I got invited to a two-year-old boy's birthday party one weekend and I was really excited about it, which I think is an indication of the state of my social life. I like birthday parties, especially kids' birthday parties, and now that I'm not a kid anymore, I don't get invited to a lot of children's birthday parties, since, you know, I don't have children.
Plus this birthday had a bouncy castle!
Yes, there are bouncy castles for rent in Cambridge Bay. We don't have a McDonalds' or a movie theatre to rent out for your child's birthday party, but for a fee you can rent out a bouncy castle in the elementary school gym, which is pretty damn awesome.
I might be wrong about this, but they didn't have bouncy castles when I was a kid, so I missed out on that whole thing, which makes me kind of sad about my deprived childhood. Because now as an adult it's kind of uncool for me to be joining in the bouncy castle with all the little kids; at least that was the impression that I got from all the weird looks I got from the children.
Plus the occupancy notice of the castle said that the maximum occupancy is about 15 kids aged 2-4 or 2 adults. That's kind of lonely.
The parents of the birthday boy put out an awesome spread for the party, which is really impressive because I'm not sure I would put in as much effort for my own kids, at least not until they are old enough to remember it and appreciate me for it.
For the record, what Koreans like to do for their babies' birthdays is dress them up in ridiculously fancy and equally uncomfortable traditional Korean hanbok clothing, and, as far as I can tell, make them pose for pictures in front of a table full of special birthday food. The birthday baby almost always look unhappy.
Case in point: my little sister's Dol ceremony, circa 1989. "Where's the bouncy castle, mom?"
This birthday party had everything though. Finger snacks for adults (or "adults" who forget to make lunch for themselves), beautiful Elmo birthday cakes, Cookie Monster cupcakes, loot bags, and don't forget that bouncy castle.
I always find the gift opening process to be a particularly cruel tradition, especially when the children are very young. When you are at a certain age, you don't really understand what a "birthday" is, so it's hard to understand why this one guy is getting all the presents and you aren't allowed to take any. It's not fair, really, if you think about it, and a couple of toddlers very clearly expressed their displeasure at such injustice. Until they remembered the bouncy castle.
As my birthday gift, I gave books, which my husband keeps telling me is a terrible present for boys. I don't care. Books are great. Plus it's a step up from what Koreans give their babies as presents. Rice cakes? Come on! Everyone knows that deep down inside, that baby wants a bouncy castle.
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