Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Kids' birthday parties

I'm hiding from my sister, and since we have dial-up, this is effective. And it's a slightly lighter topic than the education post over at Amy's or Rich's. And I'm going to use names, as there are no innocent to protect.

My sister has two sons, born in May and August. She has birthday parties for them. As in plural. She'll have a party at a local pizza place for lunch and then a barbecue that evening, and expects attendance at both. The lunch time place has recently gotten more elaborate; I was kind of waiting for pony rides, but it may stop short of that.

My brother, it seems, has gone to the other end of the spectrum. I don't know if there was anything for his son's second birthday. His daughter had a birthday last month and it was a day for his daughter, wife, and mother-in-law. Doesn't get much smaller than that. And frankly, I kind of admire it.

We grew up with immediate-family-only birthday parties. Sure, our first we had grandparents and neighbors and cousins, and somewhere along the way we had one with friends (I remember my cake--it had a doll in it, but the frosting was awful). But year after year? And the next card I get from an aunt or uncle for my birthday will be the first since toilet training, and I'm 35.

Now let me make a clean breast of it. We've had parties for our kids; the girls' have always been here at home (and the only relevant time, it was a dual party). You can do that in September. The Boy's have been at a local pizzeria, necessitated by February weather and the previously mentioned small house.

But I'm getting tired of it. I worry about having enough food, enough places for everyone to sit, people finding their way, the lunacy of cleaning house for people who see it annually. Will the kids all get along, and more stressfully, will the adults? And it's not like the kids need anything, either.

This is coming out because we went to the barbecue yesterday for my nephew and we really didn't want to go to the pool party today. We gave the gift, we sang the song, yadda yadda. He's turning four. Today was a weekday, we were all looking forward to a restful evening at home, I wasn't a candidate for swimming due to feminine concerns (ahem), Dale didn't feel like suiting up after a day at work, we just saw them yesterday.

But their car is out of commission with a cracked head gasket and their truck only transports 3. So they wanted a ride. I hedged and then didn't call back. I suppose I'm feeling guilty, but why should I?

Anyway. Any thoughts on birthday blowouts for the under-6 set? Madeleine is talking about a Princess Party, involving all of her classmates from preschool (only one of which we've seen since May), and that would be next month.


At 5:50 AM, Blogger Barb, sfo said...

I'm in a mixed marriage when it comes to birthday parties. I'd like to keep it "immediate only" and, well, others want to expand the guest list. And expand. And expand. My kids are winter babies (December, January & early March).
We have let the kids have "friend parties" with their classmates. Generally they invite the "same-gender" kids which keeps the list more manageable. And if she wants a Princess party, boys won't be too into it anyway. One year we let our son take 2 friends to a movie, and they came back for cake afterward.

At 6:47 AM, Blogger The Mom With Brownies (The story of us) said...

The only rule about parties at our house is that there is cake. Even if Brian works all day and late into the evening on his birthday, when he gets home we have cake and at least one candle for him to blow out. Cupcakes work well too. :-)

Kazz's 14th birthday last month was an immediate family affair. The only other guest was his friend Chris and that was only because he happened to be here as we pulled out the cake! LOL When family called to ask what we were doing for his birthday, I told them we were having a little cake for our immediate family this year. They didn't bat an eye. They were probably glad! LOL

Birthdays are memorable no matter what size they long as there is cake!:-)

At 4:10 PM, Blogger Heather said...

You know, Mom-With-Brownies, you're right. I don't remember a single guest from my birthday parties, but I sure remember the cake.

Marie Antoinette had a point: Let them eat cake!

At 6:06 PM, Blogger Diane said...

I had two "party birthdays" - one when I was six (my dad dressed as a clown and none of us knew who he was) and one sometime in high school, a sleepover. I still remember both parties as two of the happiest days of my childhood. The rest were just family (immediate plus Grandma/Grandpa), and cake, glorious cake. I'm glad that I wasn't awash in parties because they wouldn't have been meaningful like those two special ones were. Besides, every party creates so many obligations - you invite your kids' friends, then their parents feel like they have to have a party and invite your kids, and apart from the constant stress of gift-choosing I'd imagine this all gets kind of expensive. Is it wrong to specify "no gifts" at a kid's party these days?

At 5:12 AM, Blogger Barb, sfo said...

My kids have always had cake, and I decorate them special. Not perfect but they like it.
But this year, both my Big Kids wanted apple pie for their "birthday cake." We put a candle in it and sang.
Whatever works!

At 9:25 AM, Blogger Sparki said...

Oh, I love throwing parties for my kids. My husband points out that I am making up for my own miserable lack of parties as a child -- I was born a few days after my older brother's birthday and practically right on top of my dad's birthday, so the best I got was a cupcake made from salvaged batter from my brother's cake, on HIS birthday, not mine, because my parents always took a "couple's" vacation for Dad's birthday. I was shuttled off to friends and sworn to secrecy that it was my birthday so said friends' parents would not think my parents were losers for not celebrating my birthday.

I don't care. I'm glad my kids were born and I like to celebrate it. We have family-only parties (small) until age 5, then friend-only parties for 5 & 6, then every-other-year parties till they ask me to stop (so 8, 10, 12 and that's about it).

My current four-year-old just had a princess party complete with a cake that had a doll stuck in it and plenty of frog things and water balloons to keep the boys interested. We have a small house, too, so I do things outdoors involving water for the summer birthdays.


At 1:43 AM, Anonymous Anya said...

I think birthday parties are a really big deal to kids. Aside from the cake and the games, there is the pleasure of having friends around, being the center of attention, and celebrating your very own special day.

At 3:58 PM, Blogger montegue_blister said...

Kids birthday parties should be fantastic events remembered for a long time for all the right reasons. I collect and collate unusual, archaic, forgotten and just plain weird party games in my blog STRANGE GAMES

chin chin!

your faithful servant

Montegue Blister esq.

At 7:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once the kids turned three, we started this: One year was a birthday Party with many friends as they were old. The next year would be a "Family Fun day" for the birthday child. They got to pick a restaurant to eat at, and a few bucks to spend at Walmart on the gifts they picked out. It's worked out great.

At 11:08 AM, Anonymous louisa said...

I wish my kids would be pleased with small brthday parties. specially my daughter. every year she have to come up with a different idea and her birthday party has to be something out of this world. she is twins with her brother, but she is the one that arranges everything and he goes along with her. last year she decided to do a hawaiian party so they went to a hotel with her friends and they all wore hawaiian and the cake was decorated with real orchids it was just beautiful. their birthday is in march (they'll be 13) and she is thining about a new theme from now. I know I spoil them by doing what they want but I like them to be happy on this special day. their friends ended up waiting for their birthday party every year to see what they will do even parents to come to drop their kids end up staying for the party.


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