Siblings at birthday parties...

(41 Posts)
MrsWolowitz Wed 14-Nov-12 12:33:16

My DD1 (4 yo) has been invited to a birthday party next week.

DH is working and I can't get a babysitter for DTs (2 yo).

WIBU to text the mother of the girl who's party it is and ask if the DTs can come? I dont know her at all but have her number on the invitation. It's in a soft play area with a party buffet so I would obviously say that I would pay for them to attend. It's £8 a child.

If I don't ask then DD1 can't go.

What's the party protocol in these situations?

MrsMarigold Thu 15-Nov-12 12:41:26

Maybe it is because I grew up abroad where there was more space but we went to parties almost every week. Most people came with siblings we've got loads of pictures with children ranging from newborn to about eight gathered round eating and playing together, often in fancy dress. Also my mother would make us the most amazing costumes out of old evening clothes and wonderful cakes, plus these amazing fruit jellies in oranges peel. Usually there were about 30 children.

I was horrified when I saw photos of my husband's parties where there were about five children. There were fewer goodie bags but really good competitive games.

Vickles Wed 14-Nov-12 19:55:11

OP.. Does the party mum have other kids? I'm asking as I was in the same situation last yer, and I asked if my older daughter, then 7 yrs, could come and she would stand play her DS quietly with me... and they flatly said no.. Turns out she's a complete loon! I texted a few days before.
But, I, in the end, had to leave my 3 and a half year old there, against my will really, and go home. I didn't know many people back then.. Another mum, noticed I was torn, as my 3 yr old daughter really wanted to stay, and was really unsure about leaving her, as the party mum wasn't even taking numbers of parents.. Completely clueless! This nice mum, that I'd met before, said she'd look out for her and take my number. It was the longest 2 hrs ever and I was cross with myself for not being true to myself.
We weren't invited this year, thankfully, but I heard it was a bloody awful party, with loads of kids, now 4 yrs old, crying as they wanted to go home. Loon!
I hope your party host is more reasonable. I'm sure they will be.

pigletmania Wed 14-Nov-12 15:27:03

Leave your number with the mum and pay for the sift play bit for your twins

steppemum Wed 14-Nov-12 14:08:07

Mrs Marigold

no we don't invite siblings. My dd2 has just had a her birthday, she had all 5 year olds form her class plus 2 out of school friends. I find it really hard if parents turn up with siblings. All the games etc are aimed at her age, younger siblings get in the way and older ones find the treasure or whtever first

her own siblings were my 'helpers' although dd1 basically just joined in

I let my kids choose who they want to be there, and they usually choose their school friends. dd1 often has a couple of friends who are a year younger.

I have served tea to parents in the past, but actually, I mostly do parties at home, and we do party games, treasure hunts etc, so i am busy being the party entertainer, so I don't have time to make tea.

I know not everyone does it this way. one friend we have has a party where there are kids of all ages, cousins etc and she invites all 3 of mine to come. She has 3 kids and they take it in turns to have the 'big' party.

It is just different ways of doing it.

Quadrangle Wed 14-Nov-12 13:51:36

If people just bring sibs along without saying anything I worry that they are going to expect them to eat with us and there won't be enough food for the others and I worry they will expect a party bag and I won't have enough. Much prefer people to say up front they will be paying for their child and feeding them and not expecting a party bag. I have no problem saying "OK that's fine."

CrapBag Wed 14-Nov-12 13:25:32

I wouldn't ask because you should be paying for them seperately anyway and not expecting any food. I think by asking her it sounds like you are waiting for her to say she will include them. It is a public place so there is no reason why you can't take them anyway but keep well away.

If someone asked me this I would feel very put on the spot and not feel like I could say no even if I wanted to. You don't even need to say anything. When you take your DD just say that you will be 'over there' with your DTs as your DH is working today and just keep them well away, otherwise they will end up involved whether the hostess wants them to be or not.

silverfrog Wed 14-Nov-12 13:21:15

I have pretty much always had to drop dd2 at parties and go. There were a couple in her pre-school year I managed to go to, but none in reception I don't think.

It is not viable for me to ask if dd1 can come along too (dd1 has severe ASD), and so if dd2 wanted to go to the party then she had to go alone, with her lunch/tea in a bag (she has allergies), and ask one of the other mums to help her if needed (with tupperware lids etc).

ime, other mums are keen to help out, and it may lead to you knowing them better.

I always include sibblings for parties at home or in the village hall where you aren't paying per guest, but at a party venue I think it is acceptable to make it invited child only, and then if it is soft play or the like the parent can pay for their own child. DD2 had a gymnastics party recently and I actually wrote a note inside the invite that said "please be aware that sibbling participation in the gym is not possible. Parents and sibblings may watch from the viewing gallery" etc, and I still had one older brother turn up hoping to get into the gym. I agree with the comment up the fred about one's DC having to exclude their friends to include sibblings at a number limited event being uncool.

EmpressOfTheSevenOceans Wed 14-Nov-12 13:17:01

I'd have also thought that if MrsMarigold & her DB did that often, the number of invitations would rapidly drop!

DameEnidsOrange Wed 14-Nov-12 13:14:51

Am shock at MrsMarigold's post - if DD has invited 20 friends @ £8 per head then I am forking out £160 for the party - if each child brings a sibling along that doubles the price of the party

Spatsky Wed 14-Nov-12 13:13:52

IME in Reception about 50% or so of parents stay, by Year 1 onwards most (in some cases all) parents drop and go.

