Monday, March 9, 2009

Bank Loans for Birthday Parties

Jennifer is stresed out. She's throwing a birthday party for her 3 year old and just found out what's expected for the fête. In other words, if she wants to keep her cool maman reputation intact, she needs to get a bank loan to throw her kid a birthday party!

She found out that you can't just do a plain old birthday cake and pin-the-tail-on-the donkey. Maybe in Marseilles you can, but not in the 16th arrondisement of Paris!

It's a full-on fête for toddlers and their parents.

La Mom filled Jennifer in on how large the bank loan's gotta be. Here's an itemized loan listing for your reading pleasure. Feel free to modify as needed, but remember, you risk your reputation if you're caught skimping...


Guests: 10 toddlers + their younger siblings (10) + parents (20) = 40 people cramped into a small Parisisan apartment (even if it's a big apartment it still feels small with 40 people.)

Party duration: 2.5 hours

~1 organic, American style birthday cake (for 35 people/elaborate decoration - Dora & Diego) = 75 euros

~3 bottles of organic orange juice from Le Bon Marché = 12 euros

~Dora & Diego party decorations = 20 euros

~10 party bags (contents: one *hero* toy, in this case a stuffed animal from Bonpoint) = 10 euros + various goodies (budget another 5 euros/bag) = 150 euros

~entertainment (annoying animateur/master of toddler ceremonies who covers all the 16th arrondissement parties) = 2.5 hours @ 350 euros

~1 babysitter to look after the baby siblings = 3 hrs @10 euros/hr = 30 euros

~1 helper (to coat check/pass out food/tidy up/babysit/patrol the back of the apartment to make sure nobody's husband has gotten "lost" with one of your mommy friends and wound up in your bathroom "admiring" the imported Italian bath tiles) = 3 hrs @ 10 eur/hr = 30 euros

~6 bottles of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin champagne = 222 euros

~6 bottles of wine (and a plug for Big Cheese's family): Chateau Bizard Cotes du Rhone = 60 euros

~1 six pack of Perrier sparkling water = 5 euros

~1 six pack of Evian water = 4.50 euros

~1 box of 59 La Durée macarons = 80 euros

~2 platters of petits fours from Le Notre (don't *gasp* go with frozen finger food from Picard!) = 100 euros

~10 mini bouquets of baby roses from the local market for the moms = 40 euros

Birthday Party Bank Loan Total = 1178.50 euros

By the way, if you don't go all out for your tot's party, you're secretly known as a Tulip Mom in certain expats circles of the 7th, 8th and 16th arrondissements.

Why a Tulip Mom? Here's a little quiz...

Where do tulips come from? Holland.

Who has the reputation of being the cheapest people in Europe? The Dutch.

Is there a secret message when an expat snob mom brings you a bouquet of tulips as a gift? Of course! She's not being nice, she's secretly telling you (and the other moms) that she thinks you're cheap.

So would you take out a bank loan for your kid's birthday party? Or would you prefer doing it your way at the risk of being branded a Tulip Mom?

PS- The French TV channel M6 just launched a new soap opera called "Paris 16th." Reviews say the soap is a total caricature of 16th arrondissement life (imagine Beverly Hills 90210.) La Mom's certainly not helping the 16th's reputation, is she? registered & protected


Evolving Mommy Catherine said...

Oh man, I'm a tulip mom. A total tulip mom. Seriously I can think of hundreds of things I would rather spend 1700 euros on.

La Mom said...

@ E.M. Catherine -
In a previous arrondissement I was a Tulip Mom too! That's our secret though:)

Under the Influence said...

Poor Jennifer. :)

I'm definitely a Tulip Mom - not necessarily cheap, but I do things my way and I don't really care what others think.

But you know what? I DO treat my kids so they know they are LOVED and they know they are SPECIAL. No amount of money will convey that!

Oh, and I LOVE tulips!

Scandalous Housewife said...

The party sounds like my house every Friday night. Except the champagne is cheap (but good!) and the food and goodies came from Le Tar-jay (Target)! Your friends are definitely bringing the tulips to Scandy!!

Fiona said...

HA! If there is such a think I am a carnation mom... my son wanted one friend for a sleepover this year. I silently jumped for joy and splurged on pizza and an ice cream cake. I rock!

vicki archer said...

Call me selfish - I would rather spend the money on my own family! It is a bit of a no win situation - because if they are the child's friends and they all have those kind of parties then that is all they know and expect. On the other hand...
Mmm I do like the sound of champagne and macaroons from Laduree with roses to go - I must adopt and move to the 16th! xv

Parisienne Mais Presque said...

I guess there are advantages to a) not living in Paris proper and b) not knowing any other expats. Not that I would be at all phased by being branded a "tulip mom."

One would think that tulips would be coming back in style these days...

Anonymous said...

Sad to say that this is dead-on true. At least you save money on one thing -- in the Western suburbs you have to have pony rides!!!

Kelli said...

This is crazy but I believe it.
Can you post a video clip of Paris 16th?

Nicole said...

yikes- I read through your list, and that is exactly what I would automatically go out and buy for a kids party. I never did the addition and I was probably better off not knowing what I was spending. No wonder my husband is always shouting at me for what I spend.

BJ Lantz said...

If I were a mom and living in Paris, I'd no doubt have a petit apartment filled with tulips :-)

a H.I.T. said...

That sounds like a scene straight out of Greenwich, CT.

I can't get over the Tulips. I guess buying them yourself to celebrate spring is also out of the question?

Monica said...

My kids usually don't like to have friends over for their birthdays. They have figured out they get better presents when we don't fork out the money to entertain their friends. And if you host the party, you're babysitting for free!

Anne said... definitely live in another stratosphere!

La Mom said...

@ Kelli,
If you go to You Tube, type in "Paris 16me série" and you can get the first episode's resumé.
C'est so Passy!

Paris Atelier said...

I love it! Tulips are the new Orchids these days!
I'll have to admit that while I do shower my little one with more love than money can buy and see this as a senseless waste, I would still try to do it! Perhaps a bit toned down and not quite spending so many Euros but I would still throw a lavish party. Who doesn't love a grand party!?! I would try to fake being an Orchid but I would know I am a Tulip instead! C'est la vie! Great post!

A Gift Wrapped Life said...

I'm new to this blogger world but when I came across your blog today via Paris Aetlier I had a most delightful time and more than a few laughs. Love how you see it and how you say are living a great life, thanks for sharing it. I will be sure to share your blog with my readers.

Anonymous said...

Wow...with friends who bring you tulips who needs enemies?

I suggest ditching the entertainment and making a paper mache pinata. (Keep the parents' beverages, though!)


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