Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi


Ok people, time for a vote. How much of a deadbeat grandmother am I if I don’t want to go to my granddaughter’s fourth birthday party at the local bowling alley for two hours tomorrow? The other guests will be all friends and family of her mother’s and some mutual friends of Evil Son #2. I do not like these people, and do not want to sit around a bowling alley with them for two hours. Think “Clampetts” only with less class and not as nice. We have nothing in common, nothing to say to eachother, even my son doesn’t like most of her family.  However, I’m afraid my son will be very disappointed since I’m the only family he’s got here (except his brother who will be working and unable to attend). Do I tough it out for an hour? I can’t do the whole two hours, I’d have to kill myself.

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45 thoughts on “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi

  1. Perhaps if you can get a very good reason for missing, you can take her out later just you two? Don’t know what to do about your son though. Perhaps you can go and take a book? hahaha funny picture that one. Never seen someone with a book at a bowling alley, but you can be the first!

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    1. I’ve sort of begged off, since I had completely forgotten it was tomorrow (her bd is actually the 21st, so that’s what I had in my head) and used the excuse of how busy my weekends are since I work full-time (her mother is not working, so this is likely the high point of her week for socializing). I love my gd and all, but the kid is turning 4. Whatever happened to cake and ice cream at home?

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  2. Duty family get togethers are no fun.

    I think I would have been tempted to invite my granddaughter and son and his wife for dinner separately from this event, since they are the people it seems you want to spend time with, not the rest.

    Do you think your granddaughter will be disappointed if you don’t go?

    If he has some of his friends there, he should be ok.

    I’m not good with family gatherings either. Hope you’ll find a solution. Simplest would be to just go and stay an hour. It could pass faster than you think. The worst is the time one spends dreading the event.

    Love,
    B.

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    1. My son takes it pretty hard when his brother doesn’t show up for these things, and I’m the only other family he’s got here so I feel like I should go. Unfortunately he’s too young to realize you can’t just blend all these characters (her family and their friends and me) together into one big happy family. I doubt my granddaughter will even notice if I’m not there. There will be lots of other kids, and their parents should be there.

      Ok, just talked to my son while in the midst of writing this and told him I’d come later, and he’s ok with that. Phew! 😉 Sounds like they’ve got people coming even HE doesn’t want to see. Ugh. Oh well, if I don’t have to be there for the whole thing it shouldn’t be too awful.

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  3. 🙂 Very good to hear it resolved itself.

    I agree with you on these occasions. Why not keep them small and personal, the kids probably don’t mind.

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  4. I mean, it’s the time one spends together chatting and interacting that counts, there’s not much time to talk in a crowd of 15+ people.

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    1. Children’s birthday parties over here have become ridiculous, extravagant displays. This isn’t nearly as bad as some, but the kids really don’t need to be spending the money on this either. I’m sure my granddaughter would be perfectly happy with cake and ice cream at home, and opening presents here. She’s only turning 4, I don’t think she’s status-conscious yet!

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      1. Oh, this. When I hear about some of the crazy, exuberant priced parties that parents are throwing for their kids, I know it’s for them to show off, and not for the child.

        Glad it seems that everything worked out. If the problem comes up again, I would go with the one hour scenerio, or ask to take your granddaugher out for the day. Just you and her for some nice quality time together.

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      2. LOL! “More money than sense” is exactly how my husband’s late grandmother used to describe foolish expenditures. Even if I HAD 10K to spend on a child’s birthday, imagine what the kid could do with that kind of cash if you spent a few hundred every year on a perfectly nice event, and set the rest of that money aside for her till she was 21? I ask that rhetorically, of course – the real answer is that a person spending that kind of money on a child’s isn’t remotely thinking of what the child actually wants, now or 2o years from now. I think that’s what bugs me – not the expense itself (it’s not MY mortgage money they’re spending, after all) but the fact that they are treating the kid like an accessory: an excuse to show off.

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  5. Oh that’s too bad that it’s spreading. I had hoped people in other countries would have dismissed the idea as more stupid American frivolousness. It’s that whole ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ mentality, taken to ridiculous extremes in some cases. You can Google ‘lavish children’s parties’, it’s unbelievable what some people do.

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  6. Guess I’m still young enough to remember my bday parties. They were always held at home, and yeah, there were cakes, and pizzas, parfaits, salads, mini sandwiches and lots of games and loot bags Definitely no skating rinks and bowlings… (^o^),,, nor swimming parties where parents had to come too and get bored.

