We have two birthdays in our family this week. Hugo turns TWO tomorrow (I know, whuuuuut.) and Elliot will be NINE on Friday *silently sobs.* In addition, the past two weekends in a row we’ve attended at least two birthday parties for classmates of Elliot and/or Clementine, and next weekend looks to be the same. Lately it seems like every weekend is a string of never ending birthday parties for classmates, which means I am constantly at Toys’RUs, buying gifts and cringing at the “girl” aisle (Clementine: “How about this makeup set, mom?” Me: “That is not an appropriate gift for a six-year-old, please put it back.”).
I’m conflicted about whether or not it’s wise to let my kids go to all of the parties they get invited to, so usually I end up just saying yes. On the one hand, I think it’s awesome that other parents throw amazing birthday parties for their kids, and it gives us something fun to do on the weekend. I never seem to find the time to plan a well-designed and organized at-home party, and I lack the pre-planning prowess (or desire to spend $$$) to book a bounce/trampoline/laser tag venue, so I’m also always a bit awe-struck when I bring my kids to these types of parties. When did her mom (or dad, but it’s almost always the mom) find the time to pull it all together? Where on earth did they find matching streamers/plates/cake toppers/pin-the-tail-on-the-fill-in-the-blank to coordinate? I also don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings if they really hoped my kid would come (which happened once with one of Clementine’s friends), although typing this now I realize that’s not a really great reason.
On the other hand all of these birthday celebrations, when added up, seem excessive. Again, I want to be clear: it’s not any ONE party in particular, but collectively, when every weekend you are transporting kids to yet another party, that it starts to feel like too much. I can remember a handful of birthday parties from my own childhood, but I know for sure it was not this many, or this frequent. And when I know full well I have absolutely no intention of doing anything similar for my own kids when their birthday rolls around, it also seems a bit cruel to subject my kids to a taste of the Party They Will Never Have (“See that bounce castle Johnny’s dad rented for his party? Don’t get your hopes up, Elliot!”).
Anyway…we’ll be celebrating this week with cake from a box, maybe some balloons, and as many birthday streamers as I can manage to get to stick to the wall (stupid Low-VOC eggshell paint!!). We had a birthday party with family members last weekend, so it’s going to be pretty low key. I think the important thing is that my kids feel loved and celebrated, even if I don’t (can’t? won’t?) throw a big shindig or shebang. I would love to hear your favorite ways to celebrate a kids’ birthday (especially if it’s quick and easy)! I also would love to hear from those of you who don’t have children, because I remember attending birthday parties for kids before I had children and thinking they were utterly hilarious.
P.S. Photo at the top of post is Hugo, totally hopped up on cupcakes last year when he turned one. Don’t you love it?