Just say no to evening birthday parties on a 6 year old's school night

We’ve noticed that as a first grader, MBA Son has been invited to a fraction of the birthday parties he was as a Kindergartner. I believe this is a function of two factors. One, it seemed every kid in Kindergarten had a class party. Not so much this year. Second, we are the new family in town. As a result, I do try to make every effort for him to attend the four or so parties he has been invited to this school year.

Except this one.

Before we went on vacation, he received an invitation to a Pump It Up party that goes from 6:15 to 8:15 on a Sunday night. I didn’t respond right away and slept on it. Maybe my frustration at the time was unwarranted and I had hoped my anger would wear off day by day and ultimately I would let him attend.

Except it didn’t.

That’s not entirely true. What happened is the frustration did wear off. My guess is, the birthday boy really wanted a Pump It Up party since this place is like crack to kids in this age group, and due to it’s addictive nature among the Disney Jr. set, this was the only time slot available for months.

However, as each day passed, I came up with more logical reasons to decline. So here they are.

Travel time. It takes about 20 minutes each way minimum to get to Pump It Up from our house. That’s 40 minutes round trip, no traffic. Assuming the party ends at exactly 8:15 and we are quick in saying our good-byes, the earliest we get home is 8:35 PM but you and I know it will be closer to 9 PM. Speaking of 9 PM…

Mad Men finale. I can count on one hand the number of current shows MBA Dad and I watch and Mad Men is one of them. We are very sad the series will end forever on Sunday night. By the time we get home and get the kids to bath and bed, it will be after 9 PM. Could we DVR the show? Sure, but this show of all shows is one I want to see Sunday night, plus I need to get to bed at some point too. The run time for the finale is expected to be 75 minutes, so a little longer than the usual 64 minutes and I plan to watch all 75 on Sunday night.

Sleep and more sleep. Children in my son’s age group need 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night, especially on a school night. Well, assuming he goes to the party and is in bed by 9, I have to wake him up at 6:30 the next morning for school. That is at most 9 1/2 hours. I say at most because it takes him a long time to wind down and actually fall asleep, sometimes an hour. I guarantee after attending the craziness that is a Pump It Up party which includes but is not limited to a light show and blaring music he would need that hour to wind down, and we just don’t have it to spare.

Fatigue factor. The end of the school year schedule for MBA Son is already overloaded. He has baseball practice tonight, baseball team pictures and a game at 8 tomorrow morning, prep for a piano recital before Memorial Day and a science presentation he needs to complete. This is on top of his nightly school homework. Free time at this time of year is sadly at a premium.

Setting a precedent. If I say yes to this party, I will have to say yes to every school night party invitation. That’s not a precedent I want to set in the elementary school years. That is not to say I am a complete and total stickler for prompt bedtimes. I let him stay up late for the once in a blue moon visits with relatives. He also can stay up late for the Super Bowl, but we stay home for that.

It looks like I am the mean mom in the class. So far I am one of only five declines with 20 children attending. Still, I am not changing my mind. MBA Son might hate me but I think his teacher will thank me for delivering a well-rested child to school Monday morning.

What would you have done? Would you have accepted because, why not, or would you have declined like me? In your experience are school night parties common during the elementary school years? Please share.

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Tags: MBA Son, parenting

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