Lately I've been kind of busy with a bunch of other stuff so I haven't been paying close attention to what's going on in the world. However, over the weekend and into today I've received countless links to articles about that letter from the asshole parents who are throwing their snowflake a first birthday party. I finally had to stop what I was doing and take a look!
Surely you've seen the letter by now? It's an email that was sent out that gives some very detailed ideas about what everyone should buy precious pumpkin for his first birthday. There's nothing really outrageous on the list. It's fairly standard stuff like a play tunnel to crawl through or a little tent. It's not like they asked for a pint-size motorbike or anything. One of the things they're asking for is an eight dollar Cheerios book!
I think what's so offensive is the WAY they ask. They have hotlinks to the products and a note saying that if you're unable to get these things, PLEASE LET THEM KNOW ASAP and they'll order this stuff lickety split. (Because Junior only turns one once and God forbid his goddamn tent isn't there for him when he wakes up that morning and decides the box it came in is so much more fun to play with.)
They're sending out this email to avoid "duplication." How efficient of them, but they needn't bother! Don't they know that everyone has a closet full of duplicate Dr. Seuss books and Fisher Price blocks? It's fine, because then that's YOUR go-to toy closet when you need a fast baby present. Your kid won't even know he got duplicates (he's ONE) and now you can easily re-gift anything from that closet and save yourself a trip to the store.
Reading on, you realize that there is very little room for a party-goer to deviate from this preferred list of first birthday present ideas. It actually says, "if you choose to get XXX (His name is crossed out, but we all know it's something like Jaxsyn. In fact, I'm going to call him Jaxsyn from here on out) something that isn't on the list ... always include a receipt going forward" because when they return without receipts they only get 50% of the value.
Wah-wah. Should they also include gas money because it's like five miles to Target and they can't even begin to tell you how much gas they waste returning your shitty gift?
Why don't they just write: "Hey great-grandma, that stuffed teddy bear is the third bear we've received and Jaxsyn only needs one! Why didn't you ask us if we needed another stuffed bear? God! And now when we tried to take it back, we couldn't even get four bucks for it because in your senility you forgot to give us the receipt. You're already the cheapest gift giver in the family, pin the receipt on that fucker next time so we don't lose so much money!"
I think my favorite part is when they ask for no more books, because Jaxsyn already has 32 (yes, someone went through and counted the books) and 25 more "in storage" for when he hits three-years-old. (I can't even comprehend that they have a storage unit of toys and books for Jaxsyn's future.) Oh, and P.S., no more books please, because Jaxsyn "hates" when his parents try to read to him.
WTF? Jaxsyn is one. He can't decide if he likes to read, assholes. Do you also skip feeding him peas because he's not crazy about them? Jaxsyn doesn't get to decide if you're reading to him. YOU'RE supposed to read to him anyway. How about when he's playing in his new awesome tunnel you could read to him!?
And then they asked for no personalized gear for Jaxsyn. Not because they think it's tacky or his name has a strange spelling and it will probably be hard to find anything for him. No, it's because if he has name on his backpack, he has a greater chance of being kidnapped. No, I'm sorry, I read that wrong. Not a "greater chance." They believe personalized items are the NUMBER ONE reason kids are kidnapped. I just looked up some child abduction facts and the number one kidnapper out there are the parents of the abducted child. They kidnap their own kid from the other parent. I'm guessing a personalized toothbrush doesn't matter when it's your dad stealing you from daycare. He already knew what name to call you. I also love how they put in there that so-and-so (also crossed out) is getting Jaxsyn a personalized gift, but it will ONLY be used in the house. Don't you love how the rules are always different for the maternal grandma? I'm not positive, but I'm guessing that's who got to bend the rules a bit and get Jaxsyn a personalized item. I'm guessing an overnight bag and a sleeping bag, because Jaxsyn needs to go to Glamma's house in style. "Oh come on, you guys. I know you don't like personalized things because you're worried that Jaxsyn will be abducted, but he needs this adorable overnight bag and sleeping bag for when he comes to Glamma's house. It will be our little secret. He can't take it to his other grandma's house. She might not keep it hidden well enough when the UPS man makes a delivery and then he'll know Jaxsyn's name and he might tell someone and before you know it -- POOF! Jaxsyn is gone."
Easily, the most terrifying part of this email is the promise of a "formal invitation" to arrive soon. Oh shit. I can only imagine. My wedding invitations probably weren't as formal.
While at first this email seems horrific, It got me thinking, wouldn't it be nice if we could have all sent this email when we had babies? Sure, we received lots of nice Dr. Seuss books and Fisher Price blocks that we could re-gift at a later time, but we also got a bunch of shit no one wanted. While it was very kind and thoughtful of my third cousin twice removed to send me a baby gift, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do with a set of three personalized baby hangers. After I got over my fear that Gomer would instantly be abducted as soon as I hung his tiny onesies on those hangers, I realized that they were so small they couldn't hold anything larger than a pair of six-month-sized overalls. I don't know what she paid, but I would have loved the cash to put towards the tent we bought him.
I think the difference is there are times to speak up and let people know your wishes, but then there are are times to keep your mouth shut and say THANK YOU. You're lucky anyone thinks enough of you and your stupid offspring to give you a gift! People are giving you the gifts they want to give you. It might be cash towards a tent or it might be personalized hangers or it might a whole collection of favorite books. They didn't have to give you anything.
I rant and rail against parents raising kids who end up being the Agnes's of the world and entitled teenage assholes who sue their parents and I wonder how it all started. THIS is how it started. Letters like these. Teaching your kid that you make a wishlist and heaven help the person who gets off the path to your xBox.
We're not doing our kids any favors with letters like these. Part of having a birthday party is getting duplicates or gifts that weren't on your list. Part of maturing is learning to smile and just say, "Thank you for thinking of me."
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