When I was in 6th grade, spin the bottle was all the rage. I remember vividly sitting in my friend Stacey’s basement. It was 3 girls, 3 boys. I secretly was hoping the bottle would land on Justin but it landed on Matt. Ugh. This gamed turned into 7 minutes in heaven which seriously was the most awkward game ever. I think back to those times and wish this is what my kids had to look forward to in 6th grade. Unfortunately this is not the case, at all.
6th grade is a difficult year for any tween. A time when boys start kissing girls, running the bases, puberty, and pressure. A time I would choose not to return to in my lifetime. A time when Friday nights have taken on a whole new meaning.
When an event leaves your community and starts entering other communities it is time to discuss it. I have been quiet about the 6th grade parties until yesterday when I was hanging with a friend from Rosyln who told me this Friday night ritual, that has been going on in Livingston, NJ for some time (and no other town in NJ), has branched out to Roslyn NY (and no other town on Long Island).
Ladies and Gentleman – welcome to the 6th grade party, (in some cases the 5th grade party) I am sure it will be coming to a town near you.
In Roslyn it is called “The Ladder Party”. It starts at Robbie Wagner’s Tennis club. If you live in Roslyn, you know getting into this Tennis Club is like trying to get your kid into Horace Mann. You need to know someone who knows someone, etc etc etc. You know the drill. If your child takes lessons there, they give priority to those members and then there is a wait list for all the other peeps on the totem pole. Usually 3 kids share a party. So if your kid’s birthday is in September, your kid will have the party with two other friends whose birthday could be in September but not necessarily, especially if your kid wants to share their party with their friends. Here is the juicy party….
Let’s pretend your kid, let’s call her Alex, has a party with Steph and Jordan on Friday September 27th. Alex’s Save the Date’s went out yesterday in Rosyln. As well as 8 others for every Friday night until Oct 31st. If your kid has a birthday in November, the Save the Date will go out next month. In Livingston this goes on all year but Evite’s go out instead of Save the Date’s. Your child is booked every Friday night from September until May. The parents pitch in for the place, D.J and maybe some water and candy. The parties are normally 7-9 or 8-10. Gifts: not such a close friend -$10-$15 gift card. close friend – $30 gift card. You do the math. If you have 3 close friends having a party on Friday night that is $90! Remember this goes on every Friday night of the entire school year! In Livingston as many as 7 kids can share a party. Here is a pic of one child’s gifts from his party:
This kid can buy music and kicks for the next 2 years! I personally think the parents should send Visa Gift cards and help fund your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah the following year (lol). Speaking of Bar/Bat Mitzvah’s which occur only one year later, the D.J’s better be on a whole different playing field if they need to compete with the 6th grade parties! The parties in Livingston take place all over the place from Center Court, the VFW, to Powerhouse. They started in 6th grade a few years ago and now they have turned into “5th grade parties”. MOST of the grade is invited and it is a full-blown fiesta. Happy Birthday Alex! At some of these parties, they now have “after parties” which can take place anywhere. Somehow I will need to work my social calendar around so I can now figure out a way to pick up my kid every Friday night … can’t wait!
If you ask a parent why they are so PRO the 6th grade party extravaganza. They would tell you this:
1) My kid is in a safe, supervised place
2) My kid is not hanging out at the local 7-11 parking lot or the town center.
3) My kid is not walking around my house complaining they are bored and they have nothing to do.
4) My kid is socializing with his/her friends instead of sitting in front of a computer
I get it, I really do. Plus I see how we are supporting all the local businesses and I am ALL for that! But I have to tell you, in 6th grade, I didn’t even have a birthday party. Maybe I had a few friends sleep over. Maybe my parents took a bunch of my friends out to dinner, MAYBE. BUT I did not have a party where most of the GRADE was invited,my parents hired a DJ, and I got 4,000 gift cards! All I remember in 6th grade was kissing Matt, playing spin the bottle in Stacey Perlstein’s basement. Am I crazy? What kind of message are we sending our children at eleven and twelve? Maybe I am naive because I haven’t lived through the 5/6th grade parties. Maybe I will feel differently when my kid is in 6th grade and these parties are all the rage. MAYBE!