I have reason to believe that I am the sole arbiter of social norms.
Because I am a superior being in these matters, I have no problem advising my daughter when it comes to her birthday celebration. Our last December birthday, and then I may turn my attention to the other big holiday celebration, if I have an ounce of energy left.
“So how many are comin Mom?”
“Well I don't really know. Definitely 5 maybe 7?” Presumably because I failed to translate R.S.V.P on the invitation? “Perhaps you could ask them to telephone me dear?”
“Very good. So I'll collect the cake after I've made room for it in the freezer.”
“Oh. About that.”
“We need a different cake.”
“A different cake from the special, made to order one, that you specifically choose as being your favourite, you mean?” Rather than the home made, artistically created with love version, from your mother? How many more ‘sacrifices’ do I have to make, deny my own pleasure, just so that she can be happy?
“Joanne don't like ice-cream cake.”
“But YOU like ice-cream cake and it's YOUR birthday.”
“Yeah but I want my friends to be happy too.” This is taking accommodation too far!
“Fair enough. How about I make another cake, a little one, that way every one will be happy?”
“Yeah and get some ice cream too.”
“To go with the cake that you're gonna make.”
“But what about the ice-cream cake, made with ice-cream?”
“That's right! Remember, you have the cake which yah have with ice-cream, unless yah don't like ice-cream, or yah have the ice-cream coz you don’t like the cake, then yah have the ice-cream cake if yah like ice-cream cake.” It's the American way, what can I say. Take a perfectly delightful piece of cake and then make a hideously soggy disgusting mess of it with a dollop of ice-cream. Vile.
“O.k. So,….. I shall buy the pizzas today whilst you are at school.”
“Oh no. Not pizza!”
“I thought you said you wanted pizza? A special treat?”
“No coz Sara doesn't like pizza.”
“But all Amer….um…..children like pizza!” Except my boys of course, although technically, they're not invited to the sleepover.
“Oh. Well how about spaghetti then?”
“No. She dun like that either.”
“But all Ameri……what does she like?”
“She does, really! I like it too. Can we have Calamari? Please?”
“Leave that one with me. Do the rest of your friends like Calamari?”
“No but that's o.k. coz Petra isn't staying the night.”
“It's a sleepover! Why isn't she staying the night?”
“Coz of the boys.”
Let me die now.
I need an emergency pack of patience right this second.
“Um… why dear?”
“You know!” she says knowingly. I take a deep breath as it would be inconvenient to explode at this stage of the conversation. I need an emergency pack of tolerance right this second.
“What about the boys dear?” Pass me the 'peace and love to all mankind' emergency pack. What is wrong with these people! Must a little genetic variation always have such a dire impact?
“Well they're, you know…..boys.”
“An she's a girl and she ain't got no brothers, soooo….”
“Well she ain't gonna stay the night in a house that's got boys sleepin there too, duh!”
It's official, I'm 119 years old and incapable of thinking outside the coffin shaped box of my own making. Just dig a six foot hole and bury me under the weight of my prejudices.