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  7. Mine were the same. I was allowed to invite a friend or two, but mostly it was for family (my mom was definitely not into the whole entertaining routine, plus we were quite poor). My granddaughter had the swim party when she turned two, and the only people in our group in the pool were my granddaughter and her parents. The adults kind of sat around stupidly making idle chit-chat, but that was almost worse than the pizza place with indoor playground when she turned one-year-old.

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  8. I wouldn’t say this if you hadn’t already referenced The Clampetts, but I’m thinking of the original “Arthur,” when John Gielgud, as Hobson thr butler, says to Liza Minelli, in that cut-crystal British accent of his, “One ordinarily has to go to a bowling alley to meet someone of your caliber….”

    I’m weighing in a little late, but I was going to ask if you could leave a little early, or show up a little late – just a token appearance. BTW, considering this sort of social event 2B a drag IN NO WAY marks you as a deadbeat g-ma.

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  9. HAHAHAHA! I love that line from ‘Arthur’.

    Yeah, there’s got to be some sort of limit on what you’re obligated to submit yourself to in the name of ‘family.’ Blacklight Bowling with pre-schoolers strikes me as pretty much the outer edge of responsibility. Luckily, I was able to find a compromise, as well as a birthday gift (with no ‘princess’ overtones, despite their suggestion for a ‘Pretty Pretty Princess’ game or package of toy jewelry).

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  10. The other kind of gift that makes me gag are housewife toys – you know crap like toy vacuum cleaners, and other miniature tools of female oppression. I swore I’d never give my little nices any of that sh!t, and the older one is getting her PhD. later this year so I guess I didn’t do her any harm.

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  11. p.s.
    I hope you all know I meant “NIECES<" not "nices," although both of my brothers' daughters are, in fact, very nice.

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  12. Heh 🙂 Yeah, I even have mixed emotions about dolls. My g-daughter is more fond of a stuffed teddy bear (what’s left of it) than any of her ‘babies’ that her mother insists on giving her so I think she’ll have a mind of her own. I wouldn’t mind giving her an Easy-Bake oven, but mostly because my son (g-daughter’s father) had one when he was a little older than she is and really liked playing with it. I think he liked to bake stuff ’cause then he got to eat it 😉

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  13. I eyed an E-Z Bake oven for my nephew, actually, for the same reason, but the damn thing was so PINK, and I almost got in trouble once when Fish Jr. was about 2 b/c I painted a couple of his nails robin’s egg blue (my brother and his wife didn’t quite chew me out, but the look on their faces spoke volumes..) I got him this PlayDough set instead, that had molds and stuff so you could make the play-dough into little hamburgers, fries, etc. Toy food is fun!

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    1. I don’t even dislike my family – I love ’em all beyond reason, but sometimes they just drive me nutz. Still, where else would you hear a complaint like this –

      17-year old niece, fuming b/c her 22-y.o. brother posts things on his Facebook page without telling her first:

      “I went to his FB page, and there was a picture of him in Russia, HOLDING A MONKEY! I have to find this out on FACEBOOK?!?! How could he not tell me he held a monkey???!!!”

      The same kid announced blithely yesterday that her boyfriend taught himself to cook from Google, “b/c his mother is always asleep.” Just as Grandma and I were eyeballing each other, making a wordless agreement to discuss whether b.f.’s mother is a drunk, a pillhead, or a narcoleptic, my sister in law hastened to explained that b.f.’s mom is a hardworking nurse who’s been assigned the late shift 😀

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      1. you’d love this kid: she’s got an acid tongue but the heart of an angel.
        p.s.
        I do think the EZ Bake oven has been sort of tarted up in recent years. I myself don’t give a damn about social constructions re: color and gender, but I don’t have kids and it’s not my place to push my ideology on other peoples’

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  14. Haha, that’s ok. 🙂 The general consensus and my ultimate decision was to go for part of it, not the whole two hours.

    So just to let everyone know, I attended the last 45 minutes, for cake, presents and got some photos. It was, as expected, chaos with 10-15 little kids running around. I really need to work on Evil Son’s social graces. They had a nice turnout of friends, and none of the really scuzzy people I had feared would show up, but he neglected to introduce me to any of them. :-/ I stayed and helped clean up a little at the end and schlepp stuff out to the car so I feel like I did my duty.

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    1. are you gonna drop the Guilt Bomb on him the way my mom does, something along the lines of “So apparently you are too ashamed of your mother to introduce her to your friends?!” I called her out on that nonsense long ago, but it might work once, on a younger person… 😉

      In all seriousness, tho, I’m glad it worked out.(Fang said a bowling party sounded like fun!)

