Ask The Dad: The Over-The-Top Birthday Party

Young girl holding a birthday cupcake (Getty/Kris Timken)

This question comes from Jordan in Dallas, TX.

Our 2yo daughter’s birthday is coming up and my wife is absolutely losing her mind over it. She invited 85 people to our house, hired a magician, caterers, and is pulling out all of the stops. I mean, I love my kid, but I think it’s ridiculous that she’s insists on doing all of this for a toddler’s birthday party. Oh, did I mention because she’s a stay-at-home mom, that I have to foot the bill, which currently stands at over $1,500? I know we do everything bigger in Texas, but this is crazy. How can I get her to see the light?

$1,500 for a 2yo’s birthday party?! That’s straight up insane. I see this a lot with new parents, though — they plan these extravagant parties not because they want to do something great for their kids, but because they want to show the other parents how great they are. In other words, the kid is really an afterthought as the parents use the big party to feed their own fragile egos.

I was guilty of this, too. When my oldest daughter had her first birthday, I hosted a lavish party (not to the tune of $1,500, mind you) and at the end I wondered why we did that. She was stressed out by all of the people trying to hug and touch her and ended up melting down about 20 minutes in. It was a complete mess.

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Based on my understanding, it looks as if you already committed to the $1,500 expense, so you’ll probably have to eat it instead of risking WWIII with your family by cancelling everything. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a serious talk with your wife. If you’re like me (and most other families I know), I could think of 1,500 things I’d choose to spend $1,500 on. That money could go towards her college fund or a fun vacation where you actually bond with your family rather than feeding/entertaining 85 people that you probably don’t even like.

I’d ask your wife what her fondest memories of childhood are. Personally, I remember going fishing with my dad and having my mom teach me how to ride a bike. Best of all, none of those things cost them a dime. Do you know what I can’t remember? Any childhood birthday party I’ve ever had. Hell, if your kid can’t remember to not crap her pants on a regular basis, how would anyone expect her to remember this party?

This should be about your daughter, not a grown-ass adult’s ego. Without even meeting your little girl, I can guarantee she’d be just as happy crushing some cake around a few friends and family as she would if you tried to create Disneyland-lite. Not to mention, if you continue down this road, your kid will expect these kinds of over-the-top parties. Good luck trying to tame that beast.

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At the end of the day, children just want their parents’ love, support, guidance, and attention. None of those things require a mortgage payment to execute. Additionally, the measure of a good mom or dad is raising kind, thoughtful children. I’m sure you’re wife’s heart is in the right place, but a firm reminder regarding what parenting is truly about will probably make her see the error in her ways and save you some money in the process.

Artist Wife Illustrates The Drastic Ways Her Husband’s Life Changed After Kids

(Facebook/MessycowComics)

Chen Weng, an illustrator who goes by the name The Messycow, has created a series of comics showing just how much things change when one becomes a father.

Which do you relate to most?

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Check out more from this series on The Messycow’s Facebook page and website.

Dad Dinosaur: Prehistoric Reunion

Dad Dinosaur’s high school reunion is fast approaching, but will he be able to win the big dance contest – or are his moves stuck in the past?

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Father Figures: Risky Business

“As the garage door closed behind me, I heard a muffled whimper.

“What is that?” I wondered. Another whimper and I noticed eight fingers on the lid of one of the garbage cans in the corner. I spy a set of eyes, then a nose and finally my oldest son’s face.

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean it.”

“What happened? Where is your brother?” No answers, just sobbing.

He moped toward the door and I followed him into the kitchen. I half-expected to see CSI investigators hovering over a chalk outline.

We walked around the corner by the refrigerator, and only then did I see his brother and allow myself to take my first breath. Then I saw a hole in the drywall the size of a young boy’s torso.

They had been running & sliding, in their stocking feet, across the marbled kitchen floor. Obviously a bit too exuberantly! I was relieved that they were both okay, but I still mustered enough anger to quash any future escapades.

Each blamed the other, of course. I used to say I couldn’t always tell when my kids were lying, but I could always tell when they were telling the truth.

If that makes any sense to you, I’m guessing you’ve raised at least two boys.”

  • Ron Fuller

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

Son Surprises Ailing Dad With Tickets To College World Series

Father’s Day is a special time to celebrate your old man, and show him how much you appreciate the role he’s played in your life all these years. Especially since, as we get older, our dads do too, and they may not have many Father’s Days left.

Matt Lea recognized that this Father’s Day, and so went out of his way to make it a memorable one, for both him and his father, both former college baseball players who bonded over the game as Matt was growing up.

Matt’s father Billy suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease, and the symptoms have been accruing rapidly. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t time for more memories, and Matt used the latest Father’s Day as an opportunity to do just that. The 36-year-old drove 12 hours, from Florida to Mississippi, and surprised his parents at their doorstep on Sunday.

He was bearing gifts as well, bringing his dad the jersey of his favorite baseball team, Mississippi State. But that wasn’t all. Matt brought tickets too, to see the College World Series in Omaha in person.

In video of the exchange that Matt posted on Twitter, his dad was clearly taken by surprise.

“I figured it’s probably not good enough just for us to watch the game here,” Matt says in the video as he produces the tickets. “How about we go to Omaha? Do you want to go up to Omaha and watch the College World Series together?”

“Golly,” an emotional Billy responds. “You’re gonna break my heart, here.”

Matt’s gift for his dad received a rapturous response from Twitter, where it’s been liked 46,000 times and retweeted 11,000 times.

Matt seemed as surprised by the response as his dad was by the gift, as everyone who celebrated Father’s Day yesterday knows, there’s nothing better than sharing meaningful memories with your dad, which is exactly what Matt did. An article on Omaha.com details Billy’s baseball past, the initial diagnosis of his Alzheimer’s, the VIP experience Matt treated him too over the weekend.

Matt’s Twitter account showcased the rest.

Happy Father’s Day!

Amazing Street Artist Uses Everyday Objects As His Canvas

(Twitter/tombobnyc)

Artist Tom Bob doesn’t see the world like other people. Where you and I might see sewer grates or metal pipes, he sees ghosts and saxophone players.

Check out some of the amazing ways he’s transforming parts of New York City into works of art.

(Twitter/tombobnyc)
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(Twitter/tombobnyc)

Check out more of Tom Bob and his unique artwork here.

Father Figures: Heroes

“On February 2, 2011, my daughter was born. The whole thing started pretty normally about 2:30 am or so, my wife woke me up and said, ‘Honey, it is time to go,’ so we went to the hospital in a snowstorm.

That was the easy part.

When they put the belly monitor on her they noticed that the babies heart rate would drop to low whenever my wife would have a contraction. She needed emergency C-section, but the doctor could not make it due to the storm, and when he finally arrived it was rush rush rush!
Well when my daughter Emily did arrive, she had internal bleeding throughout her body, which included two grade 4 brain bleeds. We could not touch her because she would bruise and start bleeding.
They had to life-flight her to the university, where she spent 5 1/2 weeks in the NICU, which left her (you may want to sit down) deaf/blind, with hydrocephalus, a shunt, cerebral palsy, and seizures (at age 6, she needed a baclofen pump because her CP got too bad to handle without it). She is doing great today. She is happy, loves life, and everyone who meets her says that she makes their day and she is beautiful.
To pay back our little community, I became a first responder, mostly a firefighter, but I did help with EMS. Never got my certification, but that is where I found out that in the U.S. we do not have any training for first responders to deal with children with special needs.
I have made it my personal mission to teach first responders about kids with special needs.
I have taken to Emily to every EMS/Fire station in the five counties around me. I have taken her to the police and sheriff’s departments to train them, and now I have a waiting list to get trained.
I don’t know if I am the hero here, but I needed to tell the story.”

– Mike Kuyper

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

Low Cost Cosplay Guy Makes The World A Better Place

(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)

Anucha “Cha” Saengchart, the genius behind “Low Cost Cosplay,” has amassed millions of followers with his incredible reimaginings of famous fictional characters.

Whether you’re planning on portraying your favorite anime character or a Marvel superhero, this guy can show you how to do it effectively and on a string budget.

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Can’t get enough? Check out more creative cosplay on his Facebook page.