When Divorced Parents Try to Top Each Other in SPECTACULAR Fashion

I thought the MOM'S birthday party for the kid was lavish -- then I heard the DAD'S party theme!  Holy Shizznit!! #funny @sothenstories
So then…my friend Lila thrusts a glass of wine in my hand and pulls me over to a couple who are sampling appetizers in her living room.

Ever the fabulous hostess, Lila says, “Darcy, these are my friends Keith and Julie.  They’re just about to spill some gossip, so listen up.”

Julie laughs and says, “Well, I was just going to tell Lila about the birthday party we attended for Jake, one of our son’s friends.  It was a little…over the top.”

Lila snorts.  “Ha!  Over the top?  His family’s loaded!  So spill – what was the party like?”

Keith says, “Apparently Jake had mentioned to his Mom that he misses having a real winter because we all live out here in sunny Los Angeles—”

“So she had truckloads of snow delivered to their house!” interjects Julie.

“Really?”  I say.  “I’ve heard of schools and carnivals out here trucking in mounds of snow for hundreds of kids to enjoy – but just one family financing their own Snow Day?  Wow!”

Keith says, “It was amazing.  They have a huge house and gigantic yard, so it took tons of snow to cover everything.  They even had enough for a little snow HILL for the kids to sled down—”

“And enough for the kids to build SNOWMEN!” interrupts Julie.

“Oh my God,” says Lila.  “That’s incredible!”

“It was pretty cool,” agrees Julie.  “The Mom had hot chocolate carts, outdoor fire pit for s’mores, full buffet, music, snowball fights — everyone walking around in jackets and mittens.  The kids had a blast!”

“OK,” says Lila, her eyes dancing merrily.  “So what did his Dad do?”

“His Dad?”  I ask, sipping my wine.

Keith says, “Oh, the parents are divorced.  Not amicably.  So he hosted his own separate birthday party for Jake.”

“Seriously?” I ask.  “What?  How old is this kid?”

“He’s 10,” says Julie.  “So the Dad hosted his own birthday party for Jake at his house the very next Saturday.”

“And you were invited to that party too?”

“Yep,” says Keith.  “And the Dad doesn’t want to be outdone by the Mom, so he—”

“Trucks in SAND!” shouts Julie.

“No!” Lila and I shout in unison.

“Yes!” Keith and Julie shout back, laughing.

Some of Lila’s other guests look over to see what all the commotion is, but we go right back to our wine-slinging and gossip-mongering.  (I ain’t proud – I’ll admit it!  We’z gossipin’ all up in here, y’all!)

Lila and I pop some appetizers from the table while Julie fills us in.

“The theme was Egypt or something, so he trucks in tons of sand to cover his whole yard,” says Julie.  “Palm trees are poking out of the sand – tents are set up everywhere – catering people dressed like pharaohs are serving platters of Egyptian-Middle Eastern food.”

“Are you serious?” asks Lila.

“This is all for a 10-year-old’s birthday party?” I ask incredulously.  “I mean, his SECOND birthday party, after the Snow Day birthday party?

“Wait, wait, the best part is coming,” says Julie.  She turns to Keith, grinning.

“Right in the middle of the birthday party — in come CAMELS and BELLY DANCERS!” says Keith.

“Get the HELL out!”  I say.

“No way,” says Lila, laughing.  “Camels and belly dancers?”

“Yes!” says Julie.  “Camels for the kids to take rides — like a freakin’ PONY ride, except it’s a freakin’ CAMEL!  And belly dancers for the –”

“Dads!” says Keith, grinning.

“Oh my God, that’s insane.  In-SANE,” I say, smiling and shaking my head.

“I knew they’d go overboard,” says Lila, laughing.  “But I never dreamed they’d throw a blow-out Snow party and a blow-out Sand party within a week of each other!”

I think a moment.

“Wait,” I say to Keith and Julie, “You guys attended both parties?”

“Yeah,” says Julie.  “Our son was invited to both.”

“So, tell me,” I say, “Did your son give Jake two presents since there were two parties?”

“Oh, hell no,” says Julie.  “We gave one gift.  We don’t want Jake to get spoiled.

We all DIE laughing.

Like literally, we all fall down and die laughing at that.

Ahh, poor Jake.  Poor little rich boy with the over-compensating competitive parents.

Not to be judgy and all – but DAMN, those parties make my fiesta forays look positively paltry!

However, my parties do have a few things in common with Jake’s parties – one time we served SNOW cones – and another time, we had a craft table where the kids filled glass vases with colored SAND – and thanks to my chocolate addiction, my big BELLY always DANCES!

— Darcy Perdu

Why don’t ya pop your lil ol email address rightcheer so ya kin git all my funny true stories in yer dadgum inbox?

(What are some of the wild and unique parties you’ve attended (or hosted)?  I love to hear cool party ideas!  Any examples of divorced parents trying to outdo each other – or perhaps some competitive moms in your class or neighborhood who try to one up each other on playdates, parties, or gifts? Do tell!)



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45 replies on “When Divorced Parents Try to Top Each Other in SPECTACULAR Fashion

    • Right? Our poor kids! They’re probably thinking, “Why no camels at my party, mommy?” Ha!

