he has 5-6 good friends, but they all have siblings, so that's 12-15 kids right there.

TOTALLY agree with you.  My friends up the street have two girls, and the younger daughter NEVER goes to birthday parties because she's NOT on the invitation.  Because my friend, her mother, is in her 50's and knows etiquette.

Unfortunately (or fortunately?) many birthday parties started early and were "family" parties because we are actually friends with the families, so the adults are there and the kids are there and it's VERY hard to segue out of that.

This is why I was attempting the smaller sleep-over parties.  Anyway, I think this year will be it.

MLKnits

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #51 on: February 22, 2015, 03:01:13 PM »
"...thousands of dollars for her own children's festivities..." - cakes cost $20 if you buy them, $5 if you make them. Also, kids don't need presents every time they turn a year older, especially not expensive ones.

Very Expensive children's parties baffle me. Admittedly, I'm not a parent, so I may well be missing something, but my hourly employee has a four-year-old (about to turn five) and asked my opinion about whether she should hire one costumed character ($185) or two ($340), since it was less per character to hire two. I had trouble keeping my tone light, that's for sure. I convinced her that hiring two was silly if she'd only ever wanted one, and that one was less money overall so the 'savings' wasn't real, but boy did I want to say "why the heck would you hire any? Buy some face paint maybe!"

It's particularly odd because she's a terrifically smart and motivated woman, and I know she's frugal in other areas (secondhand clothing, especially--she always looks fantastic and it costs her next to nothing) but when it comes to her daughter, the sky appears to be the limit. Parent blinders?

Docwhowantstoslowdown

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #52 on: February 22, 2015, 03:29:21 PM »
All those things are expensive if you don't know how to say no.

My 8 year old isn't into sports, and I was recently asked when I was going to "let him" play a sport.  Let him?  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not heartbroken that we aren't on 3 soccer teams, including traveling soccer.  I'm happy to pay $40 a month every other month for swim lessons (we waited too long to sign up this month).

The birthday parties kill me.  KILL ME.  Year 1: no party. Years 2-7, parties, and it's almost impossible to have one for under $250.  Parties at the bowling alley, the YMCA, the park, whatever.  And then you get invited to all the OTHER parties.  Year 8 we did a sleepover with a few boys and it was crazy but I LOVED it.

My husband hated it.
He's planning year 9 this year at the YMCA.  That's going to be at least $300 with the rental fee, food, and "gift bags".  Ugh.  You see, he has 5-6 good friends, but they all have siblings, so that's 12-15 kids right there.
But I pretty much refuse to participate.  If he wants to do it, fine, I don't have the energy to fight it really.  But I will not make the reservations, order the food, or buy stuff for gift bags. I'll show up, sure, smile and be social. 
I don't understand why we even need a party.  Can't we just invite the neighbors over for cake?

My 2 year old?  No parties yes.  He's been invited to parties, but we haven't thrown one yet.  And won't this year either (3rd birthday).  Will be visiting family.



What happened to just inviting a few friends over, making a few cupcakes, and calling it a day? My 6 year old wanted his party at some jump house for $400! Um no buddy. We had a great time at home after buying a small bounce house for $50 off craigslist.

Gin1984

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #53 on: February 22, 2015, 03:43:38 PM »
"...thousands of dollars for her own children's festivities..." - cakes cost $20 if you buy them, $5 if you make them. Also, kids don't need presents every time they turn a year older, especially not expensive ones.

Very Expensive children's parties baffle me. Admittedly, I'm not a parent, so I may well be missing something, but my hourly employee has a four-year-old (about to turn five) and asked my opinion about whether she should hire one costumed character ($185) or two ($340), since it was less per character to hire two. I had trouble keeping my tone light, that's for sure. I convinced her that hiring two was silly if she'd only ever wanted one, and that one was less money overall so the 'savings' wasn't real, but boy did I want to say "why the heck would you hire any? Buy some face paint maybe!"

It's particularly odd because she's a terrifically smart and motivated woman, and I know she's frugal in other areas (secondhand clothing, especially--she always looks fantastic and it costs her next to nothing) but when it comes to her daughter, the sky appears to be the limit. Parent blinders?
It is harder when it is your kid.  You want them to have experience and things because seeing them happy, from multiple things makes you happy.  For example, we buy all our daughter's clothes at consignment but there have been a few dresses that I want to buy new because of the companies making them.  However, that want does not override my want to be FI but maybe if she was older and really wanted them as well it would be harder to say no.  You also don't want to put your child in a position that she is bullied or without friends at school because you chose not to do the things the other parents do.

Annamal

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #54 on: February 22, 2015, 04:48:18 PM »
What the fuck is up with everyone being allergic to things. Food allergies were unheard of when and where I was little. I can't believe that this isn't a modern phenomenon. (Unless maybe "gluten allergy" used to mean "you will have plenty more babies to replace that one"?)

