The Birthday Loot Grab Extravaganza


Hey dads!  My kid just had a birthday.  I’m still recovering from said birthday.  Birthdays, as you know, are a very special time for any young kid.  That long full-year wait until….  Hell, I still love birthdays and I’m old as hell.

But let me tell you something, padres, here in the wilds of the affluent suburbs of Washington, D.C., kid birthdays are as perverted as Michael Jackson’s fill-in-the-blank.  For real.  Shit is off the hizzy, as the kids used to say about decade ago.

Before I discuss the Great Birthday Loot Grab, let’s quickly review the most significant of all annual Childhood Loot Grabs:

  • Easter – From chocolate bunnies (hollow) to jelly beans; baskets of eggs to eco-terroristic plastic eggs, Easter is the second most blessed day of the year.  For dentists.  We just talked about this, but when did Easter become the new Halloween with all the candy and whatnot?
  • Halloween – This holiday is officially approved sanctioned by the American Dental Association.  When did Easter become the new Christmas with lights and decorations and gifts?  When did goody bags start appearing at Halloween?
  • Christmas/Hanukkah – We all know this is the collective greediest of all holidays.  Time for family, time for carols?  Time for receiving new, free shit like a motherfucker!  Gift giving?  Meh, that’s okay but it’s not as fun as gift receiving.  That totally rules.  I mean screw all the fake-ass religious overtones, the great December giveaway should, practically, be renamed Winter Gift Getting & Loot Grab.
  • Birthdays – But the individual greediest of all holidays is the birthday.  The affluent suburban guilty-as-hell-parent kid birthday:

My kid just had a birthday.  I’m still recovering from said birthday.  For the last few years, she’s specifically attempted to begin birthday party preparations for her next on the first day after her last birthday.  I had to implement a dad-policy years ago that she couldn’t even begin discussing her birthday until January 1.  Guess when she begins discussing her birthday?  January 1, the moment she wakes up.  Happy New Year!

My child has had a birthday party at her home, an affluent suburban party center, a play-gym twice, a rock climbing center, and an indoor pool.  The pool was this year.  She’s already alluded to a skate park for next year and I had to give her the look and ask, “Is it the new year already?  Really?”  Jesus, kid, the goddamn nerve!

Kiddo just turned eight and got a new bike (aluminum frame Trek, black anodized rims, etc.), a camera (not crappy playschool piece of shit, hers says “Nikon”), a bunch of American Girl stuff, some DVDs, and some other stuff.  That’s just from the parents.  At 8:00 a.m.

But she had a party later in the day–after the soccer game–and got ALL KINDS OF SHIT!  Good shit too.  From her friends (and no, we didn’t have her open that stuff at the party) she got a snorkeling set, some top-brand art supplies (that I want to steal), a set of authentic and professional engineering/drafting tools (that my neighbor wants to steal), a battery-powered bubble gun, a bunch of board/bored games…and like $200 in gift cards!  She only had a dozen kids at the thing.  I once had the nerve to suggest a hippie no-gift party; we still have unopened gifts going back to her 4th birthday.  No-gift party?  No…I’m still sleeping in the basement.

Now, I used to actually be a jerk about how little a gift card means as a gift but, you know, now I’m kind of cool with it.  Combine the Target and Visa and Amex gift cards and it’s Wii-city for daddy!  The kid actually wrote, as a class assignment, a persuasive letter advocating for a Wii.  Her points of persuasion were: 1) “It’s fun for when I’m bored,” 2) “Wii Fit is great exercise,” and 3) “With Mario Cart, I can begin learning how to drive.”  Uh, all valid reasons as far as I’m concerned.

So in addition to hundreds of dollars of gifts from the parents, rental of the pool and party room, decorations, and a cake we also had to fund the Gift Grab that’s called goody bags.  You know, gifts for the party attendees.  The free pool in April, the cake and Capri Sun pouches, and all that party shit isn’t enough.  No.  We have to also give the attendees like $10 worth of stuff in a plastic bag that matches the plates, tablecloth, and napkins.  Birthday parties for kids have the same carbon footprint as the Super Bowl®.  I asked couldn’t we just give the kids a ten dollar bill in an envelope as they left?  NO.  I can’t just give the kids a ten dollar bill in an envelope as they leave.

Now she/I have to write Thank You cards.  For this, she prefers Crane & Co.  Sigh.  Ten more years and she’s on her own.

You know what I got for my 8th birthday?  A G.I. Joe and a cast for my broken arm.


3 Responses to “The Birthday Loot Grab Extravaganza”

  1. Peter Hopkins Says:

    Dear Ty:

    An 8-year-old who prefers Crane & Co. for thank-you notes is being raised well by perceptive parents! Congratulations! I’d be happy to send a box or two to help out.


  2. Robin Says:

    For my 8th birthday I got a gold blouse that I promptly ripped running through the woods after the party. I might have also gotten a David Cassidy album.

    Just say no to plastics, Ty.

  3. Ty Hardaway Says:

    @Peter: She started with the “Crane’s” at around five. She says, and this is a direct quotation, “It feels real. I want people to know I mean thank you.”

    Send a box or two. ty(at)middlespace(dot)net

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