A House of Pestilence

Apologies, dear readers, but all four of us have come down with the stomach flu and I have not been able to write a new post. Here is an oldie but goody from last year. Enjoy!


The Drop-off Birthday Party

Not too long ago, we attended a birthday party for one of Dylan’s playgroup friends. All the parents of the playgroup members were at the party, but I noticed there were a bunch of kids there whose parents were unaccounted for. When I asked my friend whose kids they were, I was told they were preschool friends who were just dropped off at the party by their parents.

I was totally blown away, as were some of the other playgroup parents. It would be one thing if these kids were all good friends with the birthday girl, whose parents had socialized together for a long time and knew each other well. But these were preschool friends, whose parents may have perhaps engaged in friendly conversation with the hostess while picking up their kids but had not socialized with them outside of school. They did not know what kind of a mother she was (of course she is a very nice lady) or what other sorts of people would be at this party.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know that very soon there will come a time when Dylan will not want me at his parties and I will have to drop him off at the door with a silent prayer for his protection and hope for the best, but until that time comes I just cannot imagine dropping him off at a party for someone I barely know or trust. I just couldn’t do it. Four years old is waaaaaay too young an age to be left alone at a party, in my opinion.

In discussing this with some of my friends, one of them brought up a good point when he said “I just feel sorry for the parents. I wouldn’t want to be responsible for such a large group of children. I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the party at all.” I had never thought about it from that angle, but he is absolutely right. What if my kid is misbehaving or not listening? What if he falls or hurts himself? Would I really want to impose that kind of responsibility on a practical stranger? Absolutely not.

For people with young kids, such as myself, birthday parties offer some of the few opportunities we have to socialize with other adults. One of the reasons why I love throwing big birthday parties is because it is as much of an event for the adults as for the kids. I have some city friends whose schedules are so crazy that I only get to see at our kids’ birthday parties. If they were to just drop off their kids at my house (or wherever I was having the party), I would never have a chance to catch up with them.

My reservation about dropping Dylan off at parties at this age might also just be a cultural thing. Parents were present at all our birthday parties inPuerto Ricountil we were in elementary school, so to me, that is the norm. The truth of the matter, though, is that I am no longer in PR and will have to soon make a decision as to what age I feel comfortable dropping my son off at parties.

Here is where you come in, dear reader. Do you think I am off base in thinking 4 or 5 years old is too young to be dropped off at a party (especially one where you are not intimately acquainted with the hosts)? If not, at what age should I start letting Dylan go to parties alone? I am very interested in your opinions on this topic, so please share!

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  • We had Justin's first "friend-only" party when he turned 5- small/ at our house/ neighbor kids, not friends from school. I believe Jackson's first "friend only" party was when he turned 4- again small/ neighbor friends only/ at McDonald's PlayPlace. We're very lucky to live in a neighborhood with lots of kids & parents/families we've gotten to know since day 1 of moving in (12 years ago now). Both of these parties went well- I think the "party-question" depends on your kid & what type of party will work for them/ & the parents. (:

  • In reply to kathikubal:

    Well, see, that's my point though. These are kids whose parents have known you for years and who pretty much grew up with your kids. No wonder they felt comfortable leaving their children with you. But at a preschool party where they don't know the parents or who else will be there? I don't think so.

  • Pienso que és una falta de respecto a los padres de hacen el cumpleaño además de una irresponsabilidad crasa al dejar un hijo en manos de desconocidos. Pienso que has la adolescencia los padres deben conocer las personas con quienes dejan sus hijos para asi evitar incidentes desagradables.

  • In reply to Valmir:

    Estoy completamente de acuerdo contigo! Yo me quede en shock total!

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