Saturday, July 01, 2006

Birthday preparations

Just a quick post in between cleaning around here. Tomorrow is our our fourth child's fifth birthday (now say that five times as fast as you can!).

This will be her first-ever friend party. We are expecting three little girls and one boy (plus a few siblings) for a rousing round of birthday fun with swimming at our neighborhood pool.

Every birthday our kids get to have a family party. We want them to have a special day to feel celebrated and appreciated, especially in our large family, where so many things tend to get done en masse.

But we are not big "friend-party" folks. Part of it is the sheer number of parties I'd have to plan (and the expense). Another part of it is that we have three (you heard right--three) children's birthdays in December (all twelve days apart - aren't we efficient? and yes - we know why these things happen, though people STILL seem to insist on giving us a hard time about it!). Needless to say, it's just a hair shy of insanity around here during the holiday-birthday time of year.

And for another thing, do we really need that many new toys every year?

We do not do preschool friend parties, period, although we do enjoy going if we are invited to one. A few balloons and rolls of crepe paper go a long way for the little ones. And tons of pictures so they can "remember" the fun they had wrapping themselves in it and ripping it off the walls!

As it's turned out, our kids' first friend-party is usually when they turn 5. I'm not organized enough to get on any kind of schedule with parties, but we seem to be on an every two to three year thing - for sure a party around age 8, and then again at age 10. This year our oldest will definitely invite a few friends over when she turns 13.

As the kids have gotten older, they've wanted only a few close friends over for their special days. We've taken a few at a time to arcades, some have chosen to take a friend fishing, and sometimes it's just been a nicer-than-usual dinner out. This way we don't feel obligated to find 10 of our "closest friends" to fulfill a minimum, and then feel crazed because the birthday package at the local pizza and fun place only gives us an hour and a half (we did this once or twice and said, "Never again!").

We like to keep it simple. It keeps us from falling into the "how can I ever outdo that one" mentality, one that is rampant in our neck of suburbia. It's a birthday, for heaven's sake, not a wedding, or a graduation from college!

Our almost-five-year-old is SO EXCITED about her birthday party - the anticipation is just about to make us all crazy - I'll bet she's heading for a mom-imposed nap today!


Anonymous said...

Happy 5th Birthday! That is a big milestone! We mostly do family parties too. Occasionally the boys will invite 1 or 2 friends over. Our closest friends have 2 boys the same age as my oldest 2 and we have standing invites to each others parties. I enjoy not having to stress about all "extras" and just enjoying them on they're special day!

Millie said...

Way to go, 5 year old! We always have a family party as well - the friend parties are fewer and farther between, like you, mostly for the cost aspect.

Anonymous said...

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Unknown said...

I agree with you about the crazy party mentality. I will say that ever since she was 3 or 4 and started attending those parties, that has been her very favorite way to spend her time. But because she was grouped by age (down to months) in those years, we had some fall weekends where we had 3 parties to attend. Now, that's a little too much fun for one weekend. I think that her 5th was her first friend party, too, and it worked just fine. I enjoyed hosting it at our house, but I couldn't do that every year. I'm sure that you've heard this, but in case you haven't, I have a few friends who celebrate their December kids' birthdays on the half year, so they can have a fun summer party in June.

Nettie said...

Happy 5th birthday!

I agree on the party issue. We only do friend parties on the odd birthday years, although we've skipped the 3rd year. And they are usually at home and inexpensive, although we do try to be fun and creative. Thursday, we are taking my oldest daughter to the pool for her party, but she only is inviting 3 friends.

Beck said...

We do friend parties from 3 onwards, although I wish we didn't. As the kids get older, the parties get more elaborate - although everything is always homemade, but daddy likes throwing really detailed parties for his kids. Oh well!

Michelle- This One's for the Girls said...

We handle the kid party thing in much the same way you guys too. This little one definitely deserves her own kid party though--she's just too cute.

Susanne said...

We did preschool parties and later regreted it. You are much smarter than I was. Starting at 5 or kindergarten is a much better idea! Keeping it simple saves your sanity! Good for you even though other's around you aren't. In my kid's school, it seemed parties became some kind of status for the parents. Who can throw the bigger, better party? They were holding them at places that charged $130 (Canadian, hello, at the time when the exchange was crazy) and that was without food, party bags, etc. When I was a kid, you felt privelaged to get to go to a party and have fun and food at someone' house, never mind going out somewhere & getting to take a gift bag home. Times have changed!

Have a very happy day with your little one!