Missy's birthday party with all her little friends from barnehage was yesterday. Details and pictures later--for now I have a bit of a poser for you all.
For reasons entirely too lame to dwell on, I ended up inviting ALL the girls--not just the girls Missy's age, not just the ones she plays with regularly, but ALL the girls at the barnehage--and in so doing, managed to invite 2 little ones that have never been to a birthday party before. Their mothers (in one case, a foster mother) were so pleased, yet nervous about the prospect, that they both called to ask if it would be okay if they stayed for the party--just to be on the safe side.
Fine. Fine. Whatever. I had no problem with that. More adult supervision is always a bonus at these events.
The one mother (the non-foster one) is a foreigner like me. From the Philippines. Been here nearly 10 years. Very quiet. Even more tortured than me by small talk, it would seem. Anyway, she didn't bring a gift, just a card with money. While I think it's a little chicken shit to give a 4 year old cash for her birthday, it's not unheard of here, and that's not my problem. My problem is the amount of cash she gave: 350 kroner (about $70).
It's too much--crazy too much--and I don't feel good about keeping it. Do I approach her about returning some of it? Or, would that just embarrass the hell out of everyone, and insult her entire family and 6 generations of ancestors? Keep in mind that even though she's been here nearly 10 years and one would think that she would have learned by now that the accept norm for a birthday gift in these parts is closer to 100 kroner: a) this is her only child, b) this was said only child's first birthday party, so no etiquette setting precedent to go on, c) she made several comments while she was here that led both Mister and me to believe that her family's contact with other Norwegians is limited, so it stands to reason that she had no one to ask "Hey what would be considered appropriate here?"
I would feel differently--like maybe she meant to give us that much, rather than she just didn't know how much to give--if both her and her husband where high earning professionals. But they're not--he's a farmer, she's a checker at a grocery store. Surely, they don't have this kind of money to throw around. I know we don't. Also, by approaching her, awkward as it would be, we would be letting her know the local standard for the next party they're invited to. So, you know....civil service, and all that?
I honestly don't know. Do I say something or not?