Having one daughter's birthday in July and the other one close to Christmas means 2 holiday birthdays. So some years the planning is better than others. This year was not so stellar. On Thursday morning I realized that we need to have a party now (like in 2 days) or not again until well after the birthday, because of holiday schedules. So I decided on now. I sent out some emails, got a critical mass (4 guests), and went for it. It would be a simple, but special, 5th birthday party.
Theme: Bugs (she picked this theme in December, so I'd had half a year to collect some themed items)
This is about the 6th kid birthday party I've planned, and I'm getting better at it and growing more wise. Here are a few of the things I've learned:
1. Do not even dare to imagine the perfect party. It will be a party. Period.
2. Have high expectations of meltdowns. Expect someone to cry or throw a tantrum. If it doesn't happen, great! You're well ahead of your expectations then.
3. Make up versions of duck, duck, goose while you stand in line for groceries. Ladybug, ladybug, mosquito? Perfect.
4. Do not clean the house. It will be a mess afterward. There will be pee around the floor of the toilet, grass on the carpet, and spilled juice.
5. Don't serve juice, serve water. And candy sushi.
6. Involve the birthday girl in the planning. This is half (or most?) of the fun - the anticipation. Planning the games + crafts, making the candy kebob favours, passing out invitations - this is rich.
7. Put things on a stick: fruit kebobs, sandwich kebobs, and candy kebobs. Anything tastes better on a stick.
Fruit kebobs: chocolate dipped strawberries, pineapple, melon, grapes, other fruits...
Sandwich kebobs: cheddar cheese cubes, bocconcini balls of cheese, baguette chunks, olives, pepper chunks, cherry tomatoes
Candy kebobs: gummy candies, marshmallow candies, fruit roll-ups (for the nutritional factor), and any other candies that can be shoved onto a stick
8. No presents from friends. This has become a rule at our house, which seems quite dictatorial, I realize. They get gifts from us and from other family members, and that seems like plenty. I read somewhere that kids should be involved in the decision of whether their friends bring gifts. Well, not in this house. Remember the weird parent post? Well, here's another example of something my kids just might have to see a therapist for when they're older.
We've tried it both ways - gifts and no gifts. And after those little experiments, I'm inspired by this friend and I say, "This is how we do it in our family. If you want a party, that's the present." Then we decide on what we'll collect for - sometimes it's been hats and mitts (December birthday) and sometimes it's been soap bars or school kits.
|one of the soap towers|
10. Make a kick-butt cake (or commission someone to do it). This is where simple goes out the window for me. And just for fun, I'll brag about some of my favourites that I've made:
|the solar system|
11. Take a deep breath. Welcome chaos.
12. Let her be a princess - if only for 2 hours.