*if you are among the great friends who have allowed your child to attend one of these birthday parties, please note that slight exaggerations have been made and I'm not talking about any of your kids....purely for entertainment purposes :)*
I have six months before it all starts again.
The long hours, the planning, the logistics, the stress.
Every year at the closing ceremonies, I tell myself I'm NEVER doing that again. It was just too much work, too much everything, and then, as time goes by, my memory gets fuzzy. It seems like it was just fun and games and a beautiful memory I made for my daughters.
I'm considering calling in the professionals this time around. I just can't take the stress.
CHILDREN'S BIRTHDAY PARTIES.
When you're new parents, you can just hardly wait for that one-year birthday party. You know the one. It's that birthday party you were invited to for your friend's baby and had to drag your less than eager husband to go to with you. The oohing and aaahing over everything that sweet chubby baby does. The cake all over the face, the balloons and the hats. You've been there, done that.
I can tell all you newbies this: by the time your last child comes of age, they'll be lucky to get a store bought cupcake with a couple sprinkles thrown on top. More likely you'll simply photo shop your firstborn's birthday pictures and put your baby's face on firstborn's body and call it a day.
It's just the way of the world.
But as your children age, the importance of throwing a cool party increases. You finally get rid of the huge crowd when your guests become old enough to not injure themselves with a plastic fork and their parents don't need to stay to help. That's a relief, but it's about the only one, trust me. This is a double-edged sword, because yes, you've just cut your guest list dramatically, but now you are in charge of entertaining and keeping all your miniature guests out of trouble all by yourself.
Every year my husband just looks at me from across the backyard and shakes his head as chunky little Johnny insists upon ANOTHER piggy back ride or little Suzie screams right in his ear for the 9th time in 3 minutes.
Then there are the sweet little party guests who interpret freeze tag as an open invitation to annihilate any and all opponents. They take them out and laugh an eerie, high-pitched laugh as they scamper away to find their next victim. My husband is convinced that some of the kids we've had in the past must sleep with their eyes open at night, an IV of hyperactive solution pouring steadily into their veins for 10 hours.
This is the party I threw for Olivia when she turned six.
She wanted a safari theme. I will never forget the work that went into making this:
I've written about my love/hate relationship with making birthday cakes. You can read about that one here if you missed it:
I made the "survival bags" as goody bags with all sorts of treats in it. I had the animal headbands we all made. I researched all sorts of fun animal games to play in the backyard. It was pretty fun (and I look at this picture now and think I must've been even more insane than I am now. What in the world was I thinking letting her invite THAT many 5 and 6-yr-olds to a party?!)
The problem with having multiple children is that when they're old enough to recognize injustice, you have to give them a party that's on equal, if not better, playing grounds.
This is the cake I agreed to make for Lauren's tea party when she turned five.
We had music in the background, place cards, a fashion show, a nail and make-up consultation, the works. She totally loved it.
I had fun, but worked my not so tiny hiney off to make it happen.
I will also mention here that this is the same day Lauren later chose to run away from home due to her many grievances against me. You can read about that one here:
Now, for the baby of the family, you have to just blow it out.
I'd say we pretty much did that this past year when she turned three, but see for yourself.
Nothing says spoiled rotten like a small child on a pony, does it? Would it help soothe your declining opinion of me if I told you the guy who owned it charged us practically nothing? Much less than the other two parties I just showed you.
We had livestock animals of every kind in our suburban subdivision backyard. Three-year-olds came out of the woodwork to ride the pony, gorge the bunny on stale carrots and celery, feed the goat, see the ducks, terrify the chickens and torment the rooster.
Yes, every year I just about kill myself trying to pull off a fantastic party my girls will be delighted by. It's a little like having a baby. In between times the stress and fatigue and general chaos just fades and I can't wait to do it again. Perhaps if I post a picture of screaming Suzie or giant Johnny clinging to my husband's ankles it will help me to stay strong for the next round. NO gigantic parties.
And absolutely NO dog parties.
Of course then I'll just be known as the cranky old biddy who won't even give her children a decent birthday party.
Son of a gun. Mamas just can't win.