Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The whole thing was kind of a blur, but at least there was cake


Last year, as I detailed exhaustively here, we held the kids' birthday party at home and did almost everything ourselves. We bought a cake and some of the food, but we made our own decorations, created invitations, devised games and activities, and assembled goodie bags. It was exhausting, but really fun to see the kids enjoying themselves. Jeff and I were proud of how the event turned out.

This year, we decided to have the birthday bash at our local children's museum, where Jeff volunteers. For about the same as we spent on last year's home party, all we had to do was send invitations and then show up. Everything else was included, from cake to balloons to goodie bags to two college-student party helpers. The kids had a blast playing in the museum, and convened in the party room periodically for face-painting, cake, and presents.

For me? Not as fun. Trying to keep track of nearly 20 kids was tiring (too many; I know, I know). Some of the parents stayed for the whole party--I'd told them it was optional--which was a blessing. But rather than enjoying their company, I felt like I was on display while I ran around trying to figure out which kid I should be following. Some of the parents who didn't stay seemed nervous about leaving their kids in my scatterbrained care--heartbreaking!

Especially during the gift-opening, I felt like a clueless guest instead of a participant. Another mom commandeered my camera and took pictures--for which I was grateful, but it still made me feel incompetent. I suggested that each gift-giver sit next to Jo while she opened that child's present, which turned into a disaster--the party-helpers and another parent had to restore the order that I'd ruined.

I guess I'll feel more and more like a spectator at these events as my kids grow older, but I hope we can strike a middle ground next year. Fun would be good. Casual would be good. Cake and margaritas will be essential. And how about inviting fewer kids and more of my friends? 'Cause it's all about me.

(Actually, it was all about her, and I think she had a good time. Which is what really counts.)

15 comments:

movin'mom said...

Adorable face!

I am exhausted thinking back to the day we did this kind of stuff.

My first light bulb moment was when G turned 5. She had 3 best friends over and I set up 3 rooms. one we they each had a mirror and a dollar store make-up bag filled with stuff to put on their face, along with make-up wipes. play jewelry and such. room 2 was a ton of pillows on the floor, music and a video camera on a tripod. I left them alone in there. They danced and spoke to the camera non stop. The 3rd room was for food and cake and drinks. It was fabulous. Only one could spend the night, but as a thank you we made a copy of the video for each girl. They LOVED IT!!!! We watched it the other day it is hysterical. They even commented on which boys they liked...at age 5!!!

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

Happy birthday to your lovely girl! And I'm sure you seemed much more competent than you felt!

My daughter turns 3 in a few weeks and I'm trying to decide what to do. I feel like I need to invite all her friends from daycare, which is not a lot of kids except that they all have siblings, so it will end up being a big crowd.

Would you do the children's museum again if the group were smaller?

mamatulip said...

Happy Birthday to your girl!

Honestly? Nothing stresses me out more than my children's birthday parties. It's just...so. much. work. And I always feel like, when it's all over, I missed it all.

TB said...

Oh my god you're brave.

And that looks like one happy, not to mention adorable birthday girl.

Lady M said...

So far, we've only had group birthday parties where the adults outnumbered the toddlers 2-to-1. I'm not going to imagine what it'll be like next year!

jen said...

i think you are my new hero. hands down.

Carol said...

Lovely birthday photos! I always love to have birthday parties organised at home than in some other place. It is much more fun with family and friends being more comfortable.Your daughter looks cute and very adorable...hope u all had a great time!

Mayberry said...

Thanks, everyone, for your reassurances!

Jennifer, I would do the museum again, with a smaller group of kids and/or more adults. I'd also be more conscious of how chaotic the drop-off time would be; and start by gathering all the kids, with adults in earshot, and spell out ground rules (stick with a buddy, listen for announcements, stay on the 2nd floor near the party room). And I would've assigned one of the adults to be the photographer. Hope you have fun with Sasha's party.

Lisa said...

Happy BIRTHDAY little lady!

Congrats mom on surviving another birthday party. heehee.

(There should be t-shirts and mommy merit badges for that!)

L.A. Daddy said...

20 kids? By yourself? That just sends a shiver down my spine. It's hard to keep track of the one I got... much less OPCs.

And happy birthday to your daughter! Have a drink or three on me (p.s. - they owe you BIG TIME on Mother's Day!)

mothergoosemouse said...

Sounds entirely too familiar. Except one of the mommies commandeered CJ, which was a relief - you know, after Ceej stopped screaming her bloody head off - but also made me wonder how much stress was showing in my face.

Next year, I'm delaying the party by one month and sending all the kids into the backyard with a gallon of fruit punch and two dozen cupcakes. They can do with them what they will.

Damselfly said...

You're a good mom.

You know those other parents were probably doing the same running around and stressing out when it was their turn, eh?

Kate said...

Awww, Happy Birthday!! She looks adorable.

And you are far better of a parent than me - as we have yet to succumb to the organized birthday ritual. We usually just host a small family get together each year at our home. And not too many kids there since we don't have that many friends with kids. Things may change this year, though sicne he'll be entering kindergarten and making all sorts of new friends.

Mrs. Wheezer said...

LOL! I use birthday parties as an excuse to invite the people I like over for food and fun. If some of them happen to have kids, too, then great.

S. is beginning to figure out that her friends have slightly different birthday party experiences, though...

Much More Than A Mom said...

Happy Birthday! What a cutie-pie. We just had our first ever party and I'm always taking suggestions for the future.