It seems a lot of people are being misdiagnosed with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, when in fact certain carbohydrates (as can be found in baked goods, chocolate, artificial sweeteners, beans, apples, and high fructose corn syrup) can cause the same gastrointestinal issues. Many people I work with claim to have a gluten sensitivity, but they haven't actually been tested to know for sure. It seems odd to me that you would make changes to your diet, especially at the risk of  reducing your intake of fiber and many other beneficial vitamins, based on a guess or a hunch.  Besides, I've seen what my coworkers eat and how much; I highly doubt that gluten is the problem for most of them.

The gluten test is only for some forms of sensitivity, I think - some don't show up but still are a thing. Though of course people will tend to assume that their allergy must be one they've heard of before and misdiagnose.

We eat more variety of food nowadays than we used to, including processed food that didn't used to exist, which I suspect is the reason for more allergies. They're often to non-staple foods, too. In the past, I think allergies just got lumped in with all the other mystery problems - if you had a severe one, its an unexplained death. If a more mild one to common food, it's a chronic illness - you're just sickly or prone to warts or whatever.

This happens even now. I know someone with a very noticeable mind-affecting allergy (like, difference is night and day, not something you could fske) who almost got diagnosed mentally ill before figuring it out.

Actual celiac disease can be diagnosed with a blood test, but gluten sensitivity/allergies can't be.

I think it can be suggested by a blood test (presence of anti-bodies I think?) but in order to absolutely  confirm they need a colonoscopy. My dad came out as inconclusive on the blood test but turned out to have ulcers instead of coeliac (my aunt definitely is coeliac though which is why the rest of the family got tested).

caliq

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #55 on: February 22, 2015, 05:20:09 PM »
What the fuck is up with everyone being allergic to things. Food allergies were unheard of when and where I was little. I can't believe that this isn't a modern phenomenon. (Unless maybe "gluten allergy" used to mean "you will have plenty more babies to replace that one"?)

It seems a lot of people are being misdiagnosed with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, when in fact certain carbohydrates (as can be found in baked goods, chocolate, artificial sweeteners, beans, apples, and high fructose corn syrup) can cause the same gastrointestinal issues. Many people I work with claim to have a gluten sensitivity, but they haven't actually been tested to know for sure. It seems odd to me that you would make changes to your diet, especially at the risk of  reducing your intake of fiber and many other beneficial vitamins, based on a guess or a hunch.  Besides, I've seen what my coworkers eat and how much; I highly doubt that gluten is the problem for most of them.

The gluten test is only for some forms of sensitivity, I think - some don't show up but still are a thing. Though of course people will tend to assume that their allergy must be one they've heard of before and misdiagnose.

We eat more variety of food nowadays than we used to, including processed food that didn't used to exist, which I suspect is the reason for more allergies. They're often to non-staple foods, too. In the past, I think allergies just got lumped in with all the other mystery problems - if you had a severe one, its an unexplained death. If a more mild one to common food, it's a chronic illness - you're just sickly or prone to warts or whatever.

This happens even now. I know someone with a very noticeable mind-affecting allergy (like, difference is night and day, not something you could fske) who almost got diagnosed mentally ill before figuring it out.

Actual celiac disease can be diagnosed with a blood test, but gluten sensitivity/allergies can't be.

I think it can be suggested by a blood test (presence of anti-bodies I think?) but in order to absolutely  confirm they need a colonoscopy. My dad came out as inconclusive on the blood test but turned out to have ulcers instead of coeliac (my aunt definitely is coeliac though which is why the rest of the family got tested).

Ah; my blood test came back negative, so that's why I wasn't aware there was further testing required.  I was also tested because of an aunt with Celiac's.

firelight

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #56 on: February 22, 2015, 05:34:59 PM »
None of my family is allergic to anything, but recently we found my baby (less than 5 months old) is allergic and had blood in her stools. She is on breast milk only - but the food I'm eating is affecting her, so much so that I'm off eggs, soy, corn and dairy. We were recently cleared for nuts. Trust me, we don't keep our house super clean. We also do yearly trips to Asia, so it's not as if my immune system is weak and passed to my baby. We have no idea why she is allergic (none of the cousins are) nor when she'll outgrow it :(
So it might not be over cleanliness that's causing the allergies.

Annamal

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #57 on: February 22, 2015, 06:35:15 PM »
What the fuck is up with everyone being allergic to things. Food allergies were unheard of when and where I was little. I can't believe that this isn't a modern phenomenon. (Unless maybe "gluten allergy" used to mean "you will have plenty more babies to replace that one"?)

