Recurring Themes 

Some parents, in exuberant yet inexplicable expressions of devotion to their babies' supposed happiness, stage lavish birthday parties at such young ages that the supposed beneficiaries could not possibly remember or appreciate them. For example, the party by Sheila Chapman and Ray Reed for their precious "Prince" Clayburn Reed in February in Tampa Palms, Fla., celebrating Prince's first birthday, featured 60 guests and a professional party-planner, pony rides, a magician, a pinata, centered around a rented room at the local country club. Said Chapman to a St. Petersburg Times reporter: "These are the memories I want him to have. I want him to know how important and special I think he is."

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