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question of the day, the return

question of the day

QOTD makes a brief re-appearance today. Humor me.

With DJ's birthday the end of this month, and Natalie's in February, I've been thinking a lot about childhood birthday parties. Some terrifying memories of clowns and mean cousins, but some very good memories, too.

So, what's your best/worst childhood birthday party memory? Note it says childhood. I do not want to hear about that drunken rampage at your last party when you woke up in the bed of your former grade school teacher.


It wasn't really much of a good or a bad memory. More along the lines of wondering if I had been zapped back in time. My best friend's mom had this thing going on--she sent Jen to ballet lessons, she decorated her room in pastel blues with little ballet pictures and teddy bears everywhere--and she threw Jen a "Secret Garden" party for her tenth or eleventh birthday. Which wouldn't have been so bad if it was more in the spirit of the book. I did like the book. But what we ended up doing was going to the McCurdy doll museum (also not bad--those old dolls are really cool to look at) and then have a proper English tea in their garden. Except without tea, of course. So there we are, about eight or nine girls, all sitting awkwardly on chairs, wanting to run around and explore the garden, but being strictly corralled by the gaze of our mothers. An hour or two of this.

Jen always laughs at these things whenever we go back home. She has never changed the decorations in the room that was hers. "I can't really call it my room. It's not like I was the one who decorated it."

At Arthur Grant's birthday party when I was six, we were running races in his basement and I slammed myself so hard into the concrete block wall that I knocked myself out for a few minutes. I woke up sick to my stomach and there were all these disembodied hands around me. Slowly the faces came into focus and I was rushed off to the hospital where I had to have numerous x-rays.

"Where's my candy?" I remember asking.

Finally, they decided I was okay and my father and I went straight from the hospital to some horrible Y-Indian Guide camping thing.

Scary. I grew up in Brooklyn and I was extremely shy when I was in grade school. Allow me to preface this by saying I HATE PINK. Anyway, my mother decided that I needed to make friends and threw me a Ronald McDonald birthday party in second grade, complete with everything Bubble gum Britney Spears PINK, ice cream cake and everyone had to sing Happy Birthday to me...It was a shy girl's worse nightmare...My mother was running around with a polaroid asking me to put my arm around kids i either didn't know or like to pose for pics.


My childhood was filled with small birthday parties consisting of only immediate family. That is, until I reached 16. As far as I'm concerned, the age of sixteen can still be considered childhood and for the sake of answering this question, I'm hoping you do too.

As I said, most of my parties up until then were family only. My mom always cooks our favorite meal for our birthday and makes our favorite cake. For my 16th birthday, however, I wanted to have a big party. My mother agreed and I proceeded to invite a lot of girls that I was friendly with at school. Keep in mind that I was a very introverted girl in school. I had ONE friend, my best friend. The rest of the girls I hung out with were merely tolerating me because of said best friend.

So the big day came. My mother went out of her way to make sure there were plenty of snacks, cokes, music, videos, etc. She even arranged to take my sister and brother out for a couple of hours after everyone arrived so we could enjoy ourselves more.

My best friend showed up first, of course. But what I didn't realize at that moment was ... she would be the only one to show up.

Yes. That's right. Nobody showed up. Nobody came to my big 16th birthday party.

I should have known. But I hoped, anyway. My spirit was broken for a long time after that little experience. And to this day, I hold a grudge against each and every one of those girls I invited because the next school day, they offered NO explanation or excuse for not coming.

One of my greatest fears is something similar happening to one of my kids. Somehow I doubt it will ever happen to them because, luckily, they received their social genes elsewhere.