  1. Leah Link said:

    The snow I totally get, it melts and you get your yard watered. But the sand, I’m just horrified! How the heck would you even begin to clean that up?

    • Leah, clean-up would be a big challenge for all that sand! Not sure how that Dad handled that. You’d need a pretty strong handi-vac to get that stuff up! Ha! Maybe the belly dancers helped him — or at least helped distract him!

  2. Ha-ha! I don’t have anything like that, but there was that one year when my oldest son turned eight. The boys went outside and had a big snowball fight with the real stuff that had fallen out of the sky, until one of the twins got hit between the eyes with an ice ball launched by the older neighborhood bully who was just passing through. So they all came inside for pin the tail on the donkey, cake, ice cream and gifts. The next part I remember is the parents coming to pick up their kids. One of the twins had bloodshot eyes and the other was handcuffed to our kitchen table with the very gift they’d brought to the party and the key was nowhere to be found. I mean nowhere.

    • HA! Love the image of the parents coming to pick up their kid who’s handcuffed to the table — and no key in sight! LOL did they ever figure out how to free him — or did you have to raise their kid? :o)

  3. We’re pretty solidly entrenched in the lower middle class, but we live in a strange area where my kids go to school with a lot of kids who have lots of money. My butthole puckers when they get invited to rich kid parties because I just want to whip my pistol out and start shooting all the fucking inflatable bounce houses, slides, camels, belly dancers, etc!! We so suck at parties that it’s comical. Luckily, our kids are pretty ok with mediocrity so far. These two parties are outrageous. How do you clean up all that sand anyway? I think mom wins because hers was first and the snow melts on its own.
    donofalltrades recently posted..We could use to hear more about everyday heroes, even tragic ones…My Profile

    • Oh, good point on the clean-up issue! Hadn’t thought about how they’d dispose of all that sand — snow DOES seem like a better choice! I’ll keep that in mind if I ever plan a Blizzard Birthday (i.e. when hell freezes over!)

  4. William Kendall said:

    With over indulgent, bitter at each other parents like that, Jake would grow up to be a really lousy excuse for a person. Assuming Mommy and Daddy don’t burn through every cent they’ve got!

    • Far be it from me to judge (cough, cough) — but I can’t help but wonder — if they’re going all out like this for his TENTH birthday, what expectations are they setting up for all his subsequent birthdays? Yikes! Granted, I like to shower my kids with love and fun and parties and gifts, but I always try to keep in mind that we need to slowly ramp up and give them something to look forward to, rather than blow it all now. Otherwise, I’d have to abandon all parties and gifts for the next decade and just give my kids a sad little Hostess Twinkie for their next 9 birthdays and keep saying, “Yeah, but remember that one birthday, a CAMEL came over?” Ha!

  5. Paul said:

    That’s mind blowing, Darcy. You know, the worst of it all is that neither parent really gave the party for their kid – they did it to stick it to the other parent. Kids ain’t stupid, and when he looks back later in life, he’ll likely wonder why such a huge brouhaha meant so little to him. Sure way to let your kid know you don’t love ’em.

    • Yeah, someone once said if the birthday party for your 1-year-old kid has more than 50 guests, you didn’t throw the party for your kid.
      Ha! I’ve certainly been guilty of overdoing some of my parties, but one of the best times we ever had was a simple birthday party for my 6 year old daughter at our home where each of her gal pals baked little teddy bear shaped cupcakes. They wore little chef hats and aprons I found super cheap online and they had such a blast baking and decorating those little cakes. No sand or snow or CAMEL DUNG to clean up — just plenty of yummy bakes goods to eat! Voila!

  6. This post was so much fun to read – so entertaining and funny … and so outrageous! Truly! The lengths some parents go to in order to outdo the other one – as pathetic as it is ridiculous! I agree completely with all that was previously said in your comments – how on earth do you ramp up from extremes such as this? Poor Jake. :(
    Marcia @ Blogitudes recently posted..Feature Friday – Feb. 21, 2014My Profile

    • I’d like to think that maybe Jake will grow up to be a super laidback dude who backpacks through third world countries helping to build water wells.

  7. Adunno. I kinda feel really sad for Jake, that it’s not for HIM that he’s getting these fabulous birthday parties, that it’s about his parents using him as an excuse to hurt one another. He’s ten. He’s not stupid. He’ll figure it out, and when he does, that’s gonna suck. Parents like that make me mad.
    Considerer recently posted..7 Quick Takes #63 x FTSFMy Profile

    • Yeah, I know what you mean. But maybe the parents were trying to show their affection, in an albeit outrageous and misguided manner. (Trying desperately to give them the benefit of the doubt here… — :o)

    • Exactly! With that kind of hoopla at the 10th birthday, his parents better book him a shuttle flight in space to celebrate his 16th!

    • Yep, sounds like they may need to dial it back a bit!

  8. Hey that book looks very interesting!

    But OMG to the parties! INSANE. That kid is screwed. His adult life will never be as good as this.

