How to ruin a 2nd birthday party and Easter in 3 easy steps

[li]Allow your adult, younger sibling to provoke you into anger[/li][li]Threaten to kick sibling out of your house[/li][li]When your father threatens to leave if you follow through, encourage him to find the door.[/li][/ol]

Yeah, so I guess when I write it that way, I can see where I share a significant portion of the blame. But my brother was just poking the proverbial bear with a stick trying to get a rise out of me during my kid’s birthday party. He got that rise and then continued to poke, seeing how far I’d go.

My daughter, age 4, had some questions about why Pop-Pop left the house yelling and why I was crying and angry with him. I explained in ways she would understand without poisoning her against them. I told her how I was really mad at my dad and my brother. I compared it to how she gets angry with her brother. So she asked, “Do you want to punch him in the face?” I giggled and said, “Yes, I’m that mad, but I’d never hit him. I’m mad enough that I don’t even want to have to see them for Easter. We’ll make up, and it’s an important lesson for you to learn here about taking the high road and being the better person.” I went on to explain what “taking the high road” meant with some mixed success. What I said is there. What she heard is in bold.

The next morning Grandma called and I didn’t answer. My daughter said she wanted to talk to Grandma. So I figured I shouldn’t stop her from talking to her just because I was mad at my father and brother (who’s living at home for the time being). I dialed, and handed over the phone.

And what did my darling daughter say to Grandma? “Daddy doesn’t want to talk to you. Pop-Pop and Uncle Scott made him upset all night. He wants to punch Uncle Scott and Pop-Pop in the face. He’s not going to see you for Easter either.

Me and my mouth. Ugh.

Well, it could be worse: she could have taken Uncle Scott’s side in the argument. Then you’d have to throw her out of the house.

It’s a phenomenon I’ve seen, myself, several times - what IS it with little kids’ birthday parties, that brings out the Jerry Springer in grown adults?

What did he do Poppa Bear?

Flopped on the couch, watched golf while we were singing Happy Birthday… not really sins by themselves. But he started by just needling me about asking him to mute the match for 30 seconds while we sang. This too is fairly minor. I escalated it when I “accidentally” turned off the TV when handing the remote back.

I had made a video slide show of all the pics we had of my son. We were going to play it while he opened gifts.

So the match is over, and my brother gives me the remote… without the proprietary battery. Ha ha. Seriously, I thought that was funny and fair play. But a few minutes later when I said I needed it back (to play the video), he swore he didn’t have it. He knew I was starting to get pissed and he continued to hide it.

Eventually I started making an ass of myself, announcing to all guests that the remote battery doesn’t just disappear, and either my brother is lying or someone has it. I stepped out to cool down, and returned 30 seconds later to my brother and father frantically putting the battery back in the remote and playing it off as if I had dropped it out of the remote.

That about covers #1 on the list, and what caused me to spiral into #2 and #3.

Coming to a kid’s birthday party at someone else’s house and watching TV is a dick move.

Refusing to give back the remote batteries when they’re needed for an integral part of the party is a MASSIVE dick move. I don’t blame you for being upset, OP. I’m sorry you wound up making a scene out of it, and agree that that probably didn’t help, but seriously? Hiding the remote battery needed for the 4-year-old birthday boy’s video slideshow?

There are few things more unforgivable (in a birthday party context) than an adult needlessly delaying the blowing out of candles and the cake.

I’d say the ‘dick move’ was making the party about him and not about the birthday boy. If you’re going to be at the party, you be at the party, not hanging around doing something else. You can watch TV at home. (And yes, that’s a general ‘you’ aimed at the brother.)

That being said - part of being a parent is protecting the little ones from the stupidity of their elders. JerseyFrank, I’m sorry to say I think a lot of this is on you. Yes, he was behaving badly, but escalating it by turning off the TV seems to me to have been a bad choice, and helping him make the party about him didn’t fix it. The time to deal with this was: later. But I’d guess you’ve figured that out.

I hope you can fix this for your kids (and your mom) if not for the idiot brother.

I don’t have an idiot brother, but my husband does. I can sympathize.

I agree that making a scene at the party was probably not a great idea, but I think it’s a completely reasonable request to ask someone to turn the television off for a minute while everyone sings the birthday song. I don’t think that was an escalation on JerseyFrank’s part.

If there’s a bright side at all to this conversation, it may be that right now Grandma is reading the Riot Act to Uncle Scott and Pop-Pop because of what your daughter said.

Sometimes it takes a very innocent, but candid comment like this to finally set things in motion.

Too bad the (male) adults present didn’t recall who the party was for.

It must have been instructive, watching the role models try to out-class one another.
How’s it workin’ for you?

an seanchai

Sounds like he’s a jerk and you over-reacted.

I hope I’m not portraying myself as a blameless victim here. I’m well-aware that I let my emotions get the best of me and bring out the worst… and all the baggage that entails.

OK, so you’ve got a temper, welcome to the pack.

But what I’m wondering is, does that brother of yours always try to make everything about him? That style and depth of jerk-ness isn’t something you usually find in one-shots, it’s usually a pattern. Roping him into doing things that will put him close enough to the limelight that he can’t refuse sometimes works: “Uncle Memyselfandi, will you light the candles on LittleFrankie’s cake?” It works with my nephew’s Idiot Uncle and Stupid Grandma and with my sister in law, and I understand it was the main method SiL’s Mom used to manage her husband (who was also Mr Me, their children didn’t pick that gene out of thin air).

Oh, I think it was a reasonable request, and even repeating it might not have been too much. What I thought was maybe not so good an idea was asking for the remote to mute the TV, and then ‘accidentally’ turning it off. That seemed like throwing a bit of fuel on the fire. Yes, brother is a jerk. All the more reason to not let him get in the way of the important stuff.

I hope Súil Dubh is right. In the long run, work around the brother and do what’s good for the family and the kids. It won’t be perfect, but few things are.

Good luck with this, JerseyFrank. I hope they will join you in fixing it.

Just a thought here - did Uncle Scott actually want to be at the birthday party? My husband and I have gone to our fair share of kids’ birthday parties that we felt obligated to go to, not because we wanted to go (but we never behaved that badly at them).

Look, the closer the relatives are, the more acquainted they are with the locations of our buttons… the ones that, if pushed repeatedly, can make even a well-adjusted person freak right out.

I’m with you on this one 100% JerseyFrank. If another adult had intentionally disrupted one of my kids’ birthday parties, I’d have gotten angry with them as well.

Watching TV during the party = dick move.
Refusing to give back the battery after hiding it = dick move.
Trying to pretend like he hadn’t hidden it = dick move.

If you can’t go to a little kid’s party without acting like a dick and spoiling things, then you should stay home. And you *deserve *the wrath of the hosts for pissing all over what was suppose to be a special day for someone else.

I should say, I am in no way excusing Uncle Scott’s behaviour - just thinking that maybe if he didn’t want to be there, everyone would be happier if he didn’t get invited to the next one.


A while back, I read an article linked off which showed statistical evidence in one town that more alcohol-fueled fights broke out at Chuck E. Cheese than any bar.

So, I guess, be glad you had the party at home?