Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Birthday Party Angst

I don't know alot about kids.

I don't have friends that had kids.  Before having my baby, all my friends spent their free time drunk at our apartment pool.

Now, I have friends with kids.  But mostly kids that are my kids age, because I met said friends mostly through having said kid.

Last year my little one turned one year old.  I knew I was supposed to have a birthday party to celebrate.  I was trying to wrack my brain to think about how to celebrate in a way that would be meaningful to her, a one-year-old.  I came up with nothing.  I don't know much about kids birthday parties.  Other than, you should have cake.  You should always have cake.

Two weeks after our party, complete with dorky jungle theme, a fellow blogger celebrated her own daughter's first birthday.  She brought in large group drums and egg shakers, the same kind we use at music class, the same kind that my kid loves, and did drumming and singing, among other cool age-appropriate activities.

I slammed my hand against my forehead.  Of course.  That's it!  I should have had a music-class-like party, since my kid loves music class.

I feel like I'm a step behind on this whole "kid party" thing.  I feel like other mamas have been going to - and having - these parties and they're all experts and here I am, shopping at Target and going "treat bags, what the hell are those?  Why would anyone hand out dog treats at a kids party?"

It doesn't help that Spring Semester will always be the death of me.  No matter how well prepared I am, no matter what kind of students I have, by this time of year I have a creeping exhaustion that no amount of spring break can cure.  Why the universe decided that my kid should come at this time of year, and why I will perpetually have to plan her birthday celebrations this time of year, is beyond me.  But I'm doing it.  By jove, I'm doing it.  I got her photo taken on a custom-designed set, and had the photo made into a party invitiation.  I got the damn things all sent out, even the two that fell under the couch.  I passed out some at her daycare.  I'm ordering the cake today.  She's getting a awesome present from me, and related items from others, that I think she will love.  I've invited 100 freaking people and I'm really hoping the weather is nice so they're not all standing in my living room for three hours.  I'm doing it.  I'm planning it.

Yesterday at pickup at daycare I saw The Dude's mom.  "I have been meaning to call you.  I wanted to let you know that The Dude will be at Wee One's party!".  "Oh, great!" I exclaim to the leggy, raven-haired, thin, beautiful mother.

Oh, great.

The party was just going to be some-number-of-people (hopefully fewer than 100) cramming into my house, garage, driveway, front yard, and back yard, eating some food, bringing some presents, eating some cake.  I wasn't going to do games, I wasn't going to do treat bags, I wasn't going to do anything that required organization.

But now that there are Other Mothers coming, and now that there are Daycare Providers coming, I suddenly feel the pressure to have a "real" party.  Like, with treat bags and games and shit.

She's two.  They're two.  What does it matter?

But, what will the Mothers and Daycare Providers think?  It has to be organized, right?  It has to be age-appropriate, right?  What will The Dude's thin, leggy, raven-haired Mother think when she comes and there are 100 crazy people milling around and there is Nothing For Her Kid To Do?  Except eat cake.

I do have sidewalk chalk, they can color on the driveway.

I do have a Thomas DVD (The Dude loves Thomas.  He even gave Wee One his Thomas to play with one morning.  I think it's True Love) that they can watch.

I do have a plastic toddler-sized slide thing in the backyard they can play on.

I do, logically, understand that it doesn't matter a damn.

Then why am I freaking out so damn much about this stupid party?

Gotta run, I have a cake to order ...


Seriously, do I need treat bags?  And what goes in them?  (Say "treats" and I'll kill you.)  What is essential to have at a birthday party for a two-year-old? 


Esperanza said...

Oh my. I totally understand where you're coming from. I would totally be feeling the same way if other mothers and care providers were coming. Isa's first birthday is coming up and I've decided it's going to be more for us. A Hey! We Made it Through Year One! Party with our friends. I do love the music stuff though, I will try to get my hands on some instruments.

As for this party, I don't know. I don't think treat bags are necessary. I've never actually been to a birthday party for a kid like this, not in years, since I babysat. And those were mostly just family, not big affairs. I'm sorry I don't have more ideas. Treats would be easier to plan if you had a theme. Like if it were music class themed you could give them a cheap shaker or bell or something. Maybe a healthy snack? I don't know. I was going to suggest raisins but then I realized I didn't know if 2 year olds can eat those. I have so much to learn.

As for bad timing, my daughter was born the Monday of the last week of school. She will NEVER get her birthday party on time. Never. And two teachers I know with kids at similar times have assured me that I'm right.

Funky Mama Bird said...

Holy crap! Last year, we had family and cake. This year, I was thinking family, cake and a trip to the petting zoo! Treat bags???? My head would explode!

But since you're committed, let me reassure you a little. =) A friend's daughter turned two in December and Gunnar and I attended.

The kids ran around like lunatics and played with the Thomas trains. The adults drank. Everyone ate cake. They had a buffet of snacks and a hot chocolate bar. That was IT. And it was a great party. Gunne and I both had a great time.

Relax woman! ;)

MommieV said...


Somehow I think I should buy Thomas ones for the boys. I'm not sure The Dude would like the glitter bracelet and ring.

Or maybe he would.

Anonymous said...

Not to bash, but that blogger is doing Motherhood as performance art. Reality is, two year olds don't care. A slide thing is all you need. Make sure the adults have a place to be comfy - all will be well.

I started reading that blog as a link from your or JBMama's blog.. I did feel there was a snarky undertone but still some compelling writing... what mom isn't proud of her kids? But the post below finally turned me totally off her blog. If my husband was acting like that, I'd be embarrassed for how petty and mean-spirited he was, not thinking he has great wit.

Serifm said...

I think you should UTTERLY REBEL against the Birthday Party Industrial Complex. Play salsa music and hip hop and have a taco bar. The kids can watch videos or swat at a pinata while the adults drink and admire you for being cooler than they are. It's never too early to teach your Wee One that she doesn't have to follow the crowd!

Babs said...

I am doing treat bags (actually they will be sand pails) for my girl's 1st birthday, but I am that kind of mom. I love party planning and have been waiting for this day for years.

That being said, you totally don't have to do treat bags. It really is a ridiculous idea that you have to give kids presents for coming to your girl's party. Children shouldn't expect anything and two-year olds definitely won't be expecting anything.

Make sure your food and drink is nice, your bathroom is clean and you have plenty of seating if you want to impress the adults. The kids won't care either way.