    I went to a party once for a little boy turning four. They had the fire department come to the house and give rides on the fire truck, there was a magician walking around performing for everyone, there was a maid and chef hired for the event, a bounce house out front, an ice sculpture…you name it. For a four year old? Seriously? Wow. It was three years ago and I’m still not over it.
    Beth Teliho recently posted..I Danced For The Secret Guard-VirginsMy Profile

    • Holy Cow! An ice sculpture!? That’s wild!
      I went to a wedding once that had an ice sculpture of ELVIS! The groom LOVED Elvis and even sang some Elvis songs with the band at the wedding reception. His license plate was DONT B CRL. But I digress. An ice sculpture at a wedding is one thing — but at a 4-year-old birthday party? Yowza!

  9. LOL, I used to be known for “over-the-top” birthday parties for my kids. But my low-budget theme parties sound pretty pitiful now. Not as pitiful as the fact that my 11 year old turned 11 in November and reminds me weekly that I still owe him the celebration I promised. I’m thinking I may steal that camel and sand idea. Only it would be a goat and the sand would be in bags on his back to make him look like a camel…
    Angela McKeown Momopolize recently posted..Why We Should Be Banned from Family PortraitsMy Profile

    • A goat? That sounds pretty cool actually! Low-budget parties are awesome! But do let that boy celebrate soon — he’ll be 12 before you know it! :o)

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  11. I seriously cannot even BELIEVE this!!! I kept thinking you were making this up! Oh, God help that poor- oh wait, bad use of that word- pathetic child as he grows up into an adult. What on EARTH are these parents THINKING???

    Pass the wine and the appetizers… I wanna hit your next bash with you. Seems too entertaining to pass up!
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    • Ha — nope, not making it up! I live out here in Los Angeles in an area where “excess” is fairly common! There have been some pretty interesting adult parties too! So yeah, grab your dancing shoes and come along! :o)

  12. This is beyond absurd to me. I’ve never been to any party like that! The craziest party I’ve ever thrown was a Middle Earth themed baby shower for my sister-in-law because yes, we are that big of dorks.

    • Yep, there are some pretty crazy parties out here in LA. My daughter was invited to a friend’s 11th birthday party that included a limo that picked up the guests. (She had a blast, by the way.) My neighbor’s daughter has playdates with a friend in Malibu who has a helipad on top of her house. I said, “A heli-WHAT?” Ha! As for your Middle Earth-themed baby shower for your sister in law — that sounds awesome!

  13. Gosh what are they going to do for his 16? They have had sand and snow, perhaps one parent will do an ocean world and the other a jungle world?

    • ha! Yes, they’re really going to have to amp it up as he gets older! Perhaps a party aboard one of the Virgin Galactic Space Shuttles?

    • Omigosh, Linda, I should have asked them that! They were probably outrageous gifts! It reminds me of a TV show I saw where the Mom buys a Razor scooter as a gift for her kid to give the birthday boy, but when they get to the party, the Mom sees the party favors lined up at the door — yep, the party favors for each guest are Razor scooters! HA!

  14. Cindy said:

    I had my younger daughter’s 8th birthday party at the local horse racing track. They have (or had) a “Pony Pals Kids Club” and for a very reasonable amount of money, you got a cake and sodas, a tour of the stables, the barns, and the jockey room (very popular with both the kids and the moms — they let the kids ride the little warm up rocking horse type thing, and the moms got to look at the jockeys walking around in their jockeys), the birthday child got a race named for them in the program and got to present the plate or cup or whatever to the winner of that race. We talked about odds (Math!) and made it a learning experience even. LOL Everybody thought it was great. My ex was a little skeptical but got over it.

    My kids went to a private school (so smallish enrollment) and I found out that renting the ice rink for two hours was very reasonable (and again, no cleanup), so we did that a couple of years, called it a joint birthday party for the three of them, told everyone no presents, and invited basically the whole school and siblings and whoever else wanted to come along.

    I believe in simplicity. :-)

    • Cindy, that race track party sounds amazing! What a fresh creative idea! One time I threw a little “casino” party for my middle-school son with blackjack and roulette — and the kids’ parents all wanted to stay!

      • Cindy said:

        It really was great fun and pretty interesting, but it does sound a little sketchy to tell everybody that you’re taking the 8 year olds to the track. Thank God pretty much everybody was Catholic, so the betting and the alcohol were no problems!

        • Ha! I was raised Catholic too — we love our Church bingos!

  15. Unfortunately, I can relate to this on a much smaller scale! As a stepmother who LOVES kids and crafty things, I hosted a little 6 person sleepover for a 12th bday party. We did some crafts, had a lot of fun, and all the girls got a kick out of helping me make the cake, decor, etc.

    For the 13th party, it’s a carnival theme, at the other house. Complete with a bouncy castle, cotton candy machine, popcorn machine, etc… and boys.

    Gotta love some extremely bitter energy. (Sarcasm.) We’re just happy to be blessed with a wonderful family otherwise!
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    • Grace, I can already tell I would have loved your party way more than the carnival theme — and so would my kids. The very best birthday parties have been the ones we have at home where the kids get to be hands-on with decorating, cake-baking, making crafts. Sometimes there’s so much over-simulation at the big parties, it turns into a circus! (or a carnival! ha!)