I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was getting ready to have B’s 5th birthday party in February. Here, Dutch birthday parties are a little different and a little bit more low-key. I bring the kids back to my house after a half day of school, we have a ‘feestje’ for about three hours and hooray! Happy kid. So anyhow, armed with this in mind and thinking no stress I barely got through step 1 of the party process: The Invitations.
Ok, so your kid is going to have a birthday party and in the back of your mind you might think worst case there will be a debate over the number of invitees. Maybe their class has a rule that everyone has to be invited- or what have you, so that makes it easy. You say to your almost 5-year-old: ‘Ok Billy. Who do you want to invite to your party?’ And maybe he rattles off names like
You can spell these names, right? Well most of the time. Worst case scenario you email the teacher and ask her to send you a list of the kids in the class so that you spell ‘Jayme’ rather than ‘Jamie’. I really, really thought that this was going to be my biggest issue with the invite process, but au contraire my friend! Our scenario went like this:
Me: B, who do you want to invite from your class?
B: dkfjghkdjfhg dkfjghkdfjgh dkfjghkdjfgh dkfgjhkdjfhg skjgfhskjgh and skdfgjskjgh.
Me: I’m sorry, what?
B: MO-OM. That’s who I want. At my party.
Realizing that the day had finally arrived when I had to admit to everyone that I don’t know how to write, read or pronounce his classmates’ names, I emailed his teacher asking for an updated list so that I could read him the names and we could figure it out from there.
That was a brilliant idea until I received the list of names and realized that I could not pronounce them correctly- thus my 5-year-old had no idea who I was talking about.
The names of students in B’s class are like this:
- Joes (pronounced Youuse, hence the dilemma)
So I tried, really I did. Some of the names on the list are easier than others, and it took about 30 minutes to clarify who people were and who we were inviting. Who knows, really, because by the end I kind of gave up and just invited who I thought I had heard of before.
Ok, so here’s the next step. I wasn’t feeling too sure how to hand out all of these invitations. We were inviting 15 kids and there are around 30 total in the class. In the US we are very sensitive to our kids excluding people from things like this- so when I went in to drop off B for school yesterday- I asked his teacher how to discreetly give them out. She told me that I could give them to all of the mamas and papas there right then- but alas, I wasn’t sure who they all were. She said no problem! I will do it. Confused, I handed her half the stack of invites and watched her give them out to the kids and the parents in the melee of morning chaos.
When she finished, she told me all was good and I handed her the rest. She looked at me, eyes wide- and said- ‘There’s more?!’ It became clear that we were not doing this in the typical Dutch way. Oh well. They all know I’m the American but never fault me for it.
So then I go outside with the twins and as we’re waving goodbye to B through the window a group of mothers comes up to me asking how many kids we invited to the party. I told them 15 and they all started laughing- FIFTEEN! They said. We only have about five or six usually!
I then had to reassure them that I have our Dutch babysitter, B’s Oma, myself, and my dear friend Ace (surprise Ace!) helping me get through this. They still thought this was all hysterical and laughed and laughed. Soon they brought out the invitations themselves and were asking me to clarify the date and my numbers- because believe it or not- NUMBERS look different handwritten in Dutch and they wanted to make sure of the correct address, date, etc. Also, was I really going to walk the 15 children home to my house??
So what are your predictions for this feestje? It’s the 26th. Send strength.