Kids’ birthday parties, particularly for really little kids, are just the worst.

Before we had kids, I went to most of my friends’ kids’ birthday parties. The parties for really little kids who don’t have real “friends” of their own yet are the worst of the worst. Here’s why:

  1. The kids who attend are usually the children of the parents’ friends, so they are a bunch of different ages, and the hosts can’t plan one or two kid friendly activities – the two year olds can’t bedazzle denim fanny packs (wait…wait…that’s a memory from my own childhood. Maybe that doesn’t happen anymore?) and the big kids don’t want to sit and play with Mega Bloks. It’s a free-for-all that usually results in a multi-age wrestling match.
  2. It’s chaos – kids running around destroying the place, parents unable to sustain a conversation for more than three minutes, and grown-up food getting pawed over by cute, germy little hands.
  3. There’s an awkward blending of grandparents and coworkers and neighbours (Worlds are colliding!) that is usually only tolerable in a setting such as a wedding, where the alcohol is flowing freely.
  4. The noise level is off the charts, and nobody is really enjoying themselves, least of all the birthday kid, who is usually overtired, overwhelmed, and unhappy that the other kids won’t let him play with his own toys.
  5. Clowns.

The last time my husband and I attended one of these, he turned to me in the car on the way home: “We’re not going to have one of those parties for the boys, are we?” “Of course not,” I replied. “The boys are so little, they won’t even remember it! We’ll save the parties for when they have friends of their own.”

Except here we are, 6 weeks out from the boys’ first birthday, and we’re planning a party.

I don’t know how it happened. I guess it started when friends and family started asking us what we were doing for the boys’ birthday. “Baking two cakes! Of course,” I would reply. “Oh, you’re not having a party?” they’d say, with a hint of judgy “WHAT KIND OF MOTHER ARE YOU?” in their voice. Then there were others who just assumed. Someone I usually see only on special occasions called and left a message on my voicemail that ended with, “See you on the twins’ birthday!” Uh-oh, I thought. I guess we’d better have a party.

I know, I sound like the Grinch Who Stole Birthday Parties. And I also know how lucky we are that there are so many people in our lives who love the boys and want to celebrate their greatest accomplishment to date, i.e. being born. So I have decided to embrace this whole kids’ birthday party thing, with gusto, because there seems to be no getting around it. It is apparently as much a rite of passage for the parents as it is for the kids. And as a guest at these parties, I’ve always attended out of love for my friends and their kid – so I assume my friends will do the same.

I’m also pretty sure that because I waste hours at a time on Pinterest, and because I’m a stay-at-home-mom with time to make color coordinated party favors and decorations and delicious hors d’oeuvres, I will throw the best damn kids’ birthday party ever, one that even our childless friends will enjoy.

But you’d better not show up dressed as a clown.


(Image credit: Bird33ou [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)


One thought on “The Birthday Grinch

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