Today Solomon had a birthday party. He had it today because his birthday is July 12th. See, the first year he started school he could hardly wait to have his birthday party at the end of the school year. He’d always had birthday parties but never with school friends.
He invited about 12 kids that year and every. single. one. of them could not come to the party. It was the height of camping season and they all had things going on. Sure, kids came to his party (his cousins, siblings of the kids he went to daycare with). It was a reasonably fun party, but that night he stood at the foot of my bed and broke down in sobs over the “worst day” of his life.
Since then, we have his party during the school year. He still regularly reminds us of how horrible that party was (and, to be fair, isn’t everyone’s worst nightmare having a party that no one attends?). He turned 6 that day. He’ll be 10 on July 12th.
I have learned some other things with birthday parties over the years, most of which cut down on troubles. I’ll share some of my wisdom with you because I’m generous like that:
1. Just candy or other consumable crap is enough for a treat bag. I used to fret and worry about what would be the perfect, but not too expensive, items to send home in treat bags. Of course, once we started being on the receiving end, I quickly realized how much I like these brief bursts of candy. If you don’t want your kid to have candy, confiscate it.
2. Include an email for RSVP. Seriously. Who wants to call? Or Facebook – that works, too. In fact, my next point is even smarter (in my humble opinion).
3. Virtual invitations. For a few reasons: it’s free, it’s CLUTTER-free, and it’s impossible to lose. For the couple of kids you don’t have virtual contact details for the parents, kid can send one or two handmade cards. Life is good.
4. Location, location, location. We used to always have the parties at home. I thought it would be too expensive to have elsewhere. I can’t say that it’s cheaper, but the joy of not having to clean up both before and after a party is worth every penny. And having a built-in activity? Even better. This year, Solomon took a few friends to a climbing wall place.
5. And finally, cut down the time. This dovetails nicely with location parties. Why spring for 4 hours, and why deal with other peoples’ kids for 4 hours. On the one hand, I love it when people take my kids for 4 hours, but I’m not so keen on being on the receiving end. I say 4 hours because I remember having a party for Max when he turned 6 or 7. It was scheduled for 4 hours and the parents were all slightly wild-eyed looking. A few furtively asked “are you sure?” as they scurried away as quickly as possible. I’ve learned.
Some cake, some singing, a couple of gifts and BAM, no kid weeping in the evening, no eternal parental guilt.
Day 240 scorecard: 1200 down, 635 to go
Special bonus pic of Clara, demonstrating complete and utter fearlessness: