Let me just start this by saying that I am a big fan of the birthday. (Mine is in just a couple of days!) I’ve always enjoyed my own birthday. I’ve thrown countless surprise parties for friends and family. And even though I am older and find less hoopla in order for the day, I still demand cake.
Throwing parties for one’s kids, on the other hand, is … uh. It is a mix of fun and uncertainty. Take Cakie’s birthdays, for example, we’ve always taken great joy in making him a very special cake (guitar, Diego’s head, Superman). We’ve also always had his party at home. They have always been fun. This year, for the first time, we are shelling out the big bucks to have his party at a place that does everything for you. I am not excited about the big bucks. I am excited about the does everything for you. But I can’t help but think that we’re still going to be going crazy the day before. I still want to make a special cake, but I don’t really, really want to, if my ten zillion dollars includes an ice cream cake. I don’t know who to invite. We bought the package for twelve kids. But most of the folks at his daycare, as a rule, don’t RSVP. And since I have been to several of these parties at the same place with the same kids, I see that people bring siblings, even when the invitations specifically say, please do not bring siblings. And why would that worry me? Every extra kid is another thirty bucks on top of the ten zillion dollars. Then this morning came the expected snafu… one of Cake’s friends at daycare has the very same birthday. So today we got the evite for his party at the same time and the same day. My honey didn’t seem phased, saying we could just invite kids who are not from the daycare. But, umm, I feel like we kind of need to invite Cakie’s friends. On the other hand, maybe thirty kids won’t show up, and we’ll get to keep our home and our car instead of handing it over to the Bouncy House place.
Trucker’s birthday was last weekend. I aimed for the number-of-child-guests-matches-the-number-of-years-old-the-child-will-be rule. Since he was turning 2, I ended up with four child guests. Because I’m not so great at math. The goal was to keep things simple. But I went overboard anyway, and cooked up a storm. After the fact, I realized that this was probably my last kid party to which I could have just invited my-own-aged friends. And though some of the parents I invited are my friends (Hi, sn!) I felt like I could have made it more fun for me by inviting one other baby, and a bunch of my friends. Though I know it is not supposed to be all about me.
This is all to say that I never realized how complicated all of this is. And I don’t know that I am making it complicated. I think it just is. I’ve done my best to keep it simple. Like I say to my students when I teach math (yeah, they let me do that, can you believe it?) I always like to find the most efficient strategy that gets me the right answer. Because I don’t like doing extra work.
I want to most efficient birthday party strategy that doesn’t cost me the down payment on a new house and doesn’t kill the joy and creativity of having the party in the first place. And that would be?