Age 5, Dad had been transfered to Mexico City to work for a year, we were living in a big house that shared a common courtyard with the neighbors who had a 7 year old daughter named Geniva. I had a huge crush on her. I had no friends in Mexico so my mom got Geniva to invite all her friends to MY party. My two big presents were a new Big Wheel and a Hippity Hop (the cool one with a Donald Duck Head). For hours I patently waited while all the kids I couldn't understand played with my presents. At last Geniva and I were alone in the court yard, she on the big wheel and me on Donald. Even though this was some 27 years ago I clearly remember her picking up speed and slamming into the Hippity Hop sending me flying off the back and busting my head open on the ground. A scary trip to the Hospital ensued, complete with doctors and nurses that didn't understand a word I was saying. Mexican stitches. I always knew I had a scar on the back of my head but now that I am losing my hair Geniva's birthday present is on display for the world to see.

weird. i was just thinking about that very thing - worst and best childhood birthday memories - and thought about posting it.

in 6th grade i had breakdancers at my birthday party. that could fall under both categories, really.

I stayed up the night before and when the party came around the next day, I slept through the whole thing.

There is something wrong with sleeping with your grade school teacher?

Best memory of a birthday would be from a long way back, I was eight and my mom and I flew to Greece to visit some friends. Spent my birthday in an amusement park, and had a birthday cake afterwards on a verranda overlooking the sea.

Darned recreational drugs! I can't remember a single birthday party before my 40th :(

Well, here's mine.

When I was just about to turn 13, a favorite aunt and uncle moved to Florida. Two days before my birthday, my parents suprised me with a trip to Florida to visit them. I would be going with five of my cousins.

We were having a grand visit. The day of my birthday came and my aunt had planned a little party for me. Several cousins who lived in Florida showed up, some aunts and uncles, and the neighbor Bob and his kids. Bob was an old family friend. I hated him from when I was a baby. Just being near him gave me the creeps.

So they sing happy birthday to me and we are about to cut into the cake when "Uncle" Bob decided that my birthday would not be complete without my "birthday whooping" which he volunteers to give me.

Everyone thinks this is funny. Bob grabs me in a headlock and drags me over to the couch where he proceeds to put me, a very tiny 13 year old, over his knee. I silently pray for someone to stop him. No one does, I think because they were just shocked that he would really do it.

He starts the whooping. His open hand smacks down on my backside. It stings. It hurts. It's so fucking embarassing. He does this, slowly and with great showmanship, 14 times. One for good luck, you know. Each slap brings more pain, more humiliation. I'm crying and he's hysterical laughing, calling me a cry baby.

Finally, he is done and I run to my cousin's bedroom and lock the door. I stay there until the next day.

I found out many years later that Bob had many, many personality quirks, the least of which was getting off on smacking the ass of a 13 yr old girl. He died a couple of years ago. I didn't care.

Worst birthday ever. Worse than the one when my then husband totally forgot it was my birthday until 8pm and then ran to the drugstore and came home with a coloring book and crayons. I filed for divorce two months later.

(hey this is my blog, I can comment as long as I want)

I did have good birthdays. Most included family dinners (because I had no friends). The year I got "Framptom Comes Alive" from my parents and then went behind the 7-11 with my friends and smoked pot until we puked was probably the best ever.

I'm not quite sure what worries me the most - the fact that all of these stories indicate that birthday parties are sooo not a good idea, or the fact that Michele considers a day where she got Frampton comes alive as one of her best birthdays ever.

For my 5th birthday, I got to dress up in my princess dress (black gothic ren-faire type thingy) and I got the thing that was on top of my list: a spray bottle. I was pretty deprived as a child. ;)

I misted my grandma's plants for weeks on end with that spray bottle.

Good times.

Oh oh oh, I have one. :)

The year I turned 5, I think, my aunts and uncles came over for my party, as was the usual for my parties. We had a stream that flowed in the back yard, and my uncles and dad really liked to fish, so they were down, playing in the river. My dad caught a fish, and I hated fish, and they made me pose for pictures WITH the fish, and then took a bunch of pictures of just the fish. I was so sad, the fish ruined my bday, so I went in the bathroom and cried. That was the birthday that people were more excited about taking pictures of a fish than me. Oh dear!!

Wow. Wasn't going to leave mine here, but the others have been so potent that I am forced to tell.

Age, approximately eleven. Overnight party for a girl in my class. In my social nervousness I think I ate too much birthday cake. While everyone told funny stories that made me laugh so hard my stomache hurt, I suddenly realized I was in big trouble.

