Last Thursday, when I picked the girls up from school, one of the teachers handed me an invitation to a classmate's birthday party. For the next evening. Starting at 8 p.m.
Yes, 8 p.m.
I had heard of these late-night kid birthday parties before, for they are the stuff of legend around the Embassy.
"Can you believe it? My kids are in bed at 8 p.m.!"
"My daughter's Georgian classmate doesn't go to bed until midnight."
I did not want to go. J didn't want to go either. I think I've mentioned justafewtimes how sick this house has been over the last few months. We are tired, people. I'd been getting to bed before 9 myself most nights lately.
But the girls were dying to go and I figured it would be good for them to socialize with their classmates outside of school. So we went, and they had a blast.
There were princesses.
And Hello Kitty and clowns and dancing.
And Roman candles - shooting out of the cake, and later out of the dance floor!
We closed the place down (at 10 p.m.). The kids obliged by sleeping in an extra hour until 8:30 the next morning.
I should note that this was not a typical Georgian birthday party - it was a typical wealthy Georgian birthday party. The mother of the birthday girl (who made her entrance in a fur shrug and ball-gown tutu, though sadly I missed that photo opportunity) was wearing Christian Louboutin platform heels.
This is one of the odd things that Foreign Service kids encounter overseas in developing countries. Many of the locals who can afford private school tend to be very wealthy. This means that, as the kids get older, it is likely that they will have classmates who have personal drivers, designer clothing, extravagant allowances, and often a minimum of parental supervision. I went to school with kids like that in junior high school in Tel Aviv, and my siblings encountered the same in junior and high school in Tashkent and Kyiv.
As I pare down for the move and try to get my kids into the mood to do the same, I'm finding that there are lessons both in their classmates who "have everything," and in the gypsy kids on the street who have nothing.