I fretted over how to have everything “just right” – SpongeBob cake, pineapple decoration, SpongeBob balloon, yellow utensils, SpongeBob napkins & tablecloth, “Crabby patties” (mini hamburgers) … my family would have enjoyed the visiting time without any frills.
Birthday parties can be so stressful if you take them too seriously.
I don’t remember EVER having a kid birthday with friends when I was growing up. Although, I did attend two: One was a sleepover (I had to sleep with the light on), and the other had the most magnificent cake: a doll cake draped in green and white icing. All the little girls took turns passing the cake around and taking a bite from the hem of the dress. … Can you say GERMS?
When my oldest daughter turned 5, I joined the birthday parade. It was that “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality. And, I continued this insanity when my second daughter turned 5. Here is a sampling of the birthday parties we’ve had:
- At home with treasure hunt, silly string and cake … fairly inexpensive
- Sleepover (with 12 girls!) … exhausting …. juice and drinks spilled all over carpet, door knob broken off of bathroom door, fights among girls, crying birthday girl.
- Mall shopping … this would have been fairly inexpensive, but I had the bright idea of giving each child $10 … and then they needed more … and then they were hungry.
- Gymnastics … a little pricey, but it was “handled” by the instructors, and we had a cake and gift room, so this was a hit.
- Neighborhood park … who would have thought all 30 of the daycare classmates would have attended? Overall, a great success, but the number of presents were obscene. Looking back, we should have donated or said no presents. But my daughter was in heaven. There was an expense to reserve the pavilion, but it was such a beautiful day that all the kids had a great time. (We did this twice. The second time, hardly anyone showed, so you never know. That’s why RSVPs are so important to parents!)
- Overnight stay at a downtown hotel (Do you really want to take out a second mortgage on your home for a party?) This was a big hit with the girls … TV all night, dogpile on the couch and chairs for sleeping, swimming pool, water taxi ride through Bricktown. All of this would have been perfect, except for the chin injury in the hotel exercise room. Note to parents: Don’t let three 11-year-olds get on a treadmill, even if they say they’ll be fine.)
Looking back, our parties weren’t much different from other parties my kids’ friends had. And I’m glad my kids enjoyed the fun and time with friends and family.
But I still remember the simply iced white cake decorated with animal crackers that my mom made for me. The gift also was very modest. No ponies or jumping castles or skating rink or hotel rooms.
And I loved every birthday.
– Linda Lynn