Elli had her sixth birthday party today. The kids mostly seemed to very much enjoy themselves and things were quite successful considering how tightly we had to pack 7 loud, excited kids into our fairly small space. Lots of the game we played were pretty traditional like dress up, pin the horn on the unicorn, scramble for candy out of the pinata, and decorate cookies with icing. There was one activity in particular that the kids kept trying to do that I had to put the kibosh on though: The Game of Friends.
The way The Game of Friends works is that the person whose birthday it is tells everyone their exact ranking in friendship. "You are my #1 best friend, you are my #2 best friend..." After that the people at the lowest rungs of friendship get to cry and feel left out. Good game! There were a couple of girls at the party (the ones who were pretty sure they were #1 or #2) who kept trying to get Elli to play The Game of Friends and I had to wander in and forbid them from doing so. That would have been a great conversation at pickup time:
"So, why is my daughter crying?"
"Well, the kids spent most of the party playing a game designed to make your daughter miserable."
"Ummmm, why were they doing that?"
"Well, you know, it makes the popular ones feel better when they ostracize and belittle others, and we don't want the popular girls to feel bad after all..."
I just don't get these things. When I was young there was plenty of jostling for status and favour amongst the boys but it was always hidden behind screens of violence, sports ability, disobedience, and pain suppression. This raw, open competition for social superiority is really new to me.
Also, insert all the usual rants about excessive presents, handouts for partygoers, and sugary treats. You know the drill. :)