I have done as others suggest, take the twins but keep them separate from party, this is totally normal, again, IME.

picturesinthefirelight Wed 14-Nov-12 13:09:45

It depends:

There are two kinds of soft play parties. One is the kind where the party is going on whilst the centre is open to the public but with a separate eating area and possibly a few party games in which case it is completely acceptable to pay in the door

The other is exclusive hire where the parent has paid a set fee which covers x amount of children and it is not possible for members of the public to pay on the door. In this case it's not appropriate to ask to bring a sibling.

On the spin off conversation happening about not dropping off - it does seem that it is getting older and older before parents are willing to leave their kids. DD2 is 6 now and at least half of her friend's parents still hang about. And I recently have tried to drop and go and been told no by the hostess moo. I think it is to do with being responsible for other people's kids. I'm not pleased about the trend though, as I will be sitting at kids parties for many years yet, DD3 is only 2 hmm

smogwod Wed 14-Nov-12 13:03:31

Sorry but I don't think you should ask as it'll be very difficult for hostess to say no, whether she wants to or not. I'd (and have) just text back that you'll be taking dt's along to venue but will keep separate from the party. Then it's up to them if they want to invite you in on the day.

With these places charging at least £10 per child for parties I'm sure my kids would've been a bit hacked off with an extra couple of siblings if they'd only been allowed a set amount of their own friends.

DoubleYew Wed 14-Nov-12 13:01:18

Really can't see any problem with this.

I'm happy to have siblings at a home party too, neighbour's children are older so its nice to have a mix of ages.

EmpressOfTheSevenOceans Wed 14-Nov-12 12:55:29

And the hostess is probably a lot more likely to welcome the DTs if it's clear to her that you're not being entitled about it, OP - which you're clearly not!

I hope you don't mind me saying, MrsMarigold, but that sounds quite odd to me. Even when it was a friend of one of you who the other didn't know very well? There's 1.5 years between me & my DB & I don't think it would ever have occurred to us or our DM to do that.

Did you always ask the hosts if both of you could go or did you both just turn up?

I have always checked since my younger DDs were old enough to participate. At regular parties no-one has every minded, and quite often the smaller ones have been given meals and party bags too, which was most unexpected.

I did once have a soft play issue like yours, although it was actually DD2's friend's party and I was stuck with DD1. DD2 also wouldn't have been able to go if I didn't bring DD1. I paid for her to go in and asked another parent to watch DD2 while they were eating in the party room so that DD1 could have a snack. The parent hosting the party had no problem, as it hadn't actually cost her anything or impacted on her in anyway.

vodkaanddietirnbru Wed 14-Nov-12 12:54:10

I have taken the other sibling to soft play parties before but have paid them into the venue and bought their own food, etc and they didnt join in any of the party stuff.

MrsMarigold Wed 14-Nov-12 12:52:55

and do you lot provide tea, coffee, cake, scones, sarnies for the adults too - I certainly would but maybe that's because my parents did. They are very little to be left at a party.

MrsMarigold Wed 14-Nov-12 12:48:50

Gosh I'm shocked ay this I wouldn't dream of excluding siblings from a party - the more the merrier in my opinion even if you have to pay. My brother and I always went to parties together and there are three years between us.

NotQuintAtAllOhNo Wed 14-Nov-12 12:48:22

You dont actually have to ask - it is a public place, it is soft play! Lots of other people and children will be there, she cannot ask you NOT TO COME!

But I dont think you need to do party bags to your DTs, that is actually making a point to hostess. Just let them choose a lollipop or something from the venue before leaving.

StellaNova Wed 14-Nov-12 12:47:49

As Groovee said I think it is fine to take the twins as if you were going to the soft play anyway - ie don't take them into the party room, get their own food etc. If you ask if that is OK (and why shouldn't it be) then the party host may say "oh that's OK, bring them in the room" - or they may not. - there might be a limit imposed by the centre on how many can be at the tea.

MrsWolowitz Wed 14-Nov-12 12:47:41

There is a separate cafe area so DTs can have lunch in there.

No I wouldn't be happy leaving DD at the party. There will be loads if kids and the play area leads onto a really busy road.

steppemum Wed 14-Nov-12 12:46:34

actually when our 4 year olds at nursery had parties at soft play centres, pretty much all the parents dropped off and left.
I was always surprised when any parent stayed at any child's party I did (didn't mind, was surprised)

I do know though that at soft play parties, parents often bring siblings, they pay for them themselves, drop dd off at party room and then find seat outside party room for themselves and other dcs. they then buy and feed their dcs themselves. No problem to anyone, and everyone happy.

and if I had to pay for your dts, then I would mind. Money is tight and i would have calculated based on my dcs friends and would mind about having to pay for 2 more.

NotQuintAtAllOhNo Wed 14-Nov-12 12:46:02

I think if you pay entrance for DTs separately and dont expect your DTs to sit at the birthday table and partake in birthday tea/lunch, then I dont think it should concern the hostess.

You could perhaps just RSVP for your dd and add, "I will bring her siblings as husband is working, but will naturally not expect them to be in the birthday party and will pay separately"

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