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    2. I should do that 😉 It was pretty chaotic though, it was hard to even catch anyone standing still for a minute to talk. The only ones bowling were the kids, none of the adults bowled. Mostly the whole thing consisted of keeping tabs on lots of small kids running amok.

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  15. I’m really late to the party here and glad it all worked out. I’ve hosted a few birthday parties for my kids both the “minimal frills” cake & ice cream at home and the bowling/skating soirees. Truth be told it was far less work to have the party outside the house…. but this was when the kids were of elementary school age and the only polite thing to do was invite their whole class. B4 they were old enough to have friends of their own we kept the party tight ~ other than the grandparent, aunties, uncles and immediate cousins who really cares if you’re turning 4?

    DD — you earned your stripes. I hope you will come to my next 80’s disco bowling party.

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    1. Yes, it all turned out well. The more disagreeable types that have attended in the past were not there this year, so it went pretty well. They seemed to have picked up some new, nice friends along the way as well, which I was really pleased to see. One sweet little girl pulled me over to the bag that contained the gifts she and her family had brought, and pointed to one item and said, “We made this one for her. I hope she likes it!” It was so adorable. I assured her granddaughter would like it very much. I’m not sure what it turned out to be, the present-opening part of the program kind of went by in a blur.

      Oh, bowling. I am the world’s worst bowler, no lie. If I score 50 by the end of the night, I’m doing good.

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    1. It’s ok, I knew it was you 🙂 I checked my email before logging in here and saw your messages with your email addy. You’ll have to fill me in the Maj Paj appellation!

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  16. Do we pronounce it w/a hard “j”, as in Your MajPajesty?

    I’m a truly bad bowler w/truly embarrassing form – I never got the hang of srtolling up to the line, rolling my arm forward as I lunge down – I stand there like charity case with my arm swinging like a pendulum. A score of 50 would be cause for celebration.

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  17. Srsly?? 🙂 It’s fun, but it does take some practice. We played quite a bit in the military, and I was a lot better back then but have only played a few times since and it was pretty pathetic. I was much better at darts.

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  18. Are you any good at Beer Pong.? L’Italiana and her husband have this huge, lavish poolside beerpong party every summer, complete with a midnight buffet, a big cake (last year somebody’s daughter was in culinary school, and she brought this elaborate confection decorated with red “cups” made out of fondant) and a trophy for the winner. I go every year for the festivities (one year I was nominated Grammar Arbitrator) but boy am I a terrible player.

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  19. Many years ago on a family road trip north on I-95 we were crawling thru the Bronx and passed the sign for the “Major Deegan Expressway.” But the name of this fine roadway was abbreviated to “Maj Degan” on the sign. My younger daughter could not quite grasp why the road just wasn’t called by the shorter name if that’s all they could fit on the sign and I said it was like a cool nickname… so cool in fact that I told her to start calling me “maj.” (soft “j’ — almost like a “sh”) Shortly after this one of those Austin Powers movies came out and we started calling our paterfamilias, “Faja.” (I think there was some character in the film who had a speech impediment and could not pronounce the word “father.”) And since that moniker was 2 syllables the kids thought I should have 2 as well and added the “paj” to make it “maj paj.” I think I still have an early generation hot pink ipod with my street legal name, “The Maj,” engraved on the back.

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  20. proud to say i can’t bowl, shoot pool or play beer pong…. but i do try my hardest and laugh the loudest.

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  21. Ok, you got me there, I don’t even know what beer pong is! I’m such a dork. But it sounds like a great party 😀

    So Rosie, it sounds like you outrank Faja then? 😉 After all, you’re “The Maj”!

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    1. LOL! you are correct… The Maj holds the final veto and all step quietly around her when she sleeps… she is slow to wrath, but a force to be reckoned with when crossed.

      In full disclosure — we also call Dad “The Faj” ~ taking care not to make it sound like “the Fonz.” (which is not nearly so dignified.)

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      1. “The Maj holds the final veto and all step quietly around her when she sleeps… she is slow to wrath, but a force to be reckoned with when crossed.”

        I might add that those are exactly the characteristics of a Polish Goddess. As you know, the Polish temper is not as famous as say, that of our Latina or Italian sisters, whose passions are like summar lightening: loud, hot, fast and capable of great damage, but usually over with quickly The Polish temperament is more earthbound: we are, as you say, slow to heat up, and willing to nurture both great beauty and great harm over a long slow gradual amount of time. Piss one of us off, and it’s like going to Hell on Judgment Day.

        It is no reflection on Faja’s (or Fang’s) importance to the family unit that they just don’t have that in their blood!

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