From the age of 1 to 7 my eldest child had some amazing parties. Just to name a few…his first birthday was footy themed where all his ‘mates’ came in their team colours. His third birthday was a Diego party where all his school mates came and we hired a reptile zoo to add in an educational element. All the kids loved it and I bravely held a snake to demonstrate to my child that it was ok for him to do it too. And lets not forget his prep party – the biggest party of all, Cowboys and Indians (the old fashion way). With Tepees and wild west games such as throwing the snake into the gum boot and herding the cows (balloons) from one side of the house to the other.
Child number two had more sedate parties. His birthday was only a month and a half after his big brother and by the time I was done with number one I was too tired to put in the same effort. Being two years younger meant that I got a way with it for the first few years but I more than made up for it on his fifth birthday where Woody actually came to play and his Prep Party, Star Wars themed.
After throwing such a massive party for boy number one I felt it was only fair to do so for number two and for the two whole years in-between I was dreading that day. Having said that everyone had an absolute ball as did my child. He especially loved the Jedi coming in to train all his friends to become Jedis – after which they went into battle with the Sith (his older brother and two cousins) with their blow up lightsabers.
So why did I do it? Certainly not to keep up with the Jones, or to show off to anyone else. Some people are great at cooking, others at crochet – me? Well kids parties seems to be my thing. My sister’s friends still remember the parties I used to put together for her birthdays (she was 13 years younger than me). So why am I retiring? Many reasons. The first is financial – I have found out (the hard way) that holding parties my way at home is extremely expensive – three or four times more so. The second is, time – these things take up a lot of time to plan and the final reason – I really don’t want my children to have a sense of expectation that their birthdays are always going to be the biggest event on their social calendar.
This year my 8 year old took two friends to the football on his birthday. At the end of the day he told me it was one of the best days of his life. I like that. So next year my youngest will take a handful of friends bowling or something to that effect and from his 8th birthday onwards we will take him and one or two of his friends on an outing just like his brother.
And me? Well I will relish the fact that I don’t have to do a massive clean up after the party or spend the whole party running after little Johnny who hasn’t found a partner of little Jane who loves to stick her finger into the cake. Yep. I have hung up my party planning hat and I am loving it.