Ran to relieve my roiling stomache, but didn't make it quite to the toilet. Threw up all the hell over the bathroom, and then kept myself in there, sobbing and attempting to clean it up without using a telltale towel.

Eventually quietly stepped out and asked to go home. And never admitted to anyone what I had done.

Well, I can think of 2 short ones. On my fifth birthday, my parents had a party for me - I clearly remember my blue and white dress and the blue yarn tying back my pigtails. We played kid games for prizes and I didn't win any. So I had a fit and shut myself in my bedroom. My Granny had to talk me back out.

For my ninth birthday, my mom got me a Ouja board. I was relatively new to the neighborhood and a few of the girls decided to go home after the rest of us decided to play with the board. They thought it was satanic.

Neither was horrible, just funny now.

A silly/happy childhood brithday party memory: My oldest brother used to be really into magic tricks, and at every birthday party, he'd put on a magic show for me and my friends. :)

When I was about 7, my parents thought it would be quite a hoot to give me a "down on the farm" bithday party. I don't know if they really thought it a good idea, or if they thought they'd just kill two birds with one stone by visiting our redneck relatives out in the country. So they loaded up this group of kids in two Land Rovers and a Bentley and drove us out to the country.

We were miserable. Chickens and cows did not thrill me. But we figured we may as well play, so we went over and started diving off these hay bales. Well on my second pass, I slipped off the back of the hay bales. I fell straight back into a hollow stump. And in that stump was a yellowjacket hive. By the way, I'm allergic to yellowjackets. My legs were covered with them and I suffered about 100 stings.My throat closed up, cutting off my airway, and I actually had my first of many experiences with hallucination.Fortunately, one of my cousins was also allergic to stings and had enough steroids on hand that I made it to the local redneck hospital. As I was running from the stump, many of my friends got stung as well. As we ran towards the table, bees also covered my birthday cake. Yeah, that party kind of sucked.

Oooh. Age 13 -- 14? -- birthday party. Friends over my house, people are hanging out, whatever. I (being the little alienated angst-girl that I was) decided to go in the "catch-all" room and see if anyone would notice my absence.

No one did.

My birthday's have never been too horrible. Except for two memorable ones...

One was years back at my 18th birthday. A big deal, 18 is legal in these here parts. My parents decided to spend the day in downtown Toronto in order to catch the Argonauts football game (of which we had SEASON TICKETS to - they could have gone ANY day they wanted to, but it had to be my birthday). And my then-boyfriend, whose birthday was also the same day, didn't even bother to phone. I spent the entire day online (IRC) trying not to be miserable and upset. I was. Terribly.

The second was... my 20th birthday. I dragged my family and boyfriend to my then-favourite restaurant, Alice Fazooli's Crab Shack. Those of you who have been there know its not a chicken fingers and fries kind of place, which means that my siblings (aged 10, 8 and 18 at the time - and way too picky of eaters for their own good) threw a fit because they hated their food, and the 18 year old was a bitch the entire dinner, snapping at everyone, including this here birthday girl. Oh lovely evening with my family, let me tell you.

For my hubby's big x0 birthday ,I planned surprise party. His mom raised him and 4 sibings alone and the poor thing never had a real party. It was wonderful! I had it the week after his actual birthdate. 80 people were there! A friend and I had blindfolded him: we drove him around to confuse his sense of location, my mom and our dghtr. were waiting in the parking lot of the party location........they hushed everyone up inside.............I guided him in (there was abs. no sound ) and then I told him: "ok, take off your blindfold

Hmm. Best was the slumber party I had in fifth grade. My school was so cliquish but I managed to pull off a party with girls from different social circles and everyone had a great time. We got no sleep. The '70s PJ's in the photos are a scream.

Worst: When I was 16, my mother surprised me with a party to which she invited my church youth group and one actual friend. In the youth group were two girls I'd just found out were dating my boyfriend. He was there, too.

But even then it wasn't too bad. My best friend also was invited. She didn't go to church. She bought me a copy of the Book of Lists, and the church girls were deeply engrossed in the part about the world's largest penises and the favorite sexual positions of Americans. My mother was mortified.