It seems a lot of people are being misdiagnosed with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, when in fact certain carbohydrates (as can be found in baked goods, chocolate, artificial sweeteners, beans, apples, and high fructose corn syrup) can cause the same gastrointestinal issues. Many people I work with claim to have a gluten sensitivity, but they haven't actually been tested to know for sure. It seems odd to me that you would make changes to your diet, especially at the risk of  reducing your intake of fiber and many other beneficial vitamins, based on a guess or a hunch.  Besides, I've seen what my coworkers eat and how much; I highly doubt that gluten is the problem for most of them.

The gluten test is only for some forms of sensitivity, I think - some don't show up but still are a thing. Though of course people will tend to assume that their allergy must be one they've heard of before and misdiagnose.

We eat more variety of food nowadays than we used to, including processed food that didn't used to exist, which I suspect is the reason for more allergies. They're often to non-staple foods, too. In the past, I think allergies just got lumped in with all the other mystery problems - if you had a severe one, its an unexplained death. If a more mild one to common food, it's a chronic illness - you're just sickly or prone to warts or whatever.

This happens even now. I know someone with a very noticeable mind-affecting allergy (like, difference is night and day, not something you could fske) who almost got diagnosed mentally ill before figuring it out.

Actual celiac disease can be diagnosed with a blood test, but gluten sensitivity/allergies can't be.

I think it can be suggested by a blood test (presence of anti-bodies I think?) but in order to absolutely  confirm they need a colonoscopy. My dad came out as inconclusive on the blood test but turned out to have ulcers instead of coeliac (my aunt definitely is coeliac though which is why the rest of the family got tested).

Ah; my blood test came back negative, so that's why I wasn't aware there was further testing required.  I was also tested because of an aunt with Celiac's.

The really unfortunate thing with the colonoscopy is that it relies on the damage from consuming gluten being present, if someone goes on a gluten free or low gluten diet before getting confirmed then the damage begins healing and they are liable to get a false negative.

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #58 on: February 22, 2015, 11:26:53 PM »
None of my family is allergic to anything, but recently we found my baby (less than 5 months old) is allergic and had blood in her stools. She is on breast milk only - but the food I'm eating is affecting her, so much so that I'm off eggs, soy, corn and dairy. We were recently cleared for nuts. Trust me, we don't keep our house super clean. We also do yearly trips to Asia, so it's not as if my immune system is weak and passed to my baby. We have no idea why she is allergic (none of the cousins are) nor when she'll outgrow it :(
So it might not be over cleanliness that's causing the allergies.

Sorry, cutinela, that anecdote a) prevents us from judging you and b) suggests we don't have complete control over our lives, and so will be summarily ignored.

Sibley

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #59 on: February 27, 2015, 02:38:27 PM »
None of my family is allergic to anything, but recently we found my baby (less than 5 months old) is allergic and had blood in her stools. She is on breast milk only - but the food I'm eating is affecting her, so much so that I'm off eggs, soy, corn and dairy. We were recently cleared for nuts. Trust me, we don't keep our house super clean. We also do yearly trips to Asia, so it's not as if my immune system is weak and passed to my baby. We have no idea why she is allergic (none of the cousins are) nor when she'll outgrow it :(
So it might not be over cleanliness that's causing the allergies.

I have a good friend who's in the same boat, down to the bloody diapers. No dairy or soy. I guess it's not uncommon, but they do tend to outgrow it. At least, if your baby has the same thing. My friend said they could test dairy around a year old and see what happens. Have hope!

gaja

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #60 on: February 28, 2015, 05:45:03 PM »
On the "all or none" policy for birthday parties, I'm all for it. It is hard enough being an outsider, bullied or different in some way, without adults condoning leaving you out of parties. It usually are the same kids that don't get invited, and it is damn hard for both them and their parents to find ways to work this out. Kids can behave like evil little midgets if their parents condone them.

We just moved to a new town, and really appriciate the inclusive rules. My girls don't really have any friends yet, but it helps getting invited to birthdays. Especially since the other parents get a chance of observing tendencing to teasing and bullying in their own kids, that they don't see when the kids are in school.

In exchange for "forcing" people to invite the full class, the school lets anyone use the classrooms after hours for free. And it is just normal stuff here: hot dogs, cake, some small gifts, and free playtime. No expensive entertainment or hired clowns.

justajane

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #61 on: February 28, 2015, 06:06:16 PM »
I just RSVPed no to a birthday party, because it was for two kids in my son's 1st grade class. It was at an expensive place in town, so I'm assuming the parents wanted to pool their resources and have a double celebration. Great for them that they saved money, but since there was no mention on the invitation that my son's present(s) would be his presence, I'm presuming that meant as a guest I would be expected to bring a gift for each kid. Screw that!

rosaz

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #62 on: March 05, 2015, 12:43:29 PM »
Well that article was extremely depressing. But just as I was ready to give up, I finished the slideshow and this was one of the links that came up:

http://money.cnn.com/gallery/news/economy/2014/06/16/american-dream/index.html

I think someone at CNN is a secret mustachian :)

mm1970

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #63 on: March 05, 2015, 01:36:12 PM »
Quote
What happened to just inviting a few friends over, making a few cupcakes, and calling it a day? My 6 year old wanted his party at some jump house for $400! Um no buddy. We had a great time at home after buying a small bounce house for $50 off craigslist.

Yes.  This is what I'd prefer, and what we did last year.  (Note: I did not plan the party this year.  I have had nothing to do with it.)

nobody123

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #64 on: March 07, 2015, 12:10:30 PM »
I just RSVPed no to a birthday party, because it was for two kids in my son's 1st grade class. It was at an expensive place in town, so I'm assuming the parents wanted to pool their resources and have a double celebration. Great for them that they saved money, but since there was no mention on the invitation that my son's present(s) would be his presence, I'm presuming that meant as a guest I would be expected to bring a gift for each kid. Screw that!

I don't get it.   Would you have RSVP'd "yes" if the party was for only one child?

justajane

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #65 on: March 07, 2015, 12:13:21 PM »
I just RSVPed no to a birthday party, because it was for two kids in my son's 1st grade class. It was at an expensive place in town, so I'm assuming the parents wanted to pool their resources and have a double celebration. Great for them that they saved money, but since there was no mention on the invitation that my son's present(s) would be his presence, I'm presuming that meant as a guest I would be expected to bring a gift for each kid. Screw that!

I don't get it.   Would you have RSVP'd "yes" if the party was for only one child?

What don't you get? I didn't want to buy two birthday presents for one party. They saved money, but their guests certainly didn't.

MoneyCat

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #66 on: March 07, 2015, 12:31:52 PM »
God, I'm glad I don't have children.  They are a financial black hole and a massive source of stress.  And when they get to middle school age, they turn into horrible little evil trolls.  Other people can have children.  I'm going to go enjoy a beach somewhere.

cavewoman

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #67 on: March 07, 2015, 12:33:09 PM »
Not a parent, but my thinking on birthday parties is to start small, so making each one better than the last doesn't get ridiculous. Not that they have to be more expensive each year but I think if you have clowns and a bounce house for age 7, then the kid will want a magician, petting zoo, and pony rides for age 8.

My parties were full of spin the bottle and slow dancing in my pre teen years, pretty cheap and ... unsupervised ... I guess I wouldn't want my 11 year old to do the same but I certainly enjoyed them. We never had non house birthday parties when I was growing up.

When I turned 25 though, I threw myself an epic birthday at the pizza place with arcade and indoor laser tag and go cart track. It was fun to go through the reservation process and then reveal that the birthday girl was me.  I had the free tokens for my friends and coworkers' kids, and it was a really great day. Definitely my favorite adult birthday so far.

nobody123

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #68 on: March 07, 2015, 04:20:46 PM »
I just RSVPed no to a birthday party, because it was for two kids in my son's 1st grade class. It was at an expensive place in town, so I'm assuming the parents wanted to pool their resources and have a double celebration. Great for them that they saved money, but since there was no mention on the invitation that my son's present(s) would be his presence, I'm presuming that meant as a guest I would be expected to bring a gift for each kid. Screw that!

I don't get it.   Would you have RSVP'd "yes" if the party was for only one child?

What don't you get? I didn't want to buy two birthday presents for one party. They saved money, but their guests certainly didn't.

Presumably, if they had two separate parties you would have attended both and purchased two gifts.  Why is buying two gifts for a joint party so offensive to you?  Why does how much the parents spend on the party factor into your gift giving?  What if the kids were twins, should the parents hold two parties?

justajane

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #69 on: March 07, 2015, 05:16:58 PM »
I just RSVPed no to a birthday party, because it was for two kids in my son's 1st grade class. It was at an expensive place in town, so I'm assuming the parents wanted to pool their resources and have a double celebration. Great for them that they saved money, but since there was no mention on the invitation that my son's present(s) would be his presence, I'm presuming that meant as a guest I would be expected to bring a gift for each kid. Screw that!

I don't get it.   Would you have RSVP'd "yes" if the party was for only one child?

What don't you get? I didn't want to buy two birthday presents for one party. They saved money, but their guests certainly didn't.

Presumably, if they had two separate parties you would have attended both and purchased two gifts.  Why is buying two gifts for a joint party so offensive to you?  Why does how much the parents spend on the party factor into your gift giving?  What if the kids were twins, should the parents hold two parties?

It's not offensive to me, but my kid gets invited to lots of parties a year. If I go to two parties and bring two gifts, my kid gets twice the amount of fun experiences. Perhaps that sounds crass to you, but honestly the whole exchange of parties/gifts among families is in many respects crass. I would much rather prefer that we all had "no gifts" parties, but obviously most families don't agree with me.

No, families with twins don't have to hold two parties, but they should probably make it a "no gift" party. My son's twin classmates did just that last year. They invited around 20 kids. If everyone had brought two gifts, that would be 40 gifts. Doesn't that seem obscene to you? Thankfully the parents of the twins realized this and did the sensible thing.

How far are you willing to take this? My two sons and their dad all have a birthday in the span of one week. Last year we threw a huge bash for all three. We invited around 50 people. Should everyone have brought three gifts so that we could bring over a hundred things back home with us? Come on, now. We made clear that no gifts were expected, and no one brought them.

The vast majority of these parties are for people I couldn't even pick out in a crowd. I don't buy a gift out of the goodness of my heart. I do it because it a socially mandated practice. It's onerous enough to buy one present for a perfect stranger, but two? No, thanks.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2015, 05:18:53 PM by justajane »

nobody123

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #70 on: March 08, 2015, 01:19:47 PM »
I just RSVPed no to a birthday party, because it was for two kids in my son's 1st grade class. It was at an expensive place in town, so I'm assuming the parents wanted to pool their resources and have a double celebration. Great for them that they saved money, but since there was no mention on the invitation that my son's present(s) would be his presence, I'm presuming that meant as a guest I would be expected to bring a gift for each kid. Screw that!

I don't get it.   Would you have RSVP'd "yes" if the party was for only one child?

What don't you get? I didn't want to buy two birthday presents for one party. They saved money, but their guests certainly didn't.

Presumably, if they had two separate parties you would have attended both and purchased two gifts.  Why is buying two gifts for a joint party so offensive to you?  Why does how much the parents spend on the party factor into your gift giving?  What if the kids were twins, should the parents hold two parties?

It's not offensive to me, but my kid gets invited to lots of parties a year. If I go to two parties and bring two gifts, my kid gets twice the amount of fun experiences. Perhaps that sounds crass to you, but honestly the whole exchange of parties/gifts among families is in many respects crass. I would much rather prefer that we all had "no gifts" parties, but obviously most families don't agree with me.

No, families with twins don't have to hold two parties, but they should probably make it a "no gift" party. My son's twin classmates did just that last year. They invited around 20 kids. If everyone had brought two gifts, that would be 40 gifts. Doesn't that seem obscene to you? Thankfully the parents of the twins realized this and did the sensible thing.

How far are you willing to take this? My two sons and their dad all have a birthday in the span of one week. Last year we threw a huge bash for all three. We invited around 50 people. Should everyone have brought three gifts so that we could bring over a hundred things back home with us? Come on, now. We made clear that no gifts were expected, and no one brought them.

The vast majority of these parties are for people I couldn't even pick out in a crowd. I don't buy a gift out of the goodness of my heart. I do it because it a socially mandated practice. It's onerous enough to buy one present for a perfect stranger, but two? No, thanks.

You're saying you won't buy two presents for one party because your kid is getting cheated by not getting to experience two parties.  So, he gets zero experiences in this case because you don't feel like 'overpaying' for a single experience.  You're his parent and get to make that call.  If you want to host a 'no gifts please' party, that's your right as well.  If I had twins and they were of the 'invite the whole class' age, I would probably do the same so a reasonable amount of kids would show up instead of passing on it because they didn't want to buy two gifts.  I could see wanting gifts, however, to recoup some of the expense of all of the gifts you had to buy for random classmates, and avoid the pain of explaining to your little ones why they don't get to open presents at their party when that's the social norm that they've experienced at every other kid's birthday party.

I do get your frustration of having to shell out for a gift for the random kids that your kid isn't even that friendly with.  My son has 20-some other kids in his class, really only is friendly with a handful, yet my wife will still take him to any of the birthday parties we can make it to.  I don't get it, but apparently my wife is somehow worried that a first grader is going to hold a grudge against my kid because he didn't show up to their party.  My kids birthday is during the summer, so realistically only a couple are going to show up for his anyway.

Personally, I would love it if the parties were all no gifts.  I think it's really tacky if it's a party for a grown, married adult, and there isn't a 'no gifts please' on the invite.  Had to go to one a couple of weeks ago, and my wife refused to not take a gift in spite of my arguing that it was stupid to do so.

fartface

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #71 on: March 08, 2015, 02:04:06 PM »
With school officials encouraging parents to invite either all (or none) of their child's classmates to birthday parties, Sellinger said she fields at least 50 invitations a year for her 13-year-old son and 9- and 11-year-old daughters.

Excuse my language but fuuuuuuuuckkkk this...
The whole mentality of everyone is a winner, everyone gets a trophy, my kid better be included blah blah blah. 

No I'll invite/my son will invite, whomever he wants. I've always been a nice person, but sorry, there were people in my classroom who were not part of my group. We make friends with people who we feel comfortable with, not everyone.  Stop trying to micromanage a students personal life.

Actually most school policies state that if a child is passing out invitations at school all children of his/her gender should be included. IF you are only inviting select students, then the invites should be mailed or distributed outside of school.

Man if I ever got a "it's the whole class or none" bullshit line, I would flip my shit...

Flyingkea

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #72 on: March 14, 2015, 06:25:35 AM »
I am amazed reading some of these birthday party stories. When my son is older he will be having the same sort of parties I did growing up. Invite half a dozen friends around where they can run around in the back yard, or local park for the afternoon. Lunch will be things like sliced fruit, sausage rolls, crackers, cheese, homemade savoury muffins. Followed by homemade cake.
And if I have never heard the name of some other kid who's invited him to a party he needs to be able to put forward a convincing case as to why he should go.

bmcewan

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #73 on: March 16, 2015, 08:41:26 AM »
My sister's husband is the food-allergy king. He's allergic to peanuts, seafood, dust, dogs, cats, and a long list of foods. His mother kept their home "boy-in-the-bubble clean" for her little snowflake, and his allergies just got worse and worse. He and my sister are about to have her third child. The oldest is an allergic train wreck - they keep the home so spotless and sterile for the husband, that the kids barely come in contact with anything, so his allergies just get worse. The oldest recently got the "peanut allergy" diagnosis and my sister went to the school and did the whole "no peanuts within 100'" thing, notes were sent home to classmates, etc.

My daughter had a walnut allergy when she was little. Gave her hives. Every few months we would give her a little piece of walnut to eat until she got used to it. She grew out of it by the time she was ten. Now you could say, oh just avoid walnuts. But for me it was a safety issue.

Meanwhile, when my sister and I grew up, we played in the dirt and spent most of our time outdoors. I get about a week of watery eyes when the goldenrod blooms in Spring, but that's it. "Hygiene hypothessis" seems to line up with our experiences.

I'm a red panda

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #74 on: March 16, 2015, 09:51:49 AM »

No, families with twins don't have to hold two parties, but they should probably make it a "no gift" party.

So kids who don't share their birthday can get gifts, but ones who have a sibling born the same day shouldn't get gifts?

Your logic is baffling.

I mean, the kids who have a birthday to their own, most likely still have siblings- so the total number of gifts that flows through the house in a year is the same as the twins.  It's just a problem that they all come in on the same day?

(I've noticed my sister's twins do get smaller gifts than her single- so parents do budget; and just because of the sheer amount of stuff, she's had no gift parties, for all three. But to say a twin should have a no-gift party just because they are a twin. That makes zero sense at all.)

justajane

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #75 on: March 16, 2015, 10:24:40 AM »

No, families with twins don't have to hold two parties, but they should probably make it a "no gift" party.

So kids who don't share their birthday can get gifts, but ones who have a sibling born the same day shouldn't get gifts?

Your logic is baffling.

I mean, the kids who have a birthday to their own, most likely still have siblings- so the total number of gifts that flows through the house in a year is the same as the twins.  It's just a problem that they all come in on the same day?

(I've noticed my sister's twins do get smaller gifts than her single- so parents do budget; and just because of the sheer amount of stuff, she's had no gift parties, for all three. But to say a twin should have a no-gift party just because they are a twin. That makes zero sense at all.)

Clearly my thought process here hit a nerve with people. I've said from the beginning that I would prefer all parties to be no gifts, including my kids. I just went to a party yesterday in which we spent at least 30 minutes of a short party opening gifts. Good grief!

Can we all agree that kids in general have too much stuff to begin with? I don't think I'm depriving my children of a meaningful experience or am a big ole meanie if I don't let them experience an orgy of gift giving at their birthday party. Nor am I an irrational person for thinking that families with twins probably already have overflowing toy boxes as well. But carry on. I'll continue to decline birthday parties of my choice, and you can enjoy watching two kids open birthday presents for over an hour :).

Sheesh. Did I somehow find myself in another forum?
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 10:31:23 AM by justajane »

justajane

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #76 on: March 16, 2015, 11:55:38 AM »
I know I should just let this go, but since that is not really my strong suit - let me just add this to the discussion.

@Iowajes, your logic could also be applied to the party itself. If we're going to put the financial reasons of birthday party attenders under the microscope (labeling them cheap or illogical), then we darned well should do that for the host(s) as well.

Why don't parents of twins throw two birthday parties? After all, if they had their children separately at different times of the year, wouldn't they be having two parties?

They don't, because it's a silly argument, and birthday parties are expensive and, frankly, usually not that fun for the adults. I might add that these are the same reasons that parents like myself of potential attendees might choose to forego a party that requires two gifts. It's an easy reason to decline a party I would rather not attend anyway.

But I could dispense with the whole culture of gift giving and children's parties and be quite content. Call me a scrooge if you want. I prefer to embrace it as part of my quest for less things.

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #77 on: March 16, 2015, 12:05:08 PM »
Quote
After all, if they had their children separately at different times of the year, wouldn't they be having two parties?

Around here, if the kids are near each other at all in birth date, they often do.   Actually, I'm pretty sure I had a shared party with my sister in the 80s, I was January and she was February. We were 2 years apart. Our friends only brought gifts for the one of us they were friends with.  Friends who were friends with both of us, brought both of us a gift.


Personally, I see no issue at all in declining an invitation if you don't want to buy a gift; I didn't say anything against that.  And I applaud "no gift" parties, or "bring a dog item and we will donate to the animal shelter" etc. 

But it makes ZERO sense to me to say a twin shouldn't get a gift, specifically for being a twin.  (And, as they have grown- shared gifts don't work as well anymore. They don't want to be thought of as a unit. They are individuals who want separate things.) I do know some twin parents who have separate parties if the kids do not have overlapping interests. One has their friends go bowling, the other go ice skating- and in the cases I've seen, yes, the twins attend each other's parties, but the friends don't necessarily overlap.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 12:07:58 PM by iowajes »

Le Poisson

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #78 on: March 16, 2015, 12:08:51 PM »
Enough things in this thread are cause for alarm, that casual me actually got motivation to join the forum and reply.

1. What the heck do kids have to look forward to if there is an endless line of birthdays on their calendar? I remember waiting for "Jimmy Smith's" birthday, and feeling special because I got to go. I also remember hanging out at the park next to "Jimmy Smith's" place so when he got home from a birthday party we could go bike riding. Both were rewarding in their own way. And yeah, the freckle faced redhead never invited me to her birthday. That was a lesson too.

2. Allergies are on the increase for a couple reasons - first, life is now easier for folks with deadly allergies - they live past 5 years old. Tolerance is way higher than it used to be. But Like vaccinations, people like to feel 'special' and want society to change to suit the one kid at the risk of the herd, so we see the herd developing reactions due to low exposure rates to the allergens and the bubble mentality. Etc. ad nauseum.

3. With regards to asthma - someone posted about a bout of adolescent asthma coupled with eczema. If you have these 2 conditions, I would encourage you to have your heart rhythm checked at your next annual checkup. When in HS, I was running track and having regular asthma bouts, and chest pains intermittently. Eczema was an issue all my life. When I went to a cardiologist to have a 2D Echo done, he identified that a Mitral Valve Prolapse is common on folks with the other 2 conditions and is (was?) considered a genetic trait at the time. IOW, the asthma and eczema may be markers for a heart condition.

4. About gifts - the trend up here among the home-schooled, ultra Christian crowd lately has been to hold a charity birthday. The kids get cards stuffed with money for the SPCA or women's shelter or whatever, or they get supplies for the charities. Its all very nice. I'm looking for a way to get to be socially acceptable for my kids to host College fund top-up parties. I mean, we need the cash more than we need to contribute to the pacific gyre with more plastic crap every 3 months. I have no idea how I convince folks this is a better idea than dropping $20 at Toys R Us.
 
5. And finally... the birthday party stupid is a good market for you to make money if you are looking for a weekend gig. Sew together a costume and rent yourself out as a character for kids parties. Around here Batman gets about $250 a day. If you don't have that physique, go for Old King Cole at a lower rate. Women really have it made in this niche since "Princess Parties" are all the rage up here right now. Know how to make tea? Got a Goodwill nearby? All you need is a gown and a Tiara and you go teach kids table manners for an afternoon and collect your fee.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 12:12:20 PM by Prospector »

justajane

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #79 on: March 16, 2015, 02:36:56 PM »
But it makes ZERO sense to me to say a twin shouldn't get a gift, specifically for being a twin.  (And, as they have grown- shared gifts don't work as well anymore. They don't want to be thought of as a unit. They are individuals who want separate things.) I do know some twin parents who have separate parties if the kids do not have overlapping interests. One has their friends go bowling, the other go ice skating- and in the cases I've seen, yes, the twins attend each other's parties, but the friends don't necessarily overlap.

I can certainly understand your perspective and will give twins b'days more consideration in the future. It's probably pretty hard to be a twin and never have your special day be only yours.

FWIW, for my third son's first birthday in a few months, I'm going to set up a fund raiser with the Against Malaria foundation. I didn't know about this charity until I came across it on here. I'll be sure people understand it isn't obligatory or expected though and we'll match whatever is given. Might as well harness people's desire to give for good.   

BlueHouse

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #80 on: March 16, 2015, 05:10:44 PM »
I really don't understand the need to celebrate birthdays at all. I think it's probably nice for kids and would think ages 5, 10, and 21 (or three other ages) would be good to celebrate. But I honestly don't understand the need to celebrate it every year. My mother treats her birthdays as if the world should stop spinning and everyone should drop their activities to celebrate her birthday. I'm sorry to be so jaded, but everyone has a birthday. They are not special.

I heard in Greece they celebrate name day instead of birthday. So everyone named Constantine celebrates on the same day. I liked that idea especially because it points out that everyone is special, but no more special than others!

Merrie

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #81 on: March 17, 2015, 11:38:34 AM »


The birthday parties kill me.  KILL ME.  Year 1: no party. Years 2-7, parties, and it's almost impossible to have one for under $250.  Parties at the bowling alley, the YMCA, the park, whatever.  And then you get invited to all the OTHER parties.  Year 8 we did a sleepover with a few boys and it was crazy but I LOVED it.

We are super frugal compared to our peer group (and our kids haven't even hit kindergarten yet). Everyone seems to rent a space for a party, which sets you back $100-200 right there. We had a pretty big party for our daughter's third birthday last summer; big for us was 8-10 kids and at least as many adults. Cost was $100 for pizza, utensils, drinks, etc and we had a lot of pizza left over. We didn't do goody bags. It does help that she has a summer birthday and we live in a big house, lots of space to romp indoors and out, which I think is all they care about at this age. This is one perk to the big house, and a couple of my friends who rented the big spaces live in tiny places.

But I really can't see doing one of those $200 rentals and inviting a zillion kids. If as my kids get older they really want to go to some place fancier, the party will have to be smaller by comparison.

IDK, anyone who judges us for doing the frugal & homey approach is someone I don't want to be friends with anyway. We have friends over a lot. Nobody will ever go hungry at one of our gatherings and we have a good time, but nothing is fancy. I am comfortable with that and I hope as our kids grow up they'll be comfortable with it too.

justajane

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #82 on: March 17, 2015, 12:11:48 PM »
Parties at my house stress me the hell out. Maybe it's because I have a small house, or maybe I just need to get over the fact that it usually isn't all clean at once. But I would pay at least $100 more to have a party not in my house.

One perk of a kid parties at traditional kid places like bounce places or whatever is that there is not expectation to provide food or drink for adults. When your kids are under five, most parents like to stay with their kiddo. So if I have a party at my house and parents come, I feel obligated to provide food and most likely beer for them. This adds up quickly. I have spent well over a hundred dollars for a home party. Of course I could have done it cheaper, but I just know if I am a parent stuck in a stranger's house, I like some food and drink to make it more pleasant.

Since all of our birthdays are in the spring/summer, we often rent a pavilion at a park. Our local one is only $35 for the day. The annoyance there is hauling all the drink and ice to the park and figuring out a way to keep things either hot or cold. But this type of party can be done for pretty cheap. Grill some dogs, put some bowls of chips out, and have a cake. Done and done.

But I agree with others that a party every year is not necessary and rather excessive. Our kids have been told from day one that some years they won't get a party. My husband's parents never did parties and instead said that each year he could invite one or two friends to go to the movies with him. He loved that.

Le Poisson

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #83 on: March 17, 2015, 12:24:46 PM »
JustAJane - Park pavilions are a great idea. Local parks here have started passing bylaws requiring that parties booking the pavilion get a public gathering (forget the exact words) permit in addition to booking the pavillion. The reason for this is that the permit can only be issued with proof of insurance.

After a few BBQ's burnt down various gazebos, the thought was that the insurance would be a good thing to have so that the taxpayer wouldn't be on the hook when the disaster struck. Exactly how you go about getting that sort of insurance no one knows though...

hdatontodo

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Re: CNN article - "The Most Surprising Cost of Raising My Kid"
« Reply #84 on: March 17, 2015, 02:57:47 PM »
...One perk of a kid parties at traditional kid places like bounce places or whatever is that there is not expectation to provide food or drink for adults....

It might be a Maryland thing but every party my 7 year old attended over the last year at a bounce-house/bowling-alley/laser-tag/gymnatics-gym/trampoline-gym/neighborhood-clubhouse had enough food (pizza), drink (soda/juice/water), and dessert (cake/cupcakes) for the kids and the adults. For some parties, every adult stayed with the kid. For some, multiple